The young woman with Asperger's Syndrome who was in the Glee 3-D movie is interested in the "Disability and Mental Illness" podcast. She mentioned Sugar. I picked up on that and said how angry I was about Sugar pretending to have a disability she didn't have. I said there had been other examples of characters faking disabilities. There was Tina faking a stutter; Finn in "Wheels," to get a job, with Rachel abetting; and Puck faking being in chronic pain to get marijuana, for just a few. I wasn't watching the show at the time those episodes aired.
I was watching pretty regularly by the time "The Purple Piano Project" aired. Sugar almost ruined the episode for me. I try now to concentrate on the parts of the episode with Kurt and Blaine. I am aware there are plenty of people who self-diagnose. Some have the money and access to the medical system to get an "official" diagnosis later on, and some don't have that access, and never get a medical diagnosis.
I said I would have been okay with it if Sugar had ever apologized for saying that. That's just me, not speaking for others. From what I've read, a lot of parents of children on the autism spectrum were furious about Sugar faking a diagnosis, without having seen any other episodes. I had seen the episodes up to that point on DVD by that time. Tina didn't make me angry, and she got called out by Artie. Finn and Puck acted awful in other ways anyway. Rachel was awful to help Finn, but Rachel is awful anyway.
However, introducing a character and making it clear she's faking a disability in the episode where she's introduced gave some members of the audience, including me, no chance to like her. Later in season three, the AfterEllen reviewer and some commenters were saying how much they liked her, and how she did such cute little background things. I had not forgiven her.
Glee does seem to have the power to enrage people who haven't actually seen any episodes, or have just seen one that touches on a subject they're involved with. As I've said various places, I think the majority of the things on Glee that I find horrifying are supposed to be horrifying. Other people are horrified with things that I like about the show -- that there are GLBT characters, for instance.
It's interesting how I can be fine with having an able-bodied actor play a disabled character, and a sane actress play a mentally ill character, but furious about a character who fakes a disability. I don't know much about some of the actors and actresses. Most it's just things I hear here and there. The places I hang out online, I hear a lot more about the actors who play gay characters.
I've seen all the episodes of the show so far, so I can take things in context. Sugar in context still infuriates me. Finn outing Santana still infuriates me. Yes, I dwell. Brittany had outed Santana a few times before that, but Santana accepted it from Brittany, and Brittany hadn't endangered Santana's safety. I've seen the meta that says that "I Kissed a Girl" focused on Finn to show that he was a bad ally. I still think the focus should have been on Santana.
But perhaps part of the discussion should be on characters who fake disabilities, and what they gain from it, or think they gain. Because faking a disability can lead to at least temporary gain for characters, though it might have a longer-term loss if it's found out.