"Big Bang" in Belarus
October 13, 2011 4:55 PM   Subscribe

Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more? There's always Belarus's unauthorized copy of the show, titled "The Theorists".
posted by reenum (94 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The laugh tracks inserted liberally in places where laugh tracks shouldn't go are what give it away.
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:01 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


But isn't that exactly what happens with "Big Bang Theory"?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:06 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Right, that's what gives it away as a *copy*
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:11 PM on October 13, 2011


See also.
posted by eugenen at 5:13 PM on October 13, 2011


Arthur loves The Theorists.
posted by maryr at 5:13 PM on October 13, 2011


So, is the Theorists funny, or is it more like the Big Bang Theory?
posted by JustAsItSounds at 5:19 PM on October 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more?

No. Good lord, no.
posted by critzer at 5:22 PM on October 13, 2011 [24 favorites]


From the HuffPo link:

No one should ever ask me for value judgments. I don't make 'em. I think they're bad. In this case, though, I thought about Japanese porn. Strange connection, you say? Maybe not. See, back in the 1980s, the Japanese had very strong laws against publishing pornography. If you wanted to enjoy tawdry material in that time and place, your best bet was to look at manga comics through squinty eyes.

This is where I would embed the sound of car tires shrieking to a halt.
posted by basicchannel at 5:25 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


What I don't get is why the main cast are named Sheldon, Leo, Hovard, Raj and Natasha. It's like they felt like Penny needed a more Eastern European name but none of the other characters did.
posted by madcaptenor at 5:25 PM on October 13, 2011


Just like the regular version of Nerd Blackface, I couldn't get through a minute of this one either.
posted by cerulgalactus at 5:34 PM on October 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more*?

[*] Not valid for all values of "more". Conditions apply.
posted by vidur at 5:38 PM on October 13, 2011


Good way to push his new novel, "The California Roll".
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:45 PM on October 13, 2011


They turned the Jew into a Georgian.
posted by demiurge at 5:48 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more?

I never imagined those words being purposely put together in exactly that combination. Ever.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:54 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


metafilter is all about hating things i like today. first nicki minaj and now BBT. it's not high art and i wish the laugh track would go away, but it's cute and funny sometimes and jim parsons is fucking awesome.
posted by nadawi at 5:57 PM on October 13, 2011 [20 favorites]


I'm torn on BBT. It's often stupid and condescending, but occasionally it's perfectly dead on, and it literally makes me laugh out loud. And yes, the vast majority of those occasions involve Jim Parsons.

I haven't watched it lately, though. I wish they'd make Sheldon gay to match Jim Parsons' orientation, did they ever hint to that?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:09 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dear nerd show with obnoxious laughtrack,

Please die.

Best,

U.
posted by uraniumwilly at 6:15 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


well, jim parsons is still technically not out. i mean, he's as in the closet as anderson cooper and zachary quinto, but that's still not out.

i don't mind that they make him basically asexual. i think it serves his character well. i also think it's nice to have an asexual character that still tries to figure out how interpersonal relationships work. to me it's always good when alternative sexualities are portrayed in popular media be it gay, bi, omni, pan, or asexual. i would be sad if they ever had him and amy farrah fowler consummate their relationship.
posted by nadawi at 6:17 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm torn on BBT. It's often stupid and condescending, but occasionally it's perfectly dead on, and it literally makes me laugh out loud. And yes, the vast majority of those occasions involve Jim Parsons.

I haven't watched it lately, though. I wish they'd make Sheldon gay to match Jim Parsons' orientation, did they ever hint to that?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:09 PM on October 13 [+] [!]

That is the stupidest thing I have read all day. I've nothing against gay folk, however in this case:

A - why should a character have the same anything as the actor playing them? It's called acting for a reason. You don't see NPH playing a gay character, you don't see Amber Heard playing a gay character, etc etc

B - Jim Parson's orientation has, at my last look into the subject, only ever been speculation - feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this, though.

