A Welcome and a Definition

Culture Vulture: "A person with a strong, sometimes obsessive, interest in the arts." Culture Vultures spend a lot of time observing the world. This is where those observations come out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Banging Nerds

Until just recently, there seemed to be a death sentence placed on the traditional sitcom. Reality TV, dramas and hour long "dra-medies" seem to be more prevalent on the TV landscape. However, this one show that exists that seems to prove that sitcoms still have life in them: The Big Bang Theory.

The show centers around Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard, four young physicists and all-around fanboys. They live next door to Penny, a young hot actress who works at the Cheesecake Factory. She is from Nebraska and tends to be more real world, where the guys live in the bubbles of academia and sci-fi fantasy. Hilarity ensues.

One thing I like about the show is that it makes weird cultural and scientific references and expects the audience to keep up. The show is funny but it's also very witty and manages to work the references in without it feeling forced. I think one problem with traditional sitcoms was that the comedy often felt watered down in order to appeal to a broader audience. The jokes were usually either overly simplistic or stock ideas, probably to appear accessible. Overall though, the traditional sitcom treated its audience like idiots.

Another noteworthy thing is the show's appeal to gay audiences, despite not having an a gay character or really any gay themes on the show. There's a sense of the characters as outsiders, and how they cope in their own worlds, an idea that probably appeals to many gay men. Witty dialogue and strong relationships between the male characters probably doesn't hurt either.

I feel like in talking about BBT; I must go a little in-depth about my favorite character, Sheldon Cooper. Played by the wonderful Jim Parsons, Sheldon is the nerdiest of the nerdy. Gifted with an unusually high IQ, Sheldon cannot navigate the day-to-day social interactions that most people take for granted. He seems to have no sexual or romantic interests. He's fussy, clean, self-absorbed, and at times, child-like. However, Parsons manages to make him likeable. Sheldon also has an unintentional charm with all his idiosyncrasies. I have to admit to having a crush on both Sheldon and Jim Parsons. Overall, a worthwhile TV obsession.

Watching: The Big Bang Theory

Hiding in the Spotlight by Greg Dawson

Listening: ABBA Gold

1 comment:

  1. Christian says in this post: "One thing I like about the show is that it makes weird cultural and scientific references and expects the audience to keep up." ... in other words, BBT is SMART, much like Murphy Brown or the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I remember back many years ago trying to explain why Carson's monologue was so funny... and if you didn't keep up with the news of the day and current events, it wasn't.

    The reason reality shows became so popular was easy to explain: remember the old adage "necessity is the mother of invention"? And "dramadies" like six feet under and the one with the bake shop (I don't recall the name) are popular because they're so obviously ludicrous and so easy to understand-- in short, they require little work on the part of the viewer, and Americans, as a whole, are lazy.

    Kudos to BBT!