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5.21 The Hawking Excitation (Apr. 5)

How do you rate this episode?  

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  1. 1. How do you rate this episode?



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In any case he is obviously not junior, and my point that he would be well known by the top physicists in the world still holds true.

My father was a physicist (his work is even referenced in Feynman's lecture series) and I my degree is in physics as well so I've been around physicists literally since I was born. There were always other physicists coming to our house for dinner, for parties, etc. - especially when visiting from other universities.

Physicists always talk to each other. There are conferences, people take sabbaticals so they can work with other people in their area of expertise, people read other physicists papers in the various journals, etc. In the real world Hawking would have already been familiar with Sheldon's work and would have contacted him before coming to visit so they could get together. The only way this wouldn't have happened is if Hawking had decided that he didn't want to meet with Sheldon for some reason.

As far as I am concerned, the whole thing with Sheldon being at Howards mercy to get to meet with Hawking may have been intended as a joke (one that I didn't find funny), but it amounted to the writers getting the science wrong.

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In any case he is obviously not junior, and my point that he would be well known by the top physicists in the world still holds true.

My father was a physicist (his work is even referenced in Feynman's lecture series) and I my degree is in physics as well so I've been around physicists literally since I was born. There were always other physicists coming to our house for dinner, for parties, etc. - especially when visiting from other universities.

Physicists always talk to each other. There are conferences, people take sabbaticals so they can work with other people in their area of expertise, people read other physicists papers in the various journals, etc. In the real world Hawking would have already been familiar with Sheldon's work and would have contacted him before coming to visit so they could get together. The only way this wouldn't have happened is if Hawking had decided that he didn't want to meet with Sheldon for some reason.

As far as I am concerned, the whole thing with Sheldon being at Howards mercy to get to meet with Hawking may have been intended as a joke (one that I didn't find funny), but it amounted to the writers getting the science wrong.

I wouldn't call it getting the science wrong as much as being ambiguous/contradictory about their career situation. This storyline (as well as LHC) seemed to question Sheldon's reputation and standing as a physicist, while in some other episodes they have given indications that he's held in pretty high esteem in Caltech.

In a similar vein, the show has never been clear on what position they hold - they're all supposed to be 'working' in Caltech from the last 9 years, but it's never specified whether they were/are PhD students, postdocs, tenured positions or permanent faculty members, or if they transited between one or more of these states during the course of the show. This leads to other inaccuracies - for example, if it's assumed that they (at least Leonard and Raj) were PhD students at Caltech in 2003, which seems probable since they must have been about 22 at that time, then it's highly unlikely that they would continue on postdoc/permanent positions at the same institute without at least some postdoc break elsewhere in between.

But I guess they don't plan to embrace realism to quite that degree.

By the way, I'm a physicist and am going on conferences/visits all the time, so I'm familiar with how it works.

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By the way, I'm a physicist and am going on conferences/visits all the time, so I'm familiar with how it works.

Sorry, I didn't intend to "diss" you. It wasn't until your comment that I went back and noticed that this was mostly you and wayelrob going back and forth. My comment was really just me wanting them to be more accuracte about the science / physics in the show.

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By the way, I'm a physicist and am going on conferences/visits all the time, so I'm familiar with how it works.

Sorry, I didn't intend to "diss" you. It wasn't until your comment that I went back and noticed that this was mostly you and wayelrob going back and forth. My comment was really just me wanting them to be more accuracte about the science / physics in the show.

No problem.

Yes, for once it was wayelrob and me mostly agreeing on this point. :)

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the whole thing with Sheldon being at Howards mercy to get to meet with Hawking may have been intended as a joke (one that I didn't find funny), but it amounted to the writers getting the science wrong.

Agreed, situationally it felt wrong, but the joke was funny.

Watching the show requires complete suspension of disbelief. For example, after the stunt that the nerds pulled on the North Pole, messing with Sheldon's experiement, in RL all of them would have been fired and discredited as scientists. And yet, nothing happened on the show, not repercussions at all.

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I thought that embarrassing Sheldon by having him wear that French maid outfit to work was not funny in the least. No friend would have you do something like that.

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Guest I'm not dead Cheryl

I thought that embarrassing Sheldon by having him wear that French maid outfit to work was not funny in the least. No friend would have you do something like that.

hmm.... I should introduce you to my friends then :icon_lol:

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I thought that embarrassing Sheldon by having him wear that French maid outfit to work was not funny in the least. No friend would have you do something like that.

Not to mention the fact that a costume made for Bernadette would never in a million years fit Sheldon. I don't mean too short, like they showed it. It would never go over his shoulders. It was a dumb idea.

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I thought that embarrassing Sheldon by having him wear that French maid outfit to work was not funny in the least. No friend would have you do something like that.

Not to mention the fact that a costume made for Bernadette would never in a million years fit Sheldon. I don't mean too short, like they showed it. It would never go over his shoulders. It was a dumb idea.

