Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Big Bang Theory Grumbles

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 20, 2016

Sometimes we really like Big Bang Theory. Sometimes we hate it. I think somewhere around season 4 we quit watching it altogether for a couple of seasons, then saw it got better, caught ourselves up, and resumed watching. About every third episode is a dud for me, and that doesn’t mean the rest are necessarily stellar. That isn’t a great ratio, although usually even the duds have two or three good jokes.

The thing is… I suspect that the ones I consider duds might be the more popular episodes, or at least the ones intended to have the most mass appeal. They avoid most geeky humor in favor of making fun of the principle characters, focus on awkward sex humor, and Sheldon being annoyed and saying socially unacceptable things again. Basically, standard sitcom material, with Sheldon standing out as the most quirky character. It makes me wonder if a bunch of comedy writers for all these failed sitcoms found a job with BBT and are just regurgitating their fallback material.

The ones I enjoy the most emphasize either the really smart geeks having trouble navigating the everyday world, or where they get the opportunity to shine in their own world. Where it’s not just “geeks in a sitcom plot” but really focusing on what makes them stand out. For me, one of the absolute best episodes was the one where the gang got their car stolen while re-creating Star Trek scenes on their way to a Comic Con, while meanwhile the girls try to understand the appeal of comics, only to get into a classic geeky argument over what constituted the Hulk picking up Thor’s hammer. Another great one was when Sheldon befriended James Earl Jones. Some other somewhat recent bits that relied upon the nature of he series and characters included the bird flying into the clean room, and where Leonard, Amy, Raj and Emily visit an Escape Room and end up solving the entire puzzle in just a few minutes.

I understand it’s difficult making a bunch of geeks and their world of science and geeky passions appeal to the mass audience, but that was the premise of the show from the get-go, and it worked. They made it work even for people who didn’t know much about science and geeky passions. I mean, the geeky side is my world, but I don’t know the science, and I get a kick out of it, at least when they aren’t clearly phoning it in. Every time I see a episode that feels dumbed-down or generic, I question why I keep watching it.

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