Okay. I Admit It. She Was Right

The Big Bang Theory

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My sister told me I should be watching Big Bang Theory — that it was fun, smart, and one of those rare shows which parents and teens can watch alongside one another without

  • squirming
  • jeering
  • heated discussion about morals, principles, or “where this consumer-driven culture is headed”

You know. All the basic elements of a generational gap that make for an evening of breathtaking fun.

Since I already own about nine boxed sets of unwatched television shows, I heard her, but her words didn’t particularly register. (Lesson #1: Always listen to your sister.) 

Then I did a whack of Christmas shopping at Think Geek. As I picked t-shirts for my nephews and Frank’s friends, I was cracking up, secretly wishing I owned a few of them myself.  The gifts, by the way, were wildly successful. My nephews were ecstatic.

As she thanked me, my sister took care to inform me that 90% of what I’d bought were phrases popularized by that show. (Lesson #2: If you’re going to listen to your sister, do it immediately. Otherwise, you’re gonna lose the superiority points you’ve painstakingly acquired over the last many months.)

Tell you what; if you don’t watch the show, why don’t I spare you lessons 1 and 2? Show you a snippet. Perhaps intrigue you.

To set this up: Leonard — the dark-haired character with the glasses — has the role of nerd-yearning-to-be-more. He’s in lust, perhaps love, with his beautiful blonde neighbor, Penny, who’s emotion-driven and contemporary. In other words, if he wants her, he’s going to need to change and embrace rejection and vulnerability in inventive new ways. 

Sheldon, the guy who wrote the algorithm, might have autism. He’s a wonderful, light example of intellectualism uniformed by emotion.

Do you watch Big Bang Theory? If you don’t, when was the last time your sibling was right about your television preferences? And did she rub your nose in it or did she go for the more diplomatic route? Allow your self-concept to remain intact? 😉

19 thoughts on “Okay. I Admit It. She Was Right

  1. Husband and I love the Big Bang Theory, but for whatever reason have not been able to convince other family members to join us in watching. Perhaps one must have a certain amount of inner nerd to enjoy? I love watching and scoffing that at least I’m not THAT geeky.

  2. Who are you kidding? Sheldon is a Vulcan with round ears. ;-D

    I have LOVED this show ever since I saw the very first episode. When I was trying to explain Sci/Fi/Fantasy conventions to my non-Geek husband, I was able to use The Big Bang Theory as a teaching tool! “Remember the episode where they went to ComicCon, honey? That’s what it’s really like!”

  3. LOVE this show. The boy (17 yo) and I have been watching together since it started a few years ago and the husband loves it when he comes home on the weekend to find episodes saved for him. We three cackle wildly all the way through. But it’s not just about the incredible level of humor. They generally take the storylines above just the low-hanging fruit of comedy. For example, if you think of a show with two super-smart guys living across from a beautiful blond girl, you’d assume a number of dumb blond jokes would follow. While there is some of that, Penny is just as often depicted as the guys’ mentor for “the real world,” helping them traverse situations not normally understandable to men in general, much less super-smart men who don’t often venture out of their self-built boxes.

    Also, it was months before we stopped pantomiming the use of a sarcasm sign during that first season. Enjoy the show! It hasn’t let me down yet. And let me say, enjoy Sheldon’s mother when she shows up. I adore her.

  4. Oh good gravy! Guys, if you see a honkin’ big typo in the first paragraph – *cringes* – feel free to point it out. I promise I won’t bite!

    Jessica, there are gradations of nerddom. I would consider myself average. Perhaps your other family members will blossom?

    Teresa, Sheldon’s not *quite* Spockish, if only because he’s such a good straight man. I’ve never been to anything like ComicCon, so I’m looking forward to that episode.

    Beki, so true about Penny and the mentorship. She’s a bridge to the real world and they provide a nice contrast to her ex-boyfriend. We can see how they will all benefit from their proximity.

    Liz, Castle’s one of my yet-to-be-watched. We’ll have to swap notes.

  5. I absolutely love The Big Bang Theory. If you watch nothing else on TV, watch this show! It is so full of wonderfulness. Three geniuses, one engineer, and an incredibly smart woman. In fact, she makes the guys look like morons. Yay Penny!

