The Big Bang Sentiment Retraction
My TV universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly three or four years ago expansion started. Wait…
My attitude began to cool,
The girl made me drool,
DVR and TBS became important tools,
We watched ‘em all (oh, yes we did),
Raj, Howard, Sheldon, Leonard, and of course Penny,
All characters in the big bang!
…Theory, that is.
Thankfully, the hottest comedy on television doesn’t employ the use of the entire song by The Barenaked Ladies, because it was hard enough to lampoon what little I did. I am no Barenaked Lady, or Weird Al. However that song, and all its fun lyrics (the actual lyrics, not mine) are just one of the many things about the CBS show The Big Bang Theory that I enjoy. And I used to not be able to stand it. Like many things, my dislike for the show was based on the fact that I was ignorant of it.
To be even more fair to the show, I generally dislike most things on CBS on the whole. I find the comedies bland, the dramas repetitive, and if they attempt anything fun like a genre show I pretty much assume they’re ripping off a better show (I’m looking at you vampire detective show, Moonlight). I did give Under the Dome a shot, but quickly lost interest. I can say with most certainty I haven’t enjoyed CBS since the 90’s and their fun little Flash series.
Years ago, and I don’t remember how, a show about nerds doing nerdy things and trying to get girls made a blip go blippy-blip on my radar. I had some friends who were fans of the show since what I believe to be the very beginning of its airing, and I might have even watched part of an episode. I can only assume that I was in a phase of my life where I felt society at large was trying to co-opt nerd culture in some way, and that made me spiteful of “mainstream” creations such as The Big Bang Theory.
When I was a youngling, being a nerd was not celebrated. I didn’t sit with the popular kids at the lunch table because of my extensive knowledge of Star Trek. Then, at some point, something shifted. I’m not sure if it was that studios were finally making movies based on properties t nerds had enjoyed for decades, or perhaps the overall audience was finally embracing their inner nerd. Whatever the case, shit like Spider-man was popular and all the blondes on the cheerleading squad started wearing Mary Jane Watson t-shirts. It was sort of like there was a revolt against being a pretender to fit in. Though, for me and my friends it was too late as we were starting our lives in the real world where crap like cliques don’t matter (as much). Plus, most of my friends were nerd peers of some sort, anyway.
It isn’t odd then that a nerd would be wary of a show like Big Bang, especially coming from the creator of the one of the dumbest comedies ever conceived, Two and a Half Men. I chided my friends who enjoyed Big Bang, and told them it didn’t represent nerds. We wouldn’t be wearing the stuff they wore (a Green Lantern shirt for $70??), and it sounded like it was written by people who thought they knew what being a nerd was, for people who had no clue what being a nerd was.
Then I grew up. My outlook went from one of a-holes trying to horn in on my action, to maybe they were all finally listening to what other nerds and myself were telling them for so long- this stuff is awesome. It wasn’t like it was a conscious decision, it just seemed to happen. And it affected the way I enjoyed a few things. Big Bang was one that got the benefit of that change, and was one of the things that prompted it as well.
I watched the show. TBS had started airing reruns, and while I was sick (I think) I happened to catch a few. In my delirium, I enjoyed it, and was surprised by the references they employed during the storytelling and the humor. I found myself wondering how many people in the general audience even liked the show, because they couldn’t quite possible be catching half of the things that were there. How many yokels on their couch are going to know what in the hell Red Dwarf is??
The show won me over, plain and simple. When I took the time to delve into it, I identified with the characters (a nerd in a non-nerd world), discovered references for some beloved properties (across all types of media), and a show that was funny as hell. It was essentially a shoe is on the other foot type of moment. Here I was, someone who was in a group trying to tell others about all these things they were missing out on, and that they misunderstood, and now the role was reversed and I had to listen to others, finding that I was the one missing out when it came to this show.
I joined the ranks of literally millions of people who watch every Thursday. Or, Saturday after we DVR the sucker. In the time I’ve watched it, and rewatched the reruns again and again, I can say there are only a few times where I’ve thought the writers have repeated themselves. Otherwise, it doesn’t really drag anything out, and doesn’t seem to retread much if anything at all. Hopefully that continues being the case going forward, because the show has been renewed for three more seasons.
The move by CBS to take Big Bang to at least ten seasons is no surprise. Really, it’s as no-brainer as you can get. The show has ranked as the number one sitcom since the 2010-2011 season, according to CNN, and currently averages 19.79 million viewers. That number is up four percent from last year. Many shows can’t say the same.
What I’m saying, if I’m saying anything at all, is get on the Big Bang train (that’s for Sheldon). Either the show is a reflection of how nerd culture has been hijacked by the mass audience, or the nerds have invaded and finally proved how wonderful a world it is when you dig into caped crusaders and alien beings. No matter which it is, we are not only sitting at the popular lunch table, but we are commanding it. And our knowledge of Star Trek will probably let us in on more of the jokes.