One of the few sitcoms I actually like is Big Bang Theory. Interestingly enough, this has come under attack a few times. One of the criticisms I’ve heard is that it’s too stereotypical, which is definitely a fair point. The other criticism I’ve heard is that it’s for people who just think they’re nerdy but aren’t really, to which I usually respond with a flat and sarcastic “thanks, guys.”
Before addressing the criticisms further, I want to mention what I like about the show. Every episode feels different. It uses different material to make different jokes. The sitcoms I’ve seen in the past–the ones didn’t immediately bore me or put me off–were good for a few episodes. And then they started to feel like the same thing, again and again. Big Bang Theory doesn’t really have that problem. It doesn’t just stick to the quintessentially nerdy stuff, either, though that’s a big staple for the series. It also goes into culture, relationships, anything. That helps keep it from getting repetitive.
The subject matter also is a bit more relatable for someone like me than the material in most sitcoms. I can’t express how happy it makes me when they make a Joss Whedon reference–it doesn’t happen often, due to the big reference pool, but that makes it better when it does. And they’ll touch upon lots of tiny things, like how certain scientists (not all by any means, but certainly some) might look down on anything from social science to biology to experimental physics.
And of course, I actually think it’s funny.
Is it perfect? No, not at all. It is stereotypical, especially in the first few seasons. They don’t show a great range of people who might be involved in science or geek culture, instead choosing to focus on the types everyone expects to see. The characters are stereotypically smart, too, instead of realistically so. They know way too much about everything. So I see exactly where the first criticism is coming from, though it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the show.
As for the second criticism. Okay, no offense to anyone who holds that kind of opinion, because everyone’s like this about something, deliberately or accidentally. People exclude. I’ve done it, although I try very hard to realize I’m doing it and stop. But it’s hard, I get it. Still, I think this argument is a little elitist. Sorry. People like what they like.
Anyway, I like Big Bang Theory, stereotypical or not.