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What It's Like To Be the Scientific Consultant For The Big Bang Theory 253

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-a-tough-gig dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Science sits down with David Saltzberg, who's been The Big Bang Theory's one and only science consultant since it premiered. Saltzberg is an astrophysicist at the University of California, Los Angeles. He chats about how the portrayal of science on the show has changed over the years, whether it turns kids away from science, and how you can get your own job as a scientific consultant in Hollywood."
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What It's Like To Be the Scientific Consultant For The Big Bang Theory

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unless you get lucky, the only thing it's actually good for is wiping your ass.

  • Not for Nerds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ksevio (865461) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:05PM (#46886127) Homepage
    I've watched the occasional episode and it seems more targeted at "fake nerds" - the type who like "I fucking love science" on facebook. The viewer isn't made to relate with the geeky characters, they're made to laugh at.

    Being said, the science usually has merit, even if it's something that geeks would never say either because it is just too obvious/cliche or doesn't make sense to say.
    • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:12PM (#46886159)

      It's the nerd equivalent of black-face.

      • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wiredlogic (135348) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:29PM (#46886463)

        That must make Dr. Mayim Bialik some sort of Aunt Thomasina?

        • how on earth does an anti-vaxxer get a PHD. :( (neuroscience from what i remember, so not exactly a mickey-mouse marketing/business/social science fluffpaper.)

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Welcome to wonderful world of geekdom where focused knowledge can lead to incorrect focus on specifics on information ie bullshit baffles brains. Perhaps introspection is lacking in that particular decision making process and how playing with statistics and probabilities can lead to wrong decision making especially in modern human society allows interactions between controlled social environments and uncontrolled social environments, in terms of medical controls, specifically access to vaccines and high ri

            • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:4, Insightful)

              by FriendlyStatistician (2652203) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:33AM (#46887083)

              Perhaps introspection is lacking in that particular decision making process and how playing with statistics and probabilities can lead to wrong decision making especially in modern human society allows interactions between controlled social environments and uncontrolled social environments, in terms of medical controls, specifically access to vaccines and high risk population bases.

              Whoa man, whoa. Sentences are your friends, don't abuse them like that.

          • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Informative)

            by mark-t (151149) <markt@nOSPam.lynx.bc.ca> on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:36AM (#46887097) Journal
            To Ms. Bialik's credit, at least she doesn't try to claim validity to some specious connection between autism and vaccination. She believes in personal choice, and does not advocate that nobody should ever vaccinate, which many anti-vaxers try to do.
          • By completing an accredited program of study, including conducting research that has been documented and vetted, and judged by a panel of experts in the field to have made a contribution to the field worthy of a PhD degree.
      • it's true (Score:5, Insightful)

        by globaljustin (574257) <[justinglobal] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday May 01, 2014 @01:20AM (#46886875) Homepage Journal

        there's definitely a parallel between "blackface" mocking & the kind of "geek humor" employed by the show

        I love the concept of the show: Sitcom about everyday life of young physics PhD...sounds like a good premise

        In execution...damn...i'd prefer an execution to watching a whole episode of "Big Bang Theory"

        1. afore mentioned unfunny mocking/reinforcing dumb stereotypes
        2. laugh track (these annoy the living crap out of me...."hahahahahha"....)
        3. superficial mentions of science ephemera intended to pass as actual realistic dialogue

        TV can be so much better than the show...hell the main actor is a great actor...the material is atrocious and unwatchable

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          They have a real audience.

        • Re:it's true (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Burz (138833) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @05:27AM (#46887453) Journal

          I also agree TBBT has blackface or 'coon show' qualities.

          And it seems like the more scientific / theoretical the character's field is, the more antisocial they are. The closer they are to engineering, the more socially redeeming qualities and access to romantic partners they have. I mean, they made Sheldon downright asexual.

          The show is an exercise in anti-intellectualism, and there are no countervailing examples in TV fiction AFAIK. (And, no, I would not consider the scientists who make the heros strong and weapon-encrusted as intellectual even though there are scads of Bond/Q characters.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by sh00z (206503)

            And it seems like the more scientific / theoretical the character's field is, the more antisocial they are. The closer they are to engineering, the more socially redeeming qualities and access to romantic partners they have. I mean, they made Sheldon downright asexual.