C - why the hell should it matter anyway?
posted by cerulgalactus at 6:20 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


What i find weird, is i've watched Big Bang and Two and a Half Men, and essentially they are the same show, with basically the same jokes. I'm not even exaggerating here. The only main difference is the "subject" of the joke is changed from drinking, drugs, women one 2+1/2 Men, to something vaguely geeky on BBT. (But not too geeky, so they don't scare away the normals) I know they are by the same people, but it's funny seeing people who rant against one and love the other. They are the same, and there is much better out there (Community for one).
posted by usagizero at 6:28 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would be interested to see translations of what they're saying and see how/if they adapted the dialogue for their culture. I used to watch MASH dvds in French and would notice little ways they would adapt the dialogue culturally when they had to. That kind of thing interests me.

Someone in the comments also mentioned a Turkish adaptation of My Name Is Earl that was different in that Erol had found Islam instead of winning the lottery.
posted by bleep at 6:29 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


i disagree that they are the same. i've tried to watch 2 1/2 men. i just can't do it.

i did like roseanne and grace under fire though, so i guess i generally like his work.

just because someone watches BBT doesn't mean that don't watch any other tv. it's not a contest, well, except for coolness, but i lost that a long time ago.
posted by nadawi at 6:30 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Watched every episode of the "Big Bang Theory" and still want more the sweet release of death?
posted by Zozo at 6:31 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


cerulgalactus: "
A - why should a character have the same anything as the actor playing them? It's called acting for a reason. You don't see NPH playing a gay character, you don't see Amber Heard playing a gay character, etc etc

B - Jim Parson's orientation has, at my last look into the subject, only ever been speculation - feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this, though.

C - why the hell should it matter anyway?
"

I didn't say it mattered, but I know a bunch of gay nerds, and I don't remember ever seeing a gay nerd character on TV, so there's that.

I don't think his orientation has ever been officially confirmed, but AFAIK it's about as open a secret as it's possible to be.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:35 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


i did like roseanne and grace under fire though, so i guess i generally like his work.

I don't have a convenient link, but I'm pretty sure Roseanne Barr strongly contends that "Roseanne" was good despite Lorre, not because of him.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:35 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


No new foreign ripoff shows for me, thanks. I'll stick to hilarious originals like All in the Family, Three's Company, and Sanford and Son.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:37 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I find Two and a Half Men totally unwatchable too. I guess there's a similarity in the style of humor to an extent, but TaaHM is incredibly, unabashedly low-brow, lowest common denominator, while BBT is... not so much. Middlebrow? Lower Middlebrow?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:37 PM on October 13, 2011


i know roseanne contends that, but she's a few fries short of a happy meal and has spent her career insulting basically everyone she feels wronged her.

i don't doubt that he might be hard to work with, but the people who complain about him seem to share the same problem that roseanne has, a little crazy and a lot ego-maniacal.
posted by nadawi at 6:41 PM on October 13, 2011


If you don't like the "laugh track," blame the live studio audience they tape in front of. Sure, they're hyped up to laugh, but laugh they do. They're watching talented performers perform. The magic in the room doesn't necessarily trickle down through the TV, though.
posted by rikschell at 6:49 PM on October 13, 2011


The problem, or the puzzle, for me with Big Bang Theory is that it's these supposed nerd geniuses, but the jokes are the same old dumb sitcom put-downs. They just don't talk or make jokes the way that smart people talk and make jokes. The show seems to have been written by hacks, not actual clever people.
posted by Flashman at 6:52 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


oh yeah, sorry, i forgot it's live studio audience - still annoying.
posted by nadawi at 6:53 PM on October 13, 2011


They are the same, and there is much better out there (Community for one).

They're not the same in my experience, but I certainly wouldn't attempt to state it as a fact one way or the other. I don't think it is a fact one way or the other. Speaking for myself, I can't stand Two And A Half Men and have a weird soft spot for BBT. I'm sorry if that violates someone else's sense of what show is the same as another show, but that's how I feel, in that I laugh at one and not the other. So ... sorry?

And Community is a completely different style of show having essentially nothing to do with this discussion, I don't think. It's like asking why people go to Real Steel when they could be at Moneyball. There are good reasons not to see Real Steel, but none of them are that Moneyball will scratch the same itch better. (Also, you should see it, because it has PANIC SHIELD! and PAIN REVOLUTION UPTOWN!) There's room for lots of styles of comedy, and I tend to compare BBT to other traditional, multicam, live-audience sitcoms that are currently airing, and in that field, I think it does fine.

