Love it or hate it, why people should shut up about Big Bang Theory being “offensive to nerds”

This entry just might be the closest thing to “inflammatory” I’ve written.

Let’s get this out right now: I love the Big Bang Theory. Most of my “nerd” friends love the show. It’s a show.  All of us have the good sense to suspend our disbelief and disassociate ourselves from the exaggerated characters, because at the end of the day, they are exactly that: caricatures.  When I was growing up in a standard middle class family, we didn’t bitch about “Rosanne’s” white-trashiness.  I didn’t hear about talk radio personalities or psychiatrists raving about the neurosis of “Doctors Frasier and Niles Crane”.  No journalists were ranting about “questioning journalistic integrity” of Murphy Brown and the crew at FYI: we still embraced the characters. Quirks and all. Every 6 months or so, people flare up against BBT’s “stereotypes”:

“Psh, girls can’t walk into a comic book store?”
“Intelligent guys are fumbling and awkward around pretty women?”
“Nerds can’t defend themselves against bigger guys?”.

Yes, a comic book store’s larger demographic is still mostly male between 18 and 35. Girls aren’t *forbidden*, in fact more and more females are coming into any given comic book shop to make purchases.  The atmosphere of the store and the attitude of the staff are *HUGE* factors in this. But, more often then not it’s guys that walk through the door.  It’s not a hard and fast rule of the universe, but it’s an observation on the world as I’ve experienced it.

Maybe it’s not the sex of the person walking into a comic book store, but those particular characters.  They don’t frequent that shop because their interest in the subject is lacking, therefore the semi-blank stares they get when they enter the comic book shop doors are met with stares from its patrons because the patrons can tell these people don’t come in here often.   If I walked into a sports memorabilia store donning my Green Lantern shirt and Doctor Who Fez, I’m sure they’d consider me shopping for someone else.

Yes, intelligent guys can get too “inside their own head” when they find a girl attractive and it makes it difficult to make a successful first impression. I’m *married* and I still have those moments.  Guys aren’t alone, though: it happens to girls too.  Because as a human being, it’s in our nature to want other human beings to like us.  People with lower inhibitions don’t tend to see it that way, but for some of us that would give a second thought to almost every. action. It can get kind of annoying inside our heads.

No, a lot of “nerds” can’t (sometimes won’t) defend themselves when it comes to physical altercations. I’m not a small guy, but given the opportunity, I’d probably duck and cover in a fight (or, ya know, run away if I was directly involved.)

Ever since the emergence of “Reality TV”, people seem to find it harder and harder to be able to tell the difference between that and true “scripted television”.  It’s starting to get to a point where shows need a disclaimer before it starts: “WARNING: These are characters created by writers in a room. They are not real people. They are exaggerations of, at *best*, a sampling of people the writers have observed within a radius of a single city block. CALM DOWN.”

Whenever people bring up this subject, no one looks back and craps on the 1984 comedy “Revenge of the Nerds”. The styles might have changed, but these characters aren’t any less awkward, socially inept, and generally stereotyped caricatures of an “unpopular sub-culture”. Honestly, I still love “Revenge of the Nerds” as well.  I never felt slighted by its portrayal of “nerds and geeks”.

I think one of the more recent BBT flare-ups has been exacerbated by the upcoming “King of the Nerds” (speaking of Robert Carradine), a reality game show premiering on TBS later this month. Am I going to watch it? Probably not.  I generally avoid almost all “reality TV”. Am I going to picket against it and spew “nerdrage boycott” rantings all over the internet? No.  Do I think the contestants represent myself or any of my friends? I don’t know: I don’t know those people personally and I know how those shows are edited in a specific fashion. None of this affects my daily life.  The airings of these shows don’t affect how I am perceived or how I interact with people. Do you know what does? My interactions with people. Apparently, the only thing that bothers me is when people get on a soapbox about how these shows “shed a negative light on our sub-culture”.  People a lot smarter than myself have thoroughly enjoyed themselves by being involved with the show, be it an episode (Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking and Steve Wozniak) to show regulars (Mayim Bialik).  So let’s sit down together as human beings and enjoy some entertainment that some people made up.

Thank you.

Ross Demma is the author of Christmas Fire as well as other comics. He comes to us from sunny Tucson where you don’t need a fire to make s’mores..just a cute purple dragon and some of the natural heat. The Big Bang Theory Pint Glass Set 4 Pk

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