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About Hillo

  • Birthday 10/28/1951

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  • Interests
    Science (voracious consumer of pop-science and "hard" sci-fi, border-line Trekkie but too much of a sci-fi snob to go all-the-way), computers (started programming when you had to punch your own cards), horses and horseback riding (owned, trained and exhibited a show-horse for 10 years, now trying to avoid that expensive addiction, but summers are hard).
  • Location
    California, USA

Big Bang Theory Opinions

  • Favorite Episode
    The Scavenger Vortex

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  1. I actually think that there's TBBT before this episode and TBBT after it. It's in this ep that we see: - That Leonard has broken it off with Priya but that he's not moping or depressed, even though he would have been at least as justified in being so as with his split with Penny. Priya, after all, seemed to respect his intellect, appreciate his appearance (enough to try dressing him up and getting him to show off his pretty eyes), and his skill and creativity as a lover much more than we ever saw with Penny. Yet, when Priya cheats on him, he seems to come through it with more, rather than less, self-esteem, which comes through later in the season. (Though I don't think the writers did nearly enough with it!) - That Bernie (especially) and Penny don't just tolerate Amy, but really feel connected with her; enough so that they try not once but twice to patch things up, in spite of Amy's passive-aggressive whining. - That at this point, Sheldon actually shows more of a connection with Amy than she does with him. It's Sheldon who freaks when she goes silent for what looks like a single evening. It's Sheldon who seeks her out and consents to her, rather callus, negotiating tactics, even though it's not at all clear how she would back up her ultimatum. I think of it this way: What would have happened if Sheldon had refused to play along? He would have been forced to abandon her in her misery in spite of him knowing he could have helped her. But the only way this could have affected Sheldon would have been if he actually cared about his connection to her, if he cared about her well-being, and if he accepted some responsibility for it. Up to this point, I don't think we've ever seen anything like this from Sheldon. - That Amy is, initially, so focused on self-pity that she's actually annoyed to see Sheldon at her door. It's not until she sees that he's committed to helping her that she, apparently, sees him as a partner and furthermore as someone who has something to lose if her needs aren't met. I see this as an extension of, "The Zazzy Substitution", in S4, when we, and Amy, saw Sheldon fall apart without her. Now we see her exploiting Sheldon's dependence upon her, while at the same time, and really, I think, for the first time, reaching out to him, and perhaps beginning to re-focus her desires and hopes for emotional growth on a more suitable target than Penny. I really see this ep as the one in which all these things are brought to the surface, in spite of the feeble attempt in the tag to do a reset by having Amy revert to being an obnoxious, arrogant pest. (Sorry, writers; I didn't buy it!)
  2. At this point, remembering what The Shamy taught us, that our hands can be magic, I've literally given myself a pat on the back. To all who met The Challenge, Congrats! Good job! Give yourself a pat on the back!
  3. +HulkSmash, I'm writing this in response to your posts #149 and #161 which, just to save space, I haven't included. (Also, Welcome to the Forums! Also, thanks for giving an Unspoiled member like me somewhere to post and something to post about!) I like this topic because it explicitly invites us to express our subjective and arbitrary opinions. Of course we do that all the time in other topics, but the title of this one makes it clear that it's OK to do so, or at least should be. From this perspective I can't argue with the sentiments you have (so far) expressed about Penny (in #149) and Leonard (#161). But, reading them, as well as other comments in this topic has helped me crystallize a subjective and arbitrary opinion of my own, which I will now share with you. (Generous of me, I know! ) What I've come to see is that the producers/writers of this sitcom (TPTB) seem to have deliberately created a, to me, interesting pop culture interaction between those creators and us. With this show, we are invited to apply our own values to people (the characters in the story) who don't share those values. We are also invited to pass judgement on these characters, even though the characters seldom do that among themselves. So, we can see Penny as a "drunk loser" even though there's little sign that any of the characters in the story view her that way. On the contrary, they tend to treat her with respect and admiration and seldom mention her drinking or her career problems other than as fodder for brief, casual ribbing. We don't, for example, see anyone pressuring her to get help, or avoiding her company. Other characters, Leonard and Sheldon in particular, ask her for advice and sometimes take it. Bernadette and Amy are shown as feeling privileged to be her friend. And while, those last too have been portrayed as becoming increasingly aggressive about Penny's lack of education there's no sign of any serious rifts in their relationships. Leonard provides another example for me. As you point out, he (like just about all the characters) has done some stupid, reprehensible things, but again, there's little sign that any of the characters hold these mistakes against him, or that they