It's certainly a whole lot better than Whitney or that Tim Allen monstrosity. So look on the bright side!
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:53 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


mcstayinskool: The laugh tracks inserted liberally in places where laugh tracks shouldn't go are what give it away.
weapons-grade pandemonium: But isn't that exactly what happens with "Big Bang Theory"
mcstayinskool: Right, that's what gives it away as a *copy*
Wow.

This might be the first thread in the history of Metafilter that needs its own laugh track.
posted by hincandenza at 6:53 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


oh god, whitney was SO bad. i watched one episode and it was painful. i'm not sure if i like new girl or if i was just so traumatized by whitney that now everything looks better.

i am super bummed that the "coach" character from new girl was written out after the pilot. he was my favorite.
posted by nadawi at 6:56 PM on October 13, 2011


See also this ASUS commercial loosely based on BBT.

And I do mean loosely.
posted by odinsdream at 6:59 PM on October 13, 2011


just because someone watches BBT doesn't mean that don't watch any other tv.

Datapoint: We watch BBT and literally no other TV.
posted by odinsdream at 7:02 PM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


You lied to me! I want more Big Bang Theory, but the ripoff isn't actually available online. Also, for some reason it's only in Russian.
posted by miyabo at 7:24 PM on October 13, 2011


BBT is the only show I've ever watched that gets less funny the more stoned you are
posted by moorooka at 7:25 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait a minute. Big Bang Theory has gone in to syndication 'round here, so I've watched it a bit to see what the deal is. Are you seriously telling me that isn't a laugh track? Those are real people? I have a real hard time believing that. I guess I'll have to listen closer next time. [Thought this raises the interesting question of how could I tell.]
posted by benito.strauss at 7:28 PM on October 13, 2011


For those wondering about Sheldon's "deal":
Penny: I know this is none of my business, but I just... I have to ask — what's Sheldon's deal?
Leonard: What do you mean, "deal"?
Penny: You know, like, what's his deal? Is it girls…? Guys…? Sock puppets…?
Leonard: Honestly, we've been operating under the assumption that he has no deal.
Penny: Come on, everybody has a deal.
Howard: Not Sheldon. Over the years we've formulated a number of theories about how he might reproduce. I'm an advocate of mitosis.
Penny: I'm sorry?
Howard: I believe one day Sheldon will eat an enormous amount of Thai food and split into two Sheldons.
Leonard: On the other hand, I think Sheldon might be the larval form of his species and someday he'll spin a cocoon and emerge two months later with moth wings and an exoskeleton.
Also, the show has its moments, and I enjoy watching it. The scene where Sheldon gets the Leonard Nimoy autographed napkin from Penny is awesome. Any episode with Wil Wheaton is great. The episode where Sheldon pulls the "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield" move on Leonard and Priya is also great.
posted by King Bee at 7:31 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dated a girl who watched it because she said it reminded her of me. I was kinda interested so I watching it with her. I asked her which one reminded her of me, thinking she would say the main cool nerd, the nerd that dresses funny who only has a masters, or at the very worst the nerd that can't talk to women unless he gets drunk, then he is super suave. She said Sheldon. We are no longer together.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:42 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


that right there is high praise. i would think the most insulting would be wolowitz (the guy with the masters).
posted by nadawi at 7:45 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


odinsdream: "Datapoint: We watch BBT and literally no other TV."

It's pretty much the only non BBC or HBO show that I watch. Anyone notice the Reddit shirt last week?
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 PM on October 13, 2011


that right there is high praise

Thanks, I'll pretend she meant it as a compliment.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:51 PM on October 13, 2011


for anyone who wants it, here's a page of sheldon's shirts

and here is ZQ playing rock paper scissor lizard spock, a game he has never heard of until the exact moment the interviewer brings it up. (yes, i know, not created for BBT, but that is where most people know it from)
posted by nadawi at 7:54 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


benito.strauss: "I don't have a convenient link, but I'm pretty sure Roseanne Barr strongly contends that "Roseanne" was good despite Lorre, not because of him."

