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Night of Nerddom

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I just finished watching a few of the new shows on TV, I watch them all of course, and somehow coincidentally I watched “Chuck” and “Big Bang Theory” back to back.   Nerds on TV overload!

Most of the time the “nerd” character in Hollywood grates on my nerves.  There were moments in each of these shows where I was like, “Uh, stereotype” but for the most part I’m eager to have a little more brains on TV and these shows may very well fulfill that.  Oh, except for the girl characters.  They went with the cookie cutter blondes on that front.  I guess one step at a time!

First “Chuck”.  It’s been trendy the last few years to have nerd sidekicks, but it’s nice to see the geek have his glory as a lead.  I liked that Chuck wasn’t such a stereotypical nerd, and it looks like the series could go some cool places, but I’m reserving judgment on whether I’m raving.   It seems like the show is trying to do a lot at once, and I guess a few more episodes will tell if this will stay on my Tivo or not.  There are a lot of suspension of disbelief moments in this, some tres cheesy, but I do like the lead actor, and the whole Best Buy ripoff workplace could provide some funny story lines.  It looks like they will be going with more of the espionage angle though, so I’ll just watch and see.   After seeing Gossip Girl (UGH) this show was amazing in comparison.

“Big Bang Theory” I really wanted to hate, but thankfully there were many moments where I laughed out loud, more than any other comedy I’ve seen since The Office season was over.  It’s really well written and acted.  At first I was like “Oh no, they’re playing stereotypical nerds” but after the first scene I really got into the clever dialogue, and I love the fact that, for once, the actors weren’t reading their lines to the rafters.  For some reason they direct sitcom acting SO BIG lately, and the offhand delivery here was so refreshing.  The guy playing Sheldon particularly charmed me, his line delivery reminded me of Niles from Frasier.  I have no idea why the girl’s character would ever hang out with these guys, but I decided to go with it because I wanted to see more of the guys’ characters.  I definitely will keep watching this.  And not only because they had a WOW screenshot in it 🙂 but because I don’t want the sitcom to die as an art form.  And if Chuck Lorre has to save it singlehandedly, then so be it!

  • Dustin

    I checked out “Chuck” and I really didn’t think I would like it. I’m pretty anti-new TV but I found myself chuckling a bit (ignore that pun). I liked “Gift Shop Girl” from Scrubs cast as his sister. The blond spygirl is attractive but seemed genuine enough in her role. Guy leading as Chuck was solid and confused without being stupid and stereotypical like you said, but I’m worried about “Jayne”. That is the spyguy who is now keeping an eye on Chuck. I’m glad to see him in something after Firefly (I loved his character) but I don’t like his character yet here….at all. I’m hoping for some big forceful comic relief from him, probably along the lines of dragging Chuck places he doesn’t wanna go. He seems to be only as good as his characters that are written for him from what I’ve seen, I guess I’m just completely spoiled by him as Jayne. Ok I need to go watch Firefly now.

    I didn’t catch “Big Bang Theory” simply because that was enough TV for one night. I get enough just from watching Daily Show everyday.

  • Jemimus

    Felicia, have you seen “The IT Crowd” ? Its a british comedy series about an IT department. They have a very very stereotypical nerd on there, but its just about the funniest thing I have seen.. probably cause I work in IT 😉

  • Joe

    Chuck had some pretty nifty action. “Disco fu” was a pretty sexy way to assault four or five federal agents. However, I’m not going to be able to accept Hollywood’s view that computers = magic. They cannot give you precognition. The intelligence community’s database does not reside on a single mid tower PC in a white (albeit very cool) room that can be instantly emailed and easily destroyed. I can suspend disbelief for Heroes or Buffy, but not this. I’ll hold out for a few eps and hope it improves, but I don’t think it’ll make it.

  • Ben

    Many moons ago, I was very disappointed to hear that Dark Angel and Ally McBeal were cancelled within minutes of each other. For the longest time I refused to watch any new television unless it had at least 2 seasons available on DVD already. I started Smallville, Lost, Buffy and Angel(!!!) and Veronica Mars this way and it hasn’t let me down.

