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View Full Version : CBS's "Big Bang Theory": Is it just me or... what?



DataPlumber
2011-Oct-29, 05:03 AM
It's funny, with many cerebral jokes, but how could a small group of Cal-Tech theoretical physicists (not armchair "scientists") spend so much time socializing, gaming, and going on and on about comic books and sci-fi? Is it just "science nerds" as defined by a Hollywood committee?

Noclevername
2011-Oct-29, 05:16 AM
Yes.

novaderrik
2011-Oct-29, 09:07 AM
It's funny, with many cerebral jokes, but how could a small group of Cal-Tech theoretical physicists (not armchair "scientists") spend so much time socializing, gaming, and going on and on about comic books and sci-fi? Is it just "science nerds" as defined by a Hollywood committee?

it's a tv show.. not based on reality.. from the guy that created 2.5 men..

grapes
2011-Oct-29, 10:12 AM
it's a tv show.. not based on reality..\BBmode That, is a tautology :)

AndreH
2011-Oct-29, 10:19 AM
Yes.
!!

Extravoice
2011-Oct-29, 10:36 AM
It's funny, with many cerebral jokes, but how could a small group of Cal-Tech theoretical physicists...

That's one (two?*) theoretical physicist(s), one experimental physicist, and one engineer (who happens not to have a PhD) ;)

I came late to the show, but generally enjoy it. My wife enjoys the show because Sheldon reminds her of someone she knows :whistle:

ETA *Not sure if Raj is a theoretical physicist. I think so, since he once got a job working for Sheldon.

Fazor
2011-Oct-29, 02:38 PM
Raj is an astrophysicist who is working for Sheldon because the project that was keeping him here on work visa ended. And Walowitz is an engineer, but lacks a PhD*. In fact, he oft gets taunted for being the only one in the group without one.

*eta: Oh, I missed the "Not" in your post. Sorry.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-29, 03:56 PM
it's a tv show.. not based on reality.. from the guy that created 2.5 men..

"it's a tv show.. not based on reality.." does that mean the storyline is beyond reproach in a forum about media?
2.5 Men: Well, that makes sense; a show that implies that having any interests other than booze and hookers is wacko.
There, I said it.

Chuck
2011-Oct-29, 04:23 PM
The current season of The Big Bang Theory doesn't seem to be as funny as the first three seasons.

AndreH
2011-Oct-29, 04:32 PM
"it's a tv show.. not based on reality.." does that mean the storyline is beyond reproach in a forum about media?
2.5 Men: Well, that makes sense; a show that implies that having any interests other than booze and hookers is wacko.
There, I said it.

No it is not, but the OP question was:
Is it just "science nerds" as defined by a Hollywood committee?
Which implicates he may take things at least partially for real and asks what a science interested community thinks about it.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-29, 04:57 PM
I do watch the show occasionally; it's rather funny. But my larger point is that it's more of Hollywood's continuing misrepresentation of the scientific profession. Of course, that's not the only profession that's been skewed; such as cop shows.

Gillianren
2011-Oct-29, 05:28 PM
I dislike the show, but I don't find anything that implausible about the socializing. Obviously, it's merely another example of fiction's not showing us what isn't important to the story--in this case, people doing their actual jobs.

Jim
2011-Oct-29, 06:32 PM
Slight correction... It's not Fox's show except in reruns, and TBS has those, too. First run is on CBS.

As Gillian says, the series focuses on the parts an audience would like to see. I doubt there's a big rush of folks wanting to watch a theoretical physicist working at a white board for 22 minutes.

Though I would like to see them teaching class, especially Sheldon and Howard.

"I happen to have a master's."
"Who doesn't?"

Note: I corrected the thread title.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-29, 07:16 PM
I doubt there's a big rush of folks wanting to watch a theoretical physicist working at a white board for 22 minutes. ... Though I would like to see them teaching class, especially Sheldon and Howard.

Yea, why can't whiteboarding and teaching a class be funny? I've been to such classes, and they can be hilarious! I've met some of these people, they LOVE their work, and don't spend much, if any, time gaming and reading comics. The ones I met generally have little or no interest in, nor time for sci-fi or popular culture. The teachers and scientists I know take a lot of their work home with them, often with pleasure, not working anything like a 9-5. It seems that many Hollywood writers lack imagination, and would likely never understand someone actually absorbed into their professions.

That said, it's still the most cerebral comedy I've seen on the tube.

captain swoop
2011-Oct-29, 07:43 PM
I am sure you could probably get a niche cable show about people teching at a whiteboard for twenty minutes or even stood in a lab aligning the optics for a Laseer but don't expect anyone other than the cast and their family to watch it.

Fazor
2011-Oct-29, 09:01 PM
There was an episode where Sheldon and Leonard lectured a class. It ended about as well as you'd expect that to.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-29, 09:01 PM
I am sure you could probably get a niche cable show about people teching at a whiteboard for twenty minutes or even stood in a lab aligning the optics for a Laseer but don't expect anyone other than the cast and their family to watch it.

I bet the initial synopses for MASH and Seinfeld were even less promising.

Matej Velko
2011-Oct-29, 09:59 PM
I love this show. It's so funny and I enjoy watching it. Though I would like an episode that matters, like some important experiment or seeing guys going in space with Penny, that would be just too great.

Van Rijn
2011-Oct-29, 09:59 PM
"it's a tv show.. not based on reality.." does that mean the storyline is beyond reproach in a forum about media?


No, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a TV show, and the story is fictional. I like Big Bang Theory on balance, but there are a fair number of things I wish they didn't do, and it's not nearly as funny as the canned laughter would suggest.



2.5 Men: Well, that makes sense; a show that implies that having any interests other than booze and hookers is wacko.
There, I said it.

When the Sheen thing came up, I was astonished to learn that was a popular show. Nobody I know ever talked about that show, and I don't think I ever managed to watch more than about five minutes.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-29, 10:26 PM
No, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a TV show, and the story is fictional.

Just because it's fictional means it's beyond criticism? 99% of TV is fictional, so no questioning authority?
Well, we do agree on 2.5 Men.
Sheen was the .5 man me thinks.

Gillianren
2011-Oct-29, 10:42 PM
I bet the initial synopses for MASH and Seinfeld were even less promising.

Leaving aside that M*A*S*H was a book first, Seinfeld definitely was. And lived down to it, so far as I'm concerned.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-29, 10:53 PM
Leaving aside that M*A*S*H was a book first, Seinfeld definitely was. And lived down to it, so far as I'm concerned.
Synopses about a military hospital comedy, and a story "about nothing" has no more "zing" than a story about a physics classroom. Yet the first two were obvious "hit series". Go figure!

jlhredshift
2011-Oct-29, 11:31 PM
I fell out of my chair when Sheldon mentioned Velikovsky as a penace for losing some bet or another.

Van Rijn
2011-Oct-29, 11:34 PM
Just because it's fictional means it's beyond criticism?


Er, did you read the sentence that you quoted out of my post? Which was a response to essentially the same question? Again:


No, but that doesn't change the fact that it is a TV show, and the story is fictional.

Van Rijn
2011-Oct-29, 11:46 PM
I fell out of my chair when Sheldon mentioned Velikovsky as a penace for losing some bet or another.

And in what other TV show would they even think of having a Velikovsky joke? That's the sort of thing that keeps me watching the show.

jlhredshift
2011-Oct-30, 12:03 AM
...and how many of you have an electric toothbrush?

captain swoop
2011-Oct-30, 12:26 AM
What's so strange that people working at a University would have social lives and an existence outside work?
There are some University Profs that make TV shows on the side.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-30, 12:57 AM
We must be in agreement that, indeed, the show is fictional. Glad that's settled!
Dang, I missed the Velikovsky joke. That would have been rather redeeming.

jlhredshift
2011-Oct-30, 01:38 AM
We must be in agreement that, indeed, the show is fictional. Glad that's settled!
Dang, I missed the Velikovsky joke. That would have been rather redeeming.

A) The writers had to know about Dr. V.
B) They would have to understand that it made sense, for someone having to defend Dr. V's. stuff, would be a "bad thing", i.e. "penance".
C) The question is: How many people understood the reference?

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-30, 03:00 AM
Seriously, the Velikovsky joke would have been worth a whole episode's watch. LOL!
My friend Tom gravitates to wacko theorists (I'll have to mention this blurb to him), and bought ALL of V's books. He gave them to me. Anyone interested?
I also like the spat Sheldon had with Amy; where she vulgarly put down James Clerk Maxwell to his aghast (anyone remember that line?). I figure less than 2% of the general public would get any of this, but how can you not laugh within the implied context?

Gillianren
2011-Oct-30, 05:32 AM
Synopses about a military hospital comedy, and a story "about nothing" has no more "zing" than a story about a physics classroom. Yet the first two were obvious "hit series". Go figure!

