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why I love big bang theory

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why I love big bang theory

Postby spacefem » Sat Feb 18, 17:47 2012

So a few weeks back we had a thread started about how big bang theory was promoting negative gender roles because of the episode where Penny explains to Harold that he must sign a prenup because his fiance is awesome and he should do anything for her. We got into this debate about whether it's a "men should be honored to be with women" thing, and I hadn't seen the episode so I stayed out of the conversation but it lead to a lot of debate about the quality of the show in general. Well now I've seen the episode and am back to rehash the topic, three weeks late. Was it okay for Penny to tell Wolowitz he was lucky to have Bernadette? YES! Because Bernadette is brilliant!

Which leads me into my point here: I love Big Bang Theory.

Do you know how long I waited for a show about nerds? Engineers? And now, in these later seasons, it's even got nerd women?

And it's always been cool and respectful to these women! Even Penny, the non-nerd, "straight" person to keep the geek's comic craziness in check, has always been smart. She was blonde, yes, and an aspiring actress from a small town, living across from physicists... how easy would it have been for the writers to make her a total ditz. But they didn't! Go them!

I cannot get enough of Mayim Bialik's character who's sort of a female equivalent of Leonard except better adjusted, not as obsessive, and even funnier. Like Leonard she's so smart and quirky she's hopelessly weird, but unlike Leonard she gives the impression that she can fit in whenever she wants... just doesn't want to. She is her own girl. She has a PhD, she loves tiaras, she doesn't need anything from anyone. I want to be her.

Final plus: the show is almost a spin-off from Roseanne, with Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert and even sometimes Laurie Metcalf all together again. Roseanne had so many awesome pro-feminist/pro-labor themes I can't begin to list them. I gave the show credit for that one right off the bat. Go back and watch Roseanne some if you don't believe me.

So that's why I love Big Bang Theory and will for a while, I'm hooked. It's true that there are other great shows with strong smart women, I do love Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Portlandia, etc etc etc. But I'm an engineer and that makes big bang theory the show for me.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby lykin005 » Sat Feb 18, 22:05 2012

I really don't see how you can call me a troll based on that incident. A troll is someone who intentionally upsets people. I wasn't intending to upset anyone or anything like that I just was pointing to what I saw as unfair and not positive. Do we have differing opinions? Yes. Perhaps even strongly differing opinions? Likely. But I do not intend to inflame or incite, I want to discuss. You claim that it's fine for Bernadette to have Howard sign a prenup because she's awesome. Ok for sake of argument I'll call that a given, but what I was arguing against was how penny trivialized his feelings on the subject on the grounds that Bernadette's awesome and he should just deal with whatever come's his way. Imagine someone's in an abusive relationship with someone who provides for them food and clothes and a house and has tons of money and is very successful etc. Should this individual deal with the abuse merely because the other individual is "awesome?" I would say no. So in my opinion the trivialization of Howard feelings was unfair and inconsiderate.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby rowan » Sat Feb 18, 22:20 2012

I don't think you can compare abuse to signing a prenup.

I don't watch any TV so I can't comment on the specifics here.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby spacefem » Sat Feb 18, 22:24 2012

Dude, everybody called you a troll in that thread. It was like trollapolooza. Trollopois. Trollathon. Trollstock. 3 men and a troll. Gone with the troll. Troll wars: return of the troll. How I met this troll. Forest troll. Lord of the troll: followship of the troll. Trollon rouge. Cassatrolla. Citizen troll.

Troll.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby lykin005 » Sat Feb 18, 22:38 2012

To Rowan: I wasn't trying to compare it to abuse. I was saying that in both situations a person is having negative feelings, and then asking whether or not they are entitled to have those feelings and not feel like their being trivialized.

To Spacefem: And a lot of them afterward said they had concluded otherwise. I'm sorry I came off as a troll, it wasn't my intention.

Edit: To Rowan: I know, which is why I try to respond calmly and rationally to prove otherwise. I hope I'm succeeding.
Last edited by lykin005 on Sat Feb 18, 22:47 2012, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby rowan » Sat Feb 18, 22:40 2012

I don't think everyone did. Say lykin was troll, I mean.

