Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Big Bang Theory

I've been a fan of the show The Big Bang Theory for a little over a year now. I've caught most of the episodes in reruns, although once in a while one pops up that I haven't seen. Lana is also a fan, and is the one that got me started watching it.

I heard yesterday that "real" Geeks and Nerds don't like the show because of its portrayal of them. I was pretty much amazed at that. I definitely consider myself a "real" Geek and Nerd and I like the show. What Nerd Cred do I have to show as proof?  I can watch the first two minutes of any Star Trek (original series) and tell you the title of the show. I can quote volumes of Kirkisms, Spockisms, Bonesisms, and even some Scottyisms. I know the difference between Trekkie and Trekker and think that "Trekker" is a bit pretentious.

I watch most of the SF/fantasy movies that come out each year, providing they come to our library where my wife, Lana, can get them for free. We had a free movie channel weekend this last weekend and I watched John Carter three times!  I've read just about every Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard book, and know what ERB, REH, CAS, and HPL represent. I was in a Robert E. Howard fandom group for years and wrote thousands of words about him. I just reviewed three REH related graphic novel projects for a scholar journal dedicated to Howard. I go to Science fiction conventions. I even write SF and fantasy and all kinds of weird stuff.  Ich bin ein nerd, and I'll take a back seat to no one in that regard.

Lana is perhaps slightly less Nerdy than me, but not by much. She likes Big Bang Theory too. She watched the John Carter movie this weekend even more than I did.  She's painted unicorns and dragons, for goodness sake. I do not question her nerdiness either, at risk of getting a Bat'leth to the spleen.

So, what is that supposed "true" Nerds do not like about the show? Of course it is not a 100 percent accurate portrayal of all nerds. Nerds are quite varied creatures, even if we do have much in common. No show could capture the whole breadth and depth of Nerddom. But what the show does is let us have a good laugh at ourselves while employing plenty of inside jokes that Nerds and only Nerds would snicker at.

I am a Nerd!  And I stand up for The Big Bang Theory.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No idea! I'm a geek and I think the show is hilarious. Of course, I've never collected things like the guys do. Nor have I ever dressed up. But that doesn't bother me that they do it in the show, because yes, some geeks do all of that!

Dionne Charlet said...

Huzzah!!! I have been called " _____(insert female monarch-like word here)of the Nerds" and I am all about that! LOL I just do my thing, as do we all and are not afraid of the repercussions. We are who we are because we like what we like, not in direct conflict with popular culture, but simply because we...DO. Tell 'em, Charles!

But wait...I gotta go look up 'Trekker' now. I think I know what it means, but neither of my Tribbles is talking to me right now...

Rachel V. Olivier said...

Yeah! Hear! Hear! I'm a geek, nerd, whatever of longstanding and I adore them! I love their Trek-isms and that Leonard plays cello and that Sheldon plays the Theramin. And that the show portrays the range of geekdom from the comic book store/artist to waitress/actress to science nerds. Penny's midwest jokes are us geeky as some of the other jokes. That's what I like about it. The writers are able to take a range of people, show how they can care for each other and get along and how funny they are all together.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I like the serial too. They are a crazy bunch, they have a lot of fun in a nerdy way, and they talk about comics and superheroes often. I liked the episode where Stan Lee has a cameo, as he usually does in Marvel's superhero films.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, the mouse is more sensitive to touch than it usually is, hence the repeat comment and the subsequent deletion.

Unknown said...

"Lana is also a fan, and is the one that got me started watching it."

Reverse that, baby. YOU started watching it first. I heard it in the background while on my computer and had a few laughs, so I decided to give it a shot.
Good show--thanks for turning me on to it!

Unknown said...


LESS nerdy? Really? You think me LESS nerdy?
Who played D&D for decades (as player AND DM)? Who can quote you almost anything by Monty Python (not to mention Terry Gilliam's films afterwards.) Who wears their glasses ALL THE TIME? Who got their stuffed Chtulhu first? Who got married in a shirt and tiara from the Renaissance festival?

LESS nerdy? Harrumph!

Tom Doolan said...

BBT is as much like Geek/Nerd life as Platoon was like Vietnam. That group of people may not exist in real life together, but I'm willing to bet that each one is a good representation of someone out there.

Also, there is a distinction between Geek and Nerd. The Nerd Rage probably stems from the scientist cliques who may or may not be Geeks.

Tom Doolan said...

And Charles, your wife rocks! :)

Deka Black said...

no idea. In fact, the show helped me to make my family understand some things. For example. Now my mother, my father and my sister, know who green lantern is. And is only an example

Adventuresfantastic said...