I'm betting you mean this article (via this post).
posted by hangashore at 7:57 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's probably a Belarussian "Bleep My Dad Says" already in the can. Who's the Eastern Bloc Shatner?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:08 PM on October 13, 2011


"Who's the Eastern Bloc Shatner?"

Curiously, it's Shatner.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:19 PM on October 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


Slack-a-gogo: "There's probably a Belarussian "Bleep My Dad Says" already in the can. Who's the Eastern Bloc Shatner"

Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:19 PM on October 13, 2011


Is the ripoff both pandering and condescending at the same time while still being bland and not funny?

If so, they really copied it.
posted by GavinR at 8:23 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not entirely their fault. Multi-camera (ie laugh track) is just a dead format.

I recently sat in a room and watched teasers for every new show on a certain major network. About 70% are single camera (ie, HBO style) and the rest are old-school multi-camera. The difference when you see them back-to-back is shocking! It just so clearly does not belong on modern television. I really can't look at any of those shows anymore without hearing Ricky Gervais in my head: "Is 'e 'avin' a laugh? 'E's 'avin' a laugh!"
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:24 PM on October 13, 2011


I still watch TBBT (watching tonight's new episode as I write this), but I agree that it has gone down hill. It got better when they added the girls in (Mayim Bialik is hilarious), but I think its crossed over into the nerdy version of Friends.

They don't use a laugh track, they do have an audience. I can tell because some weeks you'll hear weird laughs, and they sell/give out tickets to tapings. In fact, the crew of one of the final shuttle missions came to a taping a few weeks back. But I'm sure they mix the volume of the audience to just the right level.

I always convinced myself that I'd never be able to go watch a taping because I'd get the nerdy jokes a split second before the "laugh" indicator shows up to prompt people to laugh.

Now they don't tell nerdy jokes so I guess its no longer an issue.
posted by SirOmega at 9:33 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blargh. Sorry to shit on the un-haters in here, but Big Bang Theory is just the same lazy, lazy, lazy dreck you can catch on any airplane TV after the movie has finished and you're blearily waiting for the seatbelt sign to turn on -- anyone moderately clever who has grown up in mainstream US culture could write an episode in about thirty-five minutes. Most people I know are far funnier in normal everyday interactions than almost any moment of any typical sitcom, and I don't think my friends and acquaintances are outliers here.
posted by threeants at 9:34 PM on October 13, 2011


All I know is that I suspect that people who discover Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock through TBBT are different then the ones who discovered it on Metafilter before TBBT, and those who discovered it before Metafilter.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:27 PM on October 13, 2011


What if you discovered it through Metafilter's discussion of TBBT?
posted by bleep at 11:04 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


BBT and its ilk are fast food to me. does anyone argue that a mcdonalds hamburger is actually, legitimately good? of course not. but, do you still get one a few times a year when no one is watching?

i don't mind reveling in this shittier pleasures in life occasionally. i don't really understand people who want to stand around and wave their good taste like the last flag of common sense left. we get it. your palate, your hobbies, and your clothes are all far superior and i bet you smell like roses or pine trees.
posted by nadawi at 11:13 PM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not against lowbrow; I just think there's good lowbrow and shitty lowbrow.

Beyoncé is great guilty pleasure music because her songs are well-crafted to snag you somewhere in your lizard brain even when they teeter on the verge of potential ridicule; on the other hand, you could hardly pay me to listen to the Black Eyed Peas because there's no there there and it's actively annoying.

Flat, lazy shows like the Big Bang Theory give me hives but if I'm in the same room as another lazy show, the OC, I'm doomed to get sucked in for hours because it's audaciously cheesy and stupid and has good production values.

I recognize that other people have criteria that work just fine for them, and I wouldn't begrudge someone else their pleasure. I'm simply railing against how aggressively mediocre this particular show is, in my world.
posted by threeants at 11:54 PM on October 13, 2011


The reason I've never watched The Big Bang Theory (and it's not alone here) is that the commercial teasers—supposedly the "choice" material—have never, ever made me laugh. Wikipedia says the show is on its fifth season now, and I remember way back to seeing commercials for it before it first came on the air...and I have never, ever laughed at a commercial for it. Not even chuckled.

