I’ve stated before that I am very picky about the shows that I watch. I tend to avoid shows like The Big Bang Theory in which nerds are portrayed as stereotypical men who barely function socially and obsess over stuff nobody cares about. And it’s not just because “oh they’re making fun of nerds and I am one.” I always think that there is a way for nerdy and comedy to go together. Shows like Doctor Who and Buffy rank very high on the nerdy factor, but there are few, if any, nerdy characters.
Enter Scorpion or </scorpion> as shown by the title. It’s allegedly based on the life of Walter O’Brien, but I tend to think that the whole “based on a real story” was just the selling point for this action/dramedy. Not only does this show have nerdy characters, but it also shows that there are different ways to be smart. Not to mention *GASP* the rare-in-TV-but-common-in-real-life thing called “female nerds.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the plot.
The premise of Scorpion is that “Scorpion” is the name of a group of geniuses who work as government consultants, under the watch of Homeland Security Officer Gabe Gallo (played by Robert Patrick of Terminator 2 fame). The leader of the team is Walter O’Brien (played by Elyes Gabel), who is the least socially functional out of all of them.
He rationalizes a lot of his reckless actions and claims not to believe in emotions such as love, but I personally think he’s in total denial of his emotions because his emotions have led him the wrong way before. The humor at his expense often happens when his reckless actions make things worse for everyone else. It took me a long time to warm up to him, but his love for his sister and Gabe (whom he sees as a father figure) and his growing affection for Paige and Ralph helped things.
Sylvester Dodd (played by Ari Stidman) is the closest thing to the more stereotypical nerd: overweight, obsessed with comic books, and amazing with numbers. But guess what? Sylvester is also the first of the team to enter into a happy and functioning relationship. Score one for the geeks getting the girl! In the intro to the show, Sylvester is described as the “human calculator,” and is seen having OCD tendencies and lots of moments where he has to face some kind of irrational phobia. However, Sylvester is a lovable cowardly lion, able to face his fears. And out of everyone on the team, he has the highest EQ, which means he understands his own emotions better than the other geniuses. It’s also why he eventually gets in a relationship with Walter’s sister, Megan.
Toby Curtis (played by Eddie Kaye Thomas) is the behaviorist. He can tell how everyone else is feeling by looking at nonverbal cues and gestures. He’s also a gambling addict and he wears the coolest hat. Next to Walter, Toby is usually the one who gets the team in trouble most often, but he has a lot more cool factor because, like Sylvester, he’s more in tune with his emotions. Two major story arcs in the first season revolve around Toby’s flirtations and attempts at having a relationship with fellow genius Happy Quinn and Toby majorly shipping Walter and Paige.
Happy Quinn (played by Jadyn Wong) is my second favorite character next to Sylvester because A) she’s a female geek, B) she’s Asian, and C) she is not the hacker of the team or some other kind of Asian stereotype. Hallelujah, this is how characters are supposed to be written! She is the mechanical genius, a job usually given to men, and like Walter, Happy is someone out of touch with her emotions due to issues in the past. She is also a major tsundere. What is a tsundere, you ask? To quote TV Tropes, a tsundere is “A character who frequently criticizes their love interest and acts cranky to everyone else, but is sweet and lovestruck on the inside.” She’s often saying mean things to Toby and Paige, but she really loves them underneath all that bite.
Paige Dineen (played by Katharine McPhee of American Idol and Smash fame) is the only non-genius on the team and acts as the “translator,” helping the geniuses of Scorpion understand the outside world and vice versa. The best example of this is in the episode “Once Bitten, Twice Die,” when she figured out ways to keep the diplomats from Belarus, Lithuania, and Latvia under control. She gets recruited onto the team because her son, Ralph, turns out to be a genius and not “challenged” like she originally thought. Ralph develops a close bond with all the geniuses, especially Walter. Furthering complicating things is Paige’s ex-husband Drew, who plays baseball for a minor league team.
Gabe Gallo acts as the “parental unit” of the team. As stated before, he’s a father figure for Walter, but he sees the other geniuses as his own children as well. This is because he’s divorced from his first wife and lost a child. The majority of the season revolves around Walter and Cabes father/son relationship.
The season develops the characters in a very realistic way. Happy and Toby, for example, embark on a relationship, but Toby’s emotional issues end the relationship before it even starts. Walter’s growing fondness for Paige and Ralph contributes to a seriously reckless action that leads to the season finale. Sylvester faces his phobias and falls in love with Megan and it’s shown that the team really cares about him. And like every other show I love, the Scorpion team develops into a family. I highly recommend you watch this show and I can’t wait for the second season!