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The Big Pain Theory

September 24th, 2014 . by Tim Babb (TANcast's #1 Host/Editor Fan)

Back in March of 2013, I posted a blog an argument I’d had about the television show The Big Bang Theory. It wasn’t amazing, but I got the point I wanted to make off my chest.

Then, over a year later, some dude came by to comment on it. And since I’ve committed to a new blog every day this month, instead of replying in the comments, I’m writing a whole new blog to respond.

(By the way, this blog is so long that there’s no way I’m waiting until the end to post today’s product, so here’s a link: http://www.zazzle.com/shhhhh_its_a_nappening_shirt-235262421594574911 Okay, back to the blog)

First let’s get a taste of what the guy had to say

The Big Bang Theory definitely offends me as a nerd

Oh boy…this was the start of a very lengthy comment, my friends. For your sake, I’m going to just pick and choose little bits from this “Andy story” style comment.

But being identified as a ‘nerd’ is not like being identified by profession or where you live. It is an inseparable part of a person, like being African-American or differently-abled

Yes indeed, you nailed it, sir. Being a nerd is exactly like being Black or disabled. That is not at all a tone deaf comparison. Whatever you say based on this assumption must be pure gold.

In fact, recent research is tending to show that most individuals with characteristics that our culture labels as ‘nerds’ (e.g. skilled with explicit fact learning paired with an apparent lack of innate understanding of social norms) are likely somewhere on the Autism spectrum

So because people on the spectrum exhibit some of the same characteristics as “nerds,” ALL nerds should be protected under the guise that they have a developmental disorder? Seems legit.
But what does this have to do with the show?

so at this point we’re really talking about laughing at people due to fact that they have a diagnosable disorder.

No. As I said in my blog, we’re not just laughing at the characters on the show because, “Hey look, nerds doing nerd things!” This show is just any 20-something set of kids dealing with work, relationship, family problems and the wackiness that ensues…the only difference is they sprinkle in references to Doctor Who a lot and every so often Neil deGrasse Tyson drops by.

I suppose you think it would be the height of wit to make a show in which every character is explicitly portrayed to have Down syndrome, Schizophrenia, and every other mental disorder we can diagnose? And The Jersey Shore doesn’t count!

You’re semi-decent joke not withstanding…shut up. I never said that. I never said anything remotely like that. Just because YOU’VE decided that all nerds everywhere have a disorder (which is way more insulting than anything the show ever said) doesn’t mean that MY view of the show has to change.

Let me try that straw man style argument against you…”Obviously you don’t want any comedy to happen anywhere because someone is always the butt of a joke. I suppose you’d like to live in a world where no one is ever allowed to be funny again? (Fortunately, Jeff Dunham will be able continue his act with no changes)”

…if The Big Bang Theory purported just to portray some socially awkward people, rather than encouraging the perception that it is the “nerdiest show on television”, then fine. But there is so much more to being a ‘nerd’ than being socially awkward, for instance ANY positive aspects?!

Yup…the show is 30 solid minutes of the four lead actors being socially awkward. There’s no character arcs. There’s no interpersonal relationships. There’s no successes for any of the characters either personally or professionally. Just pure awkwardness all the time so we all know they’re nerds. It’s amazing they’ve kept such a flimsy premise going for 8 seasons, right?

Oh I should point out, that I asked this guy if he’d ever seen the show and he said…

I have watched 2 episodes

Ok, well that’s fair. I mean if you’ve seen 2 WHOLE episodes of the shows 7+ year run, you’re more than equipped to lecture me on my own blog about why it’s offensive to nerds.

…when outsiders of a culture attempt to portray that culture, they nearly universally come off as incredibly insincere at-best.

What on earth makes you think that the writers and producers of this show AREN’T nerds? Have you MET any writers or producers?

Nerdface is not funny. It is hurtful.

Screw you. Just screw you. Do not compare the portrayal of “nerds” on the Big Bang Theory to the racist entertainment from the early 20th century.

I’m sure if these guys lived a hundred years ago, they would have worked on the Amos and Andy radio show, and you would have thought that those ‘negroes’ were high-larious and start telling every black person you met that they sounded just like Amos or Andy.

What did I JUST say?!

And of course this arrogant blow hard has no idea he’s speaking to a Black man. So please, you piss ant little qumph, tell me more about how I would treat Black people.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder if you watch The Big Bang Theory because you’re the kind of person who laughs at the misfortune of those you consider beneath you, or if it was watching the show that has desensitized you to their emotional pain

More than that, he clearly has no idea he’s taking to a nerd. Much like I don’t speak for all Black people, you don’t speak for all nerds. Ok chief? I am a nerd and I like the show. I don’t find it offensive because I know how entertainment and dramatic story telling works. Also, I don’t feel the need to try and play the victim because I’m a nerd. Since nerds are hardly a persecuted minority.

