TBBT: Bullies, Boredom, and Philosophies of TV-Watching

[9/10/12 6:07:27 PM] sam: http://butmyopinionisright.tumblr.com/post/31079561065/the-problem-with-the-big-bang-theory

[9/10/12 6:07:57 PM] sam: there are all the reasons I may not be able to in good conscience watch The Big Bang Theory anymore

[9/10/12 6:20:36 PM] alanah: i’m only half way through this, but i can tell you already that i completely disagree with this opinion

[9/10/12 6:25:22 PM] alanah: yeah

[9/10/12 6:25:24 PM] alanah: totally disagree

[9/10/12 6:26:18 PM] alanah: i feel i could have a well-thought out response that argues against all the points she made

[9/10/12 6:26:24 PM] alanah: with the only exception being

[9/10/12 6:26:29 PM] alanah: that community is the better show

[9/10/12 6:26:32 PM] alanah: i whole-heartedly think that

[9/10/12 6:26:35 PM] sam: haha yes

[9/10/12 6:26:40 PM] alanah: but i dont think it has a moral high ground

[9/10/12 6:26:50 PM] alanah: just better writers, and a better artistic angle

[9/10/12 6:27:14 PM] alanah: but even community stoops sometimes, and we forgive it for that, so

[9/10/12 6:27:15 PM] alanah: *shrug*

[9/10/12 6:27:21 PM] sam: yeah

[9/10/12 6:27:36 PM] sam: i mean there is something about Big Bang that I just don’t like anymore

[9/10/12 6:27:38 PM] alanah: but i think, if this article is really the reason you wont watch TBBT anymore….

[9/10/12 6:27:47 PM] alanah: see, i dont think this is the reason

[9/10/12 6:27:55 PM] alanah: there’s a reason we BOTH faltered in watching TBBT

[9/10/12 6:28:04 PM] alanah: its because they pulled out of their formula

[9/10/12 6:28:18 PM] alanah: they arent as funny, because they stopped being clever, and started changing things

[9/10/12 6:29:10 PM] alanah: they started adding new characters we didnt much care about and when LenPen finally got together – the YED of TBBT – they just broke em up again, and made them pursue each other again

[9/10/12 6:29:22 PM] alanah: a cycle that isnt compelling, because we already saw that show

[9/10/12 6:29:29 PM] alanah: TBBT isnt a fantastic show anymore

[9/10/12 6:29:44 PM] sam: no it’s not

[9/10/12 6:29:46 PM] alanah: because its either a re-run of a show we already watched

[9/10/12 6:29:54 PM] sam: and I mean i’m caught up now

[9/10/12 6:29:55 PM] alanah: or not the show we signed on to watch

[9/10/12 6:30:00 PM] alanah: the show we watched for the first two seasons

[9/10/12 6:30:15 PM] sam: and I feel like I haven’t learned anything new about anyone since like season 3

[9/10/12 6:30:22 PM] alanah: that makes sense to me

[9/10/12 6:30:24 PM] sam: except maybe Amy but…there’s not much to learn

[9/10/12 6:30:30 PM] alanah: i dont feel bullied by the show

[9/10/12 6:30:33 PM] sam: I feel like they’ve stagnated

[9/10/12 6:30:34 PM] alanah: i just feel unsatisfied

[9/10/12 6:30:40 PM] alanah: there’s no more tv-orgasm at the end

[9/10/12 6:30:44 PM] sam: I mean I don’t necessarily feel bullied

[9/10/12 6:30:45 PM] alanah: its like sub par sex

[9/10/12 6:30:55 PM] sam: but I agree with the idea that the characters are bullied

[9/10/12 6:31:03 PM] alanah: its still sex, and you like sex, but if there’s no punch, you wont come back for more

[9/10/12 6:31:17 PM] alanah: but its not abusive sex, or psychologically damaging rape

[9/10/12 6:31:21 PM] alanah: or just rape in general

[9/10/12 6:31:31 PM] sam: and in the beginning I was ok with it, because we didn’t know them and Howard was odd and it was ok to tell Howard he was odd and laugh at him

[9/10/12 6:31:46 PM] sam: but now we kinda know Howard and realize he isn’t a complete and total sleeze ball

[9/10/12 6:31:52 PM] sam: and we’re still laughing at him

[9/10/12 6:32:02 PM] alanah: well i told mike a while back

[9/10/12 6:32:07 PM] alanah: that he was “specific”

