I was very surprised when I stumbled across a discussion on Facebook about the relative offensiveness of the television show The Big Bang Theory. It had never occurred to me that the show could be offensive to anybody. Well… in all honesty, I can sort of see where people might find theoretical reason to take offense. The premise of the show offended me early on, and I truly expected The Big Bang Theory to be a show that made fun of geeks and nerds. So I watched a few minutes of the first episode when the show originally aired, and turned it off (with my preconceptions firmly in place). But later on when I actually started watching the show (and accepting it on its own merits), I was pleasantly surprised.
From many of the comments that I read on that Facebook thread, it seems clear that most of the people who are offended by The Big Bang Theory have never actually watched it. They’re among those amazingly insightful individuals who call for the banning of certain books while proudly declaring “I’ve never read it, nor do I intend to”. The logic in such a mentality has always confused me, because there’s no obvious logic in it.
Most of the objections I’ve read about The Big Bang Theory seem to be of the “on behalf of” type, like nerds and geeks are hair-lipped children who have to be defended from the big, bad world. You know. The show doesn’t laugh with the geeks, it laughs at the geeks, and that’s just wrong and anyone who watches the show should be ashamed of themselves. That in itself is offensive to me – these do-gooders rising up to defend those defenseless geeks, as if they can’t take care of themselves. Shouldn’t nerds be offended by other people’s presumptions that if you’re really smart and socially awkward you’re like some special-needs child who has to be protected by the cool and beautiful people? You know… those people who aren’t broken and don’t have a problem dealing with the mean people in the real world. Isn’t that in itself offensive?