Cinéma nerdité

November 13, 2011

Since I don’t watch much TV, only recently did I get around to checking out The Big Bang Theory, the sitcom about romantically challenged physics nerds. It seemed fine but not unusually clever or interesting; in fact, it made me wonder whether I could write a biologist version that would be almost good. Check out this hypothetical scene, for example….

* * * * * * * * * *

[Scene: a lab. STEVE is pipetting at his bench. PAUL walks by.]

PAUL: Hey, Steve!

STEVE: Hi, Paul. How’s it going?

PAUL: I just had a breakthrough! You know that beta-galactosidase paper I’ve been working on?

STEVE: Yeah….

PAUL: Well, just before submitting it to the journal, I had to go through it and replace every instance of the word “beta-galactosidase” with “beta-gal,” you know, for succinctness. And as I was doing this, it occurred to me that that’s exactly what I need in my life right now — a beta gal!”

STEVE: What?!?

PAUL: You know, a beta gal! Beta as in beta testing, gal as in girl — or woman or lady or whatever they’re called these days. A girlfriend … whom I can take for a test drive!

STEVE: Well, sure. But I think you’re mistaking a ridiculous pun for actual insight. Maybe you should spend less time in here, theorizing, and more time interacting with real women in the real world.

PAUL: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying! Now I know what kind of woman I should be looking for!

STEVE: And what kind of woman is that?

PAUL: Well, you know how beta-gal expression in the presence of X-gal turns cells blue? And you know how women with punk hair sort of excite me? There’s got to be a blue-haired woman out there who’s perfect for me! Either that, or … in the type of assay I’m doing now, beta-gal converts ONPG into a yellow product, so it’s possible that I should be looking for someone who’s blonde. But, you know, blonde or blue, or some combination of the two….

STEVE: On second thought, maybe you should just stay here and think about this some more. I’m not sure you’re ready for, um, peer review.

[Timer beeps from across the room.]

PAUL: Oops, time to stop my reaction. Talk to you later, Steve!

[PAUL walks away briskly as STEVE looks toward him with befuddlement.]

* * * * * * * * * *

Apparently I’m not the only one who wishes there was more bio-themed romantic comedy in the world. Valerie Weiss, who has a Ph.D. in biophysics, has just released a trailer for her forthcoming film Losing Control.

I look forward to seeing the full film, which is due to be released on Valentine’s Day.


  1. That’s pretty good, Greg. I remember years ago when some Hollywood talent scout saw your picture in a magazine and wanted to recruit you as an actor. Maybe he should’ve recruited you as a writer instead. 😉

  2. […] of you might be wondering what Jeremy was referring to in his comment about my brush with Hollywood. Well, here’s the full story in all of its convoluted […]

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