[9/10/12 6:32:19 PM] alanah: and we both laughed

[9/10/12 6:32:27 PM] sam: we haven’t learned like…anything about Raj, he’s just an Indian who can’t be to women

[9/10/12 6:32:49 PM] alanah: because it was true, although we were noting his particular brand of mike-ness

[9/10/12 6:32:54 PM] alanah: when we told other people, they laughed

[9/10/12 6:32:57 PM] alanah: because its true

[9/10/12 6:33:11 PM] alanah: if i were to tell mike every single day that he’s specific

[9/10/12 6:33:15 PM] alanah: its not funny aymore

[9/10/12 6:33:17 PM] alanah: its just weird

[9/10/12 6:33:18 PM] alanah: its boring

[9/10/12 6:33:23 PM] alanah: or its somehow becomes mean

[9/10/12 6:33:38 PM] alanah: because if i keep saying it, it suddenly might mean something different from what we all thought it meant in the first place

[9/10/12 6:33:41 PM] alanah: see?

[9/10/12 6:33:51 PM] alanah: TBBT has not grown up as a show

[9/10/12 6:33:57 PM] alanah: its doing the same thing it did in season one

[9/10/12 6:34:02 PM] alanah: it says howard is odd

[9/10/12 6:34:05 PM] alanah: and its true

[9/10/12 6:34:12 PM] alanah: he’s not odd because he plays D&D

[9/10/12 6:34:23 PM] alanah: or because he’s a nerd like the other guys

[9/10/12 6:34:26 PM] alanah: he’s actually odd

[9/10/12 6:34:38 PM] alanah: and we laughed the first few times

[9/10/12 6:34:41 PM] alanah: because its true

[9/10/12 6:34:50 PM] alanah: and because we kinda relate to his brand of odd sometimes

[9/10/12 6:34:57 PM] alanah: but then they keep doing the same thing

[9/10/12 6:34:59 PM] alanah: howard is odd

[9/10/12 6:35:01 PM] alanah: howard is odd

[9/10/12 6:35:08 PM] alanah: and after a while, we’re like, okay, we get it

[9/10/12 6:35:11 PM] alanah: okay, we’re bored

[9/10/12 6:35:19 PM] alanah: okay, now it almost seems like you’re being mean….

[9/10/12 6:35:24 PM] alanah: and its not that at all

[9/10/12 6:35:29 PM] alanah: its that the show doesnt know how to do anything

[9/10/12 6:35:34 PM] alanah: but what it did in seasons one and two

[9/10/12 6:35:47 PM] alanah: which is why LenPen will keep happening and breaking up

[9/10/12 6:35:53 PM] alanah: and howard will always be odd

[9/10/12 6:36:02 PM] alanah: and have an oedipal complex

[9/10/12 6:36:11 PM] alanah: and raj will always just be an indian femalophobe

[9/10/12 6:36:13 PM] sam: ugh

[9/10/12 6:36:39 PM] sam: yeah it’s like at this point there can’t be any major character development…because it would seem out of character

[9/10/12 6:36:41 PM] alanah: and sheldon will always be just crazy/but not crazy-my-mom-had-me-tested/secretly loving friend at good moments

[9/10/12 6:36:46 PM] alanah: exactly

[9/10/12 6:36:50 PM] alanah: the characters are wonderful

[9/10/12 6:36:54 PM] alanah: and great depictions

[9/10/12 6:36:59 PM] alanah: but tbbt was not made to exist this long

[9/10/12 6:37:01 PM] alanah: i guarantee that

[9/10/12 6:37:07 PM] alanah: the characters are only three seasons deep

[9/10/12 6:37:12 PM] sam: yes

[9/10/12 6:37:13 PM] alanah: theyre too shallow for five seasons

[9/10/12 6:37:20 PM] alanah: thats not an insult to nerds

[9/10/12 6:37:32 PM] alanah: its bad writer-planning

[9/10/12 6:37:35 PM] alanah: not bad writing

[9/10/12 6:37:36 PM] alanah: bad planning

[9/10/12 6:37:44 PM] alanah: so if you stop watching TBBT

[9/10/12 6:37:48 PM] alanah: totally okay

[9/10/12 6:37:56 PM] alanah: but dont let someone else’s insecurity be the reason

[9/10/12 6:38:01 PM] alanah: because its not very well backed up

[9/10/12 6:38:29 PM] sam: I mean parts of it are true though, they say they do an activity…and the audience laughs at them for doing it

[9/10/12 6:38:42 PM] sam: Sheldon carries a D20 around with him all day and it’s completely crazy for him to do so

[9/10/12 6:38:46 PM] sam: i do that…

[9/10/12 6:39:13 PM] sam: Sheldon…is not normal

[9/10/12 6:39:19 PM] sam: everyone knows he isn’t normal

[9/10/12 6:39:20 PM] alanah: i disagree

[9/10/12 6:39:41 PM] alanah: because i laugh when they say something about a show they watch, because i do that too

[9/10/12 6:39:46 PM] sam: sure he isn’t “crazy”, but he’s definitely…something

[9/10/12 6:40:02 PM] alanah: yeah but why is that a problem?

