The effect BB has on nerd culture
We had a question sent in and I was wondering what you take on it is :

"hey guys, I was wondering if i could post a forum that question fellow fans if the stereotypes of characters (e.g nerdy/ introverts) has been kept on up till in the seasons or whether the stereotype of the 'nerd' has improved as the show has grown. thank you!"

I think its quite complex myself because in some ways the show is about loving these characters and this is why people tune in but... the over arcing theme seems to be one of mellowing out and marrying someone who isn't interested in the same things you are, so therefore nerds must eventually tire and abandon their hobbies. But we all know that real nerds don't tend to do that, relationship or no.
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  • Idle Miscreant
Most people I know are obsessed with something...vintage guitars, obscure philosophers, cabaret...godawful eighties sci-fi...So I don't get this "nerd" titling to begin with. I've never seen the BB lads as anything other than people with interesting passions and hobbies...which were gradually pressured out of them by bizarrely passionless and antagonistic spouses.
As Tuesday said above, unless you're self-hating about your passions, like Leonard is, generally people marry/hook up with folk who share those passions, and don't "grow out of it".

What I do find baffling is their lack of involvement with OTHERS in their chosen field. There's an absence of LARPing, or medieval faires (since the early years) or getting together to build a trebuchet (*cough* Space)...
Even a couple of my goddamn flimsy POET friends built a trebuchet and fired projectiles over the River Clyde. I suppose it's just that what the BB chaps get up to is not considered eccentric or unusual by our standards.

Also their interests are effectively mainstream nowadays anyroad. Sheldon dressing up as something from Harry fucking Potter? What happened to the Doppler effect?

(and let's not get into adults dressing up as children for a bloody bedroom-roleplay least dress as Snape, please! Even Voldemort. Actually, that would have been excellent...)

And where the devil are Penny's acting friends? She's done theatre work for heaven's sake, she'd know loads of poncy actors...I mean, I know no-one is allowed to look better than Leonard on this show, but good grief...

Rant rant rant...
Big Grin
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Fantastic post as always. One of the things that initially attracted me to BB was the references to old shows, movies and games which not everyone would be into. Farscape, Firefly, the arguments over early Superman movies and Godzilla. It was part of a culture I recognised and felt at home in. But BB had more, there was a load of science stuff that left me in awe.

Sheldon as The Doppler Effect is bloody genuis!!

[Image: tumblr_n8q4u1xJSU1rn4qwao2_250.gif]

This not so much....

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Its miles apart but I guess most people don't see it. They like their half hour of mindless familarity and thats fun enough for them. In my mind, Sheldon would hate this, he would say "You expect me to wear the robe of a Gryffindor child?!" I like Harry Potter but I can see Sheldon as one of those serious minded nerds who think its just for children. He would have a lot of protests, he would probably have a lot of reasons why he wouldn't be in Gryffindor as well. Big Grin

It's Vintage Sheldon vs Baby Sheldon, all over again.
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Sheldon's a Ravenclaw.

As for the show and it's portrayal/perception of nerds - nerd has always had connotations of social awkwardness, weirdness. Geek is more about enthusiasm for a subject. You can be a geek about something, and have a job and friends and social acceptability. It is about what you like. A nerd is what you are, and a nerd can have no interest in anything remotely genre.

The show took people who are socially inept, occasionally self-loathing, and frequently vile as human beings, and initially gave them interests that were seen as mockable, the mainstream shorthand for 'weirdo'. Well, the interests have dwindled away, but the people remain sad, desperate and pathetic. It was never their hobbies that made them that way. The show does not want to admit to this latter fact.

Yes, if the guys were genuinely into their hobbies, they would meet other people interested in the same. Four hour arguments about war-crime tribunals for Death Eaters. Enthusiasm for tearing apart works of fiction to find the esoteric references to other works. Encyclopaedic knowledge of spaceship stats. And yes, impassioned debate about medieval weaponry. Honestly, they should have big kitchen fights about the latest Marvel fuckery, the 'book is better' rows about who got written out of GoT, opinions about StarWars. These things are not hidden away, now. You can have a favourite Doctor, a Reichenbach theory, quote Loki, Kirk, Gandalf...normal people get these things, now.

And BBT was not responsible for that. They piggybacked on the growing mainstream success without understanding it. Their references are the blandest, most recognisible, mainstream commercial nods. They adopt pop culture. Their influence is a handful of slogans on t-shirts.

Which, incidentally, tend to relate to the one character who started out as the most genuine unique individual of them all. The one that they deconstructed and destroyed, reduced to a primary-coloured man-child in the care of his repulsive nanny-keeper.
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We've all mentioned the lack of hobbies in the later seasons, but I think what's closer is the lack of passion for ANYTHING. The emptiness is vast as the plucking out of interests from building robots to kite fighting, etc., and there has been nothing to fill the void. Molaro would have us believe that there is a filler--the 'grown up relationships'--but while this has come to dominate their lives, it lacks passion. That's why the show is now boring as fuck. There's no spark. No innovation.

This attack on passion has been relentless. The guys' interests have been ridiculed as being juvenile and a sign of immaturity. It is no coincidence, then, that as they 'progress' towards 'proper adulthood' that the hobbies are cast aside. (From a writing perspective, this turn has been fatal to the quality as it was the situations and vast interests which were comedic gold--and not for the cheap shots of 'they're playing D&D! HAHA!" rather than Isimov's law of robotics.) It's as if the guys are only playing D&D and Klingon Boggle and celebrating Columbus Day because they don't have a girl in their lives. That all of the 'nerdiness' and 'geekery' have no real meaning to them.

And that is complete bullshit.

Just take my D&D group--the guys are married, have kids, mortgages, jobs. Other friends take their kids to Comic Con and sci fi/fantasy conventions. My oldest brother took a 14 year old me to my first fantasy convention where I found myself in a hotel room full of drunk Klingons and a ferret discussing the merits of Friday the 13th movies as abstinence propaganda videos. It was awesome for me, a 'geek' from a small town coming to a place where there were 'people like me'. To see adults reveling in their passions for Star Trek and elves and Doctor Who absolutely thrilled me. People with passion for things which meant so much to them. To me. That is something which we all shared, young and old. Guys and gals.

Not that I'm saying the early years of BBT were perfect, but they did have moments when they captured the passion so perfectly. The only thing which was juvenile was how the guys were treated by others. Total high school. Not that I'm downplaying bullying by any means, but what the guys had to put up with--especially in the context of all the guys being extremely talented in their fields--was more of a 'Hollywood/mainstream' idea of how 'geeks grow up'. It's why they came up with that idiotic episode where the gang redo their high school prom. Like that time was the defining moment of their lives. Not building their first rocket. Or seeing Star Trek. Or getting their PHD. Or being in freakin' space!

Contrary to what people might think, the bullies in high school aren't as important long-term as they seem to think. Or perhaps need to think.
Let's go exploring!
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