Screen Spotlight: Big Bang Theory

So, as promised this week we will talk about the Big Bang Theory. Now, the reason I want to cover this show is not because of the number of references to ‘geek culture’ (e.g. the Green Lantern t-shirt dead centre in the pic above). No, the reason I want to talk about it is I can’t work out what to make of it. Now I know a lot of people on here love the show, hell, the rest of my family seem to be addicted to it, but I can never work out if they are just taking the piss half of the time. Obviously I can only comment on what I’ve seen of it, but it seems to rely almost exclusively on the very old and tired stereotype of geeks being  socially inept, sci-fi obsessed losers (see the first Sci-fi corner, when we covered Star Trek, for further details). I will concede that this doesn’t happen all of the time and sometimes it its done in very clever and amusing ways, but for gods sake, I grew out of stereotypes when I was 15. People say that TV, and comedy in particular, is based on stereotyping, but that isn’t true (something we will cover on the next Screen Spotlight when we cover one of my two favourite shows of all time: Red Dwarf). Considering the success of things like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, New Doctor Who and the Star Trek reboot movies (in purely financial terms with the last one), stuff generally considered as “Geek Only” are becoming increasingly “For Everyone”, so why keep bring up the geek stereotypes. No-one finds sports fans who collect their various memorabilia (signed baseballs, hats, football kits, old baseball/ football cards, posters etc. etc. I mean there’s so much of this **** I could go on for ages) weird or funny, so why is collecting figurines of Star Trek or comics characters? And my main gripe, and this is purely personal, but because I love all of the comics, sci-fi, fantasy stuff they routinely use, it sometimes feels like my family are only laughing at stuff on the show because they recognise some of it from what I do (although I probably don’t help myself in that respect).

But anyway, that’s enough from me. As I said at the start, I know there’s a lot of you who love BBT so it’s over to you to convince me that I’m wrong about the show. Sorry for the rant, I’ve been ill all weekend and that’s not conducive to being cheerful.

Next week we’ll be going back to What Were They Thinking and looking at Marvel in the ’90’s.

5 Responses to Screen Spotlight: Big Bang Theory

  1. I’m not a fan of the show.
    In great part because of the stereotyping. Because it’s so much it seems unrealistic, even when it’s positive (like the guys all being at worst clever and at best geniuses – No place for the “normal” geek here).
    I like Sheldon’s t-shirts and the occasional references, but have trouble finding it that funny otherwise.

  2. Actually, I do like the show, although it’s taken me a while to get into it. A friend gave me the DVD box set of the first season, and the episodes just aren’t that funny, but I do think the show has gotten better as it’s progressed. At first I was attracted by all the references to “nerd culture,” (inside jokes about computers, Star Trek, comics, etc.) but now I’ve actually become invested the characters and how their personalities and relationships have developed and progressed over the course of the series: Leonard, the least nerdy of the nerds, and his on-again, off-again relationship with non-nerd hottie Penny; Raj, and his endless, ill-fated quest to find true love; Howard, who at the beginning of the series wanted to pretend he was a Mac Daddy is now adjusting to life as a married man; and even Sheldon, the Lord High uber-nerd, is ever so gradually coming out of his shell as a result of his evolving relationship with Amy. I see something of myself in these characters.

  3. Just about everything you have said applies to roughly 80% of every sitcom ever written. BBT just gets more grief from “geeks” because they recognize the source material better and recognize the stereotyping better than on other sitcoms they might have seen. Of course, I haven’t actually enjoyed a sitcom as a show since MASH, so grain of salt here.

  4. BBT just never interested me. There are so many people who love what ‘geeks’ love that are more socially adept than I am because they have time to practice socialization. Me, I don’t have enough time to SLEEP. Being an artist means people seek me out, thank heavens, because no alien is an island. Or whatever.
    I can recommend Bones as an interesting sitcom. It’s available on Netflix. It’s flashier, if dumbed down from the books, and it does constantly reference the same geeky stereotype. It does it RIGHT, though. It shows the mechanisms of enablement and growth and even points out just how laughable the non-geeks are. Because really, anyone who thinks there’s nothing funny about how they are is funny because they’re in denial about it.

  5. Your wrong about the show ……….BE CONVINCED!
    Just bustin’ yow chops.Listen i can totally see your point as far as stereotyping is concerned,but I do believe the show wouldn’t work if it wasn’t.A matter of fact when a production company gets together to form a sitcom they rely almost soley on the fact that it will be as stereotypical as possible in order to make the whole thing work in the first place.I also have to say this and I of course respect your opinion in every way,but they really do a good job of showing that they all have VERY different personalities and traits,and the thing that makes this show so funny in my opinion is just that.it took me a good year before I could give it a second look and after my 80 yr old father told me it had him leaking from his old rusty pipes I HAD to see it for myself.I am not to worried aboout what it looks like from a social aspect.Anyway think about it..Exaggeratiion is the key ingredient in comedy.