[9/10/12 6:40:20 PM] alanah: he demonstrates consistently that he’s incredibly hard to be around

[9/10/12 6:40:27 PM] alanah: not because he’s evil or its necessarily his fault

[9/10/12 6:40:31 PM] alanah: but because he is

[9/10/12 6:40:40 PM] alanah: so the characters on the show have no choice

[9/10/12 6:40:42 PM] alanah: but to go away

[9/10/12 6:40:46 PM] alanah: or stay and cope however they might

[9/10/12 6:41:05 PM] alanah: even if it means they become jaded about how they respond to shedon, even being short and impatient with him a lot of the time

[9/10/12 6:41:14 PM] alanah: either way, they are set up to be demonized

[9/10/12 6:41:30 PM] alanah: if they leave, however mean, its not sheldon’ fault

[9/10/12 6:41:39 PM] alanah: if they stay, any way they treat him could be the wrong way

[9/10/12 6:42:07 PM] alanah: so i think its unfair to hold them to a standard of behavior

[9/10/12 6:42:30 PM] alanah: besides, i think we’re meant to understand that, despite his “normal” characteristics which point to him having aspergers

[9/10/12 6:42:59 PM] alanah: he has some “abnormal” characteristics, that point to “sheldon would probably be a bit of a jerk no matter what, disability or not”

[9/10/12 6:43:45 PM] alanah: everyone in the show is an exaggerated something

[9/10/12 6:43:49 PM] alanah: the boys are exaggerated nerds

[9/10/12 6:43:55 PM] alanah: penny is an exaggerated dumb blonde

[9/10/12 6:44:28 PM] sam: I don’t know what characteristics of Sheldon are distinguishable from Aspergers symptoms that would still make him a jerk…

[9/10/12 6:44:40 PM] alanah: we got used to sheldon being “different” – and so we started keeping him accountable for being a jerk.

[9/10/12 6:44:47 PM] alanah: yet he is always forgiven

[9/10/12 6:46:04 PM] alanah: the fact that he cowers alongside raj and howard when leonard wants their help to beat the bully

[9/10/12 6:46:18 PM] alanah: he doesnt ditch because he cant see that leaving is mean, or unfair

[9/10/12 6:46:28 PM] alanah: he’s just normal-scared for his butt

[9/10/12 6:46:36 PM] alanah: and of course, he eventually helps

[9/10/12 6:46:40 PM] alanah: like raj and howard

[9/10/12 6:46:53 PM] alanah: stuff like that

[9/10/12 6:47:08 PM] alanah: is not the result of him being “different” its the result of him being sheldon

[9/10/12 6:51:35 PM] sam: it’s just hard to me to think of how it’s possible to consider his “normal” motivations. Aspergers isn’t something that only effects certain elements of your existence or your personality. It is an all encompassing kind of personality shift. I don’t think you can look at one behavior and identify it as being caused or effected by his aspergers and look at another behavior and say it isn’t effected. I mean if Sheldon’s a jerk then Sheldon’s a jerk…but I think a lot of the reason people think Sheldon is a jerk is because he just cannot understand how people are supposed to work. And even when he’s told…he still just can’t get it, but yeah it’s not his fault, he just lacks the ability to empathize. He doesn’t understand normal desires and motivations, he likes the things he likes, he has a lot of OCD, and social interactions make no sense.

[9/10/12 6:52:20 PM] alanah: okay, thats fair.

[9/10/12 6:52:22 PM] alanah: i agreee with that

[9/10/12 6:52:29 PM] alanah: but i also think that people who watch the show

[9/10/12 6:52:54 PM] alanah: who go, man sheldons a jerk. i mean, i get why, its cuz he’s got aspergers or something. but still.

[9/10/12 6:52:59 PM] alanah: is that wrong?

[9/10/12 6:53:11 PM] alanah: you can understand why a person acts a certain way

[9/10/12 6:53:27 PM] alanah: and recognize that we shouldnt hate them for something they cant necessarily control

[9/10/12 6:53:51 PM] alanah: but does that mean there shouldnt be a character like that one television?

