May 25th, 2009

good mris pic

Eureka: generally in favor.

Haven't done anything like a State of the Mris report in awhile. I'm tired, tired, tired. Other than that we are doing okay. Timprov's recovery from his tonsilectomy is as good as can be expected or possibly even better than that, although the last few days have been a bit harder than the first few. My grandma is in town celebrating her birthday and markgritter's birthday with us, so that's low-key good fun. All of this is the sort of good thing that doesn't lend much to lj commentary for me right now.

But! One thing I'm enjoying that I did want to mention on lj is the DVDs of season one of Eureka. It's a show about a small town filled with geeks, many of whom work at a secret government research lab. It's not a great show. It's not a brilliant show. What it is, though, is consistently good fun. Timprov summarized one of the plots as, "We stole this from Star Trek but made it funny," which is plenty good enough for me when I'm looking for something to watch while working out.

While it's a great deal sillier, Eureka is a bit like Numb3rs in that it's on our side, the geeks' side. Numb3rs is not about how math works. It's about math working. It's about a setting where math and science are doing something the viewer can immediately see and appreciate. And the geeks in it have fun with their geekery.

Eureka does that, too. It features an ordinary guy sheriff and his ordinary girl daughter, and one of the standard things our culture loves to do with that situation is to have the ordinary people show the geeks about joy and beauty and art and love and simple pleasures and humanity. Blarg. In Eureka, it's very clear that the geeks know a great deal more than this particular "ordinary guy" about any of that. They are--like us, like real geeks--knowledgeable and enthusiastic in a wide range of fields, and fairly willing to try other fields that aren't their primary interest. Also, while the characters are sometimes played for a laugh, their work is taken pretty seriously, regardless of race/ethnicity, age, sexuality, level of pretension, whatever. You don't take yourself seriously, but you treat your work with respect. Eureka gets that.

We wouldn't have picked this show up to begin with if not for Joe Morton, and it's Joe Morton's Henry who makes the show for me. What I really want is The Henry Show. Timprov said, "But how would you structure that?" and I said, "Like The Red-Green Show," and he said, "Ohhhhh." Because it would be like The Red-Green Show with temporal rifts and gender equity and general awesome. And the thing is, everybody respects Henry. He works independently rather than with the main big lab thing, and the ambient attitude towards that seems to be a desire to get him to consult, rather than a standard-issue plot where nobody appreciates the black guy in short dreads who works on his own ideas and never wears a suit. And Joe Morton is so awesome that the one place where his acting slipped so far was when they gave him a completely bullshit line, and watching it, we went, "Yeah, um, not only does Henry not really buy that, neither does Mr. Morton." Which is pretty cool.

My biggest complaint is that there are not enough Asian or Asian-American people on this show. There are some. There should be lots. It's one thing to say, "We don't want to go with stereotypes and make the geek character an Asian-American," but quite another to have an entire show full of geek characters, with more geek characters in the background, and still for some reason not hire more people of Asian ancestry. There are several major characters of color, just not very much in that range of color, which is weird and frustrating to me.

They have done some small things right that just make me so happy, like the way the autistic kid character stands when he's working, and the casually thrown-in--totally correctly handled!--reference to Bayesian vs. propensity interpretations of statistics. I expect there'll be more of that. It turns out that small lines about the discovery of black body radiation can make me disproportionately happy. Anyway: this is a fun one, and I don't recall hearing a lot of geeks talking about it, so I thought I'd say. We've got four episodes left in S1, and I expect we'll be watching the other seasons as well. And it's ongoing. Hurrah for liking a TV show that's still going; it can join Criminal Minds and Numb3rs in my list of things to eagerly await.