    So last night I broke from recent tradition and watched Chuck. It was very entertaining and I am looking forward to seeing more…which is a guarantee that it will be cancelled. **sigh**

  • Jemimus beat me to plugging The IT Crowd. That series is bloody brilliant, everyone needs to watch that. I mean it. *g*

    “I have a lot of experience with the whole computer thing you know, emails, sending emails, receiving emails, deleting emails, I could go on.”

  • Dustin

    I suggest “The IT Crowd” as well. The second season started not too long ago I hear. I live in the states so downloading is my only option. I’m waiting so I can watch them all at once though.

  • Oh, ya. I heard that’s utterly brilliant. It was supposed to be on NBC as well, but I heard they might cancel it before it’s even aired.

  • Dustin

    I think what you saw is the American version with a different cast. Which will make it suck.

  • I agree, Dustin, I am very happy to see Adam Baldwin in another project. I also agree that his character is a ‘tard.

    I was actually surprised I liked “Chuck”, which I only decided to watch because I was waiting for “Heroes”.

    “Heroes” was good, but my sister and her boy friend thought it was boring. I hope that isn’t a sign of sophmore jitters like “Lost” had. we’ll see.

    I am happy to say that it is a good time to be a Geek. Anyone interested, please check out my Myspace blog on it entitled, Geekfest 2007, where I give big praises to Felicia and her Guild, Heroes, etc.

    Glad you wrapped your project, Felicia, and have more time to play!!!

  • kehneth

    Felicia – hey, this is more than a little belated (stupid WoW taking all my druid’s time) but I just wanted to say thanks x 3 for recommending Acacia – got it from the library and finished it a week ago – and I LOVED LOVED it! 🙂 Awesome stuff and I’m really excited to see what the author does with the next chapter in the book – it’ll be hard to top. Also I spread the word about The Guild to my WoW guild and they loved it. Interestingly enough, we have a hunter named Zabos who happens to be Asian IRL and who’s affectionately known as our guild scapegoat. So the fact that The Guild has a creepy Asian whose toon is named ZaBOO… yeah, art imitates life or something like that. 🙂 Anyways, sorry for thread hijack – back to regularly scheduled programming.

  • HAHA oh, that’s weird! A few other ppl have told me they have Guildies who have similar names and are the dorky guy in their group. I guess be careful what you name your alternate identity.

  • Edgar

    Kehneth, check out http://www.feliciaday.net/forums for your off-topic fun…

    As for Chuck… I liked it. The argument against the Joe’s comment about disbelief suspension is that they mentioned that the two government agencies, much like IRL, do not have a great sharing program of information. The idea here is that they created this “super computer” that analyzed and combined all the information from both agencies and cataloged it together in coherent groups of images.

    Chuck is cheesy enough that it isn’t serious so I can let go of the dumb stuff. I look forward to more of it.

    I do agree with some of the consensus on “Jayne”, and I can never call him anything else again, but his character needs better writing.

  • Sandy

    I watched a little of Chuck, but set it aside once enough of a buffer of Heroes had been recorded on my TiVo that I could skip the commercials. 🙂 I can’t believe there was no mention of Heroes here! I

  • Sandy

    *blinks* Er… I dunno what happened to the remainder of my post… I guess it didn’t like my heart… it was a less than sign and a 3. *shrug* Anyway, I love(insert heart emoticon here) Heroes!

  • I haven’t seen Heroes yet, It’s still on my Tivo. I’m watching it tonight and will post later. I’m an addict so I’m excited to see it!

  • Sandy

    Oh my gosh! What strong will you have! I barely gave TiVo enough time to record enough for me to be able to skip through the commercials. Am I the only one that finds myself cursing the end of the episode drawing near? I swear watching that little carot on the TiVo time bar reaching ever so closer to the end of the show has me cursing that it should have been a longer episode!

  • Courtney

    It did seem like a short episode… and MY GOD.. I wish I had tivo to skip that damn Rogue commercial that they were playing three times per commercial break. I’d rather get full length commercials than having it repeat.

  • Carl

    Eh? What happened to my comment? Was the joke referencing the cyberstalker from “The Guild” in poor taste? If so, apologies from a first time poster.