Teasers are intended to draw viewers, so they supposedly select the best jokes from an upcoming episode. For instance, Whitney is a bad show, but the jokes featured in its teasers are generally the best jokes from the episode. (And they're mostly funny, because every script reads like a pretty decent stand-up routine that has been uncomfortably shoehorned into a cast dialogue.) With The Big Bang Theory, I have watched I-don't-know-how-many commercials for the show and therefore seen, presumably, a healthy sampling of its "best" material. None of it has ever struck me as funny. I figure that's a pretty bad sign, so I've never tuned in.

As for Two and a Half Men? I had never watched it until this year. But people kept telling me it was well written, and every newspaper had a story about how Charlie Sheen's character was going to be killed-off in a moment of television history...so when the season premiered last month, I gave it a shot. I lasted about ten minutes until, I swear to God, they made a fart joke. One of the characters farted, the laugh track roared, and then he farted again. I changed the channel and instantly thought less of everybody who had insisted I watch the show because it's "well written."
posted by cribcage at 12:28 AM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. I never thought I'd see so much BBT hate. It is the only American sitcom that's come out in the last 10 years I can stand to watch. Comparing it to 2 1/2 men is... what the fuck. I'm not saying it's high art. It's mediocre, sure. But mediocre beats the festering, shit-eating, vile expectoration that comes out of the US these days.
posted by Jimbob at 12:33 AM on October 14, 2011


Just like the regular version of Nerd Blackface, I couldn't get through a minute of this one either.
I clicked on this post just to do a Command+F search for "Nerd Blackface"
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:37 AM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really like BBT, and so do all our friends in my husband's physics department. It's one of the few shows with academic characters that actually seems like the writers know what academia is really like. In fact, they have physicists on the writing team, and the Amy character is supposedly played by a real neuroscientist.

I hate the laugh track, though. That nearly made it unwatchable for me at first.

As for the gay thing, I think there are frequently hints that Raj is gay or bi, and that Raj and Howard have a bit of a thing for each other. Of course they also each have girlfriends/crushes too, so who knows?

What I don't get is why the main cast are named Sheldon, Leo, Hovard, Raj and Natasha. It's like they felt like Penny needed a more Eastern European name but none of the other characters did.

I bet "Penny" sounds like a dirty word in Russian. Any Russians care to comment?

I wish the knock-off had subtitles.
posted by lollusc at 12:59 AM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well that's the thing. This is a show where an episode was devoted to an argument between two people, where one person was a string theorist and the other supported loop quantum gravity. I can't get past that. That is cool. It's better than the pathetic, weak, marketing-based shit you get on shows like, I dunno, Sex and the City or Friends. Oh no, Samantha needs a new vibrator, Carrie manages to live in a funky apartment and eat lunch in a restaurant every day despite writing one column a week, Miranda is throwing away her intelligence and personality in order to conform to expected norms, and Charlotte is still being a pathetic stuck-up upper-class bitch with no self-awareness! Whatever shall we do?! So fucking empowering...

I'm an academic, maybe that's why I like it...it's not necessarily realistic, but at least it tries to be in the loop.

I will make a caveat to my previous statement, however. 30 Rock is decent. My Name Is Earl is decent. The Office might be decent, but I've never watched it because I can't imagine it would possibly be better than the UK original.
posted by Jimbob at 2:22 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


HA HA HA

THEY TALK ABOUT THE INTERNET

I KNOW ABOUT THE INTERNET

HA HA HA
posted by Mooseli at 2:25 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jimbob, The Office US is a different thing than The Office UK, but it was still good at what it did. The UK Office was genius, but I wouldn't look down on someone who though the US Office was, all in all, the better show. Also, Modern Family, Parks & Recreation and Community are pretty good sitcoms. That's just current stuff, I could add Arrested Development, Futurama, Curb..

I mean, it's all just TV, fnarf fnarf, but when you say that US comedy TV is in some horrible state, a 10 year slump, holding up Big Bang Theory of all fucking things as a counterexample, I think either you're completely crazy, or at least you should see some better shows, of which there are several.
posted by fleacircus at 3:58 AM on October 14, 2011


the Amy character is supposedly played by a real neuroscientist.

Blossom is a neuroscientist?

*internets*

Holy shit! Blossom is a neuroscientist!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:20 AM on October 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


“we were told that it’s next to impossible to sue for copyright infringement in Belarus because the TV production company that is ripping us off is owned and operated by the government of Belarus.”

