March 7th, 2010

chalice well

The Sheldon-Spock Expansion - Part 1 of 2


We are what we worship. At least, we try to be.

Christians ask themselves What Would Jesus Do? Goddess worship appeals especially to empowered women. Satanists (the stereotype) appear powerful and evil. Xena, who worshipped a delicious Ares-God-of-War, added Warrior to the title Princess.

 And Dr. Sheldon Cooper, on TBBT, pretty much worships Leonard Nimoy's Spock from Star Trek.

 Even the casual viewer must've caught on. Sure, all the guys tend to choose "Spock" when playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock," resulting in multiple ties ("The Lizard-Spock Expansion"). But Sheldon's the one who always chooses Spock when playing 20 Questions, enabling Raj to win in one turn ("The Vegas Renormalization"). Sheldon finds wearing a Spock costume to a Renaissance Faire--pretending it's a pseudo-Renaissance planet--less anachronistic than the Faire itself ("The Codpiece Topology"). Sheldon's favorite gift ever is a napkin with Leonard Nimoy's autograph--and DNA ("The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis").

 Maybe this reflects only the obvious. Sheldon has a higher intelligence than the others and doesn't wholly "get" emotions--just like Spock. Actor Jim Parsons is tall, dark-haired, and slim. Actor Leonard Nimoy (and now Zachary Quinto), aka Spock, is tall, dark-haired, and slim. Hey, suggests a writer early on, let's say Sheldon's really into Spock, 'kay? /Rationalization.

 If so--short essay.

 Or maybe, like everyone else, Sheldon's choice of role model goes deeper. It may give us greater insight about Sheldon....

 Perhaps moreso than even Sheldon, who believes "the social sciences are largely hokum," realizes ("The Friendship Algorhythm").

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chalice well

The Sheldon-Spock Expansion - Part 2 of 2

(continued from Part 1)

 Spock is different from Everyone Else. EVERYONE.

 During Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock is the only Vulcan serving amidst humans on the Enterprise, making him a literal "alien." But his estrangement goes deeper than that. From all indications, he is the only half-Human, half-Vulcan in existence.

 In other words, Spock has no real home. On Vulcan, he is an outsider. On Earth, he is an outsider. And this, we can see, often works against him. In the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode, "The Ambergris Element," he notes the truth that "many people fear beings different from themselves."

 Sheldon, even more than the rest of us geeks, likely recognizes that alienation. He has experienced it. Sometimes he gets positive responses to his differences, as when Penny says, in the Pilot, "So you’re like, one of those, beautiful mind genius guys." Even after Penny has gotten to know Sheldon better, she often softens her jests with acceptance: "Boy, I love him, but he is one serious wackadoodle" ("The Cushion Saturation").

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