    TV recs:

    “The Green Wing”

    Insane British comedy, set in a hospital. “Scrubs” meets “Fawlty Towers” with some raunchy humor. Forget about the censored BBCAmerica version, get the good stuff on DVD or via bittorrent (the torrent I d/l was a rip from TV4 OTA broadcast).

    “Top Gear”

    More British humor: a car show unlike any other. Intelligent, very witty and frequently laugh out loud funny.

  • Carl

    I forgot to mention: hello to all and thanks for the bulletin on “IT”. I’m down here in New Zealand, so we get our share of British comedy. I hardly watch regular telly, but we are getting The Daily Show and I watch it religiously. Most of what I watch is on DVD or bittorrent d/ls.

    Other good British comedy:

    “Peep Show” (the ultimate POV vehicle. It crosses the line and then turns around to urinate on it)

    “Spaced” (much more tasteful than Peep Show or Green Wing. Film aficionados will really appreciate the homages)

  • Carl, I didn’t censor any posts, must have gotten caught in the spam filter maybe.
    Why is British comedy so much more funny that American comedy? I have a few theories. I think there’s a self-deprecation that is in British stuff that is missing from our stuff. Also I think they cast people who are more believable and relatable. That’s why the American Office works, the casting.

  • Carl

    The Goddess has spoken to ME!!

    🙂 LOL!

    Hi Felicia,

    Thank you for replying. I included URLs for the imdb entries of the shows I mentioned, that might have triggered your SPAM filter.

    Up until now, I’ve never even considered the issue of British humor “superiority”. There is some very fine humor coming out of the US (TDS has gone global, with good reason)…but too often, it’s a lukewarm remix of a successful British show.

    Gotta warn you: I’m an electrical engineer and a frustrated information scientist (still working on my infosci PhD)….some pedantic analysis is up ahead. Proceed with caution. 😉

    There are probably two principles in operation here.

    #1: I believe that humor is fundamentally a protective/defensive response to emotional pain. Have you ever noticed that the breathing pattern for laughter is very similar to that for sobbing?

    Now that I think about it, that’s probably why I’m not a fan of The Office. It’s TOO believable and too relatable for me. I found myself cringing more often than laughing.

    You could make a case that the British people have suffered more pain than the American people: The Blitz and the Battle of Britian during WWII, followed by the dissolution of their Empire. If that wasn’t enough, while all this was going on, the USD supplanted the GBP as the defacto reserve currency for global commerce.

    Ouch! That one’s gotta leave a mark.

    #2 Then, there is the divergence between the production models. The BBC has a tremendous amount of influence over British TV. To a limited extent, the Beeb doesn’t suffer from the commercial constraints that shape American TV. So, British comedy from the Beeb is more likely to take chances, because it has a larger safety net. That’s going to have a knock on effect and push the comedy coming from the more commercial TV outlets, like TV4.

    Thanks for asking provocative questions….I’ve been intellectually moribund for the last few years as my PhD has morphed into a brain sucking vampire.

    Brain Sucking Vampire?! Vi! You gotta help me! Bring the Slayers over, quick!

    BTW: I’m an American xpat who moved to New Zealand in 1997. /I saw all this crap coming from a long way off/

  • Sandy

    Personally I find that American humor, more often than not, is too much ‘in your face’ for my liking. Almost like they don’t want you to miss that carefully crafted punchline. It all feels rather spastic to me. Then again, British humor can end up being just plain odd, but maybe I like that better. *shrug*

  • Carl

    Good point, Sandy.

    It fits in with the LCD principle that underlies a lot of American TV. Network executives have low expectations wrt audience intelligence and sophistication. So, they spoon feed the audience and even put in overt cues when to laugh, with a ‘laugh track’.

    I know there have been times when I’ve turned off a show that might have been good, but it was ruined by the presence of a laugh track. The network wasn’t sure if I would have “gotten it”, without their help.

  • “Chuck” sux balones. The same with “Heroes” – last night during the biology class scene when the teacher said something like citing by memmory “Get rid of the junk DNA and useless body parts such as the appendix” – i came to the conclusion that the people who make this show are utterly clueless when it comes to biology material. Felicia for your own sake, please, do not watch these shows or you will eventually get