            You're kidding, right? In what universe does asexual==antisocial? On that show, Howard (the engineer) is by far the creepiest character, mostly due to his (early season) sexually deviant behavior. In the circle of geeks where I live, his mor

          • False equivalency (Score:4, Insightful)

            by sjbe (173966) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @09:03AM (#46888219)

            I also agree TBBT has blackface or 'coon show' qualities.

            REALLY? Point out to me the 400 years of slavery or some equivalent to Jim Crow laws. Show me where in the history of the US geeks were not allowed to marry non-geeks. Show me where in the constitution they had to put in an amendment protecting nerds. Show me where nerds were prevented from voting. Thinking blackface shows and TBBT are in any meaningful way equivalent is both arrogant and absurd.

            I don't care if you like the show or not. People's senses of humor vary and it's fine if you don't think it is funny. But you seriously need to stop taking life too seriously and laugh a bit.

          • Re:it's true (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @09:20AM (#46888335)

            I also agree TBBT has blackface or 'coon show' qualities.

            Wow -- I've been reading this a lot here. I think we need to step back and get some perspective. Blackface was and is offensive not just because it includes stereotypes, but because it served as a way of reinforcing stereotypes that led to social oppression and even slavery. Many people here might argue that scientists and engineers are underpaid or underappreciated compared to, say, corporate executives or whatever. But they generally earn relatively high salaries compared to average and are hardly "oppressed" let alone enslaved.

            Saying the show represents stereotypes is one thing. Comparing it to blackface is quite extreme.

            And it seems like the more scientific / theoretical the character's field is, the more antisocial they are. The closer they are to engineering, the more socially redeeming qualities and access to romantic partners they have. I mean, they made Sheldon downright asexual.

            I agree that the show is a bit of an exaggeration of everyday scientists and engineers. But I did my undergraduate degree at one of the top science and engineering schools in the world, and I knew people who fit just about every one of these stereotypes. Seriously. And, while there were certainly exceptions, I have to say that their portrayal of the "lack of social skills" continuum is also relatively accurate, from the perspective of general trends. Beyond Sheldon, I wouldn't say the show portrays the characters as "antisocial," but rather as lacking in various social graces. In my experience, among high level scientists, engineers, and math people, the pure science people tend to be weirder than the engineers on average, the physicists tend to be outliers among even the pure science folks, and the math people have the highest proportion of socially-inept folks. Again, there are numerous exceptions, but this stereotype has some basis in fact. And the trend is even more prominent among the grad students I knew while I was an undergrad: the engineers were almost "normal," but the physics and math grad students I knew were the quiet weird ones who always said inappropriate things. I haven't done a statistical study of this, but the show certainly agrees with what I personally observed in a similar environment.

            The show is an exercise in anti-intellectualism

            I suppose you could see it that way. I suppose viewers who identify with Penny might get that impression. On the other hand, there are numerous occasions on the show where Penny and other "non-science people" are suitably impressed when the "nerds" do some useful thing. So, "intellectualism" is clearly portrayed as valuable -- but the jargony wacko world of the main characters does not necessarily have innate value for its own sake.

            The show has an important point: science and math geeks often get so wrapped up in their world that they fail to communicate their ideas effectively to others. Thus, "normal people" find the geeks weird or even ridiculous because of that disconnect, since they can't figure out why all the arcane trivia and esoteric math and abstract knowledge is important. It is precisely the same attitude that comes out here on Slashdot concerning advanced humanities topics. Why should anyone give a crap about English major's theory about a medieval manuscript? Who cares about the "soft" humanities theories in sociology or history or some esoteric version of philosophy that doesn't seem to mesh well with the standard "scientific" mythos?

            I'm not saying that you need to care about the jargon-laced research in advanced humanities disciplines, but jargon from almost any discipline seems unnecessary, complicated, and abstract to those outside of that discipline. Yet scientists often have the perspective that their way of knowing is the one superior way of doing things, and thus anyone outside of that is obviously ignorant... which leads people outside

            • wow what a post!

