Before the first commercial break, Diane calls — I pick up the phone and the first words out of her mouth, before hello even, are: “He doesn’t have an MLS!” Well, his professor did say that he had, what, 22 degrees? I suppose one of them could have been an MLS. But it would have been nice if they had actually acknowledged that being a librarian means that, you know, you have a degree. And not just that you know everything. But then Erica Olsen said it best.
There was less ass-kicking than I had hoped, and of what there was, very little of it was done by the protagonist. Though I have to say that seeing Bob Newhart, ex-marine, kicking some ass was almost worth watching the whole thing. And what was up with those monks in Shangri-La? They should have been throwing down some serious shaolin ass-kicking.
In all seriousness though (despite the inappropriateness of being serious given the subject matter), I find it interesting that the library was portrayed as basically a fortress of secrets. (Though I suppose it was really more of a special collection, but let’s not nitpick.) What does this say about how librarians are perceived in popular culture? At the risk of overgeneralizing here: are librarians really perceived as secretive and hiding something? That we’re the keepers of some elusive secret knowledge? We need to work on PR for our services, boy.
Update, 1/20/05: The January issue of American Libraries had 2 short pieces on The Librarian, neither of which unfortunately is online: one was some quotes from actual librarians’ reactions to the show (p.25), and one was an editorial (p.44). Frankly, both the positive and the negative comments are pretty silly. Either viewers thought it was great that librarians were portrayed as Indiana Jones, only geekier, or they thought it was awful that librarianship was represented so inaccurately. It’s fantasy, people, get over it. Still, like Diane, a lot of people noticed that an MLS was not one of The Librarian’s 22 degrees.