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December 16 2010

Eliza Dushku in TV Guide's "Worst of 2010" list. She is on the list for her guest spot on The Big Bang Theory.

I was underwhelmed by it, she was miscast and didn't have much to work with. It was the highest rated episode since the season premiere so that's awesome.

[ edited by JAYROCK on 2010-12-17 11:22 ]
Yes, this really needed to be posted. Stay classy, guys.

I don't think there was anything wrong with Eliza's performance besides just a bad writing job. There just wasn't anything there, and really the entire episode seemed forced. Hardly "Worst of" material.
I agree Jayrock- I was really looking forward to it but it seems like she was underused. The Big Bang Theory is usually really funny and they tend to honor their guest stars in awesomely geeky ways (Katee Sackhoff and George Takei were SO great)... it might have been better if they'd found a less monotonous character for her.
Katee Sackhoff and George Takei appeared as 'themselves' (albeit part of Howard's imagination) which is why they were so hilarious. Eliza needed to have shown up as herself, with references to Buffy and Dollhouse and Tru Calling. I'm wondering if the writers didn't think that she was star enough or epic enough for anyone to understand those references? Although I think Katee was sort of a long shot as well, given that BSG showed on a cable network. Have there been many Buffy references in TBBT?

I needed her to show up with a stake or something. That would have been amazing.
I thought it was fine.
Ms. Dushku rose to the occasion, but the material just wasn't there. Blaming her for the fail of the episode is a bad, unfair critique. It was like one of the producers got Ms. Dushku on the show and the writers were like "what do we do with her? We already exhausted the Geeks Meet Hot Celebrity joke with Summer Glau!" That material might have been funny if they'd hired Gillian Anderson

It seems silly that in the BBT reality Summer Glau, George Smoot and Wil Wheaton are real but Eliza Dushku and Lewis Black are fictional.
I was disappointed, but I don't blame Eliza. It's just hard to buy someone that gorgeous as an FBI agent, and the writing of the episode itself was pretty lame. Here's hoping she lands some better spots in 2011.
I don't know. I mean, after awhile you've got to wonder whether all the material she gets is wooden, or whether she turns all the material she gets into wood. I'll admit, I've never been a huge fan of hers. I thought she was fine in Dollhouse, but mostly hated her character on Buffy. I've always thought her acting was wooden, and so when I saw her act on Big Bang I wasn't terribly surprised with the result. I love Joss, and nearly everything he does, but I never saw in her what he sees. The same goes for Summer Glau, whose appearance on Big Bang was adequate only because she didn't actually have to say much. That style worked well when she was playing a robot, but I've yet to see her in anything where I was actually impressed.

And yeah, I know I'm going to get blasted for saying this, but it's just my impression.
Eliza wasn't the best actress on Buffy (that award goes to SMG quite easily, IMO) however I don't think there's a single scene in the entire series where I think she acts badly. Pretty much every other actor/actress has at least one moment, even Sarah in Welcome to the Hellmouth, but I think Eliza was flawless throughout. As I said, I still don't think it makes her the best actress on the show but I do think she was consistently great. Thereís not even a second where I didnít totally buy her portrayal of Faith.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-12-17 04:07 ]
Ern, wait for "The Cape". I believe Summer will have a personality in that one.

[ edited by JAYROCK on 2010-12-17 05:11 ]
I've never found the show funny, it seems very forced in its jokes. Not surprised that guest stars picked for their geek cred in dramas haven't made a strong impression. I did see the Summer Glau ep and blergh. It wasn't her acting, it was the whole "Omg it's Summer Glau! Let's try our pickup lines on her!" setup that she's reacting to. It was sad.
The show is hilarious to me. And a lot of the guest stars make very strong impressions, like the girl from Battlestar Galactica. Really, Eliza, sadly, is the only one who didn't do so well, but that's because it was a terrible role. She was the lead in two genre shows and a big part of a third (and forth if you count Angel), she should not have appeared as anyone but herself.
If you've only watched one episode then it is easy to miss many of the recurring jokes that took place during the Summer Glau episode.

The Eliza episode was not one of the best written epsisodes. As has already been stated, other guest celebs get to play off of their iconic roles, and it would have been nice if the writers did that for Eliza. Her role could have been played with any unknown guest actor.

