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

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the it's-a-tough-gig dept.

Television 253

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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Astrophysics is like an arts degree (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886123)

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

Re:Astrophysics is like an arts degree (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886247)

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

That's probably very true in *today's* climate of anti-science and "science isn't valuable unless it's making profit for someone".
But I know plenty of astrophysics and radio astronomy types of an earlier generation who have done quite well for themselves in their careers, working their entire
    lives in observational astrophysics, getting paid decent salaries, and generally enjoying their contribution to their little corner of the world.

But yeah, with the whole anti-science attitude in many parts of the developed world, none of the "pure research" type fields will see you being successful
    financially. Very sad.

Re:Astrophysics is like an arts degree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886321)

When was the last time astrophysics improved anyone's life? It's a dead end job where contributions won't mean anything until well after you're dead - if ever.

Re:Astrophysics is like an arts degree (5, Funny)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | about 5 months ago | (#46887187)

I think much the same thing about drupal "programmers"

Re:Astrophysics is like an arts degree (5, Insightful)

larpon (974081) | about 5 months ago | (#46887207)

Mod this insightful someone!

astro-PHYSICS (3)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 5 months ago | (#46887095)

You seem to be forgetting the physics part of the degree. An astrophysics degree is in many ways a physics degree where the student has opted to take the astronomy related options. You can pretty much do with it anything you can do with a physics degree.

Re:astro-PHYSICS (-1, Flamebait)

lucm (889690) | about 5 months ago | (#46887201)

You can pretty much do with it anything you can do with a physics degree.

So many options: teaching *physics, writing books used by *physics teachers, editing *physics books before they are sold to *physics teachers, and working for Elon Musk, following or followed by a stint at NASA. Real jacks of all trades, those *physics people.

Re:astro-PHYSICS (5, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46887259)

A trained physicist has many useful skills most people completely lack. For example, the ability to test hypotheses and perform quantitative reasoning would come in handy to many people working jobs unrelated to hamburgers and fries.

Not for Nerds (3, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | about 5 months ago | (#46886127)

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 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886159)

It's the nerd equivalent of black-face.

Re:Not for Nerds (4, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 months ago | (#46886463)

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

Re:Not for Nerds (2)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 5 months ago | (#46886623)

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.)

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 months ago | (#46886831)

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 risk population bases.

So probabilities keep them relatively safe but when the dice roll bad, then they are all severely screwed and if they survive will get the remaining vaccines, having already been vaccinated via infection, suffering and recovery against one particular dangerous ailment.

Re:Not for Nerds (3, Insightful)

FriendlyStatistician (2652203) | about 5 months ago | (#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 (4, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about 5 months ago | (#46887097)

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.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887173)

So what you're saying as as long as she's only endangering her children and everyone they ever meet and not advocating for others to the do the same it's a-ok. Got it.

Re:Not for Nerds (0)

mark-t (151149) | about 5 months ago | (#46887195)

Pretty much, yes... because it's only when individual belief becomes a matter of general policy that preventable disease outbreaks tend to happen. There's also a segment of the population who *can't* be vaccinated, but nobody complains about them.

it's true (4, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46886875)

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:Not for Nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886191)

Yes, you're so hip and cool because you hate what everyone else likes. Fucking hipster doofus.

Re:Not for Nerds (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

ignavus (213578) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Not for Nerds (3, Funny)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 5 months ago | (#46886865)

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

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887057)

That is my entire opinion of assberger's "patients"

Re:Not for Nerds (5, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 5 months ago | (#46886923)

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 (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#46887105)

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 (4, Interesting)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Not for Nerds (4, Insightful)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | about 5 months ago | (#46886327)

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"

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886397)

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 high school.

Re:Not for Nerds (3, Funny)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about 5 months ago | (#46887001)

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:Not for Nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886373)

Haters gonna hate...

Yay. Way to demonstrate an ability to make a well-reasoned argument.

Start it with a childish tautology about as deep as an August puddle in a Florida parking lot.