              "nerd humor" != "blackface" minstrals

              "nerd humor" :: "blackface minstrals ...it's analogous...they share characteristics which are relevant to the discussion at hand...comparing the two is different than **equating** the two!

              it is using the same context of *superiority* on behalf of the joke-maker and person being mocked...it's the same **form** of humor

              that context of superiority is why people claim it is "anti-intellectual" and I agree...

              smart people come in **all personality types**

    • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:44PM (#46886273)

      I've watched the occasional episode and it seems more targeted at "fake nerds" - the type who like "I fucking love science" on facebook. The viewer isn't made to relate with the geeky characters, they're made to laugh at.

      Being said, the science usually has merit, even if it's something that geeks would never say either because it is just too obvious/cliche or doesn't make sense to say.

      I dunno, I was a "real nerd" in high school and college - never played D&D or got into comic books, but spent way too much time in a computer lab (high school job gave me unlimited access to a VAX - and uunet!), and think the show is funny. Maybe because I see a lot of myself and my friends in the characters. Though we never hooked up with any women nearly as hot as Penny, Bernadette, or even Amy Farah Fowler.

      • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:08PM (#46886353)

        You got it. Having worked at Goddard Space Flight Center and Zenimax Online Studios - The Big Bang Theory is really a show for geeks to laugh at themselves. It works on two levels. One group of people identify with Penny, and laugh at the nerds. The other group identifies with Leonard and laughs at all the silly things we geeks do.

        If you think the show portrays over the top and unrealistically crazy nerds, you are the one who is not a real nerd. I'm sorry. I've seen every single one of the crazies while working at NASA. From the guy with an Elmer Fudd voice, to the ladies-man with no game whatsoever, to the impossibly shy guy who can't talk to anyone - not just women, anyone.

        • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ignavus (213578) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:40PM (#46886511)

          The show is popular with quite a few Aspies because it is one of the few almost reasonable attempts at portraying an Aspie-like character. Sheldon also displays signs of OCD and maybe Narcissistic personality disorder, but an Aspie without those other conditions can still recognise or even identify with many of his actions.

          • by radarskiy (2874255) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @01:18AM (#46886865)

            My theory has always been that Sheldon isn't aspie, he's just an asshole.

          • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Insightful)

            by readin (838620) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @01:23AM (#46886881)
            In early episodes that I saw, Sheldon was clueless about people and would be clumsy. He would say something about how it made more sense for him to do something because he was smarter than everyone and you felt like he wasn't trying to be mean or arrogant, he was just pointing out an objective fact without stopping to think people might be offended. That was something I could relate to and find funny.

            But before too long they just made him mean. In that episode with Summer Glau, when Penny crushes his Japanese puzzle box you feel like he deserves it. He's no longer a sympathetic character whose weaknesses make him endearing. Instead he's a geek that people can feel good about disliking. Instead of giving people reason to reconsider their awful treatment of geeky peers, the show affirms that treatment as being deserved.

            In real life I've met very few geeks who were genuinely mean. Most seem to believe in fair play, following the rules, good citizenship, do unto others.., etc.. However at first glance their poor social skills can make them seem uncaring.

            The early episodes seemed to get that. They portrayed what geeks see in themselves and in each other.

            But soon the show appealed to a wider audience by portraying geeks as non-geeks see them. Clueless Sheldon became arrogant cutthroat spiteful Sheldon. He was no longer rude do to thoughtlessness but instead became a scheming villain

            People don't like geeks and this show affirms their feelings.
            • I agree.
              I figured it was an attempt of character development.
              I am a season behind, but I sometimes see some attempts to it on track with comments like "is that sarcasm, I am getting better at detecting it" style comments.

            • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Interesting)

              by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:39AM (#46887105) Journal

              I agree. The way I put it to friends was that the show went through a period where it was was in danger of becoming "the sheldon show", and that's where I'd find something else to watch. But fortunately, they pulled a little way back from that particular abyss about the time they introduced Amy. Sheldon went back to being mostly clueless, but in a more relate-able way.

              The strength of the show I think is that the geeks do grow over time, albeit slowly. Just as geeks do in real life, albeit slowly.

            • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Kjella (173770) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @06:23AM (#46887643) Homepage

              In real life I've met very few geeks who were genuinely mean. Most seem to believe in fair play, following the rules, good citizenship, do unto others.., etc.. However at first glance their poor social skills can make them seem uncaring.

