Saturday, February 28, 2015

TV Quote of the Day (‘The Big Bang Theory,’ Showing the Full Dimensions of Spock Worship)

Leonard Hofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki): “Hey, where you been?”

Sheldon Cooper (played by Jim Parsons): “I'll tell you where I've been. You boys may have had gelato with Stan Lee and gotten autographed comics, but I saw the inside of his house and got an autographed application for a restraining order.”

Howard Wolowitz (played by Simon Helberg): [sarcastically] “Sweet.”

Sheldon: “Plus, I get to hang out with him again... at the hearing. This is going to look great, hanging next to my restraining order from Leonard Nimoy.”— The Big Bang Theory, “The Excelsior Acquisition,” Season 3, Episode 16, original air date March 1, 2010, teleplay by Bill Prady, Steve Holland and Maria Ferrari, directed by Peter Chakos

I imagine that there were many real-life cases of insane hero-worship that must have bedeviled Leonard Nimoy enough to make him title his first attempt at an autobiography I Am Not Spock. With the passage of time, however, the actor who created Mr. Spock of Star Trek could look at the role not as a spur to crazy fans or as a creative straitjacket but as an assurance that he would remain a part of popular culture. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, he wrote a sequel: I Am Spock.

Fond memories of Nimoy—who died in Bel Air yesterday at age 83—that came from all corners of the globe, were not something that he or anyone else could have expected when Star Trek (marketed to network brass as, in effect, a space western) premiered on NBC nearly 50 years ago. (See my prior post on the 45th anniversary of the premiere.) Nor was the idea believable at that point that a friendship would not only blossom between Capt. James T. Kirk and his cerebral chief science officer aboard the Enterprise, but also between William Shatner and Nimoy—a fact especially unusual since, as an aghast Shatner himself confessed in Star Trek Movie Memories, other cast  members regarded him as a jerk.

Fans of the series relished the scenes when Dr. McCoy spluttered in rage over his fellow ship officer's stone-cold logic. It’s appropriate, then, that the contours of Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory are modeled, in a sense, after his hero, Mr. Spock. Sheldon can seem every bit as infuriatingly logical as the Vulcan—even more so than his friends, only somewhat less socially awkward fellow Caltech geniuses Leonard, Howard and Raj (let alone than Penny, the blonde they gravitate toward).

Yet Sheldon, like the alien born of a human mother, has an emotional side that comes out when he least expects it—a circumstance that endears him, as it did Mr. Spock and Nimoy himself, to audiences.

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