There's a common thread among people who will binge watch every episode of every Stargate show in a month, or have deep conversations about the things that make each Doctor in Doctor Who special and necessary. A lot of these people have grown up with all things science fiction and feel a special ownership of these concepts and characters. I'm certainly one of them, and will happily lose an afternoon to the political structure of Fremen on Arrakis or the disappointment I felt when a scene in Lord of the Rings wasn't exactly as I pictured it from the 15 times I read the trilogy before the movies came out.
But I genuinely don't get the vitriol and negativity from my fellow nerds when it comes to The Big Bang Theory, and it would be really great if you would knock it off. Most because, like a lot of my very nerdy friends, I happen to love this show and its characters.
It turns out television shows are not a perfect reflection of the worlds they portray, and I'm never not amused when different groups of people make this discovery for themselves. Journalists and bloggers were up in arms at minor issues in The Newsroom. Nurses and Doctors regularly mock shows like Grey's Anatomy and House. As a Maryland resident, I still hear people grumpy about the way people were portrayed in The Wire. It's almost always the same kinds of complaints, just different faces from different life paths. And in some ways, I get it. Disappearing into a fantasy is basically impossible when the topic is adjacent to your real life.
Vocal opponents of The Big Bang Theory are a little different. The topics being discussed aren't lifestyles or professions or locales, but instead the mixed bag of "geek culture" which has slowly become more popular over the last decade. These topics, comics and games and collectibles, are a part of our identity. For some of us, these characters and their stories are the only friends we had growing up. Seeing those things used in a way we didn't expressly approve of is bound to cause issues for some. And disapprove they do.
This perfectly encapsulates why I hate "The Big Bang Theory" pic.twitter.com/G2P4TLyUKy— Lyle Rath (@LyleRath) January 27, 2016
For the most part, The Big Bang Theory isn't for us. It's for the people who know us. Tons of people watch this show and think "I know someone who acts like Howard" and it gives them a way to feel like they are laughing with us instead of at us. Most of those people mean well, but they aren't the only people watching the show. I'm just about as nerdy as they come, and live with a software engineer and a fantasy writer. We've seen every episode of this show, and most of the time thoroughly enjoy doing so. It's weird to go a week where we haven't seen an episode, and have a history of going back and watching favorite episodes when something isn't on that week.
There has never been anything wrong with not liking a show, but enough shitting on The Big Bang Theory.
Not every episode is funny, which is what happens when you're on the air for more than 10 years, but the character development and the overall concepts discussed in the show are great. We've seen awkward, antisocial loners begrudgingly connect with people and become an awkward, antisocial group who can't imagine a world in which they aren't all friends. It doesn't get more real life than that for some of us. The long arc of these characters has been a genuine pleasure to watch over time, and will continue to do so for at least the next couple of years.
There has never been anything wrong with not liking a show, but enough shitting on The Big Bang Theory. It's success comes from being able to tell jokes the largest group of people can wrap their heads around through characters that are largely stereotypes of the different kinds of nerd out there. Like any show, there's plenty of room for valid criticism. For example, in ten years this show has not dedicated a single moment to the wildly different experiences LBGT or black nerds live compared to the largely straight, largely white cast of this show. But instead, I see people complain that Sheldon said "Linux-based" instead of "Linux" in an episode, which is clearly the kind of mistake fake nerds in the writing room would make. There's a lot more fun to be had with shows like this if you focus on the characters instead of attacking the details, even if those details feel like a part of your identity.
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