              Characters on a TV show aren't sampled from the average because the viewers would be bored to death. Sheldon was a rather over the top character right from the very beginning, even among the four of them he was the odd one. Throwing in a little superiority complex where he doesn't feel like he's getting enough recognition for his genius and making ploys to show how much smarter he is than everybody else seemed a not too unlikely phase that gave them a lot of stories to write. In fact, they needed to shake up the other characters a bit or it would be "The Sheldon Show", once they three other characters to play with in their own right Sheldon could step back a little again. He's not representative but are there Sheldons out there.... I think yes.

        • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @12:58AM (#46886789)

          One group of people identify with Penny, and laugh at the nerds. The other group identifies with Leonard and laughs at all the silly things we geeks do.

          I dunno, I identify with Howard as being the hero of the show.

          Bad haircuts and dress sense, neurotic Jew, lack of a strong male role model, domineering mother (cue basement jokes), awkward socially leading to making lewd comments to women to compensate fear of rejection, belittled by his colleagues for not having the right degree.

          Yet despite all this he's been into space and he's the only one of the four to tie the knot. I'd call that success.

          Leonard, by contrast, is darn normal aside from completely lacking self-confidence.

        • by guises (2423402)

          One group of people identify with Penny

          I could take some self-debasing humor, but I just can't stand the Penny character. I find it a little hard to describe why, but she just doesn't belong there. I end up avoiding the show for that reason alone.

          It's too bad, some of the scenes without her can be really funny and I've consistently impressed that they seem to nail all of their science references (to bring this back to TFA), but she really grates.

    • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zynder (2773551) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:54PM (#46886295)
      Haters gonna hate...that said, please tell me one sitcom (short for situational comedy) that wasn't designed for you to laugh at the cast? BBT is a sitcom, therefore you are supposed to laugh at it as a whole, nonstop until the credits roll. It accomplishes this in spades (at least for me). I am a nerd. I love this show. It is one of 2 televised shows that can manage to pry me away from WoW for 30 minutes. Like many slashdotters, I cut the TV cord years ago because every damned thing is a stupid ass reality show. Do we really need another Fake Housewives of East Bumblefuck? I'm gonna show my nerdly air of superiority here but honestly those kind of shows are for knuckle draggers. You are supposed to be zoned the fuck out sitting on your commode couch, stuffing your face with Flaturin & Brawndo, while watching Ow My Balls! I don't play that shit. These guys are my people. They are of interest to me and I support them. Doubly so when my alternative to Big Bang is a 20 hour marathon of Pawn Stars or Moonshiners. Normally I use the ultimate option- I just turn the TV the hell off and run back to Azeroth to be with my people.
      • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ksevio (865461) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:02PM (#46886327) Homepage
        There's a big difference between laughing at something because "haha I can relate to that" and "haha look at that nerd act dumb around people"
        • by Zynder (2773551)
          Your nerds aren't like my nerds then...or you qualify and don't want to admit it. We're nerds because we don't fit in with "normal" folks and we often do act dumb around the muggles. Don't believe me? Record your next D&D session but don't tell your buddies that you're recording it. Play it back to someone that wasn't there and has no idea what D&D is. Now tell me the reaction. You don't actually have to do this. You should be able to recall all of those kind of reactions you got while in hi
        • by Plumpaquatsch (2701653) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @02:03AM (#46887001) Journal

          There's a big difference between laughing at something because "haha I can relate to that" and "haha look at that nerd act dumb around people"

          You must be confusing Big Bang Theory with reading Slashdot comments.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm gonna show my nerdly air of superiority here but honestly those kind of shows are for knuckle draggers.

        What kind of shows? The kind with laughtracks? That is to say, the kind that are targeted toward the audience of "people so grievously stupid that they need to be told when to laugh?"

        On another note, I wrote a sitcom.

        Sambo: I sho does love me some chickens and watermelons! OOOOO-WEE!

        [laughtrack]

        Lexus Mercedes-Benz Hyundai: Aw, Sambo, you so BLACK!

        [laughtrack]

        Sambo: Dy-no-MITE!