don't respect and even love him. On the contrary, Leonard is shown, and has from the beginning been shown to be the focus of the group, the center around which it revolves. As I see it, a key to pulling this off is that the writers have created a world in which the constant bungling, sniping and insulting, and the sometimes dangerous pranks that we see don't have much in the way of even medium-term consequences. In addition, we see a minimum of the passing of judgement among the characters. They tease and taunt each other, but, with the notable exception of Leonard and Sheldon, and even with them it's short term, we rarely see them condemning each other or threatening to stop associating or valuing each other because of past or current misdeeds or weaknesses. So, to me, this provokes the question of what justifies our imposing our values and passing our judgement on these characters who live in a world that's only superficially equivalent to ours, a world in fact that has been deliberately constructed to push the boundaries of our morality? Why should we blame Leonard for getting Penny fired when there's no sign that she, or anyone else on the show does that? Why should we say that the Leonard's reckless treatment of the rocket fuel is reason to condemn him when none of those who's lives were at stake are shown to do so. Sheldon has obviously forgiven Leonard, Howard and Raj for making a fool of him and threatening his career. We never see him mention it again to any of them. Why then should we condemn them for it? And so on... To put it yet another way, TPTB of this show have presented us with a world where consequences of mistakes are slight, where people almost instantly forgive each other for egregious mistakes and transgressions, where insults and humiliations are standard elements of close relationships, where tragedies like abusive childhoods are little more than fodder for frustrated outrage, and do not result in more tragedies like long term depression, drug use or psychosis, and, I think most importantly of all, where the main characters don't pass judgement upon each other. Yet in many cases our instinctive responses to these same things are heavily weighted toward blaming and judging according to the morals and realities of our world. I don't think this is an accident on the part of TPTB of this show. I think this split is part of the shows foundation; a, "Judge not, lest you be judged and good luck with that!", narrative sleight-of-hand.
  4. Thanks, so much! Very nicely done. Mark my words, once TBBT is over (assuming that ever happens!), someone will wise up and remake a Tracy/Hepburn (like the horribly titled, Adam's Rib) or Grant/Hepburn (like The Philadelphia Story) RomCom with those two, and clean up!
  5. How weird am I? (Had to ask, didn't you?) My favorite Shamy moment came in S7.2, when they're both crouched in front of Penny's apartment. Here, for the first time in ages, we see them as an adorable couple in pursuit of a common goal, e.g., rescuing Penny from their mutual suspicion. We also see that they can bicker playfully, without the mean-spirited rancor that's become all-too-common. From memory: Amy: Do you hear anything? Sheldon: I hear a woman's voice. Amy: Is it Penny? Sheldon: No, it's you. Later: Sheldon: Now I think I hear kissing Amy: Like you know what kissing sounds like. Sheldon: There's kissing in Star Trek, smarty pants! Funny and adorable! In fact, their whole scene, until Sheldon opens Penny's door, is one of my favorites and shows what we're missing while the writers drag out the drama of getting them together.
  6. Please, forgive me for this. Couldn't help writing it, then had to post it. It's long (two verses, like in the musical)! C'est Moi for The Challenge (Sung to the tune of, “C'est Moi” - From the musical, “Camelot”, by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe) (First verse) Premier Night! Premier Night! I celebrate, in verse and song! Premier Night! Premier Night! It's far away, but I'll be strong! I know in my soul, The Challenge is for me, And this I will now make you see. The man who takes up The Challenge should stand brave and tall. His courage will be assaulted constantly. He should scrutinize each update, To the pages of Season 8, Clicking only the ones he knows are spoiler free! He postpones discussing any issues, large or small. Did Sheldon come back? Did Penny cut her hair? But, who's he that boasts “No need for spoiled posts 'Til episodes start to air”? C'est moi, c'est moi, I must shed the mask, "'Tis I", I humbly reply. That man who'll stay Unspoiled through the fray C'est moi, c'est moi, 'Tis I. When threads are roiled By each new reveal I'm so high above all that. I stay unspoiled And don't even feel The urge to post or chat. C'est moi! C'est moi! So up-to-the-task. A poster pious and proud. And here am I, my mouse in my hand, Committed to take a virtuous stand, And honor the pledge, I've vowed! (Second verse) The man who accepts The Challenge should be so mature That gratification can be weeks delayed. He'll be sure that his choice is right, And look forward with great delight, To the night when he'll hear that catchy theme song played. The need to know all, should never have the least allure. The taping reports should tempt him not at all. But, who is this man, This untainted fan, Who can't hear the Siren's call? [spoken] C'est moi. C'est moi, c'est moi, I must say what's true, Like Sheldon I can't tell a lie. That man who thwarts Those taping reports C'est moi, c'est moi, 'Tis I. 'Til Season 8, I'll stay on my toes, Reports have no hold on me. I'll calmly wait For shining new shows, To seal my victory! C'est moi! C'est moi! Unspoiled! (Aren't you?) More pure with each passing day. Still, I'm afraid that Penny would sigh, And say to herself, "He's so not the guy!" The moment she heard me say... C'est moi!
