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Theremin Makes Cameo On Big Bang Theory

Last night's episode of the CBS series Big Bang Theory featured a sub-plot centered around the theremin! You can watch a clip of the show above, or click through to the show's website for the full scoop. This isn't the first time a theremin has been featured in a TV show plot, but given the popularity of the series, it's certainly helping expose a lot of new people to the theremin.


coalport 1/8/2011 5:35 AM
Sheldon says, "I've loved the theremin from the first moment I heard the Star Trek theme." Composer Alexander Courage did not use a theremin in his Star Trek theme. What Sheldon thought was a theremin is soprano Loulie Jean Norman.
Amethyste 1/8/2011 10:17 AM
It's cool that the Theremin is exposed to the TV Series, but I don't like how the message came across with a negative tone. Too bad they couldn't have the character actually play something pleasing rather than just a bunch of noises - as to re-inforce what unfortunately the general population thinks of a Theremin.

Oh well... We have much work to do ;)
Jason 1/9/2011 2:19 AM
Well put Amethyste. I used to struggle with how to respond to theremin exposure like this, but then I remembered that when the theremin discovered me, it was definitely not being played in a melodic way. It was used as a noise effect, but it immediately grabbed my attention. It wasn't until nearly a year later that I heard Clara Rockmore's album and really understood what the theremin could do near the hands of a master. I think one of the great things about the theremin is that magical attraction... it's ability to mystify and draw you in with it's simplicity regardless of how it's being played. So now, I look at theremin exposure like this positively, hoping that it will find the next master who can teach us more of its beauty.
GordonC 1/9/2011 5:18 AM
I don't worry about this sort of thing too much, because I know the rule. The rule is: Television gets [i]everything[/i] wrong. That is to say, any subject on which you have even the tiniest piece of expertise will be misrepresented, misused or otherwise maltreated.

Example: as a teenager I worked vacations in a timber yard supplying, amongst other things, mouldings to the film and TV industry. After I had worked there a couple of months I started spotting misused mouldings on the TV. Everywhere! OMGA! They're using an architrave as a dado rail! IDIOTS!

So.... Unusual Instrument Used As Comedy Prop On Comedy Show ... hardly a groundbreaking headline. Get over it.

If there is any disappointment here, surely it is that, once again (*) the full comic potential of this most expressive of instruments has failed to be realised.

(In the middle of rehearsing a piece for one of the Without Touch events in Germany, Lydia Kavina and Barbara Buchholz slipped into a dialogue between two kittens, ranging from playful to scrapping to wounded and insolent - a charming, lighthearted interlude.)

Lydia also does a lovely Humoresque. But even without her skills it just takes a little practice to use a theremin to make simply the [i]fruitiest[/i] of comedic wolf-whistles!

(OMGA - Oh, My Giddy Aunt!)

(*) Even Bill Bailey. Funny song. Theremin adds nothing to it.
Thomas Grillo
Thomas Grillo 1/9/2011 10:16 AM
There's a slightly longer clip which shows the entire theremin bit on youtube at
Greig 1/9/2011 12:04 PM
I'm now convinced that Sheldon Cooper is actually my clone. People keep commenting on my videos saying I look like him, and being a massive geek myself, I can relate to his character in lots of ways. I'm impressed that the writers even thought to use a theremin. I agree that it would have been nice if he had actually played the star trek theme well, but the fact that he even attempted a tune instead of simply making noises, is more than I expected from a sitcom like this.

Any publicity is good publicity, I say! Great Job, Jim Parsons and Bill Prady!
Thomas Grillo
Thomas Grillo 1/9/2011 12:16 PM
I agree. At least he made a good attempt. I can only imagin what the on, and off-set rehearsals must have been like. :)
petrino 1/19/2011 12:56 AM
if only they had made it appear like sheldon could actually play IT, and not just use it to annoy them, much like mozart would annoy people by playing something they didnt want to listen to. but instead people are annoyed as much as the geeks are by his failure at a new mystical instrument.
Thomas Grillo
Thomas Grillo 1/19/2011 1:08 AM
Hello Petrino. It would have been too difficult for them to pull that off in the short rehearsal periods they have between tapings. Also would have annoyed real thereminists who would've likely not appreciated seeing someone who did not know how to play pretending they did as is often the case in television and motion picture. However, I agree, it would've been nice to see the instrument portrayed in a more positive light. :)
omhoge 6/14/2011 10:42 PM
I just saw Jim Parsons in The Normal Heart. It's one of the best productions of any play I've seen. Very well directed and designed, the acting was fantastic, the whole production lifted the play out of itself in a way I did not think possible. And it packed a punch like you wouldn't believe.

It hits so many points, the cost of being weak in the face of the fear, denial of the truth, the cost of not being yourself, the terrible price of silence, and the amazing power of love and personal action. Everything in it is true, and so many more people have died since I saw the first production it blows my mind that there are still new cases of AIDS everyday, and I'm so thankful for the friends who are still alive and living with it.

If there is anyway for you to see it I hope you do. Mr Parsons does a great job as part of an astounding cast, and this could not be more different from his TV show.
coalport 6/15/2011 9:43 AM
Now I'm all confused!

The Reverend Jerry Falwell said that "AIDS is not only God's punishment for homosexuals, it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals".

Now I just don't know what to believe!
Amethyste 6/15/2011 9:48 AM
You believe what you want to believe in. There is no confusion.
coalport 6/15/2011 12:18 PM
Gosh, Amey, that sounds all luvvy-duvvy and warm & fuzzy and everything (you must be re-reading that 1960's bestseller "I'M O.K. - YOU'RE O.K." ) But what if you sincerely believe that your neighbor is an abomination and must be destroyed in the name of God, and then you start flying planes into buildings?

