When Big Bang came along it claimed to be heralding a new age of “geek chic”, nerd culture was cool and mainstream television wanted a piece of the pie (or should that be pi?). Here was a programme whose main ensemble was made up of four highly intelligent scientists who love science fiction, fantasy and gaming. Here was a show with nerd protagonists aimed at the mainstream. We were finally getting some representation.
Except that we’re not. At least not any more.
And here’s my issue, here’s why The Big Bang Theory makes me feel uncomfortable. We aren’t laughing with Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard. We’re laughing at them. Chuck Lorre has given us four exceptionally intelligent, nerdy main characters and he’s positioned us as an audience against them. When I watch Big Bang it becomes more and more obvious that I’m not supposed to relate to the guys (or more recently Amy Farrah-Fowler). I’m expected to relate to Penny. You only need to pay attention to the audience laughter to realise that TBBT relies on positioning us as an outsider to the nerds, as someone like Penny who doesn’t understand their references, their science, their vocabulary even, and who doesn’t care to learn.
I’ve only seen parts of of few episode, so my own analysis could not go this far; to me the show is unwatchable.