[9/10/12 6:53:58 PM] sam: it’s not wrong, because he’s part of the reason why the show is so compelling and I think a lot of people enjoy those moment when he does get something right and cuddles with amy, or realizes a time when a hug is appropriate

[9/10/12 6:54:25 PM] sam: but i think what’s unsettling to me is the realization that there are natural elements of his being that are frequently used as comic relief

[9/10/12 6:54:40 PM] alanah: when sheldon tries to train penny like she’s a dog

[9/10/12 6:54:41 PM] alanah: with chocolate

[9/10/12 6:54:43 PM] alanah: thats funny

[9/10/12 6:54:59 PM] alanah: even though he does it because he doesnt understand that treating a person like a dog is wrong somehow

[9/10/12 6:55:05 PM] sam: and that if a person would be standing next to him, laughing at all the moments the audience laughs, they might start to feel inappropriate

[9/10/12 6:55:10 PM] alanah: its still funny, because penny responds like a dog

[9/10/12 6:55:25 PM] sam: that one was funny

[9/10/12 6:55:27 PM] sam: i liked that one

[9/10/12 6:55:35 PM] sam: the one example I can think of

[9/10/12 6:55:40 PM] sam: is the door knocking

[9/10/12 6:55:43 PM] sam: while hilarious

[9/10/12 6:55:55 PM] sam: it is something he obviously does out of compulsion

[9/10/12 6:55:56 PM] alanah: sam

[9/10/12 6:56:04 PM] alanah: if, when i met you, i did that

[9/10/12 6:56:07 PM] alanah: you would struggle not to laugh

[9/10/12 6:56:12 PM] alanah: and youd get used to it, and never laugh

[9/10/12 6:56:20 PM] alanah: and if someone else were to laugh at me, you’d get mad

[9/10/12 6:56:22 PM] alanah: but initially

[9/10/12 6:56:25 PM] alanah: it is funny

[9/10/12 6:56:32 PM] alanah: because we dont understand what compells him

[9/10/12 6:56:35 PM] alanah: only that he’s compelled

[9/10/12 6:56:44 PM] alanah: now, we laugh because its a reference

[9/10/12 6:56:56 PM] alanah: we laugh because we remember when sheldon did that before

[9/10/12 6:57:06 PM] alanah: and now, when his friends do it, they arent mocking sheldon

[9/10/12 6:57:36 PM] alanah: all of our friends do things now that we do

[9/10/12 6:57:48 PM] alanah: we adopt mannerisms, phrases, even their weird habits

[9/10/12 6:57:55 PM] alanah: why is that mean?

[9/10/12 6:58:04 PM] alanah: why is it bad if they do it with sheldon?

[9/10/12 6:58:12 PM] alanah: BECAUSE he has aspergers?

[9/10/12 6:58:15 PM] alanah: is that fair?

[9/10/12 6:58:24 PM] sam: yes

[9/10/12 6:58:30 PM] sam: there’s a different between a quirk

[9/10/12 6:58:38 PM] sam: and a neurological necessity

[9/10/12 6:58:46 PM] alanah: i agree that there is

[9/10/12 6:58:55 PM] alanah: but not every single person with aspergers knocks that way

[9/10/12 6:58:57 PM] sam: there are reasons I don’t make fun of you for being afraid of spiders

[9/10/12 6:59:03 PM] sam: right

[9/10/12 6:59:07 PM] sam: but that’s one of his things

[9/10/12 6:59:09 PM] alanah: yeah

[9/10/12 6:59:18 PM] sam: he also doesn’t do it to everyone

[9/10/12 6:59:20 PM] sam: it’s just with Penny

[9/10/12 6:59:29 PM] sam: well no

[9/10/12 6:59:40 PM] sam: i think he does do it with almost everyone

[9/10/12 6:59:48 PM] alanah: yeah he does

[9/10/12 7:00:04 PM] alanah: but a LOT of people are afraid of spiders

[9/10/12 7:00:09 PM] alanah: not everyone who has a phobia

[9/10/12 7:00:11 PM] alanah: but a lot of people

[9/10/12 7:00:19 PM] sam: right

[9/10/12 7:00:21 PM] alanah: a lot of people in the world have aspergers

[9/10/12 7:00:25 PM] alanah: and a lot of them have compulsions

[9/10/12 7:00:42 PM] sam: and there too, there’s a difference between being grossed out by something, and being phobic of it

