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someone who just started working at my job and i were talking about tv shows recently, and she started recommending i watch the big bang theory, and talking about how great it is and i was like "oh man... you seemed with it  :( " #judgemental

I've seen like two episodes and that's more than enuff

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They reference a lot of smart shit but the jokes are all typical sitcom witty banter. I don't see how it's any more offensive than, say, Friends. It's certainly better than Two and a Half Men :sick:

 

I've referenced it before but I still love the line from Penny in the episode where they buy the time machine....it looks like something Elton John would ride through the Everglades :lol:

I'm also a fan of Sheldon saying "I can't say no to a yoo-hoo...the name literally beckons."

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People have just chosen this show to attach all their worst feelings about how much smarter they are than pop culture and how refined their taste is and whatever to and it's silly to me.  There are shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians for that.

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big bang just seems like a frat kid's idea of what a nerd is, but from what i've seen the jokes are pretty standard

 

really want to punch that nerdy one (the main one i guess) tho, just because he's stereotyped nerds for the next decade

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http://butmyopinionisright.tumblr.com/post/31079561065/the-problem-with-the-big-bang-theory

 

 

When I watch Big Bang it becomes more and more obvious that I’m not supposed to relate to the guys (or more recently Amy Farrah-Fowler). I’m expected to relate to Penny. You only need to pay attention to the audience laughter to realise that TBBT relies on positioning us as an outsider to the nerds, as someone like Penny who doesn’t understand their references, their science, their vocabulary even, and who doesn’t care to learn.

 

The Big Bang Theory rarely constructs jokes. Often it relies on pop culture references as humour. I recently listened to a podcast from The Film Talk where – when reviewing the film Ted – they spoke about the psychology behind reference as joke. We laugh when we hear a pop culture reference out of nostalgia, we remember enjoying it so we laugh at the referenced rather than the reference. Laughing at a pop culture reference also shows that we understand it. It creates a sense of inclusion, we don’t want other people to think we didn’t get the reference so we laugh to show that we too understand, we too know our culture. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good pop culture reference, my all-time favourite show is Buffy The Vampire Slayer and that’s full of them. However, a reference for a reference’s sake does not count as a joke. It’s lazy humour and it’s surprising to see just how often Big Bang utilises this.

 

What Chuck Lorre wants us to find funny is not the jokes which the characters are making, it’s the characters themselves. At one point Howard mentions playing Dungeons and Dragons. There is no joke attached to this, it’s not the punchline to any set up, however it is treated as one. Howard says the words “Dungeons and Dragons” and the audience laughs. They’re not laughing at a joke, they’re laughing at the fact that Howard plays D&D. And this kind of thing happens all the time throughout the show. How many times has a joke been made out of Leonard owning action figures or Sheldon collecting comics? When, in season one, Penny invites the guys to her Halloween party and they are excited about making costumes, we’re supposed to laugh at them, to think they are silly for dressing as a Hobbit or Thor when everyone else is trying to look sexy. The reason I feel uncomfortable watching The Big Bang Theory is because it’s laughing at me, at people like me.

 

The humour in The Big Bang theory relies on the audience siding with and relating to Penny, the character coded as “normal” in comparison to the main four guys. It also relies on the audience having a sense of superiority over Leonard, Raj, Sheldon and Howard. We’re supposed to feel like we’re cooler than them and that we’re better than them. This then prompts us to laugh at the things which make them nerdy, which stop them being cool, which make them lesser. This is done, in my opinion, to stop them from seeming intimidating. It’s essentially Chuck Lorre saying “Don’t worry, these guys may have fancy degrees, they may be more successful and more intelligent than you but they like sci-fi and read comics. They’re socially awkward and can’t speak to girls. You’re much cooler than they are so you’re still better than them.” This isn’t to say that we’re not meant to sympathise with Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard. Chuck Lorre doesn’t want us to hate them. He does, however want us to pity them. We don’t root for Leonard and Penny to get together because we think they’re a good match. We feel sorry for Leonard, we think Penny’s out of his league and we root for the underdog.

 

 

 

And all this wouldn’t really matter if not for the fact that The Big Bang Theory targets nerds as part of its fan base. We’re used to being ridiculed on TV but it’s usually by shows which aren’t aimed at us. The Big Bang Theory goes to Comic-Con, it sells its merchandise at Forbidden Planet. The fact that it sells merchandise at all says that wants part of a cult nerd following. The Big Bang Theory is the worst kind of bully – the one that pretends to be your friend and then takes the piss out of you behind your back. It will take your viewership, it will take your money and it will laugh in your face as it systematically puts you down.

