Posted by: dolan | September 11, 2008

The Big Geek Theory

Every once in a while there is really nothing on TV.  During these interludes (which, now that we have Netflix, are quite rare), Renee and I take the time to check out a new show that our Tivo just happened to save.  It thought we might like “The Big Bang Theory“.
After watching an episode or two, I’d have to give it a strong “OK”.  It’s no HIMYM, but it has its moments.  Nonetheless, there is always the superlative comment from someone.  I found this on the IMDB site:

“This is the first TV show to really showcase nerds with pretty much dead on accuracy.”

Now, first of all, I don’t believe this is true in the sense that it’s the first show, but second of all I don’t think it’s true because of how the show presents its characters.  Being a quasi-nerd myself, there is definitely some truth to the portrayal, but they often miss something in one area which non-nerds tend to overlook.  The ultimate nerd in the show, Sheldon, fails to understand social conventions, and this is the cause of much awkwardness and the basis for the majority of the show’s humor.

True enough, nerds tend not to follow social convention.  But nerds also tend to be very observant people, meaning they are, more often than not, perfectly aware of social convention and yet deliberately decide not to follow it.  This is the piece that non-nerds don’t seem to understand.  Non-nerds think that social convention is law, and that it is powerful enough that anyone who doesn’t follow it must just not be paying attention.  In fact, for many people I know (including myself), social conventions can be offputting enough (air kisses, anyone?) that we would rather be seen as “odd” and awkward — nerdy, if you will — than play along.

I’m hoping for a scene where Sheldon acknowledges that he thinks a given social convention is stupid instead of not understanding it, but I’m not holding my breath.  Besides, Fringe is on the Tivo now, and there’s plenty of Lost to catch up on.



  1. well observed, and spoken from the heart. rock on! 🙂

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