[9/10/12 7:00:55 PM] alanah: but youd be hardpressed to find a significant amount of them who’s compulsion is to knock that specific way

[9/10/12 7:01:14 PM] alanah: which is why the difference is funny

[9/10/12 7:01:24 PM] alanah: we dont laugh at sheldon for having apsergers

[9/10/12 7:01:33 PM] alanah: the same way we dont laugh at a person we meet who has aspergers

[9/10/12 7:01:41 PM] alanah: thats not why his knock is funny

[9/10/12 7:02:02 PM] sam: i’ve seen people who have to spin around a certain number of times before they can leave a room, or who have to rub the handle of a fridge 5 times before they’re convinced it’s shut

[9/10/12 7:02:10 PM] alanah: so have i

[9/10/12 7:02:17 PM] alanah: i had a friend who couldnt walk to class unless she walked the right amount of steps

[9/10/12 7:02:39 PM] alanah: if she didnt do it the first time, she had to go back and re-do her walk

[9/10/12 7:02:53 PM] alanah: it was really difficult to watch

[9/10/12 7:02:59 PM] sam: the uniqueness of the compulsion shouldn’t be the reason people find it funny though

[9/10/12 7:03:05 PM] alanah: but thats not sheldon’s caliber of compulson

[9/10/12 7:03:18 PM] alanah: his knocking isnt a sad compulsion

[9/10/12 7:03:24 PM] alanah: and his friends dont torment him with it

[9/10/12 7:03:28 PM] alanah: when penny opened the door early

[9/10/12 7:03:32 PM] alanah: and sheldon looked uncomfortable

[9/10/12 7:03:39 PM] alanah: she stood aside, and let him finish his knock

[9/10/12 7:03:42 PM] alanah: i distinctly remember that moment

[9/10/12 7:03:46 PM] alanah: she got that he needed to do it

[9/10/12 7:04:16 PM] alanah: if she hadnt let him, we wouldve been irked

[9/10/12 7:04:51 PM] alanah: when she lets him, we laugh because we 1) saw that coming 2) are relieved and 3) have a reference to How Sheldon Knocks

[9/10/12 7:08:28 PM] alanah: are you crafting a paragraph to send me or are you thinking or are you distracted?

[9/10/12 7:08:32 PM] alanah: or are we picking a new topic?

[9/10/12 7:08:45 PM] sam: oh no i was thinking/a bit distracted

[9/10/12 7:08:47 PM] alanah: lol

[9/10/12 7:08:50 PM] alanah: ok

[9/10/12 7:09:01 PM] alanah: i just didnt want to get distracted if it was gonna be bad

[9/10/12 7:09:04 PM] alanah: lol

[9/10/12 7:09:09 PM] sam: haha

[9/10/12 7:09:51 PM] sam: no i think it’s…difficult to me to decide how i’m supposed to feel about people like Sheldon on a sitcom

[9/10/12 7:10:15 PM] sam: Community doesn’t tell me when I should laugh…and I think that’s part of the reason i like it better

[9/10/12 7:10:28 PM] alanah: community doesnt have a laugh track

[9/10/12 7:10:32 PM] alanah: so its technically not a sitcom

[9/10/12 7:10:43 PM] alanah: the format of community lends itself to individual development

[9/10/12 7:10:45 PM] alanah: the sitcom doesnt

[9/10/12 7:11:07 PM] alanah: if TBBT didnt have a laugh track, people prolly wouldnt be questioning as much

[9/10/12 7:11:15 PM] alanah: i mean, its like the play Betty’s Summer Vacation

[9/10/12 7:11:29 PM] alanah: i agree

[9/10/12 7:11:41 PM] alanah: community makes me feel like im allowed to be an intelligent viewer

[9/10/12 7:11:45 PM] alanah: part of why i like it better

[9/10/12 7:12:12 PM] alanah: but i just cant say i think community is heroic where TBBT is a bully.