Although fwiw, lykin:
lykin005 wrote: But I do not intend to inflame or incite, I want to discuss

is pretty much what every troll says.

(I don't think you're a troll)
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby Bork » Sat Feb 18, 23:12 2012

YES. I freaking LOVE The Big Bang Theory. I don't agree with you on every point, and I'm liking Mayim Bialik's character less and less as time goes by, but I'm on my iPhone and it's kind of hard to get into a long discussion. So keep this thread going for another two or three days.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby drunken dragon » Sat Feb 18, 23:30 2012

Lykin's first post on the subject was all "LOLWTFBBT" so it looked troll-y, but he calmed down and started actually discussing it for several posts afterwards.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby kelsa » Sun Feb 19, 0:41 2012

Sort of an aside, but I really wanted to like Mayim. I was like whoo religious Jewish woman with a PhD, fuck yeah, but I read her blogs and stuff on Raising Kvell and really dislike her as a person! Or as much as you can dislike someone from knowing them through their celebrity/blogs.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby lillerina » Sun Feb 19, 2:27 2012

I really like the character of Amy Farrah Fowler. She gives me the impression that she knows how society's rules work, but she rejects them because they're ridiculous, except when she wants to play. She's way more functional than Sheldon, who doesn't appear to know how societal rules work.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby Storage and Disposal » Sun Feb 19, 8:40 2012

spacefem wrote:Dude, everybody called you a troll in that thread. It was like trollapolooza. Trollopois. Trollathon. Trollstock. 3 men and a troll. Gone with the troll. Troll wars: return of the troll. How I met this troll. Forest troll. Lord of the troll: followship of the troll. Trollon rouge. Cassatrolla. Citizen troll.

Troll.

This is quite possibly the least mature thing I've ever read a person say to someone that has a mental disorder.

That's all I have to contribute to this thread because I have 0 interest in that show.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby spacefem » Sun Feb 19, 9:08 2012

lykin005 I will say that most of the forum seems to agree now that you were not trolling, so I am guilty of not reading enough of the thread there, and apologize for that, and shouldn't have called you a troll.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby lykin005 » Sun Feb 19, 15:35 2012

I appreciate your apology! It's all good! :)
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby monk » Sun Feb 19, 17:23 2012

anyway, I too love BBT. I have been watching non nerdy sitcoms longer than most of you have been alive and the number of those sitcoms that actually strike a cord with me on as many levels as BBT are few and far between. The first half of my life I was a nerd/geek is a dessert of non nerd stuff with my nose in a book to escape the non nerdness.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby edit the sad parts » Mon Feb 20, 8:56 2012

BUT THEY ARE LAUGHING AT US!
What was once before you - an exciting, mysterious future - is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone's experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter. Everyone's everyone.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby monk » Mon Feb 20, 9:11 2012

I stopped giving a fuck about "them" in 1989.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby edit the sad parts » Mon Feb 20, 9:22 2012

monk wrote:I stopped giving a fuck about "them" in 1989.



lol I like that there is a specific year. Really though, I think a bit of laughing at yourself is healthy, but I don't see very positive portrayals of anyone on this show. I stick by the comic that I posted in Hell.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby Hufflepuff » Sat Mar 10, 6:05 2012

I...love...Amy Farrah Fowler. That is my response to any discussion about The Big Bang Theory. How awesome is she? The correct answer is "fucking." If you wrote anything else, you were incorrect and will be deducted five points. I'm glad everyone's assessment of her character is the same as mine -- she's the female Sheldon, but far, far better adjusted; whereas Sheldon doesn't understand other people and is befuddled by relationships and social interaction that most of us take for granted, she understands how the game works as well as anyone, she simply elects not to play. Although she is completely oblivious to how one-sided her affection for Penny is. Who else has started calling their friends "bestie" because of Amy Farrah Fowler? (Who, by the way, I always refer to by her full name.)

