Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Big Bang Theory Series Finale

We all have our blindspots, right?  Things or people that we like that most people rightfully hate, but we go ahead and like it anyway.  Well for me, that is the Big Bang Theory.  I have gotten the most crap and hate for me liking this show from friends, colleagues, and strangers alike... and much of it rightfully so.

One of the things we consistently  talk about here is representation of nerd culture is overwhelming white nerd centered and catered to and the Big Bang Theory is white nerd culture personified.  The cast of characters are caricatures of nerd culture and even tho often accurate, the show goes out of its way to center their nerdom in whiteness.  You can count the Black characters appearing on the show in 12 years on your fingers and interaction with a Black nerd character....  never happened.  So the show has many faults and I fully recognized them and watched it anyway.

I came to the show late when it already had 5 seasons in the can and caught up watching reruns on TBS.  It was comfort food as I was going through a very rough time in my personal relationship.  A show that told simple jokes with a ridiculous laugh track, that often used nerd culture as its background.  But over time, that respect for nerd culture turned into outright ridicule of that same culture as the characters grew up from their geekly beginnings.  Of course characters need to show growth, but Big Bang used that growth as a hammer to the culture that made the show unique.  As characters got married, had kids, and changed jobs, adulthood took root in their lives and there is a respected story to tell there... they just didn't do it.  The show, over the last few years just became a vehicle to tell slapstick stories with no depth( not that it had much before).

So the final season focused on Sheldon and Amy and their joint pursuit of the Nobel Prize.  Over the course of the same season, two other scientist came in and stole their idea and their story plays out much of the season before culminating in Sheldon and Amy winning the Nobel Prize and Sheldon giving this emotional speech about how his friend are really the one thing he cherishes the most.  In a moment that should've been heartfelt, it fell flat.  Maybe it was the deadpan delivery, but more likely, it was just the show was done and running on empty for the final season.  Leonard and Penny are pregnant; even tho for the entire season, Penny was emphatic that is not what she wanted.  Howard and Bernadette have two kids and not much story exisisted for them outside of their children.  And Raj... a character that was the butt of racist, Indian jokes for 12 years and who sought out romantic love more than anyone, was regulated to stalker status as he somehow wound up at the award ceremony with Sarah Michelle Gellar.

After 12 seasons and over 200 episodes, the show had run its course.  I would actually say it should've ended when Sheldon and Amy got married, but that's just me.  A show that paid a modicum of respect to nerd culture, morphed into a thing that nerds hated because it forgot to respect the culture that birthed it.  Overall, I can still enjoy it in pieces, but it definitely did not end on a Big Bang!

The Producer

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