M*A*S*H was a successful book and movie before it was a TV show, which is the only reason anyone considered its success obvious. Certainly a brief look at the history of the movie makes it clear that the studio did not expect to have a runaway hit on their hands. And probably Jerry Seinfeld thought his show would be wildly popular, but the network executives didn't. They were considered to be taking a crazy chance. It may seem obvious in retrospect that the people who green-lit the series thought it would be a hit, but that is not the case. What's more, Jerry Seinfeld already had a successful career (for some bizarre reason) as a stand-up comedian, and the show was really just considered to be a take-off from his comedy, hardly a new and unusual concept. A sitcom set entirely in a physics class? That's even less likely to be successful. And make no mistake; the important part is the comedy.

korjik
2011-Oct-30, 06:00 AM
Slight correction... It's not Fox's show except in reruns, and TBS has those, too. First run is on CBS.

As Gillian says, the series focuses on the parts an audience would like to see. I doubt there's a big rush of folks wanting to watch a theoretical physicist working at a white board for 22 minutes.

Though I would like to see them teaching class, especially Sheldon and Howard.

"I happen to have a master's."
"Who doesn't?"

Note: I corrected the thread title.

That, and alot of people wont get the joke. This scene ('http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5oc-70Fby4') literally had me fall out of my chair laughing, yet my folks were only looking at me like I was insane.

Biggest problem I have with that show is that occasionally I lived a scene.

Sheldon teaching a class would be a good halloween show. Have him chased by a mob with pitchforks and torches. His teaching could only end in blood and tears. Come to think of it, that would be another one I lived. Figuratively, of course, but we got a Prof retired after the entire class pretty much all marched up to the Department Chair's office and told him we were all going to change majors before we took another class from this Prof. We were the straw that broke the camels back in that case, but I can see a class Sheldon teaches doing the exact same thing.

Noclevername
2011-Oct-30, 06:05 AM
I think TV execs tend to focus more on who's making the show than specifics of what it's about. In this case, if it came from the guy who made 2.5 Men, a proven money-maker, they'll be more likely to give him a new series than some unknown with a more likeable idea.

Tobin Dax
2011-Oct-30, 08:36 AM
That, and alot of people wont get the joke. This scene ('http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5oc-70Fby4') literally had me fall out of my chair laughing, yet my folks were only looking at me like I was insane.

I haven't seen the first couple seasons, so that clip is new to me. It's hilarious.

TJMac
2011-Oct-30, 01:50 PM
I like the show, and I am just smart enough to get 'some' of the obscure stuff, and to know that I miss 'some'. A handy laptop lets me pause the show, and do some Google work, whenever I feel the breeze of something zooming over my head. A DVR with rewind is a great thing at that point.

I still wonder how much I miss from things that go WAY over my head. :confused:

TJ

AndreH
2011-Oct-30, 02:00 PM
What's so strange that people working at a University would have social lives and an existence outside work?
There are some University Profs that make TV shows on the side.

Of course they have (at least the ones I happen to know). But the OP question was also about the depicting of their social live as comic reading, Con visiting Sci-Fi geeks.
Actually most of the MAster's and Post Docs I know have wifes, families and completely different intersts than beeing a Trekki or what ever.
So the bottom line is: It is a TV-show, the way the characters are depicted is to fullfill the audiences prejudices and sets the ground for the jokes, it is also almost completely fictional and has very little to do with real live.
This does not mean it can not be good entertainment.
I myself have never been watching it enough to even get the relationships between the characters straight.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-30, 04:52 PM
....A sitcom set entirely in a physics class? That's even less likely to be successful. And make no mistake; the important part [i]is the comedy.

Yes, it's the comedy that works. But, looking at the history of sit-coms, you really can't judge the success of a show by the unborn story's synopsis. It's ultimately up to the creativity and innovation of the writers.

Gillianren
2011-Oct-30, 05:48 PM
Do you intend to ignore every point I made about your chosen examples?

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-30, 06:33 PM
Do you intend to ignore every point I made about your chosen examples?

Sorry, I'll play along.
The movie MASH was a dark comedy without a laugh-track, so I thought it would just be another unrelated reason that it would not become a successful sit-com. I maintain Seinfeld's (a story "about nothing") unpredictable synopsis, regardless of any success he may have had on the Johnny Carson show. Other unpredictable comedy synopses would be: a story about banter in a taxi garage, puppets watching B-movies, and an office full of police detectives.
I think we agree that it's all in the writing.

Gillianren
2011-Oct-30, 07:30 PM
Successful movies don't always make successful TV shows, but it is reasonable to expect that network executives would take a chance, right? And a lot of TV shows have been made based on the star's success in other media, right? And the puppets were always going to be a niche market--and indeed started in public access, which doesn't have to care about ratings.

If a show were about nothing but what happens in a physics classroom, either it would be a physics lesson or it would be about things which didn't necessarily have to do with physics. Yes, physics lessons can be funny, but no network would pick up a comedy based solely on the chance that the audience would be interested in a funny physics lesson.

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-30, 08:06 PM
Yes, producers did take a chance that a story about a field hospital with dying soldiers (with an added laugh-track) might be humorous as a sit-com.
As I recall, the Paper Chase was set often in a classroom. Not sure how many seasons that lasted. Bad choice by the producers? I seem to remember a Welcome Back Kotter, set almost entirely in a high-school classroom. Trivia question: there are more... can you list them?
Anyway, I merely suggested that a Big Bang Theory classroom scenario be given roughly equal time to scientist/engineers on a couch discussing Comic-con trivia.

Gillianren
2011-Oct-30, 09:41 PM
Yes, producers did take a chance that a story about a field hospital with dying soldiers (with an added laugh-track) might be humorous as a sit-com.

But only after the success of the book and movie. Seriously--look at the history of the movie. The studio was taking a risk and knew they were taking a risk. On about five levels, not just subject matter. It's worth noting that Mike Altman has actually made more out of his work on the film than his father did, because the director's fee for the movie wasn't very big, but Mike has been getting royalties on that song for decades. The success of the TV show was assumed based on external factors; it had already been shown that audiences were willing to pay money to go see a movie set in a field hospital in Korea, so why wouldn't they watch it on TV? No one expected the series to last as long as it did, because that was virtually unheard-of. But it was reasonable to believe that a single season of a show based on an extremely successful movie, regardless of the plot of the movie, would do well enough.


As I recall, the Paper Chase was set often in a classroom. Not sure how many seasons that lasted. Bad choice by the producers? I seem to remember a Welcome Back Kotter, set almost entirely in a high-school classroom. Trivia question: there are more... can you list them?
Anyway, I merely suggested that a Big Bang Theory classroom scenario be given roughly equal time to scientist/engineers on a couch discussing Comic-con trivia.

But neither The Paper Chase nor Welcome Back, Kotter--nor Head of the Class or any other series you'd like me to list--actually gave equal time to the subjects the characters were studying. Head of the Class, a personal favourite of mine, did actually show Mr. Moore teaching history, which was what he was in theory being paid to do. However, the point of the show was the characters' lives, and the history occupied perhaps two minutes out of the average episode. I've never actually watched any of The Paper Chase, and I don't like Welcome Back, Kotter much, but the fact remains that any hour-long drama (because of course The Paper Chase wasn't a sitcom) which was half a law school class would not have been green-lit. Even though it, too, had been a successful movie first.

Jim
2011-Oct-30, 10:04 PM
I think it's important to keep in mind that all of those series (also Room 222 and Lucas Tanner) were not limited to the classroom, nor were they limited to the teaching material for plotlines. They were about the interactions of the charaters. And since those interactions were usually between a teacher/professor and his or her students, the classroom became a common setting.

This includes The Paper Chase (a successful movie before it became a tv series), which was really more about the interactions of the students with the classroom a side setting.

The Big Bang Theory is about the interactions of the major characters. Since none of them teach any of the others, the classroom is not a common setting.

stutefish
2011-Oct-31, 12:34 AM
It's funny, with many cerebral jokes, but how could a small group of Cal-Tech theoretical physicists (not armchair "scientists") spend so much time socializing, gaming, and going on and on about comic books and sci-fi?

They don't spend that much time on it, though. Much of what goes on in the show happens later in the evening, or during meal breaks in the workplace. A recurring theme in the series is that certain evenings are set aside for specific extra-curricular activities. This implies a life that is heavily weighted towards work-related activities, with limited time that can be dedicated to life outside of work.

novaderrik
2011-Oct-31, 12:56 AM
Yes, producers did take a chance that a story about a field hospital with dying soldiers (with an added laugh-track) might be humorous as a sit-com.
As I recall, the Paper Chase was set often in a classroom. Not sure how many seasons that lasted. Bad choice by the producers? I seem to remember a Welcome Back Kotter, set almost entirely in a high-school classroom. Trivia question: there are more... can you list them?
Anyway, I merely suggested that a Big Bang Theory classroom scenario be given roughly equal time to scientist/engineers on a couch discussing Comic-con trivia.

