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December 8th, 2009

Big Bang Theory, Sally and Me

Those of you who have me friended on Facebook and logged in at some point yesterday probably saw the status I posted in the morning: "Wishes I was half as cool as either Sheldon or Leonard on Big Bang Theory." I only just started watching the show a little less than two weeks ago, and I have to take everyone who knows me to task over this -- how is it that you as a group didn't make it clear that it was a moral imperative for me to start watching this show ASAP!?

The fact I'm even watching it is a happy accident. A couple weeks ago, I was in Target when I noticed that the first season of Big Bang Theory was on sale for just $12.99. In another space and time, I would have jumped at purchasing the show immediately. I had heard plenty of good reviews about the show, knew that Barenaked Ladies wrote the theme song, felt like the subject matter was a wonderful match for me and already had intentions of eventually watching the series from the beginning. However, I've recently started an austerity program with the overall aim of doubling chocolate rations at some point over the coming year, and because there is no Ministry of Propaganda around to take over and thus make the goal easier for me to attain, I had to start cutting back on the discretionary spending.

Luckily (and totally unbeknownist) to me, at the exact same moment I was withering under this belabored literary reference, Sally was in another Target roughly 10 miles away and succombing to the very same temptation I was stoically resisting. So, just a couple short hours later the two of us were settling in front of her television to watch the first few episodes of the show. I think what I've written thus far already states clearly my reaction to Big Bang Theory, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that we're now already halfway through the first season.

I think the thing that I love the most about this show is that I see so much of myself and a few of my friends in the characters of Leonard and Sheldon. I like to think that I'm (we're) more socially evolved than either of them, but I am fully aware that that is a rather tenuous line at times. In fact, I have already said to Sally on a few occasions that I am extremely capable of some of their nerdish tangential behavior. In fact, just to prove myself, I've followed up a couple scenes in the show by expounding upon something the characters were just talking about -- the one that immediately comes to mind is when I told her about Larry Niven's "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" (and conveyed a few of the highlights of the story) after their discussion of the physics of Superman's catching Lois Lane in Superman. Luckily, Sally is just geeky enough to either completely get me or loves me enough to humor me. Either way, I call myself extremely lucky.

But that hasn't been the best part about watching the show thus far. Just after the first episode ended, I noticed the Chuck Lorre vanity card at the end of the credits. Having remembered how awesome they were at the end of Dharma and Greg episodes when I watched them over a decade ago, but it vanished before I could hit the pause button on the remote. So my actions made some sort of sense to Sally, I quickly explained why the Chuck Lorre vanity cards were so cool, how I realized what they were back during the D & G days, and how back then I needed to videotape episodes of the show just so that I could pause the screen and read the card when it appeared. As if to vindicate every single bit of the story, the vanity card after the first episode of Big Bang Theory actually referenced how viewers had to do just that back when D & G was on the air.

That was cool -- at least to this nerd.

Anyway, I haven't quite fully brought this full circle yet. Initially, I insisted that I was very much like Leonard and Sheldon, only a little bit more evolved/cool. However, a recent phone conversation with keith89 made it clear to me just how wrong I was. They are in fact much cooler than me -- so much so that it created the illusion that I was cooler than them and that this deception was part of their coolness. I can only hope to be half as cool as either of them, but I'm okay with that. For most of my life, I've been okay with my inherent uncoolness (cue up Lester Bangs' and William Miller's conversation in Almost Famous about being cool), and Big Bang Theory won't change that. The show will, however, make me aspire to something greater than I already am.

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