CBS just launched The Big Bang Theory, a new sitcom about two physics guys with no social skills and a hot “blond” girl with a cell phone. Putting aside reviews, TBBT makes me question whether or not TV has given scientists a bad rap.
There tend to be three prominent stereotypes that follow physicists wherever they go, and TBBT embraces all of them (I will note that these apply far more to male physicists): physicists are socially inept (except with other physicists), they like people of the opposite sex but turn into goop around them, and they constantly speak in overly complicated jargon.
But wait! Since George Clooney’s reign on ER it’s clear that not all TV scientists are created equal. Doctors have not only beat the rap of nerds, but are triumphantly portrayed as abnormally attractive.
On the X-Files, Gillian Anderson’s character got her B.S. in physics, but then went to medical school, putting her somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Still, Scully was dubbed the “scientist” of the duo. She had ONE date in NINE YEARS.
Jerry Lewis pretty much defiled chemists for all time with the Nutty Professor.
While I hate to see my beloved physicists turned into nothing but a stereotype, sometimes I wonder if we haven’t got it coming.