Am I the only person who feels like BBT is the new Scrubs? Lemme explain -- Scrubs was the baby of creator and showrunner (that's the important part) Bill Lawrence. It wasn't a show that came about because of some executive order, it was his passion. BBT is the baby of creator and showrunner Chuck Lorre. It makes all the difference in the world when a single person has a vision and brings it to life, rather than a bunch of suits slapping together a Nielson-friendly clichestorm. And let me just say, I'm ducking fumstruck that BBT is on CBS. I mean, everything, literally every other show they have is utter crap.

I wasn't part of the original discussion here, but I clearly remember the episode in question, and that part, where Penny tells Howard he should (paraphrasing) "sign anything Bernadette tells him to because he is the luckiest man in the world and he will never find another woman like that in the rest of his life -- I know; we had a meeting" struck me as incredibly sexist and completely out-of-character (for the show itself, not for Penny of course).

Now, as a writer myself, I'm the first person to say "look, the words of a character in a fictional work are not necessarily the words of the author. You can't get mad at an author for one of his/her/etc.'s characters saying something objectionable -- the author isn't necessarily pushing that opinion/worldview/etc." But given the overall tone of the show in general, it did sort of feel...editorial. It was certainly jarring, it stuck out like a sore thumb. A dismembered sore thumb. In the middle of Antarctica.

Was Penny wrong? Of course. It doesn't matter how awesome Bernadette is, nobody should ever be browbeaten into any decision they make in a romantic relationship. Nor does it matter if Howard was wrong to be upset in the first place. Nor does it matter that it was understandable of Penny (as a character) to say what she did. The bottom line is, no browbeating in relationships. Period.

I do get a general feminist-friendly vibe from BBT. Neither pretty, girly "popular girl" Penny nor frumpy, awkward meganerd Amy Farrah Fowler are treated in a "haha, look how pathetic this girl is" way. In a show about nerds it'd be easy for them to demonize the popular, pretty girl. And in a mostly-male cast it'd be easy for them to treat the female nerd more harshly. But they don't in either case. I think what sealed the deal for me was when the guys were making fun of Penny's dumb boyfriend, and she and he left, and before she did she said, "You know, for a bunch of nerds who claim they were always picked on in high school, you can be real jerks. Shame on all of you." The way Kaley Cuoco delivered that line was just...fantastic. It wasn't presented as moralistic or bitchy, it was delievered perfectly as simply disappointed and sticking up for someone who'd just been bullied.

I don't get a nerd-friendly vibe, though. 70% of the comedy of BBT is "haha, these nerds care about dumb nerdy stuff, that's so different and weird, can you imagine?" The remaining 30% is "haha, look how socially akward Sheldon is." The whole premise of the comedy aspect of the show is "nerds are different and weird, let's laugh at them." Not that it's handled cruelly, not at all -- it normally comes across as having a laugh at oneself. But that doesn't change the fact that this show is aimed at a mainstream audience of non-nerds; Sheldon reciting all the formulae in the world verbatim can't change that.

(BTW, I completely missed the Roseanne connection until the episode where Leonard and Gilbert's character whose name I can't remember had the experimental kiss. Like, an hour after the show ended, I was doing something completely unrelated and suddenly was like, "zomg! Roseanne! Oh! And Laurie Metcalf! How did I not realize that?" Did anyone else see Gilbert's character's assement of the kiss as a nod to the actress' sexuality, by the way? "On the plus side, your technique was good. On the negative, no arousal." XD)
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby lykin005 » Sat Mar 10, 9:00 2012

"Was Penny wrong? Of course. It doesn't matter how awesome Bernadette is, nobody should ever be browbeaten into any decision they make in a romantic relationship. Nor does it matter if Howard was wrong to be upset in the first place. Nor does it matter that it was understandable of Penny (as a character) to say what she did. The bottom line is, no browbeating in relationships. Period."

This is how I would have phrased my first post were I not *deranged. Well done Hufflepuff.

*Edited Upon suggestion by Kelsa.

Another edit because I have nothing to contribute other than to say, I agree with Hufflepuffs assessment.
Last edited by lykin005 on Sun Mar 11, 8:03 2012, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby kelsa » Sat Mar 10, 10:36 2012

lykin005 wrote:
This is how I would have phrased my first post were I not retarded Well done Hufflepuff.


