Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Geeks Rule!

I have mentioned that I once had breakfast with Chuck Lorre at a Writers Guild Craft Conference at the lovely Bruin Woods up at Lake Arrowhead. The WGA stopped doing the weekends years ago, but Len (who is the member of the WGA) and I really enjoyed the weekends, which consisted of four writers each talking about their work in 90 minute sessions and one two hour or so workshop. The rest of the three days, between meals, was open for hiking, swiming, boating, tennis, or going into Lake Arrowhead to shop.

Chuck had a cold the morning he spoke, and he had taken some heavy-duty medication which was still in effect when we were at breakfast. He was hysterical, and his lecture later that morning had the audience in stitches. Which is what happens to me every time I watch Big Bang Theory, his latest show on CBS. Last night had Len and I laughing until we cried, in no small part because we both were right inside the characters heads.

For those of you who don't watch the show, Sheldon and Leonard (yes, named for the famous actor/director) are research scientists at CalTech (you can see the building which houses the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals outside of one of the windows in their apartment.) Its a Warner Bros. show, which may explain the wide spread use of DC collectibles throughout the place, but the show is peppered with pop culture reference, particularly those which would make regular attendees of Comicon International feel right at home. (In some ways, it is like watching a weekly version of the wonderful Free Enterprise, with as many references to Star Trek.)

Sheldon and Leonard have two colleagues who are regulars on the show: one from India and the other who lives at home with mom, and there's a cute blond across the hall for whom Leonard feels unrequited love. Sara Gilbert occasionally makes an appearance as another Cal Tech scientist and I wish we'd see more of her. With no Aaron Sorkin on TV these days, it's the smartest writing on television.

Last night, Leonard placed an $800.00 bid on a model of the 1960 film version of the Time Machine (first picture, thanks to Google), and, much to his financial horror, he won. The boys all decided they could pay $200 a piece and share it. Then it arrived. It was the full-sized model, not the miniature Leonard had envisioned. Hilarity ensued, starting with the problem of getting it upstairs to the apartment (the elevator hasn't worked in two years.) We were roaring with laughter, in no small part because we both knew Len would have given his right arm to own the thing.

You see, we live in the same kind of home, where once someone said "you can't tell where the kid's stuff leaves off and the grown-up toys kick in." People just like to wander about looking at the collectibles and books. I was even willing to let Len try and bring home the brass and glass version of the Time Machine from the more recent DreamWorks film (below, thanks to Google), which was on display at Comicon the year it was released. Absolutely beautiful. It was bigger than our living room.

We're nowhere near as organized as Harlan Ellison's house (which is like a museum) and our stuff tends to have dust on it (forbidden in Harlan's place), but there are some very cool things, like the statues of as many of Len's characters as we've been able to find and afford: Swamp Thing, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and others. Like Sheldon, Len's clothing also features comic book characters, with a strong preference for those of his own creation. T-shirts, aloha shirts, hats, ties and jewelery, you name it, he's got it.

The boys of Big Bang Theory would be right at home if we invited them over for dinner. Of course, the fan boys of Big Bang Theory would probably all be stammering and unable to eat in the presence of The Famous Len Wein, LFL. I've seen that enough times over the past 19 years.

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