If you end up following along with me, you will probably end up noticing an already pronounced fascination with the “The Big Bang Theory” television show. You may be thinking to yourself, “aw he just thinks he’s a smart guy and is sadly clinging to something in popular culture that validates his self-image.” To which I would reply, “no kidding…” For many years now, I have avoided most network television like the plague. I have long preferred the science and history channels. While I have yet to convince anyone else that this makes for superior dinner entertainment, I don’t let that fact bother me in the least, more or less.
I do appreciate that there is, seemingly, one non-game show on network television that celebrates intelligence. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how many current game or reality shows do anymore either. Granted, unlike Dennis Miller, they do tend to explain the jokes, but I enjoy it all the same. Name another show on television, which is not another in an endless series of medical dramas, that has a doctorate in physics on the writing staff (David Saltzberg)and a doctorate in neuroscience (Mayim Bialik) as a member of the cast. The characters themselves, are portrayed as being a collection of several doctorates in various sciences, with one masters in engineering from MIT. What more could you ask for?
When getting Stephen Hawking to do a guest appearance is the crowning moment for a show, it’s a show that is a little different from most. In fact, Hawking may be the best known scientist to appear on the show, but he has not been the only one. Allow me to quote a Wiki entry on the subject in pointing out that “many distinguished and high profile scientists have appeared as guest stars on the show. Famous astrophysicist and nobel laureate George Smoot had a cameo appearance in episode 17 “The Terminator Decoupling”, of the second season. Theoretical physicist Brian Greene also appeared on the show in “The Herb Garden Germination”, episode 20 of the fourth season. Astrophysicist and science populizer Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared in “The Apology Insufficiency”, episode 7 of the fourth season.”
Personally, I appreciate that they make an effort to celebrate science and scientists in a way most shows reserve for fellow celebrities. While they do make fun of the stereotypical social awkwardness of “geeks,” to me it comes across as humorous self-deprecation rather than an outside insult. I like to think that, a show like this actually encourages intelligence and doing well in school, where so much of current culture still seems to malign and punish wanting to do well. Yes, of all the fictional programs out there, this is obviously my favorite one, so get used to the occasional references folks!