Speaking as both a scientist and a nerd, I have to say Tom is absolutely correct. The people on the show are representations, and while there are other types of folks not represented who are nerds, the show hits the nail on the head. I knew/know someone like every person on that show.

X. Dell said...

For those of us still in the closet, I have to confess I haven't watched a single episode of that show. Just don't watch too much TV. I spend too much of my time reading old Star Trek novels.

Merisi said...

I have a hunch that wannabe-nerds don't like the show. ;-)

Cloudia said...

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Randy Johnson said...

I'm with you, Charles. Love the show. The characters are representative of the type, I've known a few like them, and they may not like the light shining on them.

And yes, I'm a geek/nerd to I suppose. Like one commenter, I've never dressed up in costume and only attended a few cons> But I enjoyed myself and have met a few of the actors(Nimoy and Takei).

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex J. Cavanaugh, I have sort of dressed up. Lana took some pics of me in my western gear.

Dionne Charlet, who am I to argue with the _____ of the Nerds? :)

Rachel V. Olivier said... I agree. I think that’s the thing. They’re having fun with all the tropes but they do show the relationships.

Prashant C. Trikannad, Stan Lee was hilarious in that and his interaction with Sheldon. No prob on the extra comment. I’ve done that.

Lana Gramlich, Really! I could have sworn, but we both know my memory ain’t the best. As for the Nerd championship, you’re right. You are the one. I bow down to you. Who would a thunk it that I could find a bigger nerd to marry.

Tom Doolan, yeah, I know Geeks are more techno so that might be part of the issue. I’m sure, too, that the characters represent some real folks. Indeed she does rock!

Deka Black, I didn’t think about the educational qualities of the show. But you’re absolutely right.

Keith, me too. I’ve worked in labs with such folks. Been in Departments with some of them!

X. Dell, you are forgiven then. But it is worth watching if you find yourself with nothing to do.

Merisi, maybe that’s it. I kind of wondered. They’re not quite cool enough to be real nerds. :)

Cloudia, my job is done!

Randy Johnson, I’ve met quite a few SF/Fantasy actors at cons, including a number of the Battlestar Galactica folks and Star Trek folks. Haven’t met any of the Biggest names, though. I should get to meet Gil Gerard this spring. He’s coming down here to a con.

Travis Cody said...

I'm not sure about my Geek credentials lately. However, the other day I did answer "42" in proper context. Hopefully that gets me a few extra points on the Geek scale.

I haven't seen a lot of TBBT, but what I have seen I've enjoyed. I like how seriously they discuss some of the silliest of things.

Erik Donald France said...

Nicely put. My boss watches 'Big Bang Theory' so I'm guessing that's another good incentive for me to check it out.

Funny, another dude today referred to himself as a wonk as well as a nerd.

Riot Kitty said...

All hail the nerds! We need to be represented, you know.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis Cody, yes, how they argue over comic book things is endearing.

Erik, a wonk? I don't know that term.

Riot kitty, I do try!

laughingwolf said...

no tv, no ideer what the fuss is about :)

elsewise, nerdy as hell

Deka Black said...

Indeed, Charles. A conretee pisode even helped me explain to them what text adventures are (Zork)

Ty said...

I've never really considered myself a geek or a nerd, but I've had friends who are such, and I admit to sometimes operating on the fringes of such social groups.

But however I see myself or others see me, 'The Big Bang Theory' is one funny show, and in my opinion by far the best written of all Chuck Lorre's current shows. For that matter, one of the best written sitcoms on network television today.

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, you are a purist, my friend.

Deka, cool. I haven't heard of "zork" in a long time.

Ty, definitely. I'll have to look up what else Chuck Lorre has. I didn't know he did any other ones.

BernardL said...

The Big Bang Theory is comedy fiction. I guess they need to add a disclaimer - this is a work of fiction and any resemblance to real life people, places, or things is purely coincidental. :)

Ron Scheer said...

. . . or any resemblance to real life is purely comical.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, maybe that would cover it. I always put that in my books. Just in case.

Ron, indeed.

Erik Donald France said...

Follow up on 'wonk.' According to this, it all began in 1954:

"Definition of WONK
: a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field; broadly : nerd policy wonk a computer wonk
— wonk·ery \ˈwäŋ-kə-rē\ noun
— wonk·ish \ˈwäŋ-kish\ adjective
— wonk·ish·ness noun"


ivan said...

Funny thing.