Head of the Class was set in a classroom- the special classroom where all the smart kids got to hang out with Dr. Johnny Fever until he left and was replaced by that annoying Scottish stereotype..

DataPlumber
2011-Oct-31, 01:16 AM
So, the consensus seems to be that any more than a smidge of classroom interaction would be a death-blow to a series? No wonder the U.S. is behind the rest of the world educationally.

Extravoice
2011-Oct-31, 02:13 AM
Biggest problem I have with that show is that occasionally I lived a scene.
Actually the fact that some scenes parallel real events in my life make the show all the more funny.

There are also some small things that are well done. The other night, I was watching an older episode and started laughing because the PC in the background had no cover. That is a very common occurrance for a significant number of tech-oriented people I know.

Jim
2011-Oct-31, 02:59 AM
So, the consensus seems to be that any more than a smidge of classroom interaction would be a death-blow to a series? No wonder the U.S. is behind the rest of the world educationally.

Huh?

Gillianren
2011-Oct-31, 03:54 AM
Because Americans expect a sitcom to be about plot and not physics? Really?

Extravoice
2011-Oct-31, 01:06 PM
Does the setting of Big Bang have anything to do with a school? I think they work at JPL, which is managed by Caltech, but not part of the school. At any rate, they are involved in research (except Howard, who designs hardware), not teaching.

That's not saying that a show about physics teachers couldn't be good. This just isn't that show. Anyway, IMHO the quality of any program is determined far more by the the character development and interaction than the setting.

Stubby Boardman
2011-Oct-31, 01:34 PM
Something that I think is clever about the show is how the premise matches the title (and the theme song). The four guys are, like the Universe almost 14 billion years ago, in a hot, dense state -- absorbed in their work and their toys, little social contact except with each other. Penny's arrival, the Big Bang, starts expansion, with all kinds of consequences that could not be predicted from the early conditions.

The Backroad Astronomer
2011-Oct-31, 01:40 PM
I have been around two groups of undergrads of physics and astrophysics students as well as some grad students as well. There are some who play card games, watch star trek and play video games. They are others who can drink and party and still get good marks. The characters in the The big Bang Theory are suppose to be caricatures and I have seen myself and others in the show. There some characters I would like to see in the series like a person who goes to an university with an astrophysics department to an undergrad conference on astronomy and physics and complains that there is too much astronomy. Another character would someone whon read a couple books and taken a couple psychology courses and thinks she knows everything about it.

Swift
2011-Oct-31, 01:55 PM
Penny's arrival, the Big Bang, starts expansion, with all kinds of consequences that could not be predicted from the early conditions.
I hear next season the show will take a turn away from the comedic as we start seeing the influence of dark energy. ;)

The Backroad Astronomer
2011-Oct-31, 01:58 PM
I hear next season the show will take a turn away from the comedic as we start seeing the influence of dark energy. ;)
Just be glad the theory of the big crunch was proven wrong.

ToSeek
2011-Oct-31, 04:19 PM
Does the setting of Big Bang have anything to do with a school? I think they work at JPL, which is managed by Caltech, but not part of the school. At any rate, they are involved in research (except Howard, who designs hardware), not teaching.

That's not saying that a show about physics teachers couldn't be good. This just isn't that show. Anyway, IMHO the quality of any program is determined far more by the the character development and interaction than the setting.

Howard definitely (though implicitly) works at JPL - one of his pickup lines used to involve offering to allow one of his female targets the opportunity to drive a Mars rover. The rest work (again implicitly) at Caltech.

Jim
2011-Oct-31, 04:39 PM
Does the setting of Big Bang have anything to do with a school? I think they work at JPL, which is managed by Caltech, but not part of the school. At any rate, they are involved in research (except Howard, who designs hardware), not teaching. ...

Thinking about it, I believe you're right.

Raj lost his job when the research grant was pulled and started working for Sheldon on another research grant. No teaching involved.

Howard couldn't teach at CalTech. He "only" has a Master's.

Too bad. Sheldon teaching class would be a hoot, probably a lot like the classroom scenes of Dick on Third Rock. A board full of increasingly complex equations ending with Dick/Sheldon saying, "And you can easily derive the result from there."


Something that I think is clever about the show is how the premise matches the title (and the theme song). The four guys are, like the Universe almost 14 billion years ago, in a hot, dense state -- absorbed in their work and their toys, little social contact except with each other. Penny's arrival, the Big Bang, starts expansion, with all kinds of consequences that could not be predicted from the early conditions.

Good analysis! I like it.

Gillianren
2011-Oct-31, 04:48 PM
Howard definitely (though implicitly) works at JPL - one of his pickup lines used to involve offering to allow one of his female targets the opportunity to drive a Mars rover. The rest work (again implicitly) at Caltech.

On one of the only episodes I saw, I could only see two solutions to where they worked--either Caltech or Cal State Irvine. It was explicitly mentioned that they worked at a school, though not which one, but it was clearly one strong in the sciences and an hour away from Disneyland. I amazed the friends I have who really like the show with my brilliant deduction, but to someone who was in a youth orchestra which rehearsed literally across the street from Caltech when she was in eighth and ninth grade, it wasn't exactly challenging.

Fazor
2011-Oct-31, 04:57 PM
I kinda thought at one point they very strongly implied (if not flat out stated) that it was CalTech, but I could be wrong.

starcanuck64
2011-Oct-31, 05:19 PM
It's funny, with many cerebral jokes, but how could a small group of Cal-Tech theoretical physicists (not armchair "scientists") spend so much time socializing, gaming, and going on and on about comic books and sci-fi? Is it just "science nerds" as defined by a Hollywood committee?

The show takes stereotypes to an extreme sometimes for comedy effect.

captain swoop
2011-Oct-31, 05:46 PM
in the Series 2 episode The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem Leonard and Sheldon had to do an introductory talk to new Grad Students and it ends badly.

In several episodes it is stated they work at Cal Tech.

DataPlumber
2011-Nov-01, 04:07 PM
I really can't single out BBT for what I consider somewhat implausible elements (for many reasons), it's like other series such as Everybody Loves Raymond. They have 2 or 3 kids; but those kids are rarely ever seen nor heard in the house where all scenes occur. Do they keep them in a cage in the basement?
Most likely, I'm just over-thinking the fictional process. I'll concede from my original thread question, it's just me.

Strange
2011-Nov-01, 04:24 PM
in the Series 2 episode The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem Leonard and Sheldon had to do an introductory talk to new Grad Students and it ends badly.

"The Thespian Catalyst" (series 4) has Sheldon lecturing (and getting a really bad reaction).

Stubby Boardman
2011-Nov-01, 04:34 PM
"The Thespian Catalyst" (series 4) has Sheldon lecturing (and getting a really bad reaction).

Yes, the scene where his "friends" gather in delight to read the appalled tweets from Sheldon's unfortunate students was cruel but hilarious.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-01, 04:44 PM
They have 2 or 3 kids; but those kids are rarely ever seen nor heard in the house where all scenes occur. Do they keep them in a cage in the basement?

You think that's bad; whatever happened to Chuck Cunningham (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ChuckCunninghamSyndrome)?

Gillianren
2011-Nov-01, 06:00 PM
Most likely, I'm just over-thinking the fictional process. I'll concede from my original thread question, it's just me.

Do you generally enjoy fiction?

AGN Fuel
2011-Nov-02, 03:21 AM
Surely there has got to be a hit show in which a group of science-oriented people critically dissect television sit-coms to within an inch of their lives, until whatever humour may have existed for them in the original premise of the sit-com is utterly extinguished.

Then again, maybe not.

DataPlumber
2011-Nov-03, 01:11 AM
Do you generally enjoy fiction?

When I was a kid, I read a lot of HG Wells, Mark Twain, Arthur C. Clark, Ian Flemming, etc. I like sci-fi movies and TV, especially the 50's and 60's stuff. That's mainly because so much of it was such a big stretch of the imagination (such as Forbidden Planet). However, I began a critical view when some of the crews of those campy spacecraft showed no interest nor competence in their mission. That was wrong on so many levels. Set design is somewhat excusable, but it's the story that has to make some sense. I think we have potentially more to learn from good sci-fi, than from most other forms of fiction.
Not into reading any modern fiction these days, try to avoid mainstream TV, and would rather read about real science. Guess I feel that I already have fertile imagination of my own now.
However, I think Forbidden Planet deserves a good remake.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-03, 01:41 AM
It sounds like the answer is no, then. So I don't really expect you to understand the way fiction works. Which is that the important thing is the story, and whatever doesn't matter to the story gets thrown by the wayside. In the case of this particular show, that's usually the actual work the characters do, which is not unusual in shows about friendships.

