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The Big Bang Theory: Am I really that kind of Nerd?!

The Big Bang Theory pilot has been available for months on Youtube and it premiered on September 24, 2007 on CBS. About the show (from CBS website) : ‘Meet two brainiacs with a lot to learn. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) can tell their quarks from their quantum physics, but have no clue how women add up. Leave it to their pretty new neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco), just off a messy breakup, to teach them a thing or two’. It may not sound very funny at first, but it is, definitely.

The show (created and executive produced by Chuck Lorre – creator of Two and a Half Men – and Bill Prady) is getting terrific reviews all over and it deserves them, I was laughing constantly. The Big Bang Theory is about “nerd humor” and some people I know who watched the pilot didn’t really get what was funny and didn’t laugh at all. Sometimes the show is cliche (the girl next door is as usual, a sexy bird-brain blonde) and one can think it contributes to negative stereotyping but which show doesn’t? (remember the controversy around the depiction of police corruption in The Shield, I mentioned it in Dexter and The Shield: bad is good). It took me some time to accept my nerdy (geeky) ways and it’s surprising to hear them mentioned on a television show.

I probably shouldn’t write that (I’m not afraid anymore!), but I’m watching Battlestar Galactica (waiting for the fourth and final season by the way), I enjoyed playing (Klingon) Boggle, I did have a light saber (but not the Dark Vader Shampoo, I didn’t go that far), I play WoW (World of WarCraft, Alliance) and I have a tiger pet (it’s a reroll, I first was a dark priest)… The ‘212 friends on Myspace’ and ‘Save it for your blog’ lines were funny too. And the periodic element shower curtain is very cool (where can I buy this?!). So yes, the ‘super nerds’ and ‘uber-geeks’ from this show don’t really exist, but we all happened to live the very strange situation when you’re talking about something anyone but you (and some other few) can understand.

I like Howard Wolowitz character (Simon Helberg), also known as the ‘Casanova of Cal Tech’, although he is a caricature (‘Bonne douche!’). I hope they can keep it fresh and funny, and that the writers will not run out of ideas. There is a fine line between humor and the ease with which caricature can be used and abused. There is always a risk that the writers will fall into slapstick or cheap humor and thus lose the interest of the audience. We will see in the next episodes.

And the answer to the question in the title of this post is: no, I am much more of a geek than a nerd, or… dork (How NERDY are You?).

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