Or tie him to a chair and play the theremin for him for hours on end??!!

Amethyste 6/15/2011 12:59 PM

What is going on with you, Coalport?
Your gnarly and condescending replies (at least the ones to me) are not appreciated - did I do anything to you to deserve what you are writing.

Are you somehow trying to get me to leave TW?
I have been nothing else BUT nice to you.

Gosh, a little more tactfulness from your part would be greatly welcomed!
coalport 6/16/2011 5:24 AM
Oh come on Amey! If you don't know by now that I am gnarly and condescending then you've been asleep at your computer!

Frankly, I wouldn't want to subscribe to any forum that would have me as a subscriber!
Amethyste 6/16/2011 6:43 AM
Coalport wrote:

"Oh come on Amey! If you don't know by now that I am gnarly and condescending then you've been asleep at your computer!

Frankly, I wouldn't want to subscribe to any forum that would have me as a subscriber!"

Perhaps you ARE gnarly and condescending, but being so doesn't justify you writing in that manner. I have been brought up by my dad who taught us "social graces", like kindness, Thankfulness etc - you know, how to act when you are in public? Well, a forum is a modern public place and acting kindly toward each other is important. I didn't fly planes into buildings, and I am not a criminal neighbor. Your choice of words after my comments often leave me perplexed.

That being said, if being PP involves you being rude toward me (or other people), thankfully, I have the ability to at least ignore you. It's really too bad.... You have an incredible talent at the theremin and music, but your behavior somewhat taints that gift, at least to my eyes. As you say, I might be too lovey dovey or just too soft to your taste, but I feel good about "living with myself" when I go to bed at night, and I actually am happy with the person that I have become.
coalport 6/16/2011 9:41 AM
Amey wrote: "I didn't fly planes into buildings, and I am not a criminal neighbor. Your choice of words after my comments often leave me perplexed..."

Perhaps that's because you misunderstood those perplexing words. No one here has ever suggested that you "fly planes into buildings" or that you are a "criminal neighbor"!

Perish the thought!

In any case, I seem to upset you. So if I were you, I would pay no attention ever again to anything I write.

This whole thing is silly and waaaaaay off topic.
Amethyste 6/16/2011 10:06 AM
Truly, you cannot read in between the lines... Oh well.

Maybe other people might think the same as me but never wanted to speak their mind. You are direct and tell it like it is - and that's fine, there is a way to say things with tact and grace. I do speak my mind but when it is directed at you, then you don't like that. Sorry, it's not a one way street you know? You gotta be able to take in what you dish out.

And yes, it is a good advice to not pay attention to your attention craving personality. So I am done feeding your self annihilatious fire... :) No hard feelings... Right? :)

Sorry to all of you TW members that had to read what I had on my mind. Then again, I guess you are all used to it by now :)
Thomas Grillo
Thomas Grillo 6/16/2011 12:52 PM
This just in from Theremin Radio Network News:

There are reports that talks between the two factions have broken down, and that radiation is now being reported in nearby regions as reports of recent nuclear exchanges have been reported by reliable sources according to TRNN. In a statement by the representatives for one of the factions there is talk of a resumption of negotiations, saying "All we have to fear.....


GordonC 6/16/2011 5:36 PM
Jason 6/16/2011 6:20 PM
We love you all.
coalport 6/17/2011 7:37 AM
I have always been profoundly suspicious of people who claim to love everybody. I have observed that it is rarely true, even among the most presumably spiritual people, and those who say they love everybody do not hesitate, at the drop of a hat (a mitre, a yarmulka, or a fez) to fling an offending gosling from the nest (or from the ashram, or the congregation, or the temple).

The best justification for cruelty and rejection is the preservation of order and the common good.

"Oh, what a world!" - the last words of the Wicked Witch Of The West, after Dorothy accidentally threw water on her and melted her. A thinly disguised metaphor for baptism.
Touchless 6/17/2011 9:10 AM
Excluding the CBS show, odd harmonics resonate in this thread, “The Big Bang Theory”
addresses the origins of reality, and stirs theological and philosophical ideas.

“I'm free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.” W. C. Fields

AlKhwarizmi 6/18/2011 4:23 AM

[i]you (y)
1. Used to refer to the one or ones being addressed: I'll lend you the book. You shouldn't work so hard. See Regional Notes at you-all, you-uns.
2. Used to refer to an indefinitely specified person; one: You can't win them all.[/i]

I think coalport was using definition 2 when he talked about "you" flying planes into buildings. And even if he were using definition 1 it would still be a joke. It's sad to see people ceasing to speak to each other due to a joke... :/
Amethyste 6/18/2011 7:49 AM
Al -
It is just not this thread, there are others. Just the general "tone" and the choice of words that one chooses can be felt negatively by the other. THen again, most people will say "It's just the net ... or you are not reading this right". That's fair enough, but to me it was more than just that. This life is stressful enough (with work etc) that I really don't want added stress and other negative feelings when I come on TW. It should be about a "community", not just about 1 person. I do know the different meanings of the word "you", one thing I am positive about is there's no "I" in "you".

I am pretty sure no one does really care about me and what I think overall (little newbie), and that is fine. I am here to gain and share knowledge, not winning popularity contests. :)

Jeff S
Jeff S 6/18/2011 10:39 AM
"I am pretty sure no one does really care about me and what I think overall (little newbie),..." - Amethyste

Oh, I don't know about that. Some of us DO care, and it doesn't matter if you're a "newbie" or not.

Thankfully, this closes this thread. :-)

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