It would have been funnier if the costume only came to mid waist. Then he could have worn leather pants with it for the gay audience.:fi_lone_ranger:

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Wow, it's kinda funny to read through this thread so long after the ep originally aired.

I just rewatched it as it re-aired tonight, followed by watching the pilot ep on TBS.

I loved the Hawking episode. Yeah, the comedy was a little exaggerated, but it cracks me up that people got hung up on the maid outfit shouldn't have fit Sheldon. Yeah, it wouldn't have fit, but that wasn't a wardrobe mistake--it's just being realistic in terms of dressing the actors.

And yeah, the show is not really realistic about the standing of Sheldon as an accomplished physicist, but as others have pointed out, it's just comedic license.

This show isn't a documentary, it's a sitcom.

Though they do try to blend real-life science into the show, it's really more about the personal interactions which are colored and determined by their various personalities.

It was interesting to see the pilot immediately afterward.

One thing I've found interesting in watching the pilot is how different Sheldon is in his initial interaction with Penny.

He's less aloof and clueless, or rather, his cluelessness is different. When Penny first notices nis whiteboard, he seems really interested in impressing her with his work, even trying to one-up Leonard.

He's still disdainful of Leonard's chances with Penny, but he seems more like the other guys--geeky and clueless about talking to women, but not as sort of "otherworldly" as he became in later episodes. Even in the 2nd ep, he's more like the "traditional" Sheldon, cleaning Penny's apartment during the night.

Anyway, just my observations...

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I reallly enjoyed seeing this episode again last night. It was really funny; and there were scenes that were typical sheldon, like when he and penny were in the laundry room talking. Yeah, some things were not realistic, but the humor was really good, and the part where sheldon gave howard a "compliment," I loved.

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I loved the Hawking episode. Yeah, the comedy was a little exaggerated, but it cracks me up that people got hung up on the maid outfit shouldn't have fit Sheldon. Yeah, it wouldn't have fit, but that wasn't a wardrobe mistake--it's just being realistic in terms of dressing the actors.

And yeah, the show is not really realistic about the standing of Sheldon as an accomplished physicist, but as others have pointed out, it's just comedic license.

This show isn't a documentary, it's a sitcom.

Though they do try to blend real-life science into the show, it's really more about the personal interactions which are colored and determined by their various personalities.

Oh, those who want to complain will somehow find a reason to complain, no matter how trivial.

It was interesting to see the pilot immediately afterward.

One thing I've found interesting in watching the pilot is how different Sheldon is in his initial interaction with Penny.

He's less aloof and clueless, or rather, his cluelessness is different. When Penny first notices nis whiteboard, he seems really interested in impressing her with his work, even trying to one-up Leonard.

He's still disdainful of Leonard's chances with Penny, but he seems more like the other guys--geeky and clueless about talking to women, but not as sort of "otherworldly" as he became in later episodes. Even in the 2nd ep, he's more like the "traditional" Sheldon, cleaning Penny's apartment during the night.

Yes, the Sheldon of the pilot is markedly different from what he later evolved into, in many ways. I mean, can you imagine our Sheldon being a 'pro', or making a joke with the term 'coitus interruptus'? :D

I guess TV characters and their quirks get more clearly sketched and well-defined over time, as per the demands of the story and fan appreciation.


I reallly enjoyed seeing this episode again last night. It was really funny; and there were scenes that were typical sheldon, like when he and penny were in the laundry room talking. Yeah, some things were not realistic, but the humor was really good, and the part where sheldon gave howard a "compliment," I loved.

One of my favorite lines was definitely Penny's 'the wheelchair dude who invented time'. I'm guessing Prof. Hawking must have got a kick out of hearing that definition of himself. :icon_lol:

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From The Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Flashback: Stephen Hawking Guest-Starred on 'Big Bang Theory' in 2012

The famed physicist was often in voiceovers, in seven episodes, for the CBS comedy, with his most substantial appearance in the Season five episode, "The Hawking Excitation," as creator Chuck Lorre reveals how Hawking prepared for his role.

<snip>

In many ways, the most natural TV fit for Hawking was with CBS' The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom with physics nerds at its center. He was part of the plot, often in voiceovers, in seven episodes. His most substantial appearance was on a 2012 show called "The Hawking Excitation." The story has him coming to Pasadena to lecture at Caltech. Jim Parsons' character, Sheldon, who modestly believes Hawking is "perhaps my only intellectual equal," jumps through hoops to meet the physicist and gets him to read the thesis that "came to me one morning in the shower" on the Higgs boson particle.

"You clearly have a brilliant mind," Hawking declares before delivering the bad news: "Too bad it's wrong. You made an arithmetic mistake on page two. It was quite a boner." When Sheldon collapses, Hawking says, "Great, another fainter." Says Big Bang creator Chuck Lorre: "All of professor Hawking's dialogue was preprogrammed and triggered through a voice synthesizer. When we offered to do that, we were told he preferred to program and trigger his lines by himself. He wanted to 'act.' " 

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