Category Archives: Everything I Know I Learned From Television

Productive Anxiety

You ever Sheldonwatch The Big Bang Theory? Hilarious sitcom about four nerdy scientists from Cal Tech.

In “The Anxiety Optimization” (Season 8 Episode 13), Dr. Sheldon Cooper has an epiphany after struggling to make a breakthrough in his newly chosen field of Dark Matter.

Sheldon: “The reason I may not be progressing in my research is I’ve created too pleasant an environment for myself. According to a classic psychological study by Yerkes and Dobson, in order to maximize performance, one must create a state of productive anxiety. So, I like to ask you all to do something for me. Keep me on my toes. Throw me off my game. And essentially, go out of your way to make my life miserable.”

Gang: “What’s in it for us? (slight pause) Okay we’ll do it!” Hilarity ensues as his friends torment him for sport.

(Hebbian version of the Yerkes-Dodson law) OriginalYerkesDodson.svg Continue reading Productive Anxiety

Resist the Unremarkables

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You ever watch the show Community? My guilty pleasure because of the brilliant writing and the fact that I dropped out of more community colleges than anyone you know. The show’s off the right air now but it’s coming back in two weeks as a Yahoo online production.

In the episode “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” (Season 3 Episode 13), John Goodman plays Vice Dean Robert Laybourne, the head of Greendale College’s air conditioning repair school. In a pivotal scene, he drives a wedge between friends Abed and Troy (Dani Pudi and Donald Glover), in his never-ending quest to get Troy, an HVAC savant, to enroll in the air conditioning school.

Using a comparison to Troy and Abed’s favorite show, “Inspector Spacetime”, Vice Dean Laybourne fuels their argument over the building of their pillow fort. He suggests that Troy cannot appreciate Abed’s vision, because he is like Inspector Spacetime’s loyal but unremarkable sidekick Reggie. This dialogue caused me to sit bolt upright on the couch, as if the frigid overflow of a leaky air conditioner had dripped down my neck… Continue reading Resist the Unremarkables