        [laughtrack]

        Are you laughi

        • by Zynder (2773551)
          My bad. Your nerdly air of superiority is way bigger than mine.
      • that said, please tell me one sitcom that wasn't designed for you to laugh at the cast?

        M*A*S*H, specifically the comedy years. It was nothing at all like the appalling Nerd Blackface that The Big Bang Theory is.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Zynder (2773551)
          We weren't supposed to be laughing at the nerdy Radar or the obviously gay Klinger (I know he was only pretending but it was the fact that he was trying to be gay that was funny)? Was Hot Lips Hulahan not supposed to be the dumbass blonde? That show was rife with laughable stereotypes!
          • Re:Not for Nerds (Score:5, Insightful)

            by readin (838620) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @01:37AM (#46886921)
            Klinger wasn't trying to be gay, he was trying to be crazy. Kinger and Radar were sympathetic characters. When something bad happened to them you felt bad.

            They've taken the most nerdy of the Big Bang group, Sheldon, and made him a villain like Major Burns. You laugh at his misfortunes because he is such a jerk. The early episodes I remember just had him very logical. He said things that would seem outrageously rude, but only if you didn't realize that he didn't intend them to be rude. He might say something like "well obviously I should handle the money because I'm the best at math" and it was funny because it sounded sooo bad, but you knew he was just being logical and was actually correct in that he was the best at math. In later episodes he became a jerk who would say he was better at math just be be bragging and seem superior. That turned him from a sympathetic character struggling with a vulnerability into Major Burns.
            • Klinger wasn't trying to be gay, he was trying to be crazy.

              This is explored in one of the episodes where a visiting psychiatrist offers to discharge Klinger from the Army -- but under the heading of a homosexual or transvestite. He refuses the discharge.

      • by readin (838620)

        Haters gonna hate...that said, please tell me one sitcom (short for situational comedy) that wasn't designed for you to laugh at the cast?

        It's more a matter of whether you're laughing out of a sense of superiority and/or malice. Are you thinking "I can't believe their sooo stupid" or "I'm so glad I'm not like that" or "Ha! he deserved that!" as opposed to something more benign like "that's so outrageous" or "they must be confused by this".

        Big Bang guys in store-bought super hero outfits are designed to make you feel superior because they guys on the screen are so stupid. Klinger in drag made you laugh because a hairy guy in women's cloth

        • by Zynder (2773551)
          I don't laugh at them for any of those reasons (well the robot hand incident was outrageous!). I laugh because I know people, myself included, who have done exactly the same things those guys have done. "I can't believe their so stupid" I laugh because I did the same stupid shit. "I'm so glad I'm not like that" I laugh because I am exactly like that and now it's cool- I can come out of the basement. "Ha! He deserved that!" He deserved it, I deserved it, and pretty much anyone who did something like it,
    • Although the show seems to be running out of steam this season I like watch it and I fucking love science and fucking hate social medial anything. I can relate a bit to their enthusiasim and weirdness as I use to get quite excited about science at school and when I was a kid and this is coming from a guy with a tatooed face.

    • "The viewer isn't made to relate with the geeky characters, they're made to laugh at." -- well fuck me... thats the point of a comedy show - is that you sheldon?
      • +5!

        Talk about touchy. Blackface? Their over-sensitivity probably goes back to the days when nerds were enslaved.

    • Every character in the show is the butt of a joke, including Penny and her ape-man ex-boyfriend. As a kid, "Looney Tunes" introduced me to classical music, it's good to see science presented in a similar way with shows like the Simpson/Futurama/BBT, all of which are light entertainment and a good laugh for young and old.

      Disclaimer: I don't have a youtwitface account and the characters in the show are from my children's generation.
      • PS: Apparently "Looney Tunes" teaches kids to be violent, I and most of the people I know must have been slow learners. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Big Bang Theory is like blackface comedy. It's not for nerds, but for people who want to laugh at nerds.

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:32PM (#46886229)
      Someone else posted it's for people that want to laugh at autism spectrum. Sheldon is mentally ill. He posesses no empathy at all. So we are laughing at the mentally ill. What's the difference between crazy and eccentric? How successful you are. Dr. Sheldon Cooper is sufficiently successful that we can laugh at him for being crazy. I know plenty who like it because they know people like that. You aren't laughing at Sheldon directly, but you are laughing at your coworker/friend who does the same things sometimes.
      • I know plenty who like it because they know people like that. You aren't laughing at Sheldon directly, but you are laughing at your coworker/friend who does the same things sometimes.

