Friday, October 15, 2010

If only anyone cared about the thoughts of scientists.

I made a strategic error recently that led me to being exposed to The Big Bang Theory. No, not the one that Hawkings popularized but the sitcom.

I made the mistake of leaving my bedroom on the night of the week that my evil yet retarded older sister comes over for dinner and she lectured me incessantly about a sitcom she enjoys. Fair enough, we are all entitled to rant about our passions to anyone who listens. I am the culprit for listening. Being successful in her rants, she deposited three seasons of said sitcom in my lap.

I immediately became stressed. The box clearly identified this tv show as being the responsibility of the same people who destroyed neurons with Two and a Half Men. Normally, like any other person, I respond well to warnings and would have avoided this product. But in this circumstance I still had to report back to a sibling on this unprecedented sharing.

Fast forward many hours, fuelled only by leftover pumpkin pie from thanksgiving(should I have just huffed the nitrous-oxide?). If I had any power in the television industry I would kill the laugh track, but that being said, this sitcom tickled me so much that even Elmo would have logged a sexual harassment complaint.

Currently, my grades are falling in school because I am on season 2 and I have begun to wonder, what is the extreme popularity of this show.

I saw an article in the Globe and Mail, citing Big Bang Theory as the most popular sitcom on Canadian networks ever(are there more nerds per capita in Canada?). For context, it beat Friends and Seinfeld, two shows I managed to miss and perhaps the reason why I still have enough neural power to type.

Thinking again of my possibly mentally disabled sister, I wondered what people actually see, what they laugh at, and why they laugh.

All the main characters are physicists who are obsessed with videogames(so, Doom bred the people who understand the universe?), and film franchise merchandise. I suppose this means the multitude of people who, without any academic ability, also play video games and watch superhero movies can feel related to the people who keep clean water running.

Despite holding most of the collective knowledge of mankind in their heads and being affiliated with prominent universities, the characters are explicitly demonstrated as completely unsuitable mates(take that, Revenge Of The Nerds!) even for their nerdy female counterparts--of which there is only one(despite the majority of university students and grads being women).

So, they are all titillated and concerned with a dippy blond girl who has come to California to make it in movies(wow, that’s a bold and unheard of move). She is employed as a waitress(who expected that twist?). Again, I guess everyone can relate to the breeding prospects in a culture where women revile men for so many reasons no one can keep track of them.

I guess I have answered my own question as to why we can all relate to the plights of ridiculously smart people. I do fear what it says about us as a species though. To recap, we might have resolved climate change issues, except the smartest people in the world can’t get laid and instead obsess over Boba Fett.

I would get around to saying something with semiotic and anthropological profoundness, but I need to watch another episode of BBT. My only other alternative is boning up on population geography for Monday's midterm. I take comfort that even though no one in their right mind would ever listen to a scientist we can all still laugh at them on tv.


  1. Funny, I just watched this for the first time this weekend. I remember that I used to like watching sitcoms- but a few years without TV made it so I can barely stand them. Especially if they get interupted by commercials. But this one was OK. It lulled my brain into a state wherein I wasn't trying to critisize too much. (Though the whole autistic = endearingly funny kept trying to make itself into an issue for me)

  2. Y'know, you'd think that I'd really be into this show, but I'm not. I've watched it a handful of times and I find that the stereotypes the show uses incredibly unfunny. Toss in situations and premises I can't stand and lo, I don't find the show entertaining at all.

    Yet it continues to grow and draw in the ratings. As with many other things, I don't understand why.

  3. Hey Robert,

    Just a quick follow-up: I'm not sure if you're getting my emails. I had actually emailed you about "Stargazer" a month or two ago; my suspicion is that my emails may be going to your junk folder. Not sure, but I just wanted to mention it.

    Thanks very much for the kind words about it, too!