Nerds. So many nerds.
BQB here with a review of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. SPOILERS ABOUND.
Now in it’s tenth (my God, time moves so fast) season, this show follows the shenanigans of Cal Tech scientists Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj (Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar, respectively).
Oh, and all but Raj have significant others. As of the tenth season, Leonard is married to hot next door neighbor babe/non-nerd struggling actress turned pharmaceutical rep Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Howard is married to short, sweet sounding yet gets angry often Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and Sheldon is currently dating Amy (Mayim Bialik in her best role since Blossom.) Alas, Raj remains single and strikes out with the ladies on a regular basis.
The one thing I notice when I talk to people about this show is that they either love it or hate it, but there’s little room for opinions that are in-between. People who hate it feel this is a show that gives you a stereotypical view of a nerd, i.e. that all nerds are scientists and love comic books and so on. My usual reply is, “Yeah. Nerds are nerds and nerds do nerd things.”
In the show’s defense, it would be one thing if all the actors/actresses weren’t nerds in real life. One thing I hate is the Hollywood version of a nerd, i.e. where they take a hunk or a babe and just whip a pair of glasses on him/her. That’s essentially engaging in “nerd face” if you will.
I get the impression that all of the actors/actresses are nerds in real life, save Kaley Cuoco who is not a nerd and that is fine because she plays the hot neighbor girl that Leonard drools over. Jim Parsons, in particular, strikes me as a super deluxe mega nerd, so much so that I’m not sure if his career as an actor would have ever taken off had he not landed the role of Dr. Sheldon Cooper.
By the way, don’t we all know a Sheldon Cooper of sorts? Perhaps not to such a Sheldony degree, but surely we all know someone who we wish would show more empathy, someone who is super smart when it comes to book learning but incredibly dumb when it comes to human interaction. FYI if you don’t know anyone like that then you might be that person.
Further criticism might come from the fact that Leonard lusts after Penny rather than, say, a nerd girl in his league. My reply is that a) in earlier seasons Leonard, finding it impossible to gain any ground with Penny, does give nerd girls a try and they treat him just as shabbily. In my personal experience, sometimes when it comes to the dating world, nerds can be worse to fellow nerds than non-nerds and b) at times, the show has flipped the script and made it out as though Penny is the one at a disadvantage, i.e. having never gone to college yet dating a scientist with a doctorate.
Ultimately, there’s a give and take, back and forth between Leonard and Penny that’s fun to watch. We male nerds tend to chase after hot non-nerd babes like dogs chase after cars. In this show, Leonard basically shows us the hilarity that ensues when a nerd actually catches a hot babe, i.e. he’s that dog who catches the car and now needs to figure out what to do.
Throw in creepy weirdo Howard and perpetually single Raj and you’ve got a sitcom.
Count me in as one of the people who like the show. Admittedly, I did not watch it for years, but only because for years it was up against the NBC Thursday mega block that featured The Office, Parks and Recreation, Thirty Rock and Community.
Once that block ended, I started binge watching Big Bang and now I’m all caught up. And yes, there are nerds who have tried to tell me that Community was the better nerd show. To that, I just wonder why the nerd shows just can’t get along. The more nerd shows, the merrier.
I’m impressed by the show’s ability to make jokes about incredibly complicated scientific concepts. Sheldon and Leonard will be working on an experiment and say something complicated yet funny. I won’t understand the complications but oddly, I’ll still understand why the joke is funny. There are also little things, like the way Sheldon rips on Howard for being an engineer. I never knew scientists dumped on engineers.
Ironically, it is possible to be a geek and not a nerd. Nerds are super smart and love comics and fantasy. Geeks also love comics and fantasy, yet aren’t necessarily super smart. That’s why I’d say Community was more of a geek show than a nerd show, but again, geeks and nerds must learn to love one another, largely because we’re so nerdy and geeky that no one cool will have us.
To the show’s credit, there’s even a geek. Stuart (Kevin Sussman) regularly appears as the gang’s not that bright but super geeky pal/comic book store owner.
Also, the girlfriends make the show. The early seasons, where Leonard, Howard, and Raj are single sad-sacks are a tad depressing. Sheldon is single in those days too but he’s sort of beyond human emotion and doesn’t seem to notice or care. While Penny is Leonard’s love interest from the beginning, things get funnier when Bernadette and Amy are brought into the mix.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. My one complaint is I feel like it has been ages since Penny put Sheldon to sleep with a rousing ballad of “Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur..”