Re:Not for Nerds (2, Insightful)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886541)

Haters will keep on hatin'. What else would you call it? If it's a damned duck then I call it a damned duck.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 months ago | (#46886897)

Where's the -1 Petulant Millenial moderation option?

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46887067)

I'm gen X thank you very much. And you're still hatin' son!

Re:Not for Nerds (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 5 months ago | (#46887125)

Fine, -1 Arrested Development moderation option.

Re:Not for Nerds (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886407)

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 laughing yet?

Re:Not for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886433)

Damn it, I forgot the most important part of the script.

Written and Directed by Tyler Perry

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886553)

My bad. Your nerdly air of superiority is way bigger than mine.

Re:Not for Nerds (0)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 5 months ago | (#46886873)

"The kind with laughtracks?"

The quantity of people lying about there being a laugh track on TBBT is so vast it's hard to resist wondering if there is some coordinating power.

Re:Not for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887021)

Laugh track vs. studio audience: Either way it's a psychological tool to make people at home think it's better than they would if they saw the show without it, while not making the show substantively better at all. It's like a chef that adds MSG to everything they serve rather than learn how to cook better or use better ingredients.

Re:Not for Nerds (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 5 months ago | (#46887073)

TBBT uses both. They have a laugh track for broadcast, but most of the studio audience laughter doesn't get picked up by the mics on set... They may (I'm not certain that they do this, but I can't imagine why they wouldn't) record the audience reactions with separate microphones and dynamically adjust the recording level to suit their tastes just to get some genuine audience reaction into the sound track of the show, but most of what you hear on TBBT when it is aired in the way of audience laughter is laughtrack.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Miseph (979059) | about 5 months ago | (#46887023)

Someone said there isn't? When?

Re:Not for Nerds (2)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 5 months ago | (#46886647)

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:Not for Nerds (1, Insightful)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886739)

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 (4, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#46887035)

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.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

readin (838620) | about 5 months ago | (#46886899)

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 clothing looks outrageous. The misunderstandings of Three's Company didn't make you feel superior to the people experiencing them.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46887101)

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, would deserve it as well. We did "it" and survived. That always makes me laugh. Oh and I hated 3's company so can't comment on any air of superiority there, sorry.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 5 months ago | (#46886585)

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.

Re:Not for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886765)

school and when I was a kid and this is coming from a guy with a tatooed face

Like Commander Chakotay on StarTrek Voyager?

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 5 months ago | (#46887045)

Not the same design but above/around eyebrow/temple on the right side.

Re:Not for Nerds (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about 5 months ago | (#46886757)

I don't know about that. Some of the scenes seem to have almost been copied from my life. The first time my wife to be went through my closes when we were moving in together for instance.

Re:Not for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887167)

To say nothing of the repeatedly racist or sexist "jokes" Sheldon makes. It's a show for the stupid, aping the smart.

I so hope (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886147)

Sheldon clones himself and then DPs Amy.

Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886187)

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

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (-1, Troll)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#46886275)

boo-fricking-hoo
Go back to the land of political correctness.
The land of Get-over-yourself is sick of you.

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886311)

I don't even know what the hell you're trying to say with this comment. I didn't hear any crying. No need to call the whaaambulance. I think you meant to post that AC because it matches the nonsensical & offensive nature of most AC rants. I will point out though that you kind of played right into the comment. Have you taken your meds today?

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 5 months ago | (#46886309)

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...

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (2)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886561)

Probably about as long as a sitcom about a black kid with funny accents and coke-bottle glasses.........did I do thaaaaaaat?

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886701)

It was a glorious time for television.

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886361)

Like Homer and Bart Simpson? Mork? Gomer Pyle?

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886531)

Judging from the character development he does possess empathy.

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886547)

He is not, his mother had him tested.

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886759)

Sheldon Cooper is sufficiently successful that we can laugh at him for being crazy.

He's not crazy. His mother had him tested.

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (3, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 5 months ago | (#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

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886239)

Yes, blackface comedy was a major mistake. Blacks aren't to be laughed at, more feared and despised for their low iq and violent/criminal tendencies.

