“No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.” -Aristotle
Cracked.com has published an article called “5 Things TV Writers Apparently Believe About Smart People” about all the things that TV writers have gotten incorrect about genius characters on shows. They manage to get a whole bunch of things incorrect.
“Ever since House showed up on our televisions in 2004, the networks decided you couldn’t have a drama without an eccentric genius in the mix. So, now you have geniuses solving mysteries using math (Numb3rs), novel writing (Castle, Bones), fake psychic powers (The Mentalist, Psych) and an ability to detect lies that borders on mind reading (Lie to Me). Among others.”
First, they conflate smart people, or even skilled people, with geniuses. Patrick Jane (from The Mentalist) and Shawn Spencer (from Psych) aren’t abnormally intelligent, but merely hyper-observant. Richard Castle (Castle) doesn’t pretend to be anything aside from an author. Does this mean that John Grisham is also genius?
They also argue that “Only Know Six Languages By Age 30? You’re A Failure.” Speaking multiple languages isn’t really a sign of extreme intelligence. Hell, my yoga instructor speaks four.
Then they claim that all of the so-called geniuses are way too young to have acquired such skills, pointing out, “Acquiring mastery in just one field takes approximately 10,000 hours, or ten years… even if you’re really smart.” You know how young people acquire an impressive skill set? No fucking social life. Do Dr. Temperance Brennan (Bones) or Dr. Charlie Epps (Numb3rs) seem like they spent their teenage years getting frisky in the back of their parents’ car? Extraordinarily smart people are often socially incompetent and don’t waste their time with things like drinking, hooking up, or spending an entire semester of college smoking pot and playing Twisted Metal 2. No, they spend their time mastering foreign languages and designing computer operating systems.
I agree with Cracked about a few things. It’s absurd that the CSI guys are breaking down doors or that the BAU personnel are running into burning buildings to rescue kidnap victims. Of course, it is TV and I really like it when Horatio Cane bounces someones face off of a wall to get the information about the bomb strapped to the bus full of babies and kittens.