Friday, December 18, 2009

TV: The Big Bang Theory

It might not seem like it, but the geek (in the sci-fi-loving, RPG-playing, cheerfully alienated modern sense) is a fairly new concept. That's why there have been only a few true geeks in primetime comedy, with Steve Urkel being the most well-known example. The CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" ups the ante with four main characters who are dyed-in-the-wool, stereotypical nerds:

They're research physicists (well, except for Wolowitz, who only has an MS in engineering), so between the Halo games, the Chinese takeout, and the anime conventions, there is some science being bandied about. The show hired a real UCLA prof to make sure all the technobabble makes sense, though just about anyone with a love of current scientific progress will get most of the references.

I wish I could say I was a big fan of the show, but BBT really just rehashes decades-old sitcom conventions once you take out all the nerdy trappings. Still, the constant references to everything from IPv6 to the Incredible Hulk are endearing. Strangely enough, I like watching specific clips of the show more than watching entire episodes, because that way you can get the piece of geekdom and the character's off-the-wall behavior without muddling through the sitcom plot.

Here's a clip that's rather festive - girl-next-door Penny gives an unusual Christmas gift to the ultra-anti-social Sheldon:


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