  7. I have an excellent reason: Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting! That's enough for me. Actually, I too hope they don't do anything like this. My crush on her is already trending toward obsession. S7 was devastating for me. She owned it. So much excellence in her performances, such range, energy and spot-on comedic timing. She's a terrible crier, so that helps. How bad is it, you ask? (Well, you didn't ask, but let's move on.) I found myself resenting the fact that she didn't get at least nominated for an Emmy, which is to me a particularly ridiculous artifact; right up there with the backyard contraption in, "Good Neighbor Sam".
  8. You are most welcome, here! I think The Challenge is indifferent to intent. All that's required is the courage, the tenacity, the virtue needed to resist the lure of instant gratification!.
  9. Thanks, Dana! And thanks for speaking up. As you documented, those first wholey evil taping reports thinned our ranks considerably. Good to know who's still, so to speak, on the field of battle!
  10. When I look in the bottom right-hand corner of my screen, I see this date: 9/2/2014. So, we few, we happy few, are only one two away from victory!
  11. You're right. It looked OK when I wrote it, but now I see it can't be rescued. The idea is that it makes sense that frail creatures like us need clothes. and that what's absurd is that the universe is so mean to us that it makes us need something that no other animal, as far as we know no other living creature, needs. Now, that looks OK.
  12. I'd like to clear up a few things, if I may. I didn't say that human culture was absurd. I said that I thought one, a single, specific aspect of human culture ("our cultural response to this need") was absurd. I didn't say anything about people frolicking naked in the forest. I implied that it would be better if the display of human flesh was considered as natural as the display of the flesh of other animals. I didn't say anything about the "hardship" of wearing clothes.
  13. It seems I failed to make my point. I interpret your response as a partial list of why we need to wear clothes. I don't dispute that there are perfectly sensible reasons why we need to wear clothes; hence, the parenthetical "we do" in my post. My, perhaps overly nuanced, point is to assert that the perfectly sensible and understandable need to wear clothes is one of the absurdities that we, over the millennia, have had to put up with. A further point is that, unfortunately, our cultural response to this need has led us to another absurdity, where the display of unclothed flesh, which in a more benign and comforting universe would be as natural for us as it is for other animals, is often associated with corruption, embarrassment, or even fear. As a further note, I'm not asserting that the above negative associations are unreasonable or worthy of condemnation. If one sees a person walking down a public street in their underwear, one is perfectly justified in assuming that the person is in distress, is up to something (like grabbing your attention in an attempt to separate you from your cash), or is mentally unbalanced. I would assert that the fact that these reactions are, in fact, justified in our culture is yet another absurdity that we have to deal with.
  14. My perspective on this is that the major reason for and focus of displays like this is, in fact, to embarrass people; to provoke the twinge and cringe and the almost instinctive urge to look, if not run, away. The stress of embarrassment, it is hoped, will expose the funny-bone to easy stimulation. Some in the audience may have additional reactions. Some may have a prurient interest; some an aesthetic interest. Some, like me, may be moved to contemplate the important and fascinating development of cotton-textile and chlorine bleach manufacturing. But, these reactions are, I think, regarded as bonuses. The real focus (and here I repeat myself from another post) is a ruthless and unflinching display of absurdity. In this case, the absurdity is that humans have to wear clothes at all (we do) and that, therefore, when we see others, adults in public in particular, appear closer to the way they looked when exiting the womb our first instinct is to flee.
  15. The humorist and author Mark Twain is an iconic figure in the culture of the USA. He strongly believed that humor was perhaps the only weapon that human beings have in the battle to understand and cope with a universe dominated by cruel absurdity. Twain noted, for example, that humans are, as far as anyone knows, the only creatures in existence that are aware of the concept of justice, which makes us the only creatures capable of injustice. Similarly, humans alone are aware of and can actually feel compassion, which makes us alone capable of cruelty. Unfortunately, absurdly, though we have the power to recognize injustice and cruelty, we almost never have the power or the will to do anything about them, other than to, through our actions, increase their dominance. This is, of course, a cruel joke. Luckily for us, for our tenuous grasp on sanity and reason, we do have the power to recognize this joke and the will to defiantly dissect and analyze it, and to put it on display for all to see. At its best, then, comedy is truth. Truth so basic and unflinching that it can't itself be analyzed, only felt. This, of course, is also absurd. As another iconic figure in USA culture, humorist and author, Kurt Vonnegut, wrote: "So it goes."
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