 

 

 

There’s a saying which made its rounds in geekdom recently – “Real nerds watch Community”. Now I take issue with the idea of “real nerds” but the sentiment still stands. Whereas The Big Bang Theory sees nerd culture as an object of ridicule, Community celebrates it. Community’s laughing with you whereas Big Bang is giving you a wedgie and laughing at you. When TBBT makes a pop culture reference it uses it as a punchline, it names a show like Firefly and asks you to laugh at it. When Community makes a pop culture reference it commits. Community makes a whole episode based on a trope or a genre, it doesn’t just use paintball as a plot device it takes paintball seriously and bases two season finales around epic battles of paint. Community doesn’t laugh at the idea of playing D&D it bases an episode on it. Parallels can be drawn between the characters of Sheldon in Big Bang and Abed in Community. Abed too has trouble reading sarcasm and emotion, he has obsessions with routine and structure as well and disruptions in routine cause him considerable distress. Abed sees everything in terms of television and film tropes. This is how he understands the world around him and how he figures out how best to react. Unlike Sheldon, it is often confirmed that Abed does have mental difficulties, most likely Asperger’s Syndrome. But, crucially, the main difference between Sheldon and Abed is that Abed is treated as a hero. In the pilot episode Jeff Winger, arguably the most conventionally “cool” member of the group says this: “Abed is a shaman. You ask for bread and Abed gives you soup because soup is better. Abed is better”. In one episode Abed is literally treated as a god. Yes, his neuroses do at times inconvenience the rest of the group but his belief that they see him as a nuisance is dismissed as his own insecurity rather than the truth. Community positions us, its audience, as Abed. It knows that we are knowledgeable about the things we love, it knows that we understand tropes and genre conventions, it gives us the benefit of the doubt and treats us as intelligent human beings who will not only understand the meta pop culture references, but will find them funny and love the show for it. Community tells us it’s cool to be a nerd. If Abed is better then we are better. Community is a warm hug of acceptance whereas The Big Bang Theory is a pantsing and a punch in the face.

 

 

 

And this isn’t even touching on the way TBBT portrays women. Most notably the fact that until recently the only female character on the show had no understanding of science or nerd culture, and the episode in which it’s treated as a miracle that a woman is in a comic book store – “she must be lost” they say. Even Amy Farrah Fowler isn’t the geek girl representative we may have hoped for. She’s portrayed as distinctly asexual and when she mentions sex it’s always played for laughs, because of course intelligent, socially awkward women shouldn’t think about sex at all. Another troubling thing about Big Bang is its insidious homophobia. We are supposed to laugh whenever Howard and Raj do something which could be considered as homosexual. The closeness of their friendship is the target of jokes as is their fear and disgust at being mistaken for a gay couple. Again Amy Farrah Fowler’s frequent references to lesbian experimentation are treated as absurd. We are supposed to laugh at her possible attraction to Penny and at Penny’s discomfort when she alludes to this. 

 

 

 

honestly haven't watched much of it but this post came from a person who used to actually like it so it's not someone like me who had a knee-jerk reaction against it. It does a good job of vocalizing the things that I've thought about the show the few times I've tried to watch it, but it has better examples than I would give because it never seemed worth watching to me. 

 

I'm curious if someone has a rebuttal though. This is just an article that a guy i used to know posted on facebook once that I just decided to scroll back through to january to find on his wall again. 

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i did not know big bang theory was produced by chuck lorre. that actually makes sense as to why i dislike it now

 

edit: wow, no wonder whenever I saw a bit of the BBT, I always felt like it was some kind of Two and Half Men offspring

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that makes this pretty hilarious

It's certainly better than Two and a Half Men :sick:

 

 

but yeah where two and a half man doesn't even pretend it's a good show, the big bang theory tries to

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I think that person is thinking too hard about it.

 

The characters change throughout the seasons, too, so I mean, I could rebut specific points but it would be kind of pointless, it either makes you laugh or it doesn't.

 

I'll do a couple of the more glaring ones, though...

 

Penny is played as the outsider in the group, sure, and some of the humor is supposed to come from the audience siding with her against the guys' comic book and toy obsessions. But there are as many counterexamples, where the humor comes from her not understanding something.  Or from the surprise of the other characters when she does understand something.