        True. I know a few Asians with funny accents and coke-bottle glasses who are absolutely hilarious and I laugh at them all the time.

        Gosh, somebody should make a TV show out of that. I wonder how long it would last...

        • by Zynder (2773551)
          Probably about as long as a sitcom about a black kid with funny accents and coke-bottle glasses.........did I do thaaaaaaat?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        1) Autism isn't a "mental illness" - this elementary lack of understanding starts you off in a very weak position;

        2) Sheldon is sometimes depicted as possessing empathy, but of his own sort. Sheldon isn't just socially awkward, but also sometimes a bit of an asshole (though didn't initially feature, and was later toned down). Perhaps you missed the, "Look at the person - not the disability!" message of the last thirty years. If you're reading everything he does as "because of a disorder" then YOU are the on

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          Autism isn't a "mental illness" - this elementary lack of understanding starts you off in a very weak position;

          The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes it as a mental illness. If you object, object to them. I'll take their word over that of an AC.

          But no, I didn't realize until you objected that there are a class of people who object to "mental illness" as indicating "it's all in your head" like willpower can cure autism. Nobody said or implied that, and a "mental illness" (according to most people including the people who define mental illnesses

          • by Sique (173459)
            Dr. Mayim Bialik actually is a neuroscientist, and Kaley Cuoco is an actrice.
          • The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes it as a mental illness.

            They used to classify homosexuality the same way.

            I'm definitely not saying that autism is never a problem. I have a nephew with serious autism and I'd give anything if he could be cured. But high functioning autism and Asperger's? I sympathize with the idea that it's a difference, not a disease.

    • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:33PM (#46886235)

      Big Bang Theory is like blackface comedy. It's not for nerds, but for people who want to laugh at nerds.

      yes because it is never a good thing to laugh at ones self

    • by tjb6 (3421769) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @12:01AM (#46886593)

      I laugh at it because it reminds me of some (even many) of the people I went to university with.
      Yes, many of the characters are stereotypes, somewhat exaggerated for comedic license, but it's scary how many of them resemble people I knew back then (1980 - 1983)
      I studied with students of physics, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, theoretical physics, biology, biochemistry, and they are all there.
      We had no engineers then (can't have everything, sorry Howard), but I work with lots of them now.
      Still think the earlier seasons were better, plots are becoming more contrived lately, not as funny, but it is still one of the few shows that makes me watch tv.

      Never watch 'reality' TV, soap operas. Rarely watch crime drama.

    • by Sique (173459)
      You are just calling me a non-nerd. That's enough reason for a feud. You have the choice of weapons.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Even the non-nerd characters are being laughed at. Penny is a bit of a slut, no sense with money, thick as a very short plank, and a hopeless B movie actress. It's like every other sitcom, except that the majority of characters happen to be nerds.

      I wouldn't say Frasier is the blackface equivalent for psychiatrists.

  • Dear Television, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cookYourDog (3030961) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:18PM (#46886399)
    I don't generally like to think when I am trying to have someone entertain to me. Give me some poorly placed references to nerd culture with a cast of good looking folks living in wildly expensive apartments while working non-demanding dream jobs - that's what I want. Also, please include laugh tracks and facial-expression-close-ups so that I know when to have a sensible chuckle. Also, I am easily frustrated and dislike critical thinking - please pander to these characteristics.

    Sincerely,
    Your Average Prime Time Television Viewer
  • by Kittenman (971447) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:23PM (#46886429)
    I was in this thread to see comments about being a Hollywood science consultant, yet I can see are "I like tBBT", and "I don't", interspersed with the occasional "What do you know" and "You're obviously a moron".

    Have all the slashdot accounts been hacked by some preschoolers?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @11:36PM (#46886491)

    I can't believe that a single science consultant writes all the science for BBT! Firstly, everything they broadcast is usually 100% correct. Secondly, they also show real experiments with real chemical and physical reactions. So they obviously have access to lab equipment too. But it's not just the astro-science that impresses me. It's everything else that comes out of the characters' (especialy Sheldon's) mouths - be it history, grammar, geography, literature, music, etc. . . All of it meticulously researched and scripted.

