What’s the big deal with ‘The Big Bang Theory’?
Actually, none. The nerdy sitcom created by Chuck Lorre (‘Two and a Half Men’, ‘Mike and Molly’) is a fine ensemble of funny adorkable actors who every week, through geeky circumstances, got involved on hilarious discussions we nerds can totally relate. Ok, not on the academic part. Not all nerds are PhDs.
However, the sitcom has received a huge amount of sustained backlash since it first appearance on CBS. Mostly… from our kin.
Nerds claim that ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is full of it. Writers of the sitcom just threw in a couple of well-known commonplaces and clichés of nerd world and hoped to grasp the distracted ones. And it happened. The four initial nerds of the sitcom, Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj, beside their Caltech positions, were pretty much us. They played videogames, RPG’s and even Paintball; they went to the movies to watch reruns of ‘Star Wars’, ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Planet of the Apes’, they read comic books and spent a fair amount of time inside the comic book store; they bought collectibles and did cosplay. In general, we nerds don’t do all that stuff. Some of us are gamers, some are film enthusiasts, some read comics and hate manga readers, and the opposite. These four guys did (do) all of that because the sitcom required fulfilling all the nerd fields there are to reach te entire available nerd market. So, in one episode they went to the movies, and in the next, they went to the comic book store, and in the third they stay home eating Chinese food and playing coop Halo.
Nerd rage was unbelievable.
At this day, I haven’t figured it out. But my (big bang) theory is this. Apparently, we love being bullied.
‘The Big Bang Theory’, thanks to its massive audience, achieved to make our particular world common to everybody.
‘Let’s see what crazy conundrum does Sheldon gets in this week’. The humor, taking out some specific nerd jokes that probably only nerds will get, is the same humor every sitcom has. In the occasional times that a nerd joke was delivered, there was Penny (who represents the non-nerd viewer) to give a blank stare until someone cared to explain (usually Sheldon being particularly caustic).
So, essentially, what nerds hate of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is that is like every other sitcom, but with nerd protagonists. If you can’t see the paradox here, I’ll walk you through.
We nerds live normal lives. Beside the PhD’s and extreme intelligence, we can totally compare to Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj. Every sitcom exaggerates the personalities of his characters. It’s necessary for the comedy.
Have you ever meet someone as ignorant as Joey Tribbiani?
Have you ever meet someone as loony as Phoebe?
I can keep doing these questions all day. The point in exaggerating is that every character is well defined. What kind of entertainment would be four characters that are pretty much the same character? And, again, returning to real life… am I the same as my fellow colleagues in ‘gunsandpixels.com’? Of course not. We share hobbies, yes, but our personalities, weaknesses (and fortitudes), backstories and interests in the future are probably different. Exactly like those in ‘The Big Bang Theory’.
Lactose intolerance? Fart Jokes.
Asperger? Sarcasm misinterpretation.
Selective mutiny? Millions of nerds who can’t talk to the ladies.
Howard? The creeper.
No. What nerds hated is that ‘The Big Bang Theory’ made a rather set of exact stereotypes that roam our world for the laughter of an entire generation. We don’t complain when writers decide –all the time- to show how stupid jocks are, or the blond mean cheerleader. Those stereotypes are ok. The best part of the sitcom is that nerds were never depicted that accurately. These are adult nerds. No one bullies them anymore (it’s a situation that happens in a couple of episodes, but not a reality inside the show) beside the systematic ‘You are almost thirty and you are playing videogames?’ something that happens regularly to all of us.
The sitcom changed the world
Not on its own. But yes. It was a part of the change. Thanks to ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and other believable and not decisively insulting representations of our nerd world, even those questions are reducing to near zero. Playing videogames it’s not weirder or childish anymore. Buying collection figures and reading comics are well praised hobbies that encourage taking care of stuff and READING. Everybody is hooked up to HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’; ‘Lord of the Rings’ is read everywhere and not only on basements. Evangelion? Acclaimed by my mother.
Having an Engineering degree? So hardcore.
Being a nerd is cool.
And I think I’m approaching to the real deal. Nerds hate that their little shitty bullied niche is being stalked by outsiders trying to get in. They want to be recognized as the Original Nerds. And they think that ‘The Big Bang Theory’ created an army of false nerds that don’t deserve to get in because they weren’t bullied on high school or had pimples.
And that works over a false premise. The psychological premise that you are nerd because you belong to a place fulfilled with intelligent equals with your same set of hobbies. Wrong. Nerd world is also fulfilled with inner hating and inner bullies. Just check the internet for that. When ‘The Big Bang Theory’ represents girls outside the geeky fandom is just representing what 90% of male nerds think. That ‘girls’ don’t belong and the ones that are trying to get in are false nerds following a trend invented by TBBT and other media representations.
The negative reaction to ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is the internet reaction to all. A few nerds with encyclopedic knowledge of a specific field decide that something is not good enough to reach the state of nerd praise and they toss it out with the “False nerd” label. Yep. The same few nerds that decide that bronies and furries are fandoms not to be mocked at. And I’m ok with that. Why judge them? But then again… Am I the only one thinking ‘double standard’?
We are ok with guys fantasizing and getting boners with a cartoon of actually little ponies designed for eight year olds, but we don’t allow people who enjoy ‘The Big Bang Theory’?
You remember my friend Howard Wolowitz?
A bigger fanbase means accessibility. More nerds mean more offer. Means more comic books based movies. Means more conventions, videogames, collection figures, mangas, animes, rpg’s, and whatever we love.
Sitcoms like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ enable this scenario. You don’t like it? Don’t watch it, but think twice if you disagree with the results.