Up until fairly recently I have not been a nerd, but a Luddite...Smash the fershlugginer machine!...it ain't gonna make your write any better! My stand-up 1920 Remingon would do just fine!

But by 2007, there was a transformation when I began to experience difficulty in getting my typewritten words into some prospective publisher's hard drive. Golly. You could now multiple -submit by learning Word, copy and paste your material to all and sundry-- even to your friends, most of them fellow writers and with more clout than you had in the various media.
By the year 2,000 one published writer finally had lunch with me-- and seemed baffled by my transformation. "Migod, you've become a nerd, a geek!"
This old hot lead linotype jockey had finally seen the light! But too bad because of a technology lag, he was now unemployed. In the business, you used to do things differently.
Gone for years was the linotype operator to whom you would submit your clumsy scrawls and he would make heads or tails out of them, down to proper paragraphing, spelling, headlining and artistic use of white space. (So much the worse for parvenu typographic folk usually gay, who could baffle you with demonstrations- with only one had--to show you indeed, you zen freak, that it is possible to clap with one hand--these guys seemed always to possess big hands. Gevolt, I can demonstrate to you one hand clapping! Thump! Thump! Thump)!
"You are old, Father William."
(This reference had me always reaching for my Lewis Carroll books).
Gone is the "superior knowledge" linotype operator. We now resort to Google.
In any event, I had become a nerd, a geek.
Which,I fear has not made me write any better...But it sure engages your brain, filled now with three score years of ink, bullshit and hot lead.
And you notice, quickly the vast gap between those who are online and those who are not. Migod it seems the same difference between humans and animals at times. We geeks have this sense of assumed superiority. "The asshole is computer illiterate! Damn his l950's PhD."

One has become a geek.


Greg said...

well said. there's a lot of shows that try to be funny on TV right now and not many of them succeed, so we should enjoy the ones that actually do.

G. B. Miller said...

Got hooked into the show about year ago when I was waiting to pick my order of wings and they had a t.v. tuned into it.

Personally, I think Chuck Lorree is a super-genius with this show. Pop culture personafied.

Also like the Barenaked Ladies as well.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, thanks. I do believe I have heard that but had forgotten it.

Ivan, a friend of mine once told me he'd flatline before going online. But he too has been seduced by the interweb! :)

Greg, yeah, I tried to watch the new 1600 Penn. Oh it was bad.

G. B. I didn't know much about the barenaked ladies before I found out the theme song was by them.

Heff said...

I've NEVER thought of you as a nerd, Dude. Not ONCE.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think it is one of the smartest and funniest sitcoms ever. The writing is outstanding. And just when the original cast was becoming a bit too predictable they added the two new women. I have seen every episode at least twice.

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, I appreciate that, man. It's nice to be considered non-nerdish by one of the clearly cool folks in the world.

Patti, yeah, the the new new women are great in their roles. I didn't realize until Lana pointed it out that Sheldon's girlfriend was the girl who played "Blossom" in that TV show back in the day.

Golden Eagle said...

I've never watched The Big Bang Theory, but from what I've heard it's like most other shows--there for entertainment, not complete accuracy.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patrycja, thanks for dropping by.

Golden Eagle, indeed. One shouldn't get one's world view from TV.

Barbara Martin said...

Count me in as a nerd though I don't watch the show or any TV for that matter. Nice post though.

laughingwolf said...


ivan said...

Some deserve acclaim others do not. Why did 30 Rock get the Golden Globes?

It seems to me that Big Bang theory is arcanley hip, while Tina Fey's wonderful talents seem wasted in this final month of 30 Rock.

I think if was co-actor Alec Baldwin who admitted to Rolling Stone Magazine that the show was flat, but I don't think Tina and the culture around it would ever admit that the show actually sucked, making even Homer Simpson
appear hip.
"Oh, we're so great , we're so great, because we tell you that we're so great and funny."
...Brings to mind the attitude of our Canadian CBC, not always funny.
"But we are great because we tell you that Canadian TV talent is great."
Small wonder that top Canadian talent goes to New York or Hollywood.
Saturday Night Live was brilliant in its heyday.

Whatever happened to serious TV criticism?

Charles Gramlich said...

Barbara, without TV I don't know if you can be a nerd.

Laughingwolf, :)

Ivan, was there ever serious TV criticism? I guess. I don't remember it well, though. Never watched 30 rock. Too tame for me.

jodi said...

Charles, I'm NOT a nerd and I like that show!

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, perhaps you are nerdier than you think? :)