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (2)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886323)

HEY! Who let Don Sterling get a /. account?

I'm sorry (2)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886611)

I would like to take a moment to apologize to my fellow nerds for littering the pages of /. with a sports reference. I don't actually know anything about sports and only learned of Sterling while listening to my coworkers bitch about it at work. It seemed appropriate at the time and I am truly sorry for my indiscretion. I shall now give this thread back to the ACs, APK, and Ethanol-fueled so they can return your programming to its usual GNNA/goatse/Grammar Nazi goodness. Don't forget to keep your HOSTS file updated!!!!!

Re:Yes, what's it like being a house slave? (5, Interesting)

tjb6 (3421769) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

I bet I can guess. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886189)

You get ignored a lot.

Nerd blackface (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886299)

It's nerd blackface. Fake nerds.

Re:Nerd blackface (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 5 months ago | (#46886367)

Yes... because we know that all good actors always only portray characters that are just like them in real life.

I'd rather be Kaley Cuoco's (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886349)

panty sniffer and wardrobe consultant.

Re:I'd rather be Kaley Cuoco's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887285)

Have fun sniffing all the lines of semen that's dribbling from the crotch of that skank.

Dear Television, (5, Insightful)

cookYourDog (3030961) | about 5 months ago | (#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

Re:Dear Television, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886931)

Inb4 Oh you remind me of this character on this show! You should watch it, you'd totally love it because you're just like him!!

Re:Dear Television, (1)

dohzer (867770) | about 5 months ago | (#46887299)

The laugh track is the worst! I can't handle it these days. I don't need to be told when to laugh, or to have noise to make me feel less uncomfortable laughing.

What happened here? (5, Insightful)

Kittenman (971447) | about 5 months ago | (#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?

Re:What happened here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886723)

All the old crowd with insightful commenting abilities abandoned the site and moved over to the alternative, soy-based site, soylentnews.

Re:What happened here? (3, Informative)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#46887039)

bollocks. The soylent site averages only 10-20 comments a story, and most are not insightful comments

Re:What happened here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886771)

You've actually stumbled through a wormhole into 4chan. If they're only arguing about TBBT, then consider yourself lucky.

Re:What happened here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886943)

Well look at you with your fancy 6 digit id.

(Psst, slashdot died years ago and we're just looking at the rotting corpse... the sheer horror of this article is the only reason i'm posting :( My own id is a 5 digit one but it's been so long since i've been here and commented that i can't remember it)

Re:What happened here? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886999)

My guess is it's because not that many of us have experience with being Hollywood science consultants, or dreams of one day being one, and it's not a particularly interesting field; yet most of us have experience with the show. To push it farther, many of us have very strong negative feelings regarding the show; many here think it's essentially a freak show portrayal of people who are supposed to be like us. My own big problem with the show is that its writing is aggressively lazy and stupid, like other CBS sitcom gems such as Two Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men. The fact the guy from Roseanne uses an affected nasal voice because, hey, that's what nerds sound like, does bother me a little but I could envision a well-made sitcom where they could pull it off.

Re:What happened here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887189)

The article attracted the worst of the wannabe nerds out of the woodwork because that's the target audience.

"Dozens of scientists are watching those boards." (1)

sazim (50061) | about 5 months ago | (#46886439)

I'll bet it's at least a couple of orders of magnitude higher than that!

Too much for just one consultant! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#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!

Re:Too much for just one consultant! (2)

Zynder (2773551) | about 5 months ago | (#46886569)

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!

Re:Too much for just one consultant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886839)

Except that it's factually incorrect and obviously David Saltzberg trying to make himself seem useful.

Re:Too much for just one consultant! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887157)

It doesn't hurt apparently to be a polymath, although as he said in the article, the boards showing gravitational waves weren't vetted by him, but by Hawking. Getting Hawking to vet his own board was useful and impressive. "We want the science to be right, so we get Stephen Hawking to vet what appears on the whiteboard behind Sheldon". Its impressive and freaky at the same time.