[9/10/12 7:13:53 PM] sam: i don’t think it’s the show itself I perceive as the Bully, but the audience’s ability to become a bully to the characters

[9/10/12 7:13:57 PM] sam: it’s a perception game

[9/10/12 7:15:52 PM] sam: if a viewer relates to Penny and only Penny, and doesn’t understand any of the nerd references, and thinks that Sheldon is a crazy anti-social jerk, then the times when Leonard gets beat up or someone smack talks Howard, or Raj gets rejected by a female may be somewhat more enjoyable…even if that viewer wouldn’t admit it

[9/10/12 7:16:03 PM] alanah: thats the same way that we watch bad movies and make fun of them

[9/10/12 7:16:10 PM] sam: granted that kind of person would in all likelihood be being forced to watch the show

[9/10/12 7:16:12 PM] alanah: or people watch buffy and think its oh so stupid

[9/10/12 7:16:19 PM] alanah: yeaaaah

[9/10/12 7:24:21 PM] sam: ugh i’m hurting my brain. I feel like I’m just being sensitive about geek-culture and how mental disorders should be displayed on TV and sure I probably am. In the case of mental disorders I don’t think that’s a bad thing though. There are enough misconceptions about what it means to be neurologically different from the average, and while not identifying what exactly Sheldon is helps to alleviate any stigma that may be placed on a certain disorder people will always make assumptions. While I think it’s good to makes things like autism seem more assessable to people, it’s bad to make people think that everyone with autism/aspergers functions like sheldon if they’ve never had contact with it before, and some people will shape their view of the disorder around their experience of Sheldon Cooper…they just will.

[9/10/12 7:24:30 PM] sam: As to the siding with Penny thing

[9/10/12 7:29:41 PM] sam: I guess there’s nothing wrong with watching the show and enjoying when Penny, the occasional antagonist (at least for sheldon) gets her way or outsmarts the guys. I like it when Loki has his moments of seeming triumph…but in the end I still want the Avengers to win.

[9/10/12 7:29:52 PM] sam: i dunno my brain hurts…i need more tea

[9/10/12 8:03:27 PM] sam: i feel like I just vomited a bunch of repressed essay writing onto skype…

[9/10/12 8:09:14 PM] alanah: im back

[9/10/12 8:09:17 PM] alanah: no worries

[9/10/12 8:09:28 PM] alanah: i know where you’re coming from and i dont think its stupid

[9/10/12 8:09:39 PM] alanah: i know how you feel about neurological…variation, i suppose is the word

[9/10/12 8:09:51 PM] alanah: and yeah, a lot of people will shape their idea of autism from TBBT

[9/10/12 8:10:02 PM] alanah: or of mental retardation from What’s Eating Gilbret Grape

[9/10/12 8:10:11 PM] alanah: or of prison from Oz

[9/10/12 8:10:13 PM] alanah: or Prison Break

[9/10/12 8:10:33 PM] alanah: or of Christianity from Good Christian Bitches

[9/10/12 8:10:36 PM] alanah: see what i mean?

[9/10/12 8:10:46 PM] alanah: some audiences are stupid enough

[9/10/12 8:10:58 PM] alanah: to build their understanding of the world on entertainment

[9/10/12 8:11:00 PM] alanah: but some people

[9/10/12 8:11:01 PM] alanah: like you, or i

[9/10/12 8:11:05 PM] alanah: are a bit smarter than that

[9/10/12 8:11:14 PM] alanah: and know that not every kid with autism is a sheldon cooper

[9/10/12 8:11:17 PM] alanah: or an abed

[9/10/12 8:11:52 PM] alanah: because we build our understanding on experience

[9/10/12 8:12:08 PM] alanah: and know that, when we watch television, that deans of community colleges dont act like Dean Pelton

[9/10/12 8:12:27 PM] alanah: and not all jail wardens are corrupt jerks like that guy from Prison Break

[9/10/12 8:13:07 PM] sam: yes

[9/10/12 8:13:25 PM] alanah: but its not like the makers of Prison break are out to misrepresent all jail wardens, and the makers of Community arent out to get Deans, and TBBT isnt out to get autistic/aspergers peeps

[9/10/12 8:13:40 PM] sam: I do think there is a distinct difference though between portraying an idea of a character, and portraying a disorder

[9/10/12 8:13:49 PM] alanah: see

[9/10/12 8:14:07 PM] alanah: but when a character with a disorder gets portrayed, no one is willing to accept them as a character

[9/10/12 8:14:09 PM] alanah: they are only a disorder

[9/10/12 8:14:32 PM] alanah: and i dont think thats fair to television makers

[9/10/12 8:15:41 PM] alanah: its like telling a white person they arent allowed to write for asian characters, or telling a girl they can make a movie about a boy, or telling the makers of glee they arent allowed to write in a character with downs syndrome

[9/10/12 8:15:52 PM] alanah: who is easily the best part of season 3

[9/10/12 8:17:17 PM] alanah: if a character is only made up of their Big characteristic, then i think its the viewers who are unable to be fair to people with the disorder, not the character makers. victims of cancer dont freak out about House, even though I’m sure their representation of the experience doesnt come close to what its actually like

[9/10/12 8:20:23 PM] alanah: so, if you say there’s a difference between portraying a character and portraying a disorder, then what is it? what makes neurological disorders special when compared to other aspects of real people that are represented on tv?