You can probably find a better word choice here.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby spacefem » Sat Mar 10, 17:35 2012

agree, kelsa.

but anyway, I don't think howard was browbeaten at all. in fact he never even stated a logical reason why the prenup was bothering him, it wasn't like they wore him down, penny just presented the FIRST argument and it was on the side of "why he should sign it". if anything howard was insecure about the fact that his fiance made more money than him, and that's what the holdup really was.

which brings another fact to mind... what if the roles were reversed here? guys are forever getting high fives for protecting themselves against money-grubbing bitches when they bring out the prenup agreements. but when a woman does it, she gets the "what makes you think you're so important?". you can can fist-pump to kanye helling "holla we want prenup!" as long as he's talking about men holding onto their money. I guess women just aren't supposed to hold on to their money, or more likely, have it in the first place. I smell even more bullshit around this issue now than when I started this thread.
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby Hufflepuff » Sun Mar 11, 2:58 2012

For the record, here's the exact quote from Penny...

"Alright, Howard Wolowitz, listen up. You sign anything she puts in front of you because you are the luckiest man alive. If you let her go, there is no way you can ever find someone else. Speaking on behalf of all women, it is not going to happen; we had a meeting."

Ouch. I don't see how anyone could think that was anything close to okay.

spacefem wrote:agree, kelsa.

but anyway, I don't think howard was browbeaten at all. in fact he never even stated a logical reason why the prenup was bothering him, it wasn't like they wore him down, penny just presented the FIRST argument and it was on the side of "why he should sign it". if anything howard was insecure about the fact that his fiance made more money than him, and that's what the holdup really was.

As I said, Howard's reasons being good or bad are immaterial. Two wrongs a right don't make. Penny basically said "you're worthless as a human being, your only worth comes from Bernadette's affection toward you, so you should obey her without question." To me, that's not okay.

spacefem wrote:which brings another fact to mind... what if the roles were reversed here? guys are forever getting high fives for protecting themselves against money-grubbing bitches when they bring out the prenup agreements. but when a woman does it, she gets the "what makes you think you're so important?". you can can fist-pump to kanye helling "holla we want prenup!" as long as he's talking about men holding onto their money. I guess women just aren't supposed to hold on to their money, or more likely, have it in the first place. I smell even more bullshit around this issue now than when I started this thread.

Bullshit? Really? Hmm. Maybe my nose is off. I only smell disagreement and fandom. Hope I'm not catching a cold.

Anyway, again, two wrongs. Just because there's a lot of men who feel women are golddiggers, and use "pre-nup" as a misogynist battle cry, that makes it okay for Penny to demean Howard and question his worth?

What if the roles in BBT were gender-reversed? That's the issue we're talking about, not "guys all the times be getting high-fives for being misogynists." What if there was a relationship between a sexy, wealthy man and a frumpy, socially-awkward woman? The man asks the woman for a pre-nup, and she's reluctant. After a day or so of wishy-washing, another man comes up to the woman and tells her she's the luckiest bitch in the world to have a man like that and she's going to sign anything he wants her to because no man like that will ever, ever give her the time of day again ("we had a meeting"). The interwubs would explode.

What Penny said was definitely not okay. The issue of whether Howard should've readily signed the prenup is a completely separate issue.

Also, maybe this is just a sensitive issue for you, I don't know, and again, I didn't participate in the original topic so maybe there's some bitter feelings from that spilling over, but so far in this topic, nobody's talking about the worth or validity of prenuptual agreements unto themselves. Speaking for myself, at least, I have no opinion one way or the other. I personally am only debating the narrow issue of "what do you think about this thing on BBT?"
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Re: why I love big bang theory

Postby lizpoona » Sun Mar 11, 10:57 2012

I haven't kept up with the past couple of seasons, but watching the Big Bang Theory was what helped me get through one of the toughest periods of my life. It literally was the reason I could deal with the deep despair & depression I was experiencing at that point. I will forever like BBT because of that.


That's really all I have to contribute at this point in the discussion... I'll go watch a few episodes and then come back.
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