And Forbidden Planet was good enough that it deserves not to be remade at all.

DataPlumber
2011-Nov-03, 02:12 AM
It sounds like the answer is no, then. So I don't really expect you to understand the way fiction works. Which is that the important thing is the story, and whatever doesn't matter to the story gets thrown by the wayside. In the case of this particular show, that's usually the actual work the characters do, which is not unusual in shows about friendships.

And Forbidden Planet was good enough that it deserves not to be remade at all.

Wrongo, Bucko. I do like imaginative fiction, although often hard to please. I just expect more from Hollywood. Of course, the writer has artistic license, I tend to revoke those privileges in my little mind.
Forbidden Planet is a great story, but it won't suffer a good remake to dispose of the 50's cinematic campousity that would alienate modern viewers. ( I can imagine the robot synthesizing meth for that cook, instead of booze! LOL)

SolusLupus
2011-Nov-03, 02:30 AM
Forbidden Planet is a great story, but it won't suffer a good remake to dispose of the 50's cinematic campousity that would alienate modern viewers. ( I can imagine the robot synthesizing meth for that cook, instead of booze! LOL)

I really don't think meth would have half the effect of synthesizing booze. For one, they were soldiers that shouldn't be ingesting heavy liquor, and for two, the desire to drink alcohol is a pretty big constant for a little over a millenium; I don't many people would be jumping for joy at the idea of ingesting meth. I really don't see how that would add to the scene, and any attempt to make it "edgier" or "more modern" is lost in that you're talking about a drug fundamentally different and less desirable than alcohol.

DataPlumber
2011-Nov-03, 02:40 AM
Outland (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082869/).

Van Rijn
2011-Nov-03, 06:59 AM
However, I think Forbidden Planet deserves a good remake.

But it will probably get a bad remake.


Forbidden Planet is a great story, but it won't suffer a good remake to dispose of the 50's cinematic campousity that would alienate modern viewers. ( I can imagine the robot synthesizing meth for that cook, instead of booze! LOL)

Yeah, that would pretty much destroy any possible interest I might have. "Oh, let's do a remake, but let's make it tougher, grittier, and change this, and that, and this other thing, but we'll still call it Forbidden Planet." That's exactly why I refuse to watch the so-called remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. I wish I could unwatch The Time Machine remake.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-03, 07:26 AM
Wrongo, Bucko. I do like imaginative fiction, although often hard to please. I just expect more from Hollywood. Of course, the writer has artistic license, I tend to revoke those privileges in my little mind.

More as in what? Why Hollywood over anything else?

Jim
2011-Nov-03, 12:23 PM
But it will probably get a bad remake.



Yeah, that would pretty much destroy any possible interest I might have. "Oh, let's do a remake, but let's make it tougher, grittier, and change this, and that, and this other thing, but we'll still call it Forbidden Planet." That's exactly why I refuse to watch the so-called remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. I wish I could unwatch The Time Machine remake.

Certainly the remake of TDTESS is a great example of how a classic movie can be utterly ruined by trying to remake it to "modern standards." I'd hate to see FP go down that same path, but it's all too likely.

As for substituting meth for booze, that's a good example of those "modern standards." Booze is legal, just not allowed for troops on duty. Meth is illegal. Having the cook ask for whiskey is kinda endearing; having him ask for meth makes him a druggie. It changes the character completely. Of course, after that, the ID monster can stomp him and nobody would care...

Back on topic, Gillian is right (usually is when we're talking entertainment media). TBBT is a sitcom about four friends whose lives are forever changed by The Girl Next Door. It's driven by a relationship dynamic. We see them at work when it serves and moves that dynamic.

Of course much of the characterizations are caricatures. That makes them easier to recognize and understand. But there's also a lot of underlying truth there. You might look for that.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-03, 12:49 PM
In the 'The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization'
Leonard and Sheldon fell out over a presentation of a paper they co-authored and ended up fighting on the floor of the lecture hall.

Stubby Boardman
2011-Nov-03, 12:57 PM
In the 'The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization'
Leonard and Sheldon fell out over a presentation of a paper they co-authored and ended up fighting on the floor of the lecture hall.

Penny: Is this usually how these physics things go?

Howard: More often than you’d think.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-03, 04:19 PM
Outland (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082869/).
Which was a performance enhancing drug used by workers getting paid for how much they worked.

Basically an amphetamine analog, which has motivation understandable by regular people for why it would be used.

Meth not so much. Especially not for soldiers.

That would be like remaking The Three Musketeers and adding a scuba-diving assassin with auto-repeating crossbows.:rolleyes:

Incidentally, what's with the auto-repeating crossbows in movies? Who's the idiot whose misbegotten monster of half a thought that is?
Don't they get that there's tons of potential for suspense in having a weapon that takes half a minute to reload which is utterly wasted by wanting the lazy flashiness of a strangely shaped machine gun with no sound.

Fazor
2011-Nov-03, 05:35 PM
Penny: Is this usually how these physics things go?

Howard: More often than you’d think.

Hah. That line made me audibly laugh just reading it again (though it helps that I remember the episode and can picture the way Penny and Howard delivered the lines.)

I absolutely love TBBT. Certainly, some episodes are better than others, but I find the characters fun and entertaining. That's what it's about. I won't say someone that doesn't like the show is wrong, but if the shoe fits . . . (Just kidding; obviously nothing will have the same appeal for everyone.)

Gillianren
2011-Nov-03, 06:07 PM
Hey, Jim says I'm usually right when it comes to entertainment media. This means you are wrong for liking it, because you disagree with me!

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-03, 06:18 PM
I loved the episode - think it was the last one of season three - where Penny's new boyfriend is afraid they're going to blow up the Moon by firing a laser at it.

Another great one was Sheldon getting drunk at an awards ceremony and ending up(literally) showing "Uranus" to the audience which of course his friends record and put on Youtube.

Fazor
2011-Nov-03, 06:58 PM
Hey, Jim says I'm usually right when it comes to entertainment media. This means you are wrong for liking it, because you disagree with me!

Yeah, but Jim's a Dynamo's fan, and as a Crew fan, I can safely say that he is wrong. Which means his statement about you being right must be wrong. Which means your statement about him being right about you being right ergo I'm wrong, is, indisputably, wrong. And now my head hurts!

I can see people not liking it, though I get a little depressed when I ask people if they've seen it and they say, "No, I don't really like science stuff."

Gillianren
2011-Nov-03, 07:37 PM
I can see people not liking it, though I get a little depressed when I ask people if they've seen it and they say, "No, I don't really like science stuff."

Whereas one of the reasons I don't like it is that I do like science stuff, and the way scientists are portrayed on the show depresses me. Also women. Did you know that fewer women are scientists in movies and TV than real life?

Fazor
2011-Nov-03, 09:01 PM
Whereas one of the reasons I don't like it is that I do like science stuff, and the way scientists are portrayed on the show depresses me. Also women. Did you know that fewer women are scientists in movies and TV than real life?

Wait, women can be scientists now? What a world we live in! * ETA: That's supposed to be a sarcastic-in-the-fun-spirited way, not sarcastic in a maul chauvinistic jerk way, just for internet-clarification!

Technically, Howard's fiancee, Bernadette, is a PhD. Sheldon's girl-that's-a-friend Amy Farrah Fowler is a PhD, and Leonard's G/F, who is Raj's sister, is an extremely successful business lawyer. Leonard's mom is also a world renowned PhD in Psychology. So Penny is really the only "stereotypical dumb Cali girl" on the show with a regular role. Of course, you have Howard's stereotypically Jewish mother who's only heard and never seen, and Sheldon's bible-beater of a mother.

The point is, I think TBBT does a much better job than most shows of having women who are equally as successful as the guys. Arguably, since with the exception of Amy, the successful women are also culturally "normal", the woman are portrayed in a *better* light than the majority of the guys.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-03, 09:08 PM
That would be like remaking The Three Musketeers and adding a scuba-diving assassin with auto-repeating crossbows.:rolleyes:

Dear Warner Brothers,
I have a screenplay that I think you will be interested in ...

:whistle:

DataPlumber
2011-Nov-03, 09:39 PM
My LOL did not seem to take effect regarding the "meth" blurb, even though previous mention of incompetent crew selection was an issue with me on those '50s flicks. I'm sure that alcoholism on an exploratory spacecraft is just as campy as meth addiction, but no more endearing. I'm sure that a good writer would find a more clever way to appeal to the darker side of a well-balanced, well-selected crew member.

Enjoying fiction does require suspension of disbelief; I guess I just have to work harder at that.

