I consider myself to be tolerant other peoples’ likes and dislikes when it comes to television. If you’re still obsessed with Supernatural or are convinced that the Teen Wolf writers will pull a 180 and make Stiles/Derek happen, more power to you. I will accept your opinions without major argument. However, there is one statement that gets a rant bubbling in my brain, and that is: The Big Bang Theory is the best comedy on television.
Let me say first of all that I do enjoy TBBT. I don’t think it’s a complete waste of airtime and I acknowledge that it has a very funny and talented cast. And I think Jim Parsons is just presh incarnate. But claiming that the show is somehow radical or has shed positive light on nerd culture is going a bit far.
Firstly, the argument that it glorifies nerds and “makes being a geek cool.” I’m sorry, are we watching the same show? When have Leonard, Sheldon, and Co. ever been represented as the “cool ones?” When are they ever not defined by their above-average IQs and love for physics? Their geekdom is not celebrated. It’s exploited and used as comic relief to portray them as the perpetual lowly underdogs. The geeks are stereotypically socially challenged and unable to navigate everyday situations.
Penny is the laughing stock as a community college drop-out and her street-smarts are used to belittle her too, because god-forbid a girl show no qualms about gutting a fish or not showering every single day. Also, let’s the play “how-many-clichés-can-we-fit-into-one-character game. Ditzy blonde? Check. Constant fan service? Check. Heavy drinker? Check. Small town girl with big dreams? Check. Also, as a native Iowan, would it be that hard to portray the Midwest as anything other than Hick Country and a meth capital? Because, clearly, we all walk around wielding shotguns, barely escape teen pregnancy, and spend all day shoveling cow shit.
It’s also obvious that after the writers discovered they had a comic gem in Jim Parsons / Sheldon, the character was amended. Remember in the pilot when he and Leonard were at a sperm bank preparing to create their own genetically engineered offspring? Clearly he had no misgivings about getting jiggy with Mr. Righty. Compare that to now when the mere mention of “coitus” is taboo and completely off the table. Cool.
If I was a “nerd” watching this show, would I want to be one of the guys? No. As a girl, do I want to be Penny or one of the girlfriends who exist only to bolster their respective significant others? No. Really, if you strip TBBT down, it’s 16 million viewers tuning in to watch 20-and-some-odd-minutes of a man with Asperger’s and his “friends” using his lack of social cues as their form of entertainment. Really progressive, huh? Although, I approve of the Texas jabs. Keep ‘em coming.
Again, I still get laughs out of the TBBT and I think it’s quality compared to a lot of the other sitcoms currently on air. But in my opinion, it’s not Emmy quality. It’s not buzz worthy. And I don’t know how it’s managed to trick people into believing that this is somehow a confidence booster for those who identify with the geeks.
Sorry to the several family members of mine who worship this show. I’d stick to Bill Nye.