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Thinking television thoughts

December 25th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

I have been watching old episodes of Scorpion on Netflix over the last couple of weeks. It is a very annoying programme for several reasons, but quite entertaining. Apparently it was supposed to be a sort of drama version of Big Bang Theory, but I would have described it as like a group of MacGyvers – except I have never seen MacGyver so I’m only really assuming that works as an analogy.

The other night I was watching it and had a bit of a blinding flash of insight: it is also a more than a bit like a grown-up, live action version of Paw Patrol and about as plausible at times. I feel a little sheepish about the fact that I have never seen an episode of Big Bang Theory or MacGyver but can quote lines from Paw Patrol. It comes of having grandchildren I guess.

So why does it annoy me so much? Obviously the main character is very unlikeable, but I think that is kind of the point – that his high intelligence makes him terrible at relating to normal people. Even so he comes across as a real arse and is fixated on his 197 IQ.

Now I am no expert on these things but the way I understand it IQ is quite hard to quantify, and there are reservations about the tests anyway. For a start, they are normalised against the population and there are various different methodologies and they change over time. Even accepting all that I expect that the exact IQ is a bit arbitrary because if you adminstered the tests several times you would get slightly different results. You might expect somebody with genius level intelligence to realise that and just say they have high IQ or ‘in the 190s’ or something rather than a dubiously precise number.

In my day job I have a concept of ‘suspiciously precise numbers’ when it comes to things that are based on estimates or randomisation in a Monte Carlo simulation and encourage people to round numbers up or down when reporting to stop them seeming too authoritative.  It is like when Spock in Star Trek says that something is 85.2% likely to happen when there are tons of variables and estimates involved.

That is the other area where Scorpion is annoying. Somebody might be trapped in somewhere and Sylvester will say “based on the dimensions of the room, size of the person, and three other things, I estimate they have enough oxygen to last eleven point five minutes” when there is never enough information to be that precise.

Must stop now before I go into a real rant about it 🙂  Despite all that, I do enjoy the show .

Another show I enjoy is Blindspot, which is shown on Sky Living. It does get a bit convoluted at times, but is entertaining enough. I can recommend giving it a go, but I can also recommend looking at the list of episode titles. I was browsing through the Wikipedia page for the show the other day and looked at the table with all the episodes listed. Although I have seen all 89 episodes I never noticed how strange the episode titles are before.

It looks like a random list of Fall album tracks and obscure Peel session bands. For example, this could easily be the track listing of a forgotten Fall album:

  • Fix my present havoc
  • Frequently recurring struggle for existence
  • Ca-ca-candidate for cri-cri-crime
  • Why let cooler pasture deform
  • Enemy bag of tricks
  • Erase weary youth
  • Older cutthroat canyon
  • Mans telepathic loyal lookouts
  • One begets technique

And you could easily believe that the old John Peel show could have featured songs by:

  • Any wounded thief
  • My art project
  • Hella duplicitous
  • Galaxy of minds
  • Eight slim grins
  • Split the law
  • If Beth
  • Gunplay ricochet



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