[9/10/12 8:20:49 PM] alanah: not just sicknesss, but body types, and races, and accents, etc

[9/10/12 8:20:58 PM] alanah: personality types

[9/10/12 8:22:42 PM] sam: ok, well i don’t disagree that writers should be allowed to write whatever types of characters they want, I don’t think that the fault is necessarily with the writer it falls to the audience again to not realize that just as a character can’t tell you everything about the human race, a character who has a disorder can’t tell you everything about a disorder, but no that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on television. That wasn’t what I meant

[9/10/12 8:22:50 PM] sam: the cancer thing is interesting

[9/10/12 8:22:58 PM] alanah: well yeah

[9/10/12 8:23:11 PM] alanah: a character HAS cancer, or HAS a body type, or HAS a personality type

[9/10/12 8:23:17 PM] alanah: but a character IS a disorder?

[9/10/12 8:23:21 PM] alanah: that doesnt make any sense

[9/10/12 8:23:55 PM] alanah: everyone on a show is a character, except sheldon?

[9/10/12 8:24:13 PM] alanah: every actor portrays a character, except what’s his face, because he portrays a disorder?

[9/10/12 8:24:17 PM] alanah: i dont get that

[9/10/12 8:24:54 PM] sam: no i don’t necessarily mean that either, but when you label a character as having a disorder, they are a character within the scope of the show. Move away from the show, to the individuals perception. Ask a question about that disorder, and their instinctual association may be that character

[9/10/12 8:25:07 PM] alanah: no, no

[9/10/12 8:25:10 PM] alanah: we cant move away from the show

[9/10/12 8:25:23 PM] alanah: because this is about TBBT, and whether watching it is something we can do in good conscience

[9/10/12 8:25:35 PM] alanah: you can move away from it, because the question IS about whether or not it should be on tv

[9/10/12 8:26:17 PM] alanah: if we make a choice not to watch on the grounds we’ve been considering and discussing, we ARE making a judgment about what should or should not be on television

[9/10/12 8:26:58 PM] alanah: by removing out viewership for a reason other than being bored or uninterested, thats the end

[9/10/12 8:27:14 PM] alanah: as far as individual perception

[9/10/12 8:27:41 PM] alanah: we just go back to before – people need to learn on their own not to base real life experience on tv

[9/10/12 8:27:50 PM] sam: no that’s valid, but I think my uncomfortable-ess really stems from what the show is potentially doing to people’s perceptions of both nerds and autistics

[9/10/12 8:27:54 PM] alanah: otherwise, we’d have to abolish almost all of it

[9/10/12 8:27:58 PM] sam: i don’t think it’s going to stop me from watching the show

[9/10/12 8:28:31 PM] sam: but i think i’m uncomfortable with the idea of trying to…almost popularize a character with a disorder that is highly highly misunderstood by the populus

[9/10/12 8:28:42 PM] sam: i think that things like cancer are different

[9/10/12 8:29:03 PM] alanah: because everyone understands cancer already?

[9/10/12 8:29:27 PM] sam: well no, but the mentality is different

[9/10/12 8:29:31 PM] alanah: its fine if youre uncomfortable with it

[9/10/12 8:30:09 PM] sam: a character with cancer can tell you about their experience in a way that you have a fairly decent chance of relating to and empathizing with

[9/10/12 8:30:44 PM] alanah: i just dont see how its different from the stereotypical black character, or the sterotypical Type A character – we know theyre not really accurate representations of black people, or girls who get straight As

[9/10/12 8:30:54 PM] alanah: but we let em exist for the sake of whatever story it is

[9/10/12 8:31:02 PM] alanah: yeah, thats true

[9/10/12 8:31:05 PM] sam: a character with a mental disorder, whatever it may be, may not be able to relate to you and relay their experience, or may not even understand that they should try to. May not understand that there is any reason for them to feel the need to explain the way they are.

