Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Snow White and the Four Nerds.
Snow White and the Four Nerds is what I've started calling it, but it's more commonly known as The Big Bang Theory, a television show that is made to appeal to nerds and the people who love them. It's important to note that it's also meant for everyone else under 45.
The show is here on my blog because it's my favorite situation comedy. I've waited at least 13 episodes to write reviews on any television show, or at least tried to restrain myself until then, and for this show the time has come. Let's dive in.
The way the show is written more addresses pop culture tech and leisure than four guys who are wrapped up in science. They have Halo Nights, collect nerdy memorabelia, have highly skilled technical jobs, and are all jacked in to the latest nerd news. If those geeky qualifiers were all there was to this show then I wouldn't have to tune in, I'd just go call a friend or two for half an hour, since they're pretty much into all the same stuff. Thankfully there's a lot more to it.
The writers have managed to build basic backstories about at least two of the main characters being tenured geniuses in College and more detailed character histories that have a very long trail of social awkwarness. Most true nerds can relate to this, while the non-nerds who were more well adjusted during High School can have a harmless laugh.
The most important thing about the writing is the dialogue, and no situation comedy can survive without wit, unique characterization and charm. The actors on the show have great timing, and we already know a few of them from other successful situation comedies (Rosanne, 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter). The characters speak pretty much like any other educated person in North America with a smattering of techno babble and science fiction/fantasy analogies artfully thrown in, but there's not so much that it clogs our ears or to sends us to wikipedia to look up obscure events in science fiction entertainment. It's a difficult line to walk, how do you make this foursome sound like the geek genius who lives down the street without alienating your non-nerd audience? It's an art, and they pull it off very well. Maybe it's just me, but I have at least one laugh out loud moment per show. (Or LOL, even a ROFLMAO for those of you who are more accustomed to interweb sp33k).
Last but not least; we have Penny. She's the lovely non-nerd neighbor who lives just down the hall from our two main characters and through some writing magic she's become friends with the four nerds, even the one who can't speak to women unless he's been drinking likes her. With her in the mix we start seeing some delightful sit-com cliche's, and it's a lot of fun. One of the Nerds has a High Schoolish crush on her and isn't willing to tell her, she often exposes the four nerds to 'what the hip kids are doing these days' and joins in on the nerdy exploits in her own way unless she's the target of their attentions. How our four nerds react to her and her strange habits/fascinations/friends/ (which are actually things that 'normal' folks are into), is a key point of the show, it forces the characters to deal with someone who has a completely different perspective and is still willing to make an effort to just hang out with them because at the heart of it, these four nerds are just nice guys (except for Sheldon, the least well adjusted of the foursome).
This is a great formula for a situation comedy, one that could keep us laughing for several years. Sadly, I predict type casting and cast issues if it becomes too popular, which is a shame because everyone working on this show is fantastic. I hope they remain a happy television circle of friends and the cast remains just as pleased with what they're doing, because I might just start a letter campaign if they ever decided to cancel this half hour of nerdy laugh along bliss. Maybe I'll send dismembered action figures as a protest item...
Sadly there are some people who watch this show and ask themselves; "why is this funny?" For these people I respond; "Sorry, I got nothin' for ya, head on back to camp." [Translation: Go watch another episode of Survivor N00b! LOL!]