Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Banging It Out

My own issues with "The Big Bang Theory"

When I first started watching it, I saw some of the later episodes of Season 1 and fell in love. Oh man, this show was the best. Nerdy, smart, funny, comfortable (thanks to the sets from Friends and the cameos from "sitcoms past" like Roseanne & Cybil) and cameos aplenty from Nerd luminaries & heroes abound! It was mainstream and I knew people who I thought were "cool"-yet-nerdy who loved the show and fantasized about the characters.
But then, every know and then, I would see a random episode that would piss me off. Or a certain gag would be funny, I won't dispute that, but would feel dirty to me, or cheap, like they took the easy way out for the laugh and it felt insulting to me.
In short, I tell most people, I love it 4 out of 5 times, and hate it 2 out of 5.

I haven't spoken up about it since I had this revelation as I felt maybe it was beleaguered already and kind of old news and that honestly, what influence do I have over anything that my opinion matters.

I remember some short flurries on twitter about (terribly poorly paraphrased and not quoted at all to original authors) "how BBT is like black face for nerds!" and replied with "STFU the actors are nerds and know what they're doing!" As well as having read some blurbs here and there about the issues of watching the show as a nerd especially if said nerd has really deep seated emotional recall attached to their psyche in regards to being ridiculed for their nerdyness (isn't that all of us, really? as nerds?)

But then I saw
THIS POST linked through The PA Report and read it all the way through. I'm sorry, here's homework and it's a juicy post so if you were hoping for lighthearted quick fare from me, today is not that post, I'm sorry, come back later, it will be here, I promise you.

Read it? or at least skimmed through and got the gist? Well whatever, here we go.
I'm gonna start with devil's advocate as I was, and still feel I am very capable of becoming, a ragging asshole douchenozzle of slavering mad adolescence and low self esteem. I mention that as most humor I enjoyed and still do to this day, is self deprecating. I think I might be trying to generalize.
In high school one of the preferred forms of entertainment among my social group was to insult each other. Through ostracizing and belittlement we further ingrained ourselves into each others company. This was our normal mode of communication. Angry, mean little bastards (in some cases nigh close to literally) and we vented that frustration at each other. I feel it's given me a lot of perspective through my life to never take myself too seriously, to always question everything, and always be thinking critically as a result of years of learning to pick out or intuit the most hurtful and shameful of details in anyone and anything.
I tell you all this because that's why I think I still watch The Big Bang Theory and think it has potential to be a shining beacon of Nerdy awesomeness we want it to be.
Or maybe that's why it's still being written by the people who write it and "are X" whereas "X" is whatever the person being represented is, be it nerd, hip, foreign, gay, straight, actor or person of disabilities. They write/produce/act the show because they are who they are. Trying to make money, doing what they love, making sure they get the laugh, reaching as broad an audience as possible.
As someone who has done A LOT OF THINGS on A LOT OF SHOWS I know how many people it takes ( and how many people you SHOULD have) and how many different dynamics there are between those people and where conflicts arrive and how differently different people at different times those conflicts are passed over or resolved. I don't know if any of that made sense but I'm trying to cut  some slack to the folks who make the show as a fellow entertainer.
The people who make this show, combined, are not amateurs at their craft, nor your everyday nerds. Their popularity is a testament to great creators of television. I also don't doubt the nerd cred of the bulk of the people on the show, yet DO doubt how "legit nerd (WHATEVER THE FUCK THAT MEANS)" some of the cast/crew are.
(Real Nerd? Legit Nerd? I think I will have more of that in another post, but effectively, lets agree that this means someone who is like the people who read & write this blog, eh?)
This means that the majority of the time the show will entertain and make you feel warm and fuzzy through the crews antics and you will come to appreciate the characters. BUT once every now and then, and perhaps even the occasional episode, will make real nerds (or maybe just me) angry and sad that we are still living in a world where Tri-Lambs can only be awesome after a montage. (Speaking of which, I will try much harder to have vocal opinions of THIS later)

Before posting this particular tirade I considered canning it one more time, but the discussion showed up in my feedsm once more due to one of thier most recent episode trailers

In context here, I can see how it's offensive as I have worked for & know personally 3 women who owned & managed comic shops as well as an additional 2 who worked there, and am/was friends with . . . easily almost a dozen ladies who regularly go to comic shops for COMICS (DC, Marvel, Image, Top cow, Oni) since before 2009 (when I met them, some have been going, I'm sure, since before 2000).
BUT, just watching the promo objectively, I think to myself, "hahaha, that's funny. The common stereotype is that girls NEVER go to comic shops, even though I know that's not true. Look at these caricatures enact that stereotype even though 9/10 times I believe these are actual human beings." I most likely think this reflexively because I, and many of my female & male geek/nerd friends, use self deprecating humor consistently in our every day lives. Being able to joke about ourselves and complaining/laughing at our plights and proclivities.

For more fuel and other points of views IM SURE you can FIND SOME all over the intarwebs.

And so, in summation I will take the easy way out and not give any sort of "solution" as I don't have one really. There are too many unknowns as to WHY they "take the easy laugh" and it can't be because they "hate nerds" because many of them ARE nerds and many "nerd stars" who would NOT put up with a bullshit nerd-bash show REPEATEDLY GUEST STAR on the series.
So, I will continue to watch it on reruns, maybe even watch it marathon from episode 1 to end one day to get all the jokes. But I will also know to don my "nerd armor" to protect my heart against jokes that go too far or make me rail at how these characters should REALLY handle a situation with dignity and pride, and then remind myself of all the crap I wrote above.
I guess after all that I am glad I'm not a Neilson home because I would honestly have a difficult time deciding whether or not to give them the ratings as a nerd.

1 comment:

  1. A fascinating analysis. I think often we do laugh at others we know and trick ourselves into thinking that "that's not me." It's still funny, but I will think more about why in the future.