Ha! Maybe now the USA will finally care about the corrupt/dictatorial Belarussian government. Then again, the last 65 comments on this thread have all been about how BBT is unfunny dreck. So maybe not.
posted by litnerd at 6:15 AM on October 14, 2011


I teach high school physics. I thought the episode where Sheldon tries to teach Penny physics was absolutely hilarious. Last night there was a running gag about Schrodinger's cat and even though I saw the setup coming a mile away it was still kind of funny. I like the show. I could pick it apart with pedantic criticism but the way I look at it The Big Bang Theory is a show about scientists and nerds the way Happy Gilmore is a movie about golf.
posted by sciencejock at 6:19 AM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've really really tried hard to like BBT. The nerd minstrel show comment above is spot on to me: The characters don't really ring true to me, so it feels to me like they're being written by non-nerds who are just doing caricatures. Is there some Brecht thing going on that I'm missing?

Contrast BBT with Community or Parks & Rec, shows that features well written geek characters that rely upon good writing and acting to make the character, not costume. Because they're so well written, John Hamm could play one of these characters and we'd totally believe he's a geek. Comedy is all about the unexpected and for me, I think BBT's jokes aren't funny because they've got the characters all dressed up as geeks already, so you're already expecting those jokes and they're not funny when they come out.

Example: Last night's episode of Parks & Rec, included a storyline about Ben (Adam Scott) which was kicked into gear with the line: ""What is wrong with you today? Did they cancel Game of Thrones?" Freaking hilarious, but had you put that in the mouth of one of the BBT characters, it would have fallen flat for me because when you deliver me a character dressed like Steve Urkel, I have already made that joke in my head, so you're gonna need to give me something a bit more clever and more inside, like "What is wrong with you today? Did Roose Bolton flay your teddy bear?" I'm using an example of something I know to make my point; maybe there are jokes about particle physics in there that I'm not getting because I'm not a particle physicist, but I suspect that those aren't in there because that the BBT writers are too lazy to do that.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:32 AM on October 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm a nerd who likes BBT. It's not the best show ever, but it portrays people who are the television versions of people I actually know, and others shows don't do that. It's also fun how they just keep throwing in things that nerds will like. Wil Wheaton! Brent Spiner! Katee Sackoff! A math joke! Comics!
posted by callmejay at 6:43 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's a sitcom, and yeah it's formulaic in that way, which is why I think it gets all the hate in this thread. Mefi hates them some plebeian stuff.

I enjoy BBT because they throw plenty of bones to nerds. How many other sitcoms would have jokes about Schrodinger's Cat or getting Leonard Nimoy's autograph?

The rest of the stuff on the show with relationships and put-downs is typical sitcom fare, but the writers really do sneak in some authentic nerd culture. I guess that's why I can get past the sitcom-ness of it all and really laugh. And plenty of the laughs are at myself, because I identify with plenty of the nerd gags.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:55 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy shit! Blossom is a neuroscientist!

And Winnie from Wonder Years is a mathematician and even has a theorem named after her.
posted by reenum at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hate on it all you want, I like The Big Bang Theory. It's not great, but it's often pretty good, and the best part for me isn't even the show itself, it's the fact that the entire cast (exempting Jim Parsons who is a rock) always looks like they are on the verge of cracking up.

And that gets me thinking about how I couldn't work with these people in this capacity, because it would become my mission to get them to break on camera, and no work would ever get done.

I find that kind of laughter infectious, and it probably heavily informs my opinion of the show; I don't think the jokes are really all that funny, but I think the cast is great, and they are obviously having a good time, and while I'm watching it, so am I.
posted by quin at 8:57 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Theorists
posted by mrgrimm at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2011


I'm not sure the case for infringement is very strong.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:00 AM on October 14, 2011


I find it interesting that TBBT supporters hold up the show as being full of a kind of geek humor that just doesn't exist elsewhere... when just yesterday, the latest episode of the extraordinary Community showcased an episode that used its uber-geeky character Abed to have an entire show about the concepts of parallel timelines and Chaos theory.

