This is a paper I wrote for my Abnormal Psychology class here at The College of Wooster. Adrian Cronauer is played by Robin Williams (who himself is afflicted with Bipolar disorder) in the movie Good Morning Vietnam.
Flown in from Crete to Saigon, Adrian Cronauer is a barely controllable radio disc jockey for AFRS, the Armed Forces Radio Station. He is an off the wall master of comedy and music, invigorating the troops with humor and rock and roll. While all may seem to be going fine for Adrian, his superiors detest his humor and music and do everything they can, including sending him to death, to see it stopped. Throughout Good Morning, Vietnam, Cronauer displays several symptoms of mania and an anti-social personality, which are visible throughout the movie. In the movie, Cronauer is not blatantly obvious in his mania, while it is clearer that he has a problem with authority, which is not good for military personnel to have.
Good Morning, Vietnam portrays Cronauer as a struggling protagonist, fighting against the restraints placed upon him by his supervisors, Sergeant Dickerson and Lieutenant Steven Hawk. The two of them do not take a liking to Cronauer and how he runs his show, even from the beginning of the film Dickerson is upset by his mere presence. In the movie it is not explicitly said that Cronauer has any sort of mental disorder, although it is apparent through his actions, especially when he is working behind the microphone. It can be assumed that he suffers from mania, as it is hard to be that pumped up and rowdy at six A.M.. The film shows Cronauer as an ordinary person, trying to stay afloat in the Vietnam War, it does not portray him as crazy in any way, even if some of his actions may be irrational in some ways, specifically when he initiated a brawl in Jimmy Wah's bar. As I watched the movie, I felt that the mania shown in Cronauer was not completely planned out, as it is not a focal point in the film, although it is apparent.
Cronauer's mania drives his actions and his beliefs. At times, he feels exempt from the same rules that every other disc jockey is held to. After a bomb blows up Jimmy Wah's bar, he does not want to wait for the news to go through the army's censors and gives an unofficial retelling of the incident. He brought a vibrancy and energy that the station lacked before he arrived. This was also fueled by the music he played, which he embraced. He personalized several rock and roll ideals, especially the anti-authoritarian mindset. This lead me to believe that he, while subject to the swings of mania, also suffered from an anti-social disorder, which he made evident through his comedy. His comedic skits poked fun at several higher-ups and other important, if not famous, people. When ordered to edit a press conference by Richard Nixon, he spliced in his own questions and re-ordered what Nixon said, turning it into a hilarious satirical farce, instead of the newspiece it was meant to be. He also mocked his superiors, mostly Lieutenant Hawk and how the lieutenant liked to refer to things as anacronyms instead of the full words. One thing Cronauer never did was salute his superiors, which is a sign of disrespect. Even when he walked off of the plane in the beginning of the movie, he was not suited as a soldier in any way, except for his hat, which was an air force cap.
He is shown to be highly impulsive. One side-plot was Cronauer trying to get the interest of a Vietnamese girl, which he tried to do by talking to her, and later by bribing her English teacher and taking over her English class. The first time he tried talking to her she hopped in a cab and ran away. Cronauer followed and because he couldn't get to the jeep, bought two bicycles, one for him and one for Garlick, a fellow radio worker. This lead to a chase, ending at the schoolhouse, in which Garlick almost ended up getting hit by several vehicles.
Cronauer's main affliction is his mania, and with mania, usually comes depression. Cronauer is only apparently depressed in one scene, shortly after he announces the explosion at the bar and is asked to leave by his supervisors. In this scene he is sitting at another bar and is trying to amuse himself by sticking prawn heads on his fingertips. While this depression is caused by understandable events, it does not seem to fit in with the description of Manic Depression. At least from what is shown in the film, the depression does not seem to be a common occurrence, nor does it seem to last very long. He was able to break out of his depression by being forced into a manic experience by Garlick. The two of them were stuck behind several personnel carriers and Garlick introduced Cronauer to the soldiers around him. While this might not always the best cure for depression, it worked incredibly well in this situation.
If I had to treat Adrian Cronauer for his mania, I would start by suggesting a Lithium Carbonate treatment program. This would help alleviate most of the mania he is suffering from. As for his Anti-social personality, I don't think treatment would be necessary, for his symptoms are not that strong, but one cannot really know as nothing is said about his childhood activities. My guess would be that Cronauer grew up in the late 40's early 50's, guessing his age to be around 30 in 1965. I would give Cronauer a rating of in the low to mid 80's on the global assessment of functioning scale, seeing as he has minimal symptoms that don't interfere in his life too often. He also seems to have no psychosocial and environmental problems, except for the non-conformist, anti-authoritarian attitude he displays. He also does not seem to have any general medical conditions.