Genius Has Its Costs (As Per Two TV Shows)

So tonight is this fall’s most “genius” night for TV, across two American TV networks!

First I watched, “Young Sheldon” (CBS, 8:30pm)  was tonight’s premiere of a prequel (set in 1989) of current sitcom leader “The Big Bang Theory.”  The 9-yr-old Sheldon, which, due to his super-high intellect, got into high school, but he could not socialize properly with the other kids.  He studied the entire student handbook, and rather than focus on his schoolwork, he would complain about his fellow classmates, picking on violations of dress & groom code.  This enters other spheres as well, such as church (questioning his fellow members about some moral issues, analogous to his behavior at school), among others.  It shows Christians should use our intelligence (or any gifts) to his glory, and be modest about it.  It was quite hilarious, and I’ll try to a loyal viewer!

The next show, on ABC this same night, at 10pm was “The Good Doctor.”  It involved a doctor who was also an autistic-savant, perhaps in his 20s.  Based on knowledge he learned in medical school, he was ambitious to become a surgeon.  At an airport, using his rich human anatomy knowledge (probably a photographic memory involved?), when a boy fell through a glass, and had bleeding in his neck and was unconscious, and needed some serious emergency attention, such as CPR, etc., he was there.  Here’s the twist:  he would, like Sheldon in the other show, question authority.  He may have those “Gray’s Anatomy” figures filled in this head to help him, but most other doctors wouldn’t want his advice based on such.  The more seasoned doctors had the experience, which in the  medical profession, typically leads over strict knowledge.  I may have high-functioning autism, but I could never memorize those anatomical figures.  Remember, he had that “savant syndrome,” which while perception and memory of the sharp detail is amazing, common sense was trailing.

The board eventually welcomed this new surgeon into their hospital.  There’s a catch, though could be in the OR, he couldn’t perform surgeries!  So he was a spectator watching the team of surgeons do their job.  Also, his motives were inappropriate:  One is money, the other is the death of a pet rabbit and a childhood friend.  (Or as he said it, “they went to heaven”). Well, if one is officially dead, get over it!  Surgery won’t bring them back.  If the hospital is a typical secular institution, that would not be the best way of communicating it.  Overall, he had no empathy.

So while “Young Sheldon” was a pleasant sitcom, “The Good Doctor” was a little far-fetched.  But they share a common theme:  humility is key when dealing with professionals — or even peers.  (Phil. 2:1-11)

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The Price is Wrong

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Mat 6:24, ESV)

Greed.  People, especially Americans, too often develop an insatiable appetite for it.  And one daytime show has always celebrated filthy lucre on American TV, for 45 years and counting.  That show is none other than “The Price is Right,” a late-morning staple on the CBS television network since 1972, which serves the US, both in the eras of radio and TV, and has been a leader in ratings (which also have a greedy connection, but that’s for another post).  It has also aired on the other two major US networks (NBC and ABC).  But their power had nothing like CBS has had.

Procedure

First, when the show opens, four contestants are called to “Contestants’ Row.”  They are presented an item to bid on.  (This “bidding” is quite different than that at auctions, also for another post.)  Whoever has the highest bid among the four without going over the actual retail price.  If all four go over, they try again.  One strategy that contestants use is to bid a mere dollar, the ultimate way to avoid overbidding, which will work if the other three have overbid.  The winner of that item then is in for more, using a “pricing game.”  There are a truckload of them, but their central aim is to get prizes (two of their major prizes are cars and trips, and an occasional money game.)  There are three pricing games.  After each game, another contestant is called to fill in the missing seat.  Even if you lose, you still are entitled to “Showcase Showdown,” when you spin a wheel, which in itself can give you cash occasionally.  The wheel must not go over $1.00, but as close as possible.  The entire cycle repeats: bids, pricing games, and then the second showdown.

The “Showcase”

The climax of the game is known as the showcase.  This gives two contestants from the game (one of which is the “winner,” which I think is the one closer to the dollar in the showdowns.). The showcase is a complex of prizes, often with a theme.  When one of the two views the showcase, s/he can decide to bid or pass.  Now if you bid, the next contestant is stuck with the other prize, and you the originally designated one.  If you pass, the other contestant is stuck with your prize, and what s/he would have bid on is now yours, and you can’t get away with it.  The winner also has a privilege:  if the difference between the actual price and his or her bid is less than a certain amount, you’ll win both showcases.

So this double showcase winner, euphoric as he may be, combined with all the different prizes he has accrued, I assume he will be terribly miserable in just a few short weeks.  Alas, it’s a luck of the draw.  It’s your problem now.

Conclusion/Advice

You can see Satan’s cunning schemes here, can’t you?  Joy does not come from physical property.  It is part of the “fruit of the Spirit” that Christians enjoy.  Sure, you can enjoy the physical items for their purpose, but you must remember we are nothing without God.  So I think it may be time for “The Price is Right” to bid farewell (pun intended) to the airwaves.  And yes, keep a low profile in the Los Angeles metro.

If I were you and seriously couldn’t do anything but watch TV at 11:00 AM (when the Price is Right airs), try ABC’s the View, a talk show that makes controversial topics (e.g., politics) funny, or whatever NBC offers in your area.  And don’t forget cable/satellite, if you have it.  The new over-the-air “bonus” channels offer programs of all kinds (which rival cable’s heyday), often annexed to traditional stations.

Dr. Phil, 14 Years Is Enough

Since 2002, Dr. Phil McGraw has made unnecessary stardom out of psychology.  A specialist in forensic psychology, Oprah Winfrey chose him for advice on some case years ago, and he got his own show.  The rest, as they say, is history.  And that history spanning 14 years has just never makes any progress.

In today’s episode, first to be profiled was a 12-year-old girl who was extremely homicidally violent and it got so medically based he had to surrender this case to the realm of psychiatry.  With the help of an MRI radiologist, a prescription was dropped from her profile, a diagnosis was proposed, and she was behaving herself better.

But did they really need Dr. Phil?  They could have gone to a local psychologist and/or psychiatrist, and settle the matter there.

The other story covered was a grown man addicted to video games, perhaps as an excuse for a blood disorder.  Now Dr. Phil has nothing to do with blood, so he shouldn’t even go there.  Leave that to cardiologists and hematologists.  As for the relationship with his wife and child, psychology or even plain marital/family counseling could fit the bill.

See?  The white flag was flown twice.  Also, a few years ago, via Internet, he was equating a suicidal nature to not fearing death.  In reality, though, suicidal thoughts mean wanting to die, a completely different thing.  Could this be his misapplied forensic training haunting him?

In the ending credits, as usual, despite being an “advice” show, you’ll still need a professional for genuine advice.  (Just like the medical shows “The Doctors” and “Dr. Oz.”)  But I personally wouldn’t (pardon the pun) recommend any one with an social or emotional problem to Dr. Phil.

After all, are these matters really our business?