 

You totally do root for Leonard and Penny to get together, and in the most recent season his support for her acting career has been a really nice dramatic touch amidst the usual silliness.

 

I have noticed the vague homophobia re: Raj and Howard's relationship, but it's certainly not malicious, I've never taken even the slightest offense to it because it's so damn silly and isn't mean spirited in the least.  The Amy Farrah Fowler crush on Penny I also got a totally different read on. You're laughing because it's awkward because Penny isn't interested, not because it's lesbian.  AFF also isn't portrayed as asexual in the least, she's portrayed as VERY sexual, and one of the ongoing source of laughs in her relationship with Sheldon is the fact he's an autistic person with no interest in sex whatsoever and she's desperate to jump his bones.
 

Idk, if you identify as a nerd and you watch this show and you're offended that you're not being treated fairly, I mean....that's pretty ridiculous on the face of it isn't it?  I wonder if there are any scathing op-eds out there by aspiring actresses working as waitresses.

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I will say that watching back some first season episodes, it...definitely hadn't found its legs yet. The cast didn't have much of a rapport yet, and the jokes were a lot more one-note. (ie, there's a GIRL in the comic book shop? :o)

 

If anyone were to give the show another chance I'd recommend the scavenger hunt episode from this past season, although it's a lot funnier if you know the characters since a bunch of the humor comes from familiarity with them and their relationships.

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you still don't think it's funny that big bang and two and a half men came from the same brain?

also when you said "You totally do root for Leonard and Penny to get together" did you miss the part where the article said that you do, but for the wrong reason, cuz I'd rather hear your defense against that then refuting a point the article didn't make.

idk I have a friend who watches it sometimes and he said that Sheldon can be pretty good so I guess it's the case of a good cast being able to make up for creative failings of the creator, and I think you made some good defenses of those points but there's still nothing about it that makes me want to watch it. 

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Transformers and Transformers 2 came from the same brain, I think the first one is a great stupid action/comedy film and the second one is dog vomit. :shrug:  Two and a half men gets its 'laughs' from misogyny and dick and fart jokes, the characters are all unlikable and seem to hate each other....big bang theory in general has a warmer and more sympathetic tone towards its characters and their relationships with each other, and while a lot of the humor does come from pop culture references a lot of it doesn't.

 

We don’t root for Leonard and Penny to get together because we think they’re a good match. We feel sorry for Leonard, we think Penny’s out of his league and we root for the underdog.

 

 

This is all that's really said about the penny/leonard relationship in all of that, and like I said, I think it's wrong because that relationship over the seasons actually becomes really warm and believable, the characters clearly care for each other and make up for each others' deficiencies. It doesn't stray too far into comedy-murdering melodramatic ross/rachel territory, which I like, but they do have some heavier moments.

 

In season one when the show didn't have its sea legs yet, you get cringey stuff like penny and leonard's first date.  But they've come quite a way since then.

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In the most recent season there's also a great moment where Amy explains to Sheldon that Raiders of the Lost Ark has a glaring plot hole in it: if Indiana Jones weren't in the movie, the plot would still have moved forward exactly the same way...the Nazis would still have found the Ark of the Covenant, opened it on the island, and died.

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Or something like the Buffy episode The Zeppo, where the story follows Xander exclusively while he fucks off and the rest of the cast is apparently fighting one of the most difficult things they've ever fought.

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yeah I just... it's just seldom that I watch something that is so bad on so many levels. their conception of what 'nerds' are like... just all of it. I can't go on without getting sad.

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Yeah I read that earlier, that's basically what I'm talking about.

I don't think it's bad. It's no 30 rock or community or arrested development or etc but I find it pretty watchable and it usually makes me laugh. As far as lame old-fashioned sitcoms that are wildly popular go it's alright to pretty good.

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My defense of it boils down to

it's a network sitcom in the old network sitcom tradition, its characters are based on archetypes/stereotypes and aren't trying to be real people or represent real people, the writing is always positive and affectionate towards its characters, and they get off some pretty funny one-liners. I don't get having a hate on for it, whether it's your bag or not.

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I'd also mention that I used to be on the hate train, until I got to watching it somewhat regularly, and I've gone from hate to indifference to what you see here.

I tried the same thing with two and a half men and I still think Charlie sheen is creepy and that show is terrible. So it's not gonna go that way for everyone with big bang theory.

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