Guess I'll have to catch more BBT from the scenes reported here.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-03, 10:56 PM
The thing is that there's a very large difference between the audience reaction on alcohol and meth, since the majority of the audience is likely to sympathize with the idea that a bit of alcohol is OK and it therefore adds dimension to a character without losing sympathy, while the vast majority will dismiss the meth user as lowlife scum and they'll cheer when he's killed.

You can't replace one drug for another and expect the character dynamic to still work the same with "grittier" as the only result. And for that matter, why is "grittier" seen as an end-goal in itself?

Noclevername
2011-Nov-03, 11:02 PM
And for that matter, why is "grittier" seen as an end-goal in itself?

Money. The studios are trying to appeal to a target audience who they see as "cynical rebellious youth".

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-03, 11:17 PM
... with ADHD.

Noclevername
2011-Nov-03, 11:19 PM
They seem to have gotten their ideas of what "youth culture" is like from watching Reefer Madness. And barely remembering it.

nosbig5
2011-Nov-04, 01:15 PM
"The Thespian Catalyst" (series 4) has Sheldon lecturing (and getting a really bad reaction).

Ha! This episode was on TBS last night.

"Who here is familiar with the concept of topological insulators?"
(All hands raise)
"Don't kid yourselves."

ToSeek
2011-Nov-04, 03:05 PM
Technically, Howard's fiancee, Bernadette, is a PhD. Sheldon's girl-that's-a-friend Amy Farrah Fowler is a PhD, and Leonard's G/F, who is Raj's sister, is an extremely successful business lawyer. Leonard's mom is also a world renowned PhD in Psychology. So Penny is really the only "stereotypical dumb Cali girl" on the show with a regular role. Of course, you have Howard's stereotypically Jewish mother who's only heard and never seen, and Sheldon's bible-beater of a mother.

Another semi-regular for a while was Leonard and Sheldon's colleague, optical physicist Dr. Leslie Winkle. She seems to have vanished the past couple of seasons, though.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-04, 03:34 PM
Also in the 'Plimpton Stimulation' they are visited by Sheldon's Pen Friend, renowned quantum cosmologist Dr. Elizabeth Plimpton who stays with them while spends some time at Cal tech.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-04, 06:11 PM
Yup. "Semi-regulars" and recurring characters. (Which is a character who shows up at least once or twice a season, but not often enough to appear in the main credits. Think the Lone Gunmen or Colonel Flagg.) But the show has four guys in the sciences and one dumb girl. And of course there's something socially wrong with all the male characters. One of them, I noted, seemed to have his fashion sense set in about 1972, even though I'm pretty sure they're all younger than I am. Seriously--what's with the turtleneck? We can't all be Carl Sagan.

Stubby Boardman
2011-Nov-04, 06:33 PM
Well, the guy who dresses like the Seventies.. his mother buys his clothes. Yeah, I know, that says a lot about his lack of social skills, but as we keep coming back to, the premise is four guys who are "smart" but have no social skills, and how their lives are changed by a girl who isn't "smart" but can function in the larger social world.

FWIW, my wife says she saw an interview with Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard, where he claimed that he researched the role by going to the real Physics Department at Caltech, and that the clothes the guys wear do not do justice to the sartorial horror of the reality.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-04, 06:40 PM
Howard wears a 'Dickie' not a Turtleneck.

Amy and Bernadette are in every episode.

Penny isn't dumb.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-04, 06:42 PM
Well, the guy who dresses like the Seventies.. his mother buys his clothes. Yeah, I know, that says a lot about his lack of social skills, but as we keep coming back to, the premise is four guys who are "smart" but have no social skills, and how their lives are changed by a girl who isn't "smart" but can function in the larger social world.

FWIW, my wife says she saw an interview with Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard, where he claimed that he researched the role by going to the real Physics Department at Caltech, and that the clothese the guys wear do not do justice to the sartorial horror of the reality.

Sheldon has some cool shirts

http://www.sheldonsshirts.com/ Where to get all the T-shirts that have been worn in the series, now includes Howards Belt Buckles

The Backroad Astronomer
2011-Nov-04, 06:58 PM
Another semi-regular for a while was Leonard and Sheldon's colleague, optical physicist Dr. Leslie Winkle. She seems to have vanished the past couple of seasons, though.
The actress who plays her has a show called The Talk very similar to the view.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-04, 07:05 PM
FWIW, my wife says she saw an interview with Johnny Galecki, who plays Leonard, where he claimed that he researched the role by going to the real Physics Department at Caltech, and that the clothes the guys wear do not do justice to the sartorial horror of the reality.

He must have gone there at a different time than I did.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-04, 08:02 PM
Are we really debating whether women are portrayed well in the show?
The bar for comparison isn't exactly set high.
Please identify one male character (main, recurring, whatever) who isn't totally lacking in social skills?

Even if it is the premise of the show, it would be nice to see a relatively smart and well adjusted male character once in a while.
I think the closest they have is Leonard.

Fazor
2011-Nov-04, 08:07 PM
Even if it is the premise of the show, it would be nice to see a relatively smart and well adjusted male character once in a while.
I think the closest they have is Leonard.

Wil Wheaton? :)

Extravoice
2011-Nov-04, 08:13 PM
I haven't seen any of the episodes with Wil in them. I understand he is Sheldon's arch nemesis.

Fazor
2011-Nov-04, 08:21 PM
I haven't seen any of the episodes with Wil in them. I understand he is Sheldon's arch nemesis.
Yeah; and it was just a (weak? desperate?) stab at throwing a wrench your statement, as he plays himself. Though, his character is a lot more of a . . . sneaky jerk? . . . than I assume Wil really is. But how would I know? I don't know him, nor did I know who he even was before TBBT (I'm not a Trekkie.)

captain swoop
2011-Nov-04, 10:03 PM
Read Wils Blog.

He describes his character in BBT as 'Evil Wil Weaton'

He has at least one appearance in the new season with Brent Spiner. and LeVar Burton (Geordie) was in the 'Toast Derivation' for a very brief scene as himself.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-04, 10:06 PM
The actress who plays her has a show called The Talk very similar to the view.

Sara Gilbert was Darlene in about 200 episodes of Roseanne and Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard was her long time boyfriend in the show.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-04, 10:23 PM
I haven't seen any of the episodes with Wil in them. I understand he is Sheldon's arch nemesis.

"Wil Wheaton currently ranks sixth on my All-Time Enemies list, between director Joel Schumacher, who nearly destroyed the Batman movie franchise, and Billy Sparks, who lived down the street from me and put dog poop on the handles of my bicycle."

"Well, well, well. If it isn't Wil Wheaton. The Green Goblin to my Spiderman. The Pope Paul V to my Galileo. The Internet Explorer to my Firefox."

"Well, if it isn’t Wil Wheaton, the Jar Jar Binks of the Star Trek universe."

Gillianren
2011-Nov-04, 11:50 PM
Are we really debating whether women are portrayed well in the show?
The bar for comparison isn't exactly set high.
Please identify one male character (main, recurring, whatever) who isn't totally lacking in social skills?

Even if it is the premise of the show, it would be nice to see a relatively smart and well adjusted male character once in a while.
I think the closest they have is Leonard.

And that's actually another problem I have with the show. Intelligent people are being told that the show really is for them, but the joke is still on the intelligent people. After all, they can't be intelligent and well-adjusted! That would be a world gone mad!

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-05, 10:40 AM
Which is really the same as you can say of Frasier.

Which makes sense in entertainment, perfect people are boring, it's the flaws that makes for interesting stories.

Noclevername
2011-Nov-05, 01:30 PM
How many people in sitcoms are ever well adjusted? Was Lucy? Was Raymond, who was beloved by all? Were any of the castaways on Gilligan's Island? Were any of the Friends?

Strange
2011-Nov-05, 02:25 PM
How many people in sitcoms are ever well adjusted? Was Lucy? Was Raymond, who was beloved by all? Were any of the castaways on Gilligan's Island? Were any of the Friends?

Surely the same can be said of Real Life.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-05, 03:00 PM
Chuck Lorre quotes some advice he was given by an old manager in his Music Days.


"Boyz, if halfs da peoples loves ya, and halfs da peoples hates ya, you're a star!"

From one of his 'Vanity Cards' http://www.chucklorre.com/index.php?p=311

Jerry
2011-Nov-05, 03:48 PM
And that's actually another problem I have with the show. Intelligent people are being told that the show really is for them, but the joke is still on the intelligent people. After all, they can't be intelligent and well-adjusted! That would be a world gone mad!

I have always thought the four principle 'guys' are rather gender neutral; and their costuming mirrored on a star trek theme (Spock, Dr McCoy, Checkov and ...Q);

In any case, the physical comidy is great. The characters could easily be by son and his three best freinds...or my daughter and hers.

Jim
2011-Nov-05, 04:30 PM
I haven't seen any of the episodes with Wil in them. I understand he is Sheldon's arch nemesis.

