The Big Bang Theory: a lesson in how to be a geek

Television for the geekier among us has always been a feast or famine deal. It’s been mostly famine, unfortunately.  Especially among the ‘big four’ networks.  Last season, though, CBS gave us geeks our due.  A little comedy called ‘The Big Bang Theory’ debuted. The show, about four geeks and a sexy neighbor, is full of in-jokes, science fiction and comic book references is spot on with the geek culture.  I put myself in that culture, though I hope I’m not AS geeky as they are.  I am married and have a kid, so I think I’m already a step ahead.

Every episode, so far, has hit a home run in the comedy department.  I do, however, find myself laughing at things that neither my wife or son understand.  Sometimes, that makes me wonder about myself.

The show has the perfect cast as well.  Johnny Galecki, formerly of the Rosanne Show, and Jim Parsons are perfect.  Parsons is the perfect choice as Sheldon.  Sheldon makes Spock look human.  Parsons’ dead pan delivery and perfect timing is the key to the whole show and is what makes it work.  The other two geek characters on the show, Howard and Rajesh, augment Sheldon and Leonard and serve as the sidekicks.  The sexy neighbor, played by Kaley Cuoco, serves several roles on the show.  First and foremost, she is the object of desire for three of our heroes:  Leonard (who has the best shot at her affections,) Howard (the resident pig) and Rajesh (the silent one because he cannot talk to women while sober.)  She also is the straight one, i.e. not always in fantasy land.  Cuoco also has perfect timing and creates the right amount of sexiness and that ‘just got out of bed’ look. 

It is Parsons, though, that really carries the show.  The guy deserves an Emmy for his work on the show. I don’t wish to slight the other cast members-they are all terrific-but if Parsons left, the show probably would not last. 

The writing is superb.  The writers had to be geeks themselves or, at least, lived with or was around a geek quite a bit.  The references made, both real and those set in science fiction, are spot on and some of them just aren’t mainstream.  For example, on a recent episode, references were made about a movie, Saturn 3, that starred Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett.  The movie was set in a mining station on a moon of Saturn.  The film was a flop at the box office and is not widely known. What show would throw out such a reference?  Ok, the Simpsons might.

I hope this show survives.  It is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise mediocre schedule.  I cannot think of another comedy that is funnier.  The Office lost it about four episodes after it began.  The junk that follows Big Bang never was funny.  Scrubs should have been scrubbed years ago.  I could go on.  I think you get the picture, though.  If we only had more of the Big Bang Theory and, quite possibly, Pinky and the Brain, television would be much better. 

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