Thursday, April 19, 2012

Big Bang Theory - Season 4

I tend to watch tv shows in binges. I also don't tend to watch anything on a regular schedule. For a while, I was in grad school and my shifting class schedule made it difficult. Now I'm just too out of the habit.

I explain all this so that you know why I'm only just now getting around to finishing up the fourth season of Big Bang Theory. We caught up to the show while this season was airing, and had to wait for it to come out on DVD. Then we had to wait until we remembered. Anyway.

I admit I was pretty worried about this season in general. One thing that I hate on sitcoms is the on-again off-again couple. I used to be obsessed with Friends in high school, and halfway through the show Ross and Rachel drove me so insane I stopped watching and never looked back. I also was wary of how Amy Farrah-Fowler was going to change things.

I have to say I've been pretty happy overall. I'm still two episodes from the end of the season, so I expect certain things will happen. But the off-again version of Penny and Leonard hasn't been annoying. It's been a pretty proper source of comedy, and it's actually helped give Penny a bit more dimension and character.

I go back and forth on Amy. In the most recent episode we were watching, I commented that I wasn't sure how I felt about where her arc was going and my husband responded, "at least she has another character trait." He's not wrong, she was one note at the beginning but has slowly started to become more interesting. I'm still not entirely sure where I stand with her, I definitely enjoy her more when she's with Sheldon than with Penny.

But I have to admit that having three regular female characters has meant that the show has started to feature them a lot more. This is especially nice because despite being comedic characters with their own strange traits (like Bernadette's clumsiness) both Amy and Bernadette are intellectuals who rival the male characters.

One of my favorite things about the show which has become even more evident this season is that the characters on this show, despite their faults, are all good friends to each other. Penny is given a lot of grief by Sheldon, but she shows over and over again that she will stand up for her friends, and do whatever they need just because they need it. The guys are a little less so, but you get the sense that when it's important the pranks and the jokes go away and they rally.

A lot of people like to disparage Big Bang Theory, and I've heard it called "nerdsploitation" and that it's actually insulting to geeks. People say that it is what normal people think nerds and geeks are like.

Personally, I think those people are being as narrow minded as they're accusing the creators of being. There is much about the show that reflects people that I know and love. Yes, they're caricatures and they're amped up because they're in a sitcom. But the show has always come across to me as a loving laugh WITH a subculture, not at it's expense. Since I'm a member of that subculture, I've not really seen the levels of offense other people have.

I'm fine if you think the show isn't funny. I disagree, but that's all a matter of taste. But references are usually pretty darn accurate (they were much closer to reality with their WoW references than South Park was, that's for sure) and they represent a large number of geeky interests. They aren't just scientists, or comic book fans, or sci-fi tv addicts. Now if Sheldon would stop hating on Babylon 5 and realize it's the best show of the 90s, we'll all be good.