Science consultant, but not Caltech consultant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46886565)

I just wish they'd get someone to review the Caltech references in the show. They constantly call it a college or university, but everyone there calls it an institute. When I was there, Hawking was visiting all the time--it wasn't rare to see him zooming down the street followed by his nurse. JPL is really far from campus, and doesn't mix very much with Caltech proper. They say they're profs, but they never go to the Athenaeum for lunch, just some crappy lunchroom. They'd be better off pretending it's UCLA. For a much better Hollywood view of Caltech, watch Real Genius.

Re:Science consultant, but not Caltech consultant (2)

slew (2918) | about 5 months ago | (#46887133)

Caltech the post-doc world (which is portrayed in TBBT) and Caltech the under-grad world (which is portrayed in RG) are actually quite different worlds that exist mostly under the same roofs (except for the UG houses which are apparently a world upon themselves).

I haven't noticed them making many references to Caltech in TBBT, but when they do it's not totally out of line with what I remember about interacting with post-docs at Tech (nobody calls it the Institute), but of course it usually isn't quite right. I'm guessing that is probably due to one of the script writers Eric Kaplan who did not go to Caltech, but Harvard as a grad turkey, not a post-doc...

Why the nerds are appalled (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 5 months ago | (#46886857)

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.

Re:Why the nerds are appalled (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887149)

That subset may exist, but not among any of the people I've known to complain about the show. I think the maker of the show probably had good intentions, but it's a poorly written sitcom about nerds so it was bound to offend a bunch of people who identify as nerds. On the other hand a well-made show like Freaks and Geeks includes plenty of unpopular or nerdy kids going through normal life stuff and gets near-universal praise (and is, IMO, funnier since more of the humor lands).

Get your hot fresh Cultural Commidification (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 5 months ago | (#46887131)

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 minions, battle dark wizards and craft amazing interactive narratives. Other folk may poke fun, but socializing is a key component, the truly introverted and awkward have a hard time even with D&D. Video game developers tend to share much in common with the table top gamer, and far less with the video game player community. The video game playing community was also self emergent, and very different.

Video gamers share some facets with the hacker culture in their ability to consume and leverage huge amounts of minutia and skillfully hone their game fu craft. However there are vastly more differences than similarities. "Geeks" though? Being social outcasts? Really? Hackers and Video Gamers? The latter being VERY mainstream, often brashly talking smack (an adaptation of bragging rights), and reveling in the graphic detail of even the most ridiculously sexualized and gorey scenes? There's a bit of 90's action hero in many devout competitive video gamers, and these proud snack munching chore-ignoring players are lumped in with socially awkward intellectually Poindexter "Nerd" or "Geek"? Really? Many video gamers are just as likely to be the bullies who actually picked on "nerds" and "geeks". Give me a fucking break.

The "nerd / geek" culture was constructed by the media to make money. At first the Revenge of the Nerds style Nerd / Geek was created for people to laugh at. The Steve Urkel, Screech, etc. Nerd or Geek side-kick painted intellectuals as awkward outcasts and objects of ridicule. The social justice brigade caught wind, and soon the characters were also made to be objects of sympathy, because bullying nerds is bad, you see. To sell parents on various bullshit books, invitro Mozart CDs, but primarily computers, the "Child Genius" identity was created. Kids weren't getting smarter, older adults just couldn't operate their VCR let alone operate a Personal computer. Media was fast to capitalize on the child genius, and shows like Dogie Howser M.D. featured a home PC at the end of every episode. The Wizard, Galactica (1980), Dexter's Labratory, Jimmy Neutron, Family Guy, and various other shows helped to construct and maintain the child prodigy identity. [wikipedia.org] It's no mistake that the "Geek" identity has expensive hobbies, buying those comic books, imported anime, video games & consoles, computers, telescopes, etc. it's all OK now, you're a Geek! Geeks are in! What of the Shy Guy? "Oh, he's a creep, only nice to get in your pants, a potential rapist", I really wish I was exaggerating.