Where I suspect TBBT would just play it for yuks about how nerdy these sci-fi lovers are or mining cheap laughs about the social awkwardness of the characters, Community did this seamlessly and with the touch of humanity and realism that makes the show shine so often. The used the conceit to demonstrate in true-to-character fashion how each member of the group affects (positively and negatively) the dynamics and lives of the others.

Some people don't like this part of Community, but I love that they've taken the time to really draw out these characters as solid people, with dimensions- instead of always playing them for loose slapstick and 2-dimensional gags. They still do broad humor character mockery for laughs, but it's more enjoyable because they don't have them always be simplistic or hateful, and have made us care about the group (even Pierce).

Also, alongside that, the show was funny. Which is why I love Community... and why this is probably its last season. :(
posted by hincandenza at 10:34 AM on October 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


it's the fact that the entire cast...always looks like they are on the verge of cracking up.

I would find that annoying. When a player on SNL starts to crack, occasionally, it's absolutely hilarious. When you get somebody like Jimmy Fallon who couldn't keep a straight face through more than a dozen sketches in his entire run on the show, it's old and grating and just unprofessional.
posted by cribcage at 10:54 AM on October 14, 2011


if we're talking about what we don't like, i can't get through an episode of parks and rec. i guess i'm just filled with bad taste.

also, the UK office is superior to the US office in every way. also, US office should have been cancelled years ago.
posted by nadawi at 11:58 AM on October 14, 2011


Example: Last night's episode of Parks & Rec, included a storyline about Ben (Adam Scott) which was kicked into gear with the line: ""What is wrong with you today? Did they cancel Game of Thrones?"

re: Game of Thrones, lol. Haven't seen last night's episode yet, but I ♥ Donna.

I really enjoyed that dinner with Tom, Ben, and Joan Calamezzo.

Tom: You gotta help me, here. She's divorced now and drunk. I need you to use your nerdspeak to turn her off.

Ben: You know, nerd culture is mainstream now, so when you use the word 'nerd' derogatorily, it means you're the one who's out of the zeitgeist...

Tom: Yeah, perfect. Just like that.

if we're talking about what we don't like, i can't get through an episode of parks and rec. i guess i'm just filled with bad taste.

Filled to the brim with it, apparently. ;) LeslieKnopeForPresident has a shitload of deleted scenes and interviews.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:17 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems like BBT is a great test for Hipper Than Thou Disease.
posted by Splunge at 1:24 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I had a car, there would be a SAY YES TO KNOPE sticker on it right now.
posted by maryr at 2:58 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, that's right, I am promising bumper space on my hypothetical vehicle to a ficitonal candidate in a town that I do not live and, in fact, does not that. TAKE THAT.
posted by maryr at 3:06 PM on October 14, 2011


Eh, I watched BBT instead of Community last night, and it was kind of good. Inoffensive. Great background noise with the occasional guffaw ("Boo hoo you're not going to space!" was good). Which was good, because I was really busy doing something else.

But I watched last night's Community today, and it was perfect. If you haven't watched Community, I would recommend starting with last night's episode—it's a great intro to the show and its main characters.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:18 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not sure how this has turned into a Community thread, but I'll just say I've seen plenty of episodes, and I don't see all the fuss. It's a near miss, as I think Parks & Rec has been for stretches, but I think Amy Poehler can carry a lagging show better than Joel McHale, and P&R found its stride in Season 2.

I will try to watch last night's episode with an open mind.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:57 PM on October 14, 2011


Yeah, just ignore the first season of Parks and Rec. That's what I do (I have not seen it) and I LOVE the show.
posted by maryr at 4:10 PM on October 14, 2011


i will try parks and rec again on season 2. i admit i only tried with a few episodes on season 1. i don't love amy poehler as an actress (i adore her in interviews and the like, just not when she's playing a role), so that might get in the way.
posted by nadawi at 4:17 PM on October 14, 2011


mrgrimm: Not sure how this has turned into a Community thread, but I'll just say I've seen plenty of episodes, and I don't see all the fuss. It's a near miss, as I think Parks & Rec has been for stretches, but I think Amy Poehler can carry a lagging show better than Joel McHale, and P&R found its stride in Season 2.
I'm thinking you actually haven't seen much Community. Really, if there's anything the show is about, it's about how unimportant Joel McHale is. He's the ostensible star, but much of the show is about breaking down TV tropes including the coolness and centrality of its purported "star" (the Abed/"My Dinner with Andre" episode was pure genius for this reason... but only if you'd invested in the show to appreciate all the character levels being addressed). This season in particular is about how Joel's character "Jeff" is increasingly pointless to the group, which is a theme that's been there since the very first episode, as people have pointed out in forums today by citing this image from the pilot episode, where Jeff is the "darkness in the rainbow".

