Cinéma nerditéNovember 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….
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[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?
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!”
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.]
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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.