I think that may have changed. In a recent episode, Sheldon attended a party thrown by Wil. At the party, Wil apologized to Sheldon and gave him his last and very rare Wil Wheaton Action Figure in the original package.

Sheldon was thrilled.

Then Brent Spiner came up, took the package, ripped it open and talked about how they used to pose their figures on the set.

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-05, 05:11 PM
Then Brent Spiner came up, took the package, ripped it open and talked about how they used to pose their figures on the set.

"SPINER!"

Jeff Root
2011-Nov-05, 05:36 PM
I saw a few minutes of 'Big Bang Theory' for the very first time right
about when this thread was started, one week ago. If the show is in
its fourth season, and originally airs on CBS, I don't understand how
I could have missed seeing any of it until now. I'm not sure I even
saw any promos for it before last week.

I came into the middle of it while channel surfing, recognized what
program it must be, watched a few minutes, and surfed away again
even before it went to ads. While the jokes were on topics that
interest me or apply to me, they didn't particularly amuse me, or
tell me anything I didn't already know. The bit of the program I saw
came across as just another bunch of charicatures of nerds making
jokes out of their dialog. I think I might have found the program
really funny if I were the same age as the characters, but now the
jokes come across as lame, artificial, and old.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gillianren
2011-Nov-05, 06:07 PM
How many people in sitcoms are ever well adjusted? Was Lucy? Was Raymond, who was beloved by all? Were any of the castaways on Gilligan's Island? Were any of the Friends?

Mary Ann was pretty well-adjusted, actually. So was the Professor. (Perhaps this is why, in the first season, they were "and the rest"?) I don't, as it happens, love either Lucy or Raymond. I stopped watching Friends in part because the neurosis build-up level got to high. But, with the exception of first-couple-of-seasons Rachel, you could believe that any one of the group would be able to get through day-to-day life without help. I don't feel that about the characters from The Big Bang Theory. There's a way smart people are portrayed in the media which I think is designed to make them more culturally acceptable to average people, and that is to make them so incompetent in the Real World that you wonder if they aren't maybe just idiot savants. This is how I feel about every character on that show who is supposed to be intelligent.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-05, 06:17 PM
I have to admint I think it's the funniest show on TV at the moment. It is the only US Sitcom that I have ever found funny.

AGN Fuel
2011-Nov-07, 03:18 AM
I saw a few minutes of 'Big Bang Theory' for the very first time right
about when this thread was started, one week ago...I came into the middle of it while channel surfing, recognized what
program it must be, watched a few minutes, and surfed away again
even before it went to ads.

Sooooo... your dismissal of the programme is based on less than 5 minutes viewing of part of a single episode in the fourth series, when you could have no possible idea of the characters, their motivations or interactions of just that episode, let alone the entire show. Well, just so long as you gave it a fair hearing, I guess.

Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I find this thread quite bizarre. I just find it quite odd that people watch a show and then criticise it because it doesn't conform to their personal world view. Tough. Ever thought that maybe it's not the show that needs adjusting?

If you don't like the show, don't watch it. That's why remote controls have that big "Off" thingy.


I have to admint I think it's the funniest show on TV at the moment. It is the only US Sitcom that I have ever found funny.

What he said.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-07, 07:07 AM
Ever thought that maybe it's not the show that needs adjusting?

Yeah, how dare I expect a show to have well-drawn female characters and not just present smart people as someone to laugh at?

Jeff Root
2011-Nov-07, 08:27 AM
I saw a few minutes of 'Big Bang Theory' for the very first time
right about when this thread was started, one week ago...I came
into the middle of it while channel surfing, recognized what
program it must be, watched a few minutes, and surfed away
again even before it went to ads.
Sooooo... your dismissal of the programme is based on less than
5 minutes viewing of part of a single episode in the fourth series,
Yes, that's correct.



when you could have no possible idea of the characters, their
motivations or interactions of just that episode, let alone the
entire show.
Oh, no. I have a pretty good understanding of the characters,
their motivations, and how they interact with one another.



Well, just so long as you gave it a fair hearing, I guess.
Really? Why? Do you want me to watch it to increment the
audience by one more pair of eyes, so it won't be cancelled?
Or what? Otherwise I don't see why it would matter to you
whether I give it a fair hearing or not.



Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I find this thread quite bizarre.
I just find it quite odd that people watch a show and then criticise
it because it doesn't conform to their personal world view.
Who has done that, in which post?



Tough. Ever thought that maybe it's not the show that needs
adjusting?
I adjusted something. I said what I adjusted. You quoted me
saying what I adjusted. Tell me what I said I adjusted. Clue:
It wasn't the show.



If you don't like the show, don't watch it. That's why remote
controls have that big "Off" thingy.
Remote controls also have an "UP/DOWN" thingy that goes
to a different channel. I use that quite a lot when I watch TV,
because I'm always hoping I'll find something worth watching
on another channel. And sometimes I do!




I have to admint I think it's the funniest show on TV at the
moment. It is the only US Sitcom that I have ever found funny.
What he said.
Now *THAT* is bizarre! Out of the thousands of US sitcoms
that must have reached the UK and Australia, 'Big Bang Theory'
is the only one that Captain Swoop has ever found funny, AND the
only one that AGN Fuel has ever found funny!

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jim
2011-Nov-07, 12:58 PM
This thread is starting to get a bit more acrimonious than it needs to be. Let's all dial it back a notch, okay?

Extravoice
2011-Nov-07, 02:00 PM
Early in the show's run, a co-worker suggested that I check-out the show. I watched one episode and didn't like it. A couple years later, I checked it out again, and enjoy it. I think part of the reason I didn't like the first episode was because it followed very closely on the plot from the previous show, and without knowing the context the episode fell flat for me.

As for people not liking the show, I'm fine with that. There have been plenty of shows that other people absolutely love that I can't tolerate. As my mother used to say, "Different strokes for different folks*."

But then came along a show called "Different Strokes" and I didn't like it either. :)

The Backroad Astronomer
2011-Nov-07, 03:08 PM
Sara Gilbert was Darlene in about 200 episodes of Roseanne and Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard was her long time boyfriend in the show.
His character name was David on Roseanne, and the actress who played Roseannes sister plays sheldons mother on th TTBT.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-07, 04:42 PM
Chuck Lorre was a writer on Roseanne.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-07, 04:47 PM
Now *THAT* is bizarre! Out of the thousands of US sitcoms
that must have reached the UK and Australia, 'Big Bang Theory'
is the only one that Captain Swoop has ever found funny, AND the
only one that AGN Fuel has ever found funny!

Well, there haven't been 'thousands' of US Sitcoms reaching the UK.
There aren't many UK sitcoms I like even.

Bottom (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103376/) and Black Books (http://www.imdb.com/find?q=black+books&s=all) were about my faves along with Red Dwarf (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094535/)

Most stuff I find bland

Jim
2011-Nov-07, 05:40 PM
I have to admint I think it's the funniest show on TV at the moment. It is the only US Sitcom that I have ever found funny.

Man, that's too bad, 'cause there have been some great American sitcoms that you would have loved.

All In The Family, all about this middle-class bigot and his ditzy wife.
Sanford and Son, about a junk dealer and his son.
Two Close for Comfort, about a man and wife and their two grown daughters living in the same house.
Three's Company, about this guy who moves in with two girls and has to pretend he's gay.
Three's A Crowd, a spin off of Three's Company when the non-gay guy gets a girl.
The Ropers, a spin off of Three's Company about a middle-aged married couple.

Lots of good comedy you Britishers have missed out on.

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-07, 05:44 PM
The Librarians from Australia is also pretty good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Librarians_(TV_series)

captain swoop
2011-Nov-07, 06:16 PM
Man, that's too bad, 'cause there have been some great American sitcoms that you would have loved.

All In The Family, all about this middle-class bigot and his ditzy wife.
Sanford and Son, about a junk dealer and his son.
Two Close for Comfort, about a man and wife and their two grown daughters living in the same house.
Three's Company, about this guy who moves in with two girls and has to pretend he's gay.
Three's A Crowd, a spin off of Three's Company when the non-gay guy gets a girl.
The Ropers, a spin off of Three's Company about a middle-aged married couple.

Lots of good comedy you Britishers have missed out on.

Don't forget Archie Bunker and the Office. :)

captain swoop
2011-Nov-07, 06:17 PM
There was a UK version of 'Golden Girls' but it was pulled after 3 shows.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-07, 06:47 PM
But then came along a show called "Different Strokes" and I didn't like it either. :)

Hey, neither do I!

We used to get free cable at our apartment, but the local monopoly holder stopped providing bulk packages, so the owner of our complex dropped it. (They're actually making noises about providing free internet instead, which we'd use more.) There are really almost no TV shows I regret not being able to watch, given that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are both up online for free the next day. (Though I'm getting really sick of the gum commercial they play during The Daily Show online, which does not in any way make me want to purchase the gum.) I kind of miss being able to just kind of see what's on, but believe me, I am well acquainted with the "Off" button.