Community, like Arrested Development before it, can't be watched it like most sitcoms- i.e., by sampling it every so often like it were junk food TV. It's a show that depends on continuity, and does it better than any show I've seen in ages. The characters are built up, developed, given real depth, so that a lot of the humor of episodes is not of the format of "set up - punchline" as churned out by a room full of TV Trope crafting hacks. This is why the Arrested Development comparisons are apt because I think it's a show that rewards repeat viewing, and where a lot of the humor requires that you understand the characters as characters and not just a vehicle for gag/punchline over and over to a laugh track.

Mark my words, everyone now claims that they loved Lebowski and loved Arrested Development, but most people seemed to have missed them when they were first out which is why one was a box office dud and the other canceled in each of its 3 short-lived seasons. Community will be held in the same regard, but you can't "Russel Stover" the show by dabbling in it. It'd be like watching The Wire only every now and then when you're bored, and declaring it "sub-par".
posted by hincandenza at 6:58 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is the only American sitcom that's come out in the last 10 years I can stand to watch

Then you've either 1) Never seen "Arrested Development" or 2) Have some sort of problem that makes you prefer "BBT" over "Arrested Development".

In #2, I do not understand you as a fellow human being, as that would be failing a Turing Test.
posted by eoden at 10:00 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hi there, I love BBT.

I watch it and think: why wasn't this on tv 16 years ago? My life in highschool would have fared so much better.

All of you nay sayers are just hipsters. And its just tv.
posted by omegar at 6:12 AM on October 15, 2011


Community, like Arrested Development before it, can't be watched it like most sitcoms- i.e., by sampling it every so often like it were junk food TV. It's a show that depends on continuity, and does it better than any show I've seen in ages. The characters are built up, developed, given real depth, so that a lot of the humor of episodes is not of the format of "set up - punchline" as churned out by a room full of TV Trope crafting hacks. This is why the Arrested Development comparisons are apt because I think it's a show that rewards repeat viewing, and where a lot of the humor requires that you understand the characters as characters and not just a vehicle for gag/punchline over and over to a laugh track.

That's exactly why I don't understand the comparisons in this thread. Community and Arrested Development aren't traditional 22 minute three-camera sitcoms with live studio audiences. I don't really think of them as "sitcoms". They might be generally defined as a "situation comedy", but they aren't the same format.

I'm surprised that this derail has gone this far, given that the apples-to-oranges difference in format seems obvious, to me.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:22 AM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I thought the pro-Catholic / anti-Catholic threads were contentious.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2011


OK, just watched the latest Community, and actually, I've seen pretty much every episode ever. So there. If you say Joel McHale's character isn't the central point of the show, you're crazy. Who's rolling the dice? Pretty much every week?

The problem as I see it is the writing is strong but the cast is pretty uneven. Donald Glover is great and generally steals the show (as he did this week), but the rest of the acting is meh to eh. And I generally like Joel McHale, but he just can't carry it, imo. Sure, it's mile ahead of Whitney or How I Met Your Mouther, and sure, it's probably better than traditional shows like Modern Family, but it's quite a bit shy of greatness.

Also, Community is basically the Family Guy of sitcoms. The whole show is a non sequitur.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:39 PM on October 16, 2011


modern family is straight up fantastic.
posted by nadawi at 1:48 PM on October 17, 2011


Sure, it's mile streets ahead of Whitney or How I Met Your Mouther

FTFY.
posted by Bukvoed at 12:46 PM on October 18, 2011


modern family is straight up fantastic.

Straight up now tell me! Eh. Strong performances, middling scripts. It doesn't make me laugh nearly as much as a good funny show (e.g. Louie) will. Justmy2c.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on October 18, 2011


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