    I tips me lid to David Saltzberg! What an amazing all-rounder he is!

    • by Zynder (2773551)
      I think your comment might actually be the first one on here that is truly on topic and not just a bunch of us playing "No true nerdsman". Too bad you AC'd this one!
  • There is a certain subset of nerd that cannot cope with the idea that the problems that nerds face in life are a lot like the problems that non-nerds face.

  • There is gamer culture. There is comic culture. There is anime culture. There is hacker culture. There was a punk culture. There was a hippie culture. However, there never was Geek or Nerd culture, just like there was never Nigger culture. Geek, Nerd, and Nigger are disparaging terms. Without corporations appropriating the culture for the commodification thereof, there would not be a Geek or Nerd culture. The whole "Geek and Nerd" culture is just commodification, even here on Slashdot. "News for nerds" -- Whatever, Dork. [catb.org] Dork culture! Oh I'm such a Dweeb! Hey I know, "Gnus for Goobers, Stuff that Chatters!" It's not "Goober" culture is it? We don't run around calling each other Dorks and Dweebs right? That's what you sound like calling yourselves "Nerd" or "Geek" culture. That's very some fake bullshit there.

    You can buy "Punk" clothes at hot topic... That's not punk at all! That's cultural commodification of the do-it-yourself anti-conformist punk culture. Thug culture started off as artists singing about making endsmeat to survive in the ghetto while being persecuted for your race. Now it's about being more violent, having more money, nicer cars, more "fresh" clothes, more "bling", and impressing women to have more sex than your peers -- This is a culture that has been commodified. Wearing bell bottom pants and floral print blouses and tie-died bandannas, etc? That style was a cultural construction of a "hippie", and had nothing to do with the free love, ride hitching, anti-establishment, communal counter culture.

    The Poindexter nerd stereotype was created by conflating social outcasts with intellectuals. This just never was the case. It's true that having the passion to create something that takes a lot of time means you'll likely be somewhat introverted, and less extroverted, placing less value on social life; However the socially awkward "geek" had nothing to do with intellectual pursuits. People will make fun of the outcast for having the wrong color backpack, or being "too" rich or poor, or for a variety of reasons. The bully doesn't really care that you like ancient 3D Unix file system explorers, it's just an excuse to pick on you. There's lot's of other folks getting picked on for being socially awkward introverts but they're not "geeks"? "Geek" culture was never really about D&D, hacking, videogames or any of the other things they shove under that umbrella. The media is just monetizing culture by selling you on the label of geek, including the sense of belonging to a fucking news website -- though, cut the Slashdot admins some slack, they're just newbies who can barely think for themselves and didn't know better when they bought into the cultural commodification themselves. Nerd culture never existed, it's fake. All Geek Girls are Fake because all Geek Guys are Fake too.

    Read up about the typical hacker, [catb.org] and you'll get a very different idea than that portrayed in media, one that I suspect many here will match. Computer Hacker is a group identity that self assembled through a natural process and was not commercially constructed. The media hates this, and the powers that be fear hackers -- Those who could crack systems and reveal secrets are the feared worst enemy of the anti-activist governmental bodies, and so they make sure not to use the term in a positive light in mainstream media. Instead the naturally emerging "frisbie throwing, skateboarding, kung fu practicing, intensely abstracted, computer whiz kid" stereotype was quickly replaced with the undesirable, pimple faced, social outcast Poindexter who ineffectually rages against machines from the dark safety of his parent's basement.

    Likewise, gamer culture was self emergent. Those card, paper and dice games which required extremely imaginative minds were the very antithesis of anti-socialites. They overcame their shyness to come together with strangers and cast spells, summon m

  • Just a reminder to everyone:

    You are not everyone else. The things you like are not neccesarily the things everyone else likes. The things you don't like are not automatically unworthy of existence just because you don't like them.

    In short, get over yourself.

    If you think this post doesn't apply to you, you're either right or very, very wrong.

    • Pin-shaped metallic object squarely struck upon its big brain by a manually operated force multiplier.
  • Culinary Consultant for Hannibal. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

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