Over at Wired, the Angry Nerd discusses why he doesn’t like the television series The Big Bang Theory. You can watch the video below. The problem is that he doesn’t really explain what his problem is, so I thought that I would.
Many people over the years have gushed to me about the show as if I would love it. Supposedly “smart” people would love the show because it is filled with “smart” characters who work in the high tech industry. The idea that I would like the show for this reason is very much like thinking your dog would like to watch Air Bud.
The biggest problem with the show is that the characters seem to be stuck at 13. Actual nerds grow up just like other people. As adults, we nerds may hold onto our interests, but we don’t have heated arguments about which super hero is the strongest. In my experience, none of us ever did. Those who did were generally sub-geniuses, who I’ve always tried to avoid.
The Angry Nerd makes one devastating observation about the show. Often the pop culture references are used as punchlines. So what is funny is not the line but rather the silly nerd and his excitement over some triviality. The show does not laugh with us, it laughs at us.
Many nerds never get into pop culture, regardless. To me, what defines a nerd is his total cluelessness regarding what is cool to most adolescents. So a nerd might be oriented toward science, but he’s just as likely to be oriented toward some form of art. But such adolescents stand out as awkward, not because they are more so than others, but because they are so passionate about their interests that it shows.
So The Big Bang Theory misses the defining characteristic of nerds by focusing on some of the most trivial stereotypes. The little I’ve seen of the show always reminds me of lunchtime discussions in high school rather than anything I ever saw in college and beyond. But none of this is to say that it is a bad show. It’s a situation comedy and as such I suppose it is as good as most. Which isn’t saying much. Which is what I’m saying.