Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №22/2008

Amazing Stories from the Web

continued from No. 21

Part 6. EUREKA!

Pre-Reading: Discussion Questions.

1. What do you consider a great discovery?
2. What would you like to discover, or to be discovered, in the nearest future?

Eureka means “I’ve found it” in Greek. When people say it, they may remember Archimedes, who was in his bath when he discovered a way of measuring density. As the story goes, the genius was so overjoyed that he rushed outside naked, shouting the word “EUREKA!” at the top of his voice. Though his discovery played a huge role in the development of physics, the word itself still carries a humorous connotation.

When this same word was chosen as the title for a new TV show, as well as the name for the town where the action takes place, viewers understood that there might be many humorous scenes in it, together with the totally serious ones. The pilot episode seems quite tame at first. Were it not shown on the Sci-Fi (science fiction) channel, we would not have expected anything unusual to happen.

On his way to L.A., rebellious teenage daughter in tow, a U.S. marshal is forced to spend a few days in tiny Eureka, which turns out to be populated by geniuses and their families (in essence, the world’s largest think tank) which have been relocated there by the Department of Defense to develop new technologies, including weapons. The town experiences some excitement when an experiment causing the laws of physics to break down coincides with the marshal’s visit.

Before you could say EUREKA, the show shot to the top of the charts. It became a huge success, not only with those who habitually watch the Sci-Fi Channel, but also with the general public. In fact, the projected mini-series is now in its third season, with no sign of stopping. When PEOPLE magazine put Barak Obama on the cover, with the caption “The Obamas at Home”, one of the rival magazines immediately printed a picture of the very relaxed EUREKA hero and his daughter on the inside cover, with the caption, “The Carters at home”.

The show’s success, as critics and viewers agree, is largely due to its protagonist, the fearless sheriff Carter. Though not a genius himself, Jack Carter has an unerring nose for trouble, and the ability to cope with the unexpected. He is willing to pursue the villain, and to uphold justice, no matter what happens. And in Eureka, a lot happens. The leading actor is totally believable, and it is easy for us to identify with him. Although he seems to be a bit young for the father of a girl aged 16, we accept their relationship good-naturedly, since their portrayal of the classical strict but loving father, and a rebellious gifted teenager, is immediately recognizable by parents and adolescents alike.

A strapping blond Canadian actor with good looks and an easy-going screen presence, Colin Ferguson was born on July 22, 1972 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He started out as a standup comic while still in college. He won a public speaking contest at age 17 and refined his skills as a comedian and improvisation performer, eventually co-founding the troupe On the Spot, which has performed numerous times in the “Just for Laughs Festival”. From a pool of some 2000 hopefuls, Ferguson was selected to initiate the Detroit satellite of the famed Second City, eventually withdrawing to complete his college education. Once graduated, he landed the lead in “Rowing Through” (1996) which led to his moving to Los Angeles.

After appearances in a handful of TV pilots which closed down after just one episode, or were not shown at all, Ferguson attracted attention as amnesia victim Burke Andrew in the Showtime miniseries “Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City” (1998). That same year, he was seen in the flashback sequences as Lisa Kudrow’s brother in the superior “The Opposite of Sex”. After completing “The Surprise Party” (1999), in which he starred as the birthday boy, Ferguson made his US TV debut as the uptight lawyer and former husband of a book editor. Ferguson worked with television director Neill Fearnley on a pair of nostalgic, music-minded TV biopics: “Daydream Believers: The Monkees Story” (VH1, 2000), with Ferguson playing the fictionalized character Van Foreman; and “Inside the Osmonds” (ABC, 2001), with Ferguson playing real-life recording executive Mike Curb. He next appeared as Dr. Witt in the much-praised HBO film “We Were the Mulvanys” (2002) based on the well-known Joyce Carol Oates novel, opposite Blythe Danner, actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother. The actor would at last have his opportunity to become a household name when he was cast as charismatic, cocky Patrick Bateman, the king of conquest in NBC’s “Coupling” (2003), an Americanized version of the hit BBC comedy that was named the Must-See TV successor to the departing “Friends.” Ferguson also had brief appearances in such popular shows as “CSI: Miami”, as “the best-looking corpse in the series”, as well as in some big screen films. But his real breakthrough was the role of sheriff Carter in EUREKA.

It is clear why Jack Carter is so lovable. Besides being a great father, brother, a good professional dedicated to his job, he is also one of us, that is the people who are not very sure what they see when they come to the “institute of advanced science”, or who do not speak the language of geniuses. When confronted with yet another instance of an experiment gone wrong, or a mysterious event, Sheriff Carter simply asks, “So what happens when this thingy is turned on?” And we can relax. Though not possessing an IQ of 200 or so, our hero will definitely find a way out of any difficult situation.

When asked by the media about his attitude to the fact that before EUREKA, most of his pilot episodes were either short-lived, or cancelled, Ferguson gives a standard answer which shows his roots as a standup comic: “It was a great experience. And the checks all cleared”. Meaning that he was paid for his work, and he also had something new in his portfolio.

connotation (n.) additional or supposed meaning
in tow (expression) pulled along, both directly and figuratively
think tank (expression) a group of people experienced in a particular subject; experts, geniuses
caption (n.) words printed above or below a picture, illustration etc.
rival (adj.) competitive
protagonist (n.) the chief character in a play or story
strapping (adj.) big and strong

If you are interested in this story, you can use a search engine at <yahoo.com>. On your left, you will see a line which says Movies/TV. Click on the link, and then type the show’s name in the Search line.

to be continued

By Nina Koptyug ,