Jeff Root
2011-Nov-08, 02:26 AM
The first example of a really superb US sitcom that came to
my mind was the Cosby Show. After that I thought of All in
the Family. Then I thought of some that I would rate way
below Big Bang Theory. One of them is in Jim's list. :p

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2011-Nov-08, 02:41 AM
Re "gum commercial". I wonder if it's the commercial I'm
thinking of. I find it so intensely repulsive that I have never
seen the end of it. I always change the channel as quickly
as possible. And I generally have my thumb on the button
already. I don't want to know exactly what that ad is for,
whether it is gum or something else.

And I'll probably annoy you by repeating something I said
before: I can think of only one time in my life that I've ever
purchased anything after being influenced by a TV ad. That
was back in 1971, when I saw an ad for a revolutionary new
kind of shaving razor, with Edward G. Robinson giving a
personal endorsement-- which was also a new development.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

AGN Fuel
2011-Nov-08, 02:57 AM
Man, that's too bad, 'cause there have been some great American sitcoms that you would have loved.

All In The Family, all about this middle-class bigot and his ditzy wife.
Sanford and Son, about a junk dealer and his son.
Two Close for Comfort, about a man and wife and their two grown daughters living in the same house.
Three's Company, about this guy who moves in with two girls and has to pretend he's gay.
Three's A Crowd, a spin off of Three's Company when the non-gay guy gets a girl.
The Ropers, a spin off of Three's Company about a middle-aged married couple.

Lots of good comedy you Britishers have missed out on.

Perhap not!

- 'All in the Family' was largely based on an earlier British sitcom 'Till Death do us Part'
- 'Sanford & Son' was a near direct copy of an earlier British sitcom 'Steptoe & Son'
- 'Two Close for Comfort' was largely styled on an earlier British sitcom 'Keep it in the Family'
- 'Three's Company' was directly modelled on an earlier British sitcom 'Man about the House'
- 'Three's a Crowd' was a copy of the British spin-off from 'Man about the House', 'Robin's Nest'
- 'The Ropers' was a direct copy of the earlier British spin-off from 'Man about the House', 'George and Mildred' (who actually had the surname 'Roper' in the show)

Many British people in the 70's and 80's could be forgiven for thinking they had deja vu whenever they turned on an American TV sitcom.

Tensor
2011-Nov-08, 03:59 AM
Sara Gilbert was Darlene in about 200 episodes of Roseanne and Johnny Galecki who plays Leonard was her long time boyfriend in the show.
His character name was David on Roseanne, and the actress who played Roseannes sister plays sheldons mother on th TTBT.
Chuck Lorre was a writer on Roseanne.

He was also creator and head producer for "Cybil". Christine Baranski, who plays Leonard's mother, was a supporting character on "Cybil".

Tobin Dax
2011-Nov-08, 03:59 AM
Perhap not!

[snip]


I figured that's what Jim was getting at, but of all the shows on his list, I only knew of Sanford & Son's origin.

AGN Fuel
2011-Nov-08, 05:44 AM
I figured that's what Jim was getting at, but of all the shows on his list, I only knew of Sanford & Son's origin.

Ah yes, I see now you've pointed it out! My apologies, Jim.

I used to love "Till Death us do part" - he was a West Ham supporter (as I have been my whole life) and he used to have flashbacks about the great Bobby Moore led Hammers teams of the 60's. I had similar daydreams!


(Now I just hope we get back to the Premier League.....)

Jim
2011-Nov-08, 12:53 PM
Don't forget Archie Bunker and the Office. :)

Archie was All in the Family. But, yeah, how could I have missed The Office?

The Backroad Astronomer
2011-Nov-08, 01:25 PM
He was also creator and head producer for "Cybil". Christine Baranski, who plays Leonard's mother, was a supporting character on "Cybil".
We all know he won't be hiring Charlie Sheen again for anything.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-08, 02:19 PM
Given all the imports of British comedy, it is somewhat ironic that many Americans will say they don't like British comedy.

Something about it being dry, whatever that means.

ToSeek
2011-Nov-08, 04:22 PM
Given all the imports of British comedy, it is somewhat ironic that many Americans will say they don't like British comedy.

Something about it being dry, whatever that means.

Probably means that every other line isn't a punch line.

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-08, 06:18 PM
A lot of British comedy is in the subtext, some of the funniest stuff in The Office and Extras doesn't even have dialogue, just painfull expressions or uncomfortable silences.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-08, 07:46 PM
All the shows mentioned above were remade for US audiences, mostly replacing dialect, slang and cultural references and bad language.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-08, 07:47 PM
With most American sit-coms, the punch lines have to come fast and furious (identified by a laugh track in case you wern't sure you should laugh).

My daughter likes watching reruns of Friends, but I dislike the show. Whenever I walk into the room when she is watching it, I count the seconds between "laughs". I rarely get to 10 seconds before resetting my counter. Often, I don't get to five.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-08, 08:02 PM
Probably means that every other line isn't a punch line.
Or rather, that the funny isn't expressed as jokes.

Tensor
2011-Nov-08, 09:11 PM
We all know he won't be hiring Charlie Sheen again for anything.

Nope, but he did take a shot at Sheen last night on Two and a Half Men. Jon Cryer's character had taken up the actions and mannerisms of Sheen's character. As a result, the rest of the characters had placed him in a "rest home". Cryer (holding his hand to his ear and mouth) thought he was ordering large amounts of alcohol and ladies of the evening to his room. He then leans back in his bed, puts his hands behind his head and says "Winning."

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-08, 09:33 PM
All the shows mentioned above were remade for US audiences, mostly replacing dialect, slang and cultural references and bad language.

I knew you were keeping the good stuff for yourselves.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-09, 08:00 AM
I knew you were keeping the good stuff for yourselves.

Google up on 'Bottom', 'The Young Ones', 'Filthy, Rich and Catflap', 'Blackadder' and 'The Comic Strip Presents' as a starter.

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-09, 05:19 PM
Google up on 'Bottom', 'The Young Ones', 'Filthy, Rich and Catflap', 'Blackadder' and 'The Comic Strip Presents' as a starter.

Thanks.

Blackadder made it over here in the 1980s, and is much better than Bean I think.

Noclevername
2011-Nov-09, 05:22 PM
The Young Ones was on MTV for a while in the mid-80s.

DataPlumber
2011-Nov-12, 11:40 PM
The Young Ones... yes! I wanna see those reruns.
The only thing since as surreal is Family Guy, though actually only written by dolphins tossing idea-balloons, or a random skit-generator(?).

Gillianren
2011-Nov-13, 12:37 AM
I dislike The Young Ones pretty intensely, too. The people in line behind me at the video counter just now were talking about Mr. Bean and how good it was, and I tend to believe that's a sign you haven't seen Black Adder.

Van Rijn
2011-Nov-13, 12:52 AM
I've tried watching them, but I've never been able to get into either Mr. Bean or Blackadder. I've probably tried harder with Blackadder, but the humor just doesn't work for me. I don't remember The Young Ones.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-13, 04:28 PM
I don't remember The Young Ones Sitcom about 4 disreptutable students and their low life Landlord. When it aired it was as revolutionary as Monty Python was in its day, they had surreal sidetracks and puppet interludes with household objects coming to life and commenting on proceedings. Every show featured a musical interlude woven into the plot (for eexample one episode had the Damned in the lounge singing 'Video Nasty' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujAtsS15EU4) in the episode 'Video Nasty' and Madness were in several (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcE0M5GnhHw) - episodes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcE0M5GnhHw) and not forgetting Motorhead (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTd1SSYYyss)). Ben Elton who wrote the Young Ones also wrote Blackadder. Viv the Punk is still one of my heroes. Filthy Rich and Catflap was the same cast as Young Ones with Ben Elton writing and featured musical guests. Bottom was more or less a follow on from F,R & Twith Ade Edmondson and Rick Mayall playing more or less the same characters grown older and living in a seedy flat in Hammersmith.

All 3 shows relied on bottom jokes, broad slapstick and political satire. Ade and Rick started their comedy career at University appearing as the 'Dangerous Brothers' their stock in trade was '2 Stooges' style physical violence and setting each other on fire.

I have worked with Rick Mayall and Ade Edmondson in my earlier life so maybe I am a bit biassed.

ToSeek
2011-Nov-14, 12:01 AM
Just watched the most recent episode of BBT and was amused to note that Amy's apartment number was 314.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-14, 12:02 AM
?

pzkpfw
2011-Nov-14, 12:39 AM
Pi

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-14, 12:47 AM
I like BBT, in large part because I can see my friends and me in the characters, though their quirks have obviously been turned up to eleven.

