The Big Bang Theory

Quick TV Review…

If you don’t watch “The Big Bang Theory,” give it a chance. CBS Mondays at 8:00 and online. Sure, the premise is ridiculous (two super-nerds move next door to the proverbial sitcom “hot babe” and hilarious antics ensue — See, they don’t know how to relate! She likes shopping, they like Star Trek! Haha.) Well then, the show gets decent ratings (in the 8 million viewers range, compared to the Office’s ~6 million), but it gets no respect. TV Squad doesn’t provide weekly recaps (though they do write-up each episode of Big Brother). The stereotypical fan of The Office is too cool for “three camera sitcoms,” and this one thrives on the “mismatched neighbors” and “nerd” constructs.

Four Geeks ± Babe (math humor!)
Four Geeks ± Babe (Math Humor!)

All that said, it’s actually really funny, and one of the “support” geeks (meaning there are two physicist roommates and two equally geeky friends providing plot “support”) is made fun of for being an engineer. I can’t remember the joke exactly, but it involved something about calling engineers “the oompa-loompas of science.” I haven’t felt that way in a while, but in academic circles, I’ll give them points for accuracy.

I have noticed that the show has actually moved away from the relationship the “babe” has with her neighbors. She has had little development – she basically sits there and makes simple jokes about her neighbors’ lack of social skills or just how far over head their discussion is. I guess at some point the sort-of “head” geek needs to act on his crush he first showed in the pilot (but the show has left it sort of unaddressed since then), but I think that’s the lazy way out for the writers. Family Matters did it years ago. I would guess that the writers felt like they needed a girl to be their “normal” foil for the four scientists, but as the show has gone on, they’ve realized the “geeks” personalities and competitiveness have been able to carry the show.

Now, the show takes an odd line between “same as every other sitcom” and “something new.” If they ever fall back on “dorky nice guy chases after girl completely out of his league,” we’ll know that the writers have given up. The writers have stumbled onto four entertaining, dynamic characters who are unlike their TV geek forebears; they’re the center of the show, not just one-note jokes on the periphery of a normal sitcom cast.

****

CBS has a good thing going. Unlike The Office, there’s more potential upside for this show. The Office won’t get significantly higher ratings – there’s simply a finite number of people into sarcastic, dry humor (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I’ve elaborated on The Office previously, and everything that was true then is still true now, the viewership numbers aren’t improved, but they are more vocal (oddly enough, crossing into standard “geek” territory like having a convention). The Big Bang Theory is more straight-forward and, yes, “easier,” but those aren’t bad things. Tune In.

One Reply to “The Big Bang Theory”

  1. Hi There,

    Based on this site’s recommendation of Big Bang Theory and my wanting to discover a sitcom worth watching I went ahead and downloaded the first season and watched it all the way through. I’m afraid that I am going to have to completely disagree with the reviewer’s recommendation on this series if you happen to be the stereotype that is being portrayed. The show suffers from the fact that the writers have absolutely no idea what today’s modern dork is like, at all. They are still stuck with the image of the 1050’s “poindexter” with the pocket protector and obsessed with microscopes with every assets of social miscommunication, except in here the image is dressed up with iPods and laptops. I found it appalling that the whole punch line of the show is “ha-ha, look at them, they are nerdy and socially awkward!” for just about every single joke that the writers came up with. A prime example is the pilot when they are talking about having a superman night and argue about the velocity of falling speed and cutting Lois into pieces while the actual joke is that the girl left the room or that when the main character was getting his clothes picked out for him and the girl finds the shrunken city of Krypton and the punch line is basically “ha-ha, look how lame he is”.

    The writers clearly don’t have an understanding on gaming culture either, or how basic game mechanics work. Just about every TV show suffers from magical game mechanics that only exist in TV world and a big example of this is both the “World of Warcraft lan party scene” and the “Halo Night” episode. They got as far creating the proper look for a lan party setting but everything goes downhill when the writers clearly just made up events just to make the scene funny, such as the one guy screaming how he has the “Sword of Azeroth” which doesn’t even exist while the actors are just throwing around internet buzz words that have absolutely no context in the game. The Halo episode was just another attempt at “look how lame they are” when the girl magically is able to get head shots just by hitting a button on a controller making the other guy look like a doofus with the episode bookended with “Will you play Halo tournaments with me?” “No, I actually have a life”.

    Another example of the writers being out of touch completely with the modern geek is the Halloween episode. When you have characters such as the ones excited about a “costume contest” and list off every genre possible to pick from for a costume “Anime, Manga, Comics, Movies, Cartoons etc” and cap it off with “TO THE SEWING MACHINES”, it’s not funny to all of a sudden have them in store purchased Flash costumes and then argue and then get into un-funny generic costumes for the episode. Ok, Frodo is mainstream enough for people to get… But seriously, Robin Hood? Why not just make it Link from the legend of Zelda; it would appeal to everyone and actually make sense for who they are.

    The series did have some legitamently funny scenes. The scene in best buy when they are looking for a birthday present and the guy gets caught up helping everyone in the store using CORRECT computer terminology to describe products and what they are actually used for but in the end the series just seems to be a complete jab and mockery at more geeky-inclined people for amusement to the average jow-shmuck out there that probably clicks on porn pop up ads and pays out the ass for geek-squad support. You mentioned at the end of the review that it’s better then the office because it has room for expansion, I disagree as the Office is consistently funny with plots that make old things feel fresh and new plots interesting while keeping the blend of humor and drama intact. I would have to give Big Bang Theory 1 star.

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