    1. Howard Wolowitz is the engineer. He’s the Jewish guy, with Bernadette for a girlfriend. Sheldon is fond of pointing out that Howard does not have a PhD, but Howard doesn’t really care. Engineers don’t care about PhD’s, they build things. And he has master’s degree from MIT.

  6. Big Bang is one of my favourite shows! I have it on DVR and never miss an episode. I had to laugh at your characterization of Sheldon *might be* autistic. He is full-blown autistic, at the very least Aspergers! Ha. His socially oblivious and often hysterical approach adds such an interesting, even critical, dimension to the dynamic of the group.

    Penny is wonderful as their real word neighbour with her basic waitress job. I love that Miyam Bialik (Sheldon’s “girlfriend”) is a PhD neuroscientist in real life. I don’t have time to waste on bad TV (who does these days?), but there are such unique aspects to this clever show that it never disappoints and retains its fresh appeal every time. You have to catch up on all those missed shows, Jan and I hope you feel the same way!

    As for my sisters – all 3 – I hate to sound boring about this, but we are best friends and I take all their suggestions seriously. Although I have to admit I look forward to one’s suggestions more than the other two, because we are more closely aligned in tastes.

      1. I love Sheldon’s mother, but who did she take him to for testing, the local witch doctor? What does it mean when you are narcissistic, miss ALL social cues, have no boundaries for yourself, but expect everyone around you to adhere to complicated rules and regulations, OCD, no verbal inhibitions, cannot be touched, displays no emotion and doesn’t interpret others’ emotions appropriately?

        Er, perhaps I am a Big Bang Theory groupie. I know waaay too much about Sheldon. 🙂

  7. OMG, lie down for a nap and you two get into a smack-down! What’s next? Jello-wresting? 😉 *All the men in the audience perk up*

    Suzanne, ah, that explains it. I’m not to the part where Wolowitz has his girlfriend yet. How did I not pick up he’s an engineer? (Mind you, we’re on episode 7 of the first season, so I’ll cut myself some slack.)

    Medeia, I think you’d like it, actually. Very fast-paced, fun. Worth reading with subtitles because they use such big concepts and words.

    Deborah, I think Suzanne said that tongue-in-cheek. She’s got a very dry sense of humor. And I will run all posts about the Big Bang Theory by you beforehand, mkay? Otherwise I think I risk your wrath. 😉

  8. Oh, too funny. I took Suzanne’s comment in all good humor, I promise! And for another bit of trivia for you, Sheldon’s mother is the only person he is afraid of. If he gets completely out of hand that’s who the roommates call!

    1. Deborah – I just love his mother too. Remember that time they called her to come and help, and he was hiding in his bedroom? She made his favourite dessert and he snuck out to get it while they were all sitting on the couch? They glanced over at him and he had that Deer In The Highlights Look, and she said, “don’t look”, so they all quickly looked away, and he ran away with his dessert.
      It’s like a squirrel at a picnic. Adorable.
      Jan – you will love this show. It’s funny, and it’s insightful, and somehow, it demonstates friendship and kindness so well. Even with a character like Sheldon. Especially with a character like Sheldon. Because when he IS kind, you really get it. Like that time he hugged Penny.
      OK, I’m outta here. I’ll go watch another episode.

  9. Deborah and Suzanne, we saw the Deer in Headlights episode. Too funny, although I have to admit I’m not taken with the mother, except as a comedic element. I’m appreciating how the whole show would evaporate without Sheldon.

    Joshilyn, we finished the first season tonight. Very happy with that ending! But now my daughter has asked us not to get the second season until she’s done exams. It’s going to be a long few weeks.

  10. Evidently I cannot leave well enough alone when it comes to a TV show! What does that say about my personality? Superficial? Heavily invested in Big Bang? Unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy? No, no, it’s just so rare to have a clever sitcom on TV these days, so I’d like to spread the word.

    Wanting to add that I agree with you about Sheldon’s mother, Jan, loving her as a comedic element, not necessarily in love with her personality. Mostly it’s enjoying see someone who can not only get through to Sheldon, but bend him to her will, especially someone without a genius IQ, so evidently mother trumps intellect in Sheldon’s world, a curious phenomenon.

    You’ll be happy to know that the show’s quality does not diminish with the seasons as so many do. There may be greater and lesser moments, but it does manage to remain clever and fairly unique.

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