Bearded One
2011-Nov-14, 02:11 AM
When I first caught an isolated episode of BBT I didn't like it very much. Caught a few more isolated ones but still wasn't sure about it. Then I rented the first DVD from Netflix and ended up getting hooked. Rented all the disks and watched the series sequentially, it's much better that way. Only problem is by using Netflix I'm about a season behind the current on air shows.

As far as the amount of free time they seem to have, that's pretty much true of all TV shows. People seem to have a lot more free time on TV than in real life. I guess people being at work all day would make for boring TV.

The theme song on BBT still irks me, I'd swear they are saying "million years ago" instead of "billion years ago". Others claim they hear a "B" though so maybe it's just my ears.

Fazor
2011-Nov-14, 02:44 PM
@Bearded One, I'd agree; like a lot of Sitcoms, I think it's hard to get into it if you've only seen one random episode out of context. We kept recommending it to my bro and his wife, and they were slow on the uptake. Now that they've seen more than a couple, they seem to really enjoy it.

I'm certainly not saying that everyone would enjoy it if they gave it a chance, but it's hard to care about the characters, their relationships, and their idiosyncrasies if you've only caught one episode. I had the same problem with 'The Office' (American ver.) For years my friends raved about how much they enjoyed it, but when I'd try to watch a random episode I thought it was boring and stupid. When it hit syndication and I could see it every night after work while I made dinner, I really started to get into the characters and I could see what my friends had been talking about all those years.

korjik
2011-Nov-14, 04:06 PM
I like BBT, in large part because I can see my friends and me in the characters, though their quirks have obviously been turned up to eleven.

I know it says something bad about me that I would say turned up to about an 8....

I've actually met equivalents of most of the characters from the show, including a Sheldon.

Stubby Boardman
2011-Nov-14, 04:23 PM
...
I've actually met equivalents of most of the characters from the show, including a Sheldon.

I actually have a co-worker who is a pretty good equivalent of Sheldon from the interpersonal skills perspective, although unfortunately not from the genius perspective.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-14, 07:37 PM
I'm certainly not saying that everyone would enjoy it if they gave it a chance, but it's hard to care about the characters, their relationships, and their idiosyncrasies if you've only caught one episode.

Surely that's the point of the first episode, which is one of the ones I've seen--to make you care? There are plenty of shows where I was completely drawn in by occasional random episodes; in some ways, that's my thing, given I'm a fiction writer myself. It's like Rent; a friend of mine was going on and on and on about how great it is, but I didn't think the first song was compelling enough. (Or the rest of it. I'll stick to La Boheme.) The point of the first song should be to suck you in, which is also the point of a pilot.

The problem I have with the show is, I have decided, that it's a "laughing at" show, not a "laughing with." In the episodes I saw, I pretty much never thought that I was supposed to sympathize with the characters, just laugh at them. Except when What's-His-Name is interested in Normal Girl.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-14, 08:00 PM
Gillian, you may be right about the laugh at vs laugh with observation, but that doesn't ruin it for me. I think the reason is that some of the characters remind me of people I know (am), but with the contrast turned up to 11. I think it is the same reason I ejoyed Seinfield. Yes, I *was* laughing *at* George because he was a caricature of people I know. The same goes for Sheldon and Howard in BBT.

On another note, the purpose of the pilot is to set the stage as well as suck you in. I've never seen the pilot of BBT, but often pilots leave me flat because they spend so much time introducing the characters, etc. that I don't get a feeling what the weekly episodes will really be like. A good example of this was the original Stargate series. I didn't like the pilot, but loved the series. I try to not write-off a series soley based on the pilot. Of course, I've violated that rule, such as when I saw the pilot for some incarnation of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" that had a "security officer" on board the boring machine. I didn't even make it through the whole pilot for that one. Apparently, neither did many other people.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-14, 08:44 PM
I don't like Seinfeld, either.

I'm not saying a pilot is necessarily good, though I have seen some great ones, but if it doesn't provide enough information about the characters to make them interesting, isn't that a failing?

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-14, 09:04 PM
The problem I have with the show is, I have decided, that it's a "laughing at" show, not a "laughing with." In the episodes I saw, I pretty much never thought that I was supposed to sympathize with the characters, just laugh at them. Except when What's-His-Name is interested in Normal Girl.

I had this impression surfing past the show for the first three seasons, when I did give it a chance I found there's a lot more there than appears on the surface.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-14, 09:05 PM
...but if it doesn't provide enough information about the characters to make them interesting, isn't that a failing?

I'm sure that's a goal of the writers, but it apparently takes more time to develop some characters than the pilot episode. Again, as I said above, I didn't like BBT when I saw an isolated episode. It wasn't until I'd seen several episodes (my wife actually watched for a while it before I got into it) that I understood the dynamic of the show and began enjoying it.

That's not saying you have to like it.

captain swoop
2011-Nov-14, 10:45 PM
Well, I know Raj, he is another one of our Field Engineers called Amrik, he covers Leeds/Bradford. I know Leonard as well, I worked with him a few years ago. I think I know Howard, he goes in the Tap and Spile. Penny is an ex GF of mine, she is a Barmaid in the Tap.
My son thinks Sheldon is great, we had to get him the 'Robot Evolution' T Shirt that Sheldon wears in a number of episodes.

Mind, if you ever watch 'The I.T. Crowd' (UK Channel 4)

It is exactly like the EMAP IT Support deptartment I worked in back in the 90s even down to the size, layout and location of their office, and it's 'Decor' except we had a Scalxtric Slot Car race track we blagged from FHM Magazine and a fridge for any Red Bull and Beer we blagged from the music magazines.

starcanuck64
2011-Nov-18, 06:13 PM
One of the funniest parts of BBT for me is the Roommate Agreement:

http://wiki.the-big-bang-theory.com/wiki/Roommate_Agreement

Luckmeister
2011-Nov-18, 07:21 PM
Since The Time Machine is one of my favorite time travel movies, I especially liked the BBT episode featuring the full-sized movie prop (http://www.hollywoodlostandfound.net/props/timemachine.html). I laughed at how they said they got it cheap because it was so big no one wanted it. Yeah .... right!!!

That and Robby from Forbidden Planet are the two props I would consider selling my family and friends into slavery to get. ;)

starcanuck64
2011-Dec-03, 10:01 PM
I just burned through Season 3 again in a few days, it seemed even funnier this time having other peoples perspectives to compare to my own.

One thing I really like about the show is how obvious it is the actors genuinely like each other.

captain swoop
2011-Dec-04, 01:02 PM
I just realised Amy Farrah Fowler was 'Blossom' earlier in her career, she had her own show.

Mayim Bialik also hasa Phd in Neuroscience, she got a mention in an episode previous to her appearance in the show

Raj suggests recruiting the real-life Bialik to their Physics Bowl team, saying "You know who’s apparently very smart, is the girl who played TV’s Blossom. She got a PhD in neuroscience or something".

Gillianren
2011-Dec-04, 08:25 PM
The guy who played Sheldon was in The Muppets. It's a bit hard to explain what the character he played was without explaining quite a lot of the movie's plot. But he sings!

Stubby Boardman
2011-Dec-04, 09:15 PM
He's sung once or twice on the show. He's obviously a very talented fellow.

starcanuck64
2011-Dec-05, 06:04 PM
Jim Parsons also has a small but memorable role in the indie movie Garden State.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-05, 08:33 PM
He's sung once or twice on the show. He's obviously a very talented fellow.

Meh. His singing wasn't anything spectacular. Not bad, but not enough for me to call him "very talented."

Stubby Boardman
2011-Dec-05, 08:47 PM
Meh. His singing wasn't anything spectacular. Not bad, but not enough for me to call him "very talented."

/Shrug/. Me, I call anybody who can get paid to star in a long-running TV show and sing in a major motion picture "very talented."

ETA: Having myself pretty much no talent, I give large props to those who do.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-05, 10:11 PM
Some of the people who are paid to star in long-running TV shows, I don't call talented at all.

Stubby Boardman
2011-Dec-06, 02:48 AM
Interesting point of view.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-06, 03:39 AM
I'm a musician and writer who's done some acting. I can tell when all three are done well, and it's not unusual for them to be done poorly in "popular" entertainment.

R.A.F.
2011-Dec-06, 07:22 AM
That and Robby from Forbidden Planet are the two props I would consider selling my family and friends into slavery to get. ;)

Guess I probably shouldn't tell you about this (http://www.hammacher.com/Product/10921) then, huh?


Can anyone here spare $49,900.00?? :)

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-06, 08:35 AM
Guess I probably shouldn't tell you about this (http://www.hammacher.com/Product/10921) then, huh?


Can anyone here spare $49,900.00?? :)
For a copy? No.