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Mentally Impaired

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L.A. LAW/NBC/1986-93 (Mentally Retarded)
**(Larry Drake) Benny Stulwicz, a mentally retarded office worker for a Los Angeles law firm of McKenzie, Brackman who took Benny under their wing when his mother (a cleaning lady for the firm) died. Drake's performance of a mentally retarded man is probably the finest since Cliff Robertson depiction of a mentally retarded man in the movie Charly (1968). On May 18, 1988, Benny romantically kissed his retarded girlfriend, Alice (Amanda Plummer).

LIFE GOES ON/ABC/1989 (Down Syndrome)
*(Chris Burke/costar) Charles "Corky" Thatcher, a likable and valiant 18-year-old male with Down's Syndrome. The series focused on the trials and tribulations of his family and school life when he was mainstreamed with his younger sister, Becca who was embarrassed at being in the same grade as her brother. In 1997 Chris became a recurring character on TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL/CBS/1994-2003 as an angel with Down Syndrome. For more on Chris Burke read his 1991 autobiography written with Jo Beth McDaniel entitled A Special Kind Of Hero.

MONK/USA/2002+ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
*(Tony Shalhoub) Adrian Monk, a private investigator with Obsessive Compulsive DIsorder. He is single, germaphobic, afraid of the dark, crowds, heights and milk. After the death of his wife Trudy Anne Monk (1962-97) who was killed by a car bomb, Monk began to fall apart. He got fired from his job as detective with the San Francisco police when he began to manifest OCD. Until he can get his anxiety problems under control, he won‘t be able to return to active duty. Meanwhile, Monk hires himself as a private consultant and uses his detective skills to solve crimes. His attention to detail and his Zen/Sherlock Holmes like demeanor enables him to read people and the environment, to see what others do not. Monk’s talisman is a set of keys that belonged to his wife’s car. He holds them close until he can discover the true facts behind her death. Monk occasionally will play his clarinet at the foot of his wife’s grave. Monk’s sidekick is a practical nurse named Sharona Fleming who monitors Monks progress and helps him cope with stressful situations. For instance, when Monk walks down the street, he will compulsively begin to touch and count each and every parking meter he passes. And meal time has a strict order: Tuesday is always chicken pot pie night.

ONCE AND AGAIN/ABC/1999-2002 (Mental Anxiety)
**(Patrick Dempsey) Aaron, the "Crazy Brother" of Lily Manning.Sammler. At the age of 18, Aaron wanted to be a clown and was an excellent juggler. At the age of 19, he wanted get married to a girl, but his father protested and dragged him back to Chicago from Florida. That's when Aaron started to change. Before the illness, Aaron was fearless and passionate. After being brought home, Aaron's sister Lily found him in his apartment. There was dried blood all over the place. Aaron had been cutting his skin in despair. He almost died on that occasion. After that he was put in a hospital and has been in the Board and Care ever since. In 2002 he ran away from the B&C to be with Miriam Rose Miller (Ally Sheedy), a women (the victim of rape, drugs and abuse) with similar mental problems. In his current condition Aaron gets upset and shouts "I don't understand!" He likes to asked before anyone sits with him. Hoping to piece his life back together, Aaron keeps a list of wishes called "Aaron Lists of Dreams." One of which was to get a job. His sister Lilly fears that living on his own Aaron will burn down the apartment. Lily realized that Aaron will never recover. He will die a sick man but she hopes for a temporary reprieve and supports his relationship with Miriam, whom though disturbed herself, is truly in love with her brother.

PARADISE/CBS/1988-91 (Mentally Retarded)
**(Patrick Labyorteaux) Jerome, a slow-witted frontier man who lived in the town of Paradise. Once Jerome was accused of strangling a girl who rejected him, but he was proven innocent.

POLICE WOMAN/NBC/1974-78 (Autism)
**(Nichole Kallis) Cheryl Anderson, an autistic female who lived at the Austin School for the Handicapped during the first season of this police drama. Cheryl's was the younger sister of Detective Pepper Anderson, an LAPD undercover officer who occasionally visited her. Cheryl's role was dropped in the fall of 1975.

ROSEANNE/ABC/1988-1997 (Mental Illness)
**(Mentioned not seen) Mrs. Audrey Conner, the mother of Dan Conner, a construction worker living in Lanford, Illinois. For years, Dan believed that his mother was abused and neglected by his salesman father, Ed Conner. Dan recalled "My mother was in a bad marriage, in and out of hospitals" because of Ed's neglect. Dan remembered how his Dad once left for over two weeks with no word where he was. Actions like that gave Dan the ammunition to believe his dad was a bad husband. Always protective his mother, Dan fumed when his father fell behind in his financial obligations to Dan's mom. When Ed re-married a friend of the family named Crystal Anderson (Natalie West), Dan felt it important to let her know what a rotten father Ed had been. Drunk, he entered her house and began to break things. However, the new wife revealed to Dan the truth about his mother - that she was mentally ill, and that time to time had to spend time in the hospital (her trips were often disguised as "visits to relatives"). As Dan struggled with this revelation, Dan's wife Roseanne tried to convince him "a person doesn't become mentally ill when her spouse goes away on business trips." In reality, Ed Conner let Dan believe that he was to blame for her condition. He figured it was easier to have a bastard for a father that a crazy person for a mother. Apologizing for the way he handled everything Ed Conner confessed to his son Dan "I didn't want you to go around thinking bad things about your mother." In the end, it was nobody's fault. Ed loved his wife for 33 years and handled the situation the best he could at the time. Realizing the truth of the matter, Dan tells his wife "I can't take this." A short time later Dan and Ed reconciled. However, Ed insisted that Dan not talk about the past anymore. The storyline of Dan coming to terms with his mother's mental condition appeared on episodes No.142 "Past Imperfect" and "Lies My Father Told Me" that aired March 22 & 29, 1994.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE/NBC/1976+ (Impaired Memory)
*(Tom Hanks) Mr. Short Term Memory, an amiable fellow who can't remember what he's talking about from one moment to the next Mr. STM started a sentence or deed and then started it again, forgetting that he previously just said or did something. The STM theme was used in the motion picture Memento (2001) about a man named Leonard Shelby (Buy Pearce) who was bent on avenging the rape and murder of his wife. Unfortunately, he has to do all this without benefit of short-term memories, the result of a brain injury sustained in the incident. He can still recall events before the murder, but anything in the present fades away in mere minutes. He relies on Polaroids, notepad scribbles, and cryptic clues he's tattooed all over his body to remind him of his current situation.

ST. ELSEWHERE/NBC/1982-88 (Autistic)
**(Chad Allen) Tommy Westphall, the occasionally seen autistic son of Dr. Donald Westphall (Ed Flanders) Westphall worked at St. Eligius Hospital in Boston and had to juggle a busy schedule tending to the needs of his hospital patients and his autistic son. In the final scene of the last episode Tommy stared into a small crystal ball-the kind you turn upside down to make it snow inside. The writers of the program tried to leave the audience with the impression that the entire world of St. Eligius with all its storylines were the product of this autistic child's imagination. Inside the crystal ball was a likeness of St. Eligius Hospital.

WOMEN OF THE HOUSE/CBS/1995 (Mentally Retarded)
**(Jonathan Banks) Jim Sugarbaker, a mentally retarded man who lives with his sister Suzanne Sugarbaker, a newly appointed member of the House of Representatives. Jim's character, who always interjected naive jokes and oozed of innocence, was a cross between Forrest Gump (1994) and Dumb and Dumber (1994) movie characters.

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