Nothing forced about the humor on Big Bang. If you were ever a part of that type of geek group, it rings quite true.
YES it does ring true. It makes me laugh until I cry. The first season isn't quite as good, but then Sheldon started saying 'Bazinga' and I was hooked. ;)

No, the fact is that I have dated people very very similar to three of the four main characters. Raj is another matter, but. It makes me laugh so hard because so much of it is actually very similar to those kind of people. My kind of people. Yes, it's exaggerated, but YES. I did date someone who is very much like Sheldon. Sheldons exist. I know one.
For me, Big Bang Theory is the funniest scripted network sitcom in a long time, and may be this generation's Seinfeld before it's all over.
Either my sarcasm detector is wonky this morning or that really (like, really, really. Like, "Two units of 'Oh Really ?'" to this comment, stat ! ;) goes to show that nothing's as subjective as humour. This generation's 'Seinfeld' ? And to reiterate ? Nah, i'm going with the sarcasm thing ;).

Nothing forced about the humor on Big Bang. If you were ever a part of that type of geek group, it rings quite true.

This is a standard response when TBBT is criticised but I don't agree. I've been a geek since before being a really big fan of X meant you're "an X geek" (though not quite as far back as the biting the heads off chickens days ;), many of my friends routinely make jokes related to physical/mathematical constants, truth tables, the different program divisions in Cobol code and so on and yet a lot of the geek humour in TBBT still feels forced to me - they're geeks as portrayed by non-geeks IMO, as often the butt of the joke as not and I say that as someone who's seen every episode and often enjoys the show in a take it or leave it stylee.

'Spaced', for all its surreality, captures being a geek more truthfully (and more affectionately) than TBBT ever will IMO (even though that's more the comics/gamer end of the spectrum).

As to the part, Eliza's Fed was written very straight, by the book with basically no funny lines at all and that's how she played her. The way it was written in fact it's like she wasn't even a guest star, just another actor playing a one-off supporting character. Totally wasted in other words. Katee Sackhoff, George Takei and even Summer were all much better served.
Another vote for unfortunate writing. It's not that writing in that ep was bad, per se, but when you are writing a straight man (or in this case, straight woman) role for the comedic characters to play off of, it's really hard to make that role interesting.

Dushku is, IMO, a pretty decent actress, but not very consistent - sometimes she's fantastic, sometimes she's kinda blah. But that role itself was just plain blah and I'm not sure how she possibly could have made it fun.

And as for TBBT, it too is inconsistent. I've rolled my eyes (not in a good way) at about half of its humor, and laughed out loud at the other half.
TBBT is great the best sitcom on TV for a long time. But! The character written for her as KariAri said was in the form of the straight women and traditionally they aren't great characters, they are a tool for the main characters to play off of. She did a good job with what she was given and that's from someone who isn't a huge fan of her acting.

It's a shame they didn't have her appear as herself more in line with other celebrity guest stars.

To make it up they need to get Captain Mal to guest star especially after their Firefly references.
Mayim Bialik is also well served. But I agree with saje; these are geeks as written by non-geeks in overly broad fashion, like the gays in Will and Grace were played too broadly as well. Sort of playing on the stereotype without considering any level of depth at all.

I do not tend to watch comedies on TV- no real characters for me to invest in. I cannot fathom HIMYM, for example. I simply don't know people like that. Same here.
Its not Eliza's fault that the character they wrote for her wasn't humorous - she only got one marginally funny piece of dialogue about her wedding ring :/ + plus shes an FBI agent, theres not really much funny jokes to slip in .

faneater is right, her character was created for other characters to play off, and I think that her and sheldon's scenes were hilarious XD
To be honest the episode was slacking, Leonard was being self-pitying and narcissistic, and Raj was being forcefully awkward, and the only highlight for me was seeing Eliza and Penny back.
Ern hit the nail on the head. Nuff said.
You know what would be hilarious? If they were to go to a restaurant and Jewel Staite was there in the background having a feast.

ETA: And as to whether the geek humor on the show is authentically played or not, I will say this in their favor: there's a hoberman sphere on a book shelf in their living room.

ETA:ETA:I also wouldn't be surprised if smart people's opinions on how accurate the show's humor is has a direct relationship with where they themselves fall on the smart person spectrum (I haven't seen very much of the show myself, but I'm pretty sure it does a good job of representing the whole community - for better or worse.)

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-12-17 19:59 ]
When it comes to comedy, the only thing I'm bothered about is, does it make me laugh? Big Bang Theory definitely does not. I agree with Sunfire that the jokes are really forced. And there's nothing worse than uproarious canned laughter at jokes you find completely unfunny.

