Smart People on Television

Smart people are portrayed in many, many shows. Most of them have one stereotypical smart person that does not fit in with the average people. Recently there have been two shows that I am aware of that portray the opposite, a majority of smart people with a few normal people. These two shows, Big Bang Theory and Eureka take very different approaches.

All of these portrayals are based on the idea that there is something that makes it difficult for smart people to socialize with the average person. In some ways this is true. Most people do not like to feel dumb, and so they avoid spending time with people who are ahead of them, especially if they happen to be their own age. That relationship would make them feel inferior. On the other side, in school, gifted students tend to enjoy spending time more with the teachers than their peers. This gives the other students the idea that the gifted students think they are better than the rest of the class. This isn’t really the case, it’s just that they tend to be interested in different things.

“The Big Bang Theory” takes an approach from the viewpoint that smart people do believe themselves superior. It also uses the stereotype that intelligent people are out of touch with reality. Like many stereotypes, this has a basis in reality. Smart people and average people are often interested in different things, resulting in each being out of touch with the other. There are also the famous stories, like that of Einstein forgetting his pants if his wife did not remind him. In this show, the smart people are portrayed as dumb, but with the facts of the world at their fingertips.

In “Eureka” the people are portrayed as average people. The fact that they all happen to be super-geniuses is not a defining part of their characters. The main character is of average intelligence, and as such, is often lost when the geniuses discuss things. Everyone also makes it a point to explain in a way that he can understand. This is designed to make the jargon accessible to the audience, who see the town through the eyes of the sheriff. However, in this town, everyone, smart or not, has a strength. Even the autistic son of one of the main characters saves the day a few times.

In the world we live in, everyone is different. There is a place for everyone to use their strengths to make our world a better place. We need to be able to move past the stereotypes and recognize one another for the good qualities. If we can do this, we will not have to live in such a fragmented society. The world is not divided among smart and normal.


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