Tuesday, January 3, 2012
My Big Bang Theory
My flavor of the month, lately, has been episodes of CBS's The Big Bang Theory. It's not always the most well written and you find after watching several episodes back-to-back, that they don't vary much in their basic formula. However, I'm pretty "tickled" (who uses that word anymore?) by the character Sheldon Cooper.
Yeah, yeah, everyone thinks he's great and hilarious and Jim Parsons has won about 3 million Emmys for the role if that's any proof. But the reasons I love him may differ from most. With his debilitating social challenges, lack of ability to express or perceive emotions, extreme OCD tendencies (same seat on the couch, always knocking on a door 3 times, strict food preferences), impeccable math and scientific reasoning skills, and love for all things nerdy, it's impossible to ignore the fact that the character of Sheldon Cooper is based off of someone with autism. Rarely am I watching the show thinking these geeky scientists are "so ridiculous!". Most of the time I'm thinking they are "so every kid and adult with an Autism Spectrum Disorder I've worked with in my life!"
There are students in particular that come to mind when I think of the show, and they're none other than my favorite English class alumni, Ryan and his best friend, Allen (not previously mentioned, I'm surprised to say) . The very best of friends, and undoubtedly cut from the same cloth, Ryan and Allen travel the halls together perpetually engrossed in conversations about Star Wars, Pokemon, and Kirby for Wii. They walk into class tossing around "Lord of the Rings" themed jokes and are silenced only at the teacher's request. In unison they break into hysterics over the teachers' puns or simple wordplay (once again, I refer you to the "Eggs Benedict--Good Speaking Eggs" incident). The end-bell hasn't even finished ringing before they're out of their seats and throwing around theoretical scenarios for Mario and Luigi in non-existent levels of the video game.
Before I even ever invested in the story line between Leonard and Sheldon, I vowed that Ryan and Allen would be room mates some day. More and more now I find myself connecting the dots between my former students and their television complements.
The first day back, I had the honor of getting caught walking right in front of the boys during a passing period. Their conversation was true-to-form.
Ryan: Hey remind me to bring the "Physics of Star Trek" book tomorrow.
Allen: Oh yeah, and I'll bring [nerdy graphic novel, the name of which I'm blanking on].
At that point, Ryan spotted me ahead walking in front of him and caught up to my side. For the following exchange, feel free to substitute a mental image of Sheldon Cooper.
Sheldon--I mean Ryan: Why should Windows XP be a prison guard?
Me: Oh, well, hello to you too, Ryan! Nice to see you...my break was GREAT! Thanks for asking!
Ryan (no emotion): I'm trying to tell you a joke.
Me: Okay, go for it.
Ryan: Why should Windows XP be a prison guard?"
Ryan: Because it always locks up.
Me: [forced laughter] Good one
Ryan: It's true.
If only I could the kid to finish with "Bazinga!", we'd be golden.