[9/10/12 8:31:06 PM] alanah: i think cancer is a bad example

[9/10/12 8:31:16 PM] alanah: because cancer is all bad

[9/10/12 8:31:26 PM] alanah: theres nothing we want from cancer except for it not to exist

[9/10/12 8:31:30 PM] alanah: so i think its a diff category

[9/10/12 8:32:18 PM] sam: it’s just like, people, not characters just people with mental disorders can’t explain them or how they effect their lives appropriately in the real world most of the time. There aren’t words that can describe a completely different way of seeing and experiencing the world

[9/10/12 8:33:41 PM] alanah: but sheldon isnt there to explain his experience, and neither is abed. no one is saying “this is what it’s like.” in fact, when they briefly tried, with the stop-motion ep, then we didnt like it.

[9/10/12 8:34:00 PM] sam: if we have to rely on words and experience to relay our perception, and it’s difficult in the real world, it just makes me cringe a little that it’s on tv

[9/10/12 8:34:41 PM] alanah: and people cant explain what its like to die, but we tell post-death stories all the time in entertainment. just because there arent words for it doesnt mean its off-limits

[9/10/12 8:34:54 PM] sam: right, and I don’t mean “explain” necessarily to mean them sitting down and talking about what they feel or how they think. Explaining can be done through their actions and relations with other people.

[9/10/12 8:34:59 PM] alanah: are there really adequate words to describe certain emotions?

[9/10/12 8:35:09 PM] alanah: or other experiences?

[9/10/12 8:35:24 PM] alanah: i know vets would say there arent words for what theyve seen

[9/10/12 8:35:51 PM] alanah: but we dont mind them on tv

[9/10/12 8:36:01 PM] alanah: love, war, etc.

[9/10/12 8:36:06 PM] alanah: big, non-word things

[9/10/12 8:36:10 PM] alanah: existence

[9/15/12 10:19:22 PM] sam: i’m reading that thingy you sent me

[9/15/12 10:23:31 PM] sam: i think the past few weeks have taught me that I don’t think enough about the shows I watch

[9/15/12 10:23:48 PM] alanah: true

[9/15/12 10:23:58 PM] alanah: i was worried id offended you after we talked about big bang theory

[9/15/12 10:24:13 PM] sam: no not at all

[9/15/12 10:24:16 PM] alanah: oh good

[9/15/12 10:24:17 PM] alanah: lol

[9/15/12 10:24:26 PM] alanah: because i love discussing that crap

[9/15/12 10:24:32 PM] sam: haha

[9/15/12 10:24:37 PM] sam: yeah no it’s just crazy

[9/15/12 10:24:53 PM] sam: because i feel like I can sit and think about all my shows for hours on end

[9/15/12 10:25:00 PM] sam: and talk about the characters and what happens

[9/15/12 10:25:09 PM] alanah: yeah

[9/15/12 10:25:29 PM] sam: but there’s still so much that I would just never think of if I wouldn’t have someone pull me back from it a few feet

[9/15/12 10:25:39 PM] alanah: i mean, the philosophy of a show or of characters is cool, but when you get into the philosophy what it means to watch or subscribe to a show…it gets crazy to think about

[9/15/12 10:25:45 PM] sam: yeah

[9/15/12 10:26:10 PM] alanah: and i mean, im always gonna come from a prioritized perspective

[9/15/12 10:26:35 PM] alanah: the integrity of storytelling is always gonna come first for me, cuz thats my thing

[9/15/12 10:27:02 PM] alanah: unless it gets into a direct insult to my faith, but that almost never happens

[9/15/12 10:27:12 PM] alanah: its mostly a non issue

[9/15/12 10:27:34 PM] alanah: but neuro is your thing, so i figured we would end up on diff sides of that one anyway

[9/15/12 10:27:40 PM] alanah: TBBT i mean

[9/15/12 10:27:41 PM] sam: yeah

[9/15/12 10:27:52 PM] sam: yeah i’m still weird about that whole thing

[9/15/12 10:27:58 PM] alanah: which is fair

[9/15/12 10:28:20 PM] alanah: i think the thing is really arguable, in the sense that a debate could go on for ages

[9/15/12 10:28:53 PM] alanah: but overall, i really love the philosophy of television and film as an act

[9/15/12 10:28:57 PM] alanah: like, the watching of tv and film

[9/15/12 10:29:02 PM] alanah: i could teach a class on that

[9/15/12 10:29:23 PM] sam: yeah

[9/15/12 10:29:29 PM] alanah: “PHIL 334: Philosophy Of Tv Watching”

[9/15/12 10:29:32 PM] alanah: @_@

[9/15/12 10:29:35 PM] alanah: that would be SO COOL.

[9/15/12 10:29:37 PM] sam: there are just so many different levels of “watching” you can do.


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