Most nerds have gone through A LOT of heartache in their life over their characteristics that get them labeled nerdy, so dredging up that pain for some laughs does not make us feel comfortable with the show.

Look man, I get it. Some people can laugh at their pain and some people can’t. Personally, I love to laugh at at my painful memories. It helps me “win.” But if recalling the time you said something socially awkward and got called a name for it really hurts you so much, I can see why you dislike the show. But that’s all you had to say. No need to bring minorities and developmentally disadvantaged people into this. A sentence or two would have sufficed, I didn’t need that huge lecture.

Oh, I actually refereed to his first comment as a “lecture” and he responded with another lecture. Which included…

I would call it education or even sharing a point-of-view, but to each his own…

But you did ask a question to the internet…which I felt qualified to answer as someone who understands ‘hate’ for the show, so I did.

Yeah, I did title the blog, “Why All The Big Bang Theory Hate?” If answering that question was all you were doing, I could accept that. If you were like “Tim, this show is to nerd comedy what Larry the Cable Guy is to rural comedy. That’s why there’s so much hate,” I would take that at face value and I would have had to come up with my own idea for a blog today. But I question your true motives when you say crap like this…

Would you try to ‘punch’ into Mike Tyson that a show portraying African-Americans with lisps is hilarious because of their difficulty first hailing a cab due to Cabbies’ perception that African-Americans are more likely to rob them, and then because they would direct the cabbie to Madithon Thquare at Thirty-Firth and Theventh?

Most people would not. But since apparently that is your nature, it would just make my life if you did exactly that one day and that I managed to catch the ensuing carnage with a high-speed camera. That would be hilarious to me =)

So you want me to get beaten up by Mike Tyson, you want it to be filmed, and you want it filmed in high speed because it would be hilarious for you to watch actual, physical harm come to me over my opinion on this fictional television show?

And I’M the asshole?


4 Responses to “The Big Pain Theory”

  1. StevenNo Gravatar Says:

    I think it’s apparent even from the references you included, let alone what you left out, that you are not actually responding to any content of what I wrote. Thanks for the new entertaining content, however, it gives me a much better idea of who you are.

    Thank you for at least including the link back for anyone who may actually be interested understanding others’ opinions (mine, yours, and the other commenters), and maybe to help others be able to articulate points that agree with any of us in a more constructive manner than you try to.

    I’ll grant you that this is your blog, and like the proverbial sitcom wife, you’re right no matter what. But that doesn’t change the fact that just because you don’t see why others are of this opinion, that many are. But I guess I should have realized that your title question was rhetorical and not a genuine request to help you understand another human being’s point of view.

    And just out of curiosity, in your opinion, by how many bullets must a person be shot (out of all the ones made in human history since apparently that is your measure) before their opinion that to them (as opposed to for instance people born unable to feel pain, since we’re all different), being shot hurts is valid? Should people born without the ability to feel pain go around shooting others, because in their opinion being shot doesn’t hurt?

    And as I’ve agreed with you that American sitcoms tend to center around awkward social situations in general (it’s what puts the com in sit-com…) it should be apparent that it’s not the portrayals or reminders of past situations that are painful.

    It’s how we become treated by the larger culture and assumed as stereotypes without bothering to get to know us AS A RESULT OF the show’s contents. The argument could be made that the problem is really with every single individual who stereotypes based on characters in a show, but I also pointed out how this should COULD be a vehicle to combat trend that rather than encourage it.

    Also, I was quite non-specific about the ensuing carnage. You assumed I was wishing you physical harm.

    For your further edification, Mr. Tyson has been working very hard on his anger issues, and unless you’re a world-champion boxer I would wager he could command your attention without being written off as beneath you.

    What I would expect to capture on the hi-speed is you being showered in saliva while an unrelated wet spot grows down your pants, with high enough resolution to see you visibly shaking.

    And not because of your opinion of the TV show, but because of how you refuse to accept that anyone else’s opinion could possibly ALSO be a valid one.

  2. KikiNo Gravatar Says:

    Oh look. Another lecture! But I’m out of popcorn! Hey Andy, can you take over?

  3. TimNo Gravatar Says:

    I..I just…I just don’t get it, man.

    How did you even find this site?

    Were you doing a google search fro “crap I disagree with?”

    Clearly you don’t listen to the podcast and are not a fan of my stand up…so what brought you here, my man?

  4. StevenNo Gravatar Says:

    I know, which is generally why we humans share points-of-view with each other =)

    I was googling to find out more about the big bang theory as after a tv hiatus I was quite surprised to find that it was still on the air. I don’t remember the particular query, but your post was the 2nd result. Not too shabby, maybe you could sell ad space for some extra revenue!

    I haven’t had the pleasure to hear your podcast or experience your stand-up. I don’t really have time to invest in podcasts right now, but I would like to give your stand-up a try, do you have any content available on youtube, hulu, etc?

    And I promise I won’t review it, whether I like it or not, so you won’t have to worry about any more ‘lectures’ =)

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