Asked how her character Dr. Allison Cameron in the tv series “House” (2004-2012) can be so attracted to Dr. Gregory House [played by Hugh Laurie], actor Jennifer Morrison agreed House is a “misanthrope” but thinks he also has “that rebellious Renaissance man thing going that women find endlessly attractive.
“House speaks 10 different languages, plays the piano, and he doesn’t care what people think or what the rules are. That’s sexy.”
But, she notes, he also uses his intelligence “to look down on people.” [TV Guide mag. May 22-28 2006]
The troubled genius stereotype
In a newspaper article several years ago [So Smart It Hurts], reporter John Clark noted that “In movies and books, geniuses are nearly always troubled.
“That way, we can feel better about ourselves.
“An all too common stereotype is that geniuses must be miserable. In Hollywood, you can never be too rich or too thin, but you can be too smart. It’s OK to have a beautiful face. It’s not OK to have a beautiful mind.”
But maybe that is changing; there seem to be more film and tv characters having brilliant minds while still being realistic people – even with their dysfunctions or eccentricities on display to keep them dramatically interesting.
More realistic roles
In the witty tv series “Bones,” cocky FBI Agent Seeley Booth (played by David Boreanaz) often makes snide remarks about forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan (Emily Deschanel), such as “We call you people ‘squints,’ because they’re always squinting at things.”
And she retorts, “You mean people with high IQs and basic reasoning skills?”
[From my article Being Creative and Self-critical.]
While showing an engaging disregard – or ignorance – of some “common knowledge” idioms, and pop culture references, ‘Bones’ generally has a healthy regard for her worth and capabilities, making her a good role model for highly talented people.
In her article Are You a Scanner?, Barbara Sher talks about people who are “genetically wired to be interested in many things… the owner of a remarkable, multitalented brain trying to do its work in a world that doesn’t understand who you are and doesn’t know why you behave as you do.”
Maybe some of these film and tv characters – even with qualities like the contemptuous arrogance of Dr. House – can help us be more accepting, even celebratory, about being exceptional.