I’m planning to write an intermittent series of articles about Eureka in this space, so kindly offered to me by Jason. Don’t look for episode recaps, or cast interviews. Those are best found HERE and HERE. I won’t be writing about the Writers Guild strike and its impact on the show (but as a writer, I do support it). I will be writing about Eureka from my own personally skewed perspective. Why? Because whenever I watch Eureka, it reminds me of family, friends, and acquaintances.
As someone who grew up and lived for many years near a plethora of high security military bases of all stripes, and quasi-government installations (such as NASA), Eureka satisfies (albeit fictionally) that “what the heck are they doing over there?” part of me. As someone with family members who could settle in and be at home in Eureka, it has a familiar feel. It’s classified as “sci-fi lite”, and while that may appeal to those who aren’t hardcore science fiction fans, I think it is a disservice to the show in the end. Eureka is ultimately a show that explores what it’s really like to be human beings in occasionally absurd and/or often extraordinary circumstances.
Eureka has come under some criticism from geeky bloggers who complain that it represents the scientific community in an absent minded, stereotypical fashion. I have a response to that. Yeah, it does. And your point is…? They also portray the sensible scientists, er, um, scientist quite favorably.
I have had the good fortune to work with some brilliant folks in my time (along with the usual idiots we all endure). Eureka’s citizens reminds me of some of them…the brilliant ones, that is. Once upon a time, I walked outside into the parking lot after work. There I discovered a brilliant team member standing in the pouring rain. He was no doubt contemplating some secret of the universe far beyond my ken (you may think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not). Like the urban legendary and proverbial much maligned turkey, he had his mouth open (they actually panic and run), and he was staring up into the sky. I slowly walked up to him and spoke to him. No answer. I called his name. No answer. LOUDER. No answer. He was soaked to the skin, taking on water, and might even have choked or drowned, etc. I don’t know CPR, and it’s possible the brilliant man might have died. and it would have all been my fault. Clearly, I had to save us both. I reached over, shook his arm, and said his name really loudly (okay, so maybe I yelled). He startled out of his reverie. I told him it was raining. He shook himself a bit, looked at me with confusion, thanked me and went to his car. I waited to leave until he was gone. I wasn’t really anxious to drive out with him. I hope he gets a smart car just like Zoe’s some day…that is, one that includes the mobile SARAH (Self Actuated Residential Automated Habitat).
On the family front, my own grandfather (a research pathologist) once inadvertently locked a Staten Island city official in an elevator shaft. Old grandpa was working on polio vaccines during an epidemic. The poor city official rode up and down in the elevator for hours, trying to get out. It was actually all Mrs. Takebi’s fault – she was one of several unused research monkeys on the back porch (grandpa used horse serum), but that’s another story. So you see, Eureka seems almost like home to me.
As you may have guessed by now, I tend to identify with Sheriff Carter, the overarching, quasi-parental figure in the town of Eureka. While he struggles to be a good parent to his teenage daughter, Zoe, he has to keep the brilliant folks in Eureka from blowing up their town, and possibly the world. It’s not always easy, and I know just how he feels.
Still, Sheriff Carter has evolved since the series start. That is, his shortcomings in the quantum physics, string theory, DNA genome department are still apparent, but many of the good intentioned, if distracted folks of Eureka have accepted him. Still he remains the self-questioning “everyman,” who occasionally has flashes of intuition and an almost Holmesian instinct for clues. His foibles are human, in a town where human foibles are often the undoing of scientific method. He’s a sheriff in a town where human spontaneous combustion and invisibility are just average days at work. Besides, he’s cute and appealing in that hapless way that endears him to women who like puppies with three legs.
While I often find myself in the dubious Sheriff Carter seat, I do have my favorite scientist characters in the town, just like anyone. Next time, I’ll visit a few of those.
(Blogger “Shiny1″ is also known as Patricia deVarennes)
[tags]Eureka, sci-fi, TV, humor, fan[/tags]