You see, now that it was your own child who was going to be the "Geek" or "Nerd" the media began to "take back" the geek identity they had already constructed so you wouldn't think twice about buying toys designed to "increase your infant's intelligence"; Don't shame your "geek" kid by telling them to go out and get some sun, allow them to indulge their minds with some expensive hobby kit (hey, I'm not saying all aspects of cultural commodification are senseless and corrupt, absolutist thinking like that is for fools). Meanwhile the socially awkward boy who got beaten up for having a pink backpack goes ignored, in fact, the school thinks he should have known better than "trigger the bullying". I'm not being hyperbolic. [techdirt.com] But if he was bullied over, say, computers, oh was it his fault for carrying SICP to class, triggering the bullies? That's why I hate "geek culture", because the actual outcasts are marginalized and overshadowed simply because they don't have an expensive "Nerdy" hobby. Where is the shy quiet bookworm's social introverted weird, freaky and geeky identity to belong to? It was appropriated by the media to sell you on "geek" culture. [geekandsundry.com] They left us with "spaz", we can have that, too close to shaming seizure sufferers to monetize, really. Point being: If you look at where this "geek" culture crap is coming from, you have to wonder where the other sub-cultures are, and why it's such a misrepresentation of the actual sub-cultures, or why it's not really reflective of anything but that which profits commercial interests plus a victim complex spin. You want me to identify with Felica Day? Popular attractive new media people? Really? That's a "Geek"?

No one was proudly calling themselves Geek or Nerd, just like the blacks weren't calling themselves Niggers on their own. I don't call myself a Geek or Nerd except extremely ironically, and my friends who fought for civil rights don't call themselves Niggers or Nigga. IMO, "nigga" is the biggest troll of all. It's easy to capitalize on a disparaging name by granting it a righteous social justice sentiment: "Yeah, I'm persecuted, but not anymore! Let me call myself a disparaging remark as a reminder and badge of pride!" If it wasn't for the cultural commodification folks wouldn't be identifying themselves as a nerd or geek, fucking idiots.

"Just look at those Poindexters? Those smart people are so Dorky and Weird! You may be average, but at least you're not a Dweeb. Let's laugh at them!" And that's what the "The Big Bang Theory" is still doing, laughing at modern day Poindexters, a combination of many disparate cultural elements thrown in with the social outcast bullshit to construct a stereotypical social identity that appeals in some respects to many people, but never actually existed and isn't representative of anyone. When I look at those I'd consider intellectuals I don't see the "Geek" identity the media portrays, that doesn't mean they can't school most "geeks" at the things "geeks" like or do, it just means the portrayal is wrong. You know Wendy from The Wonder Years? Yeah, the literally famous and sexy girl... she's a "Math Nerd". Wil Wheaton? Yeah, apparently he's a "Gamer Geek". That's why this commercialized "Geek Culture" bullshit makes no fucking sense. I call it Dweeb Culture. What a bunch of Dorks. It's a show about Goobers and border line "Autistics". The name calling sounds stupid to you? Yeah, it should. That's the point: It just as bullshit as the way you use "Geek" or "Nerd".

Sorry, I don't care if the show hires Wil Wheaton, or Steven Hawking. I certainly care even less if the writers have to hire a scientific consultant just to keep the intellectuals or hobby enthusiasts in the audience from flaming them. I'm not going to buy into their Geek or Nerd culture bullshit any sooner than Neil Degrasse Tyson is going to start calling himself a Space Nigger.

If you want a show about intellectuals that even the common man can enjoy then go see Particle Fever. [particlefever.com]

Re:Get your hot fresh Cultural Commidification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46887217)

I mostly agree with you, but you really should have cut that down to about three paragraphs. /.ers can't RFTA, much less a long post.

I don't know if I am nerd (1)

cute_orc (2911555) | about 5 months ago | (#46887177)

I don't know if I a nerd or just socially awkward, mentally disordered person.

Re:I don't know if I am nerd (2)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 5 months ago | (#46887291)

You say that as if there is no overlap.

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