And while I'm at it, I never found Seinfeld funny either. (Bring on the flame throwers! ;).
So to you it is this generation's 'Seinfeld', they're humour equivalent ;).

The props, toys, whiteboard equations etc. on the show are done quite well I reckon, many of them being spot on in the believability stakes (as are many of the references, or the ones I understand anyway). But I have kind of a thing for checking out character's bookshelves and Leonard and Sheldon also seem to have quite a few introductory physics books and pretty much no field specific references (e.g. Sheldon appears to be a string theorist but you couldn't tell from his books, most of which are general physics, the kind of thing a smart high-schooler or early undergraduate might have) and at first glance they've more biology than anything else. So even there it feels like a bunch of non-scientists/geeks filling shelves with what they see as "science books" (though I guess you can fan-wank that some of those're their college textbooks that they kept for sentimental reasons and since none of them are biologists it also makes sense that they might have quite a few introductory biology books just out of general interest. That and Sheldon's issue with germs).

But that stuff is relatively easy to get right anyway, doesn't say much about the writing, tone or characterisation.
Yeah, its like saying they are comic book geeks because they enter a comic book store every 10 episodes. They go in there to dish about their... love-lives generally, no comic book stuff gets discussed.

Dana5140, I find that last sentence strange. Have you not seen some of the NBC comedies? The Office in its prime was a comedy and had a good level of pathos (and even love) to it all. The Gervais/Merchant version is much more of a character study than its American counterpart, but its still got the goods some of the time. Parks and Recreation also gets the emotion just right for a comedy. It's believable and smart, as well as funny. Of course, all of this without mentioning the best one - Community: the show goes off-the-wall sometimes, but the only reason it can do that is because of its grounded, consistent and lovable characters. It has the continuity of something like Arrested Development but instead of being selfish jerks (who I liked, but whatevs) there are some real and downright hilarious characters who play off each other fantastically.

Well, yeah. That's that. I do disagree about HIMYM to an extent since a lot of the time (and its just got this back this season) when the show isn't funny, it has solid characterisation to fall back on. It's sappy at times, but its a loveable CBS sitcom - the one which, imo, would call the smartest. It might not spout equations and multi-verses at every turn, but it constructs a good episode more often than not. Lawyer'd.
The Characters on TBBT are the same they were during the pilot. Leonards still a whiney loser looking for love, Sheldon still has that giant stick up his ass, Raj still can't talk to women without being drunk and Walowitz, girlfriend or no, is still a creepy perv. The only character who has actually grown over four seasons is Penny...and then only in as much as she can now understand some of the jibberish and 'geeky' references these four gits spew.

But back on target. Eliza might not be the best actress in the world, but she is a professional and does know her trade. She came in and did the job she was hired to do with the (less then adequate) material she was forced to work with. If the performance wasn't uproarously funny or memorable, it wasn't because of her. It was that the role itself was a rather unremarkable, utilitarian role. One that probably been left to an unknown actress rather then being used as an excuse for some ill-conceived stunt-casting.

Eliza's performance should, by no means, be considered one of 'the worst of 2010'.

P.S. Jaymii, nice to see some Love for Community on Whedonesque. IMHO Community is the best Comedy on TV these days and is also the show that most reminds of BtVS. Not because of the subject matter, but more because of the underlying themes (created family), the over-all (and underappreciated) quality of the show; and devotion to the characters and the 'Hero's Journey' each character is on that that writers, producers and actors bring to the series. If Joss were ever to make a half-hour sitcom, I'd imagine it would be something akin to Community.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand laywer'd. I love Community and HIMYM.
Don't think much of HIMYM but i've just been saying on another thread that 'Community' could easily end up in the same dramatically versatile league as MASH IMO (particularly after 'Cooperative Calligraphy' and "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" - i've seen people complain that that ep. wasn't funny but man, for a Christmas episode it was actually pretty dark, not in a "Oh no, someone's trying to ruin Christmas !" sort of way but by portraying the actual emotional truth of the festive season, to me episodes like that raise a show above "mere" comedy and push it towards general dramatic greatness). Unless it's killed before it gets the chance which it probably will be.

Two great things though a) even if it's not renewed we still got 25 in S1 and 24 this season so that's nearly 50 episodes, whatever happens and b) Dan Harmon et al seem to be approaching it in exactly the right way i.e. they're just carrying on pushing envelopes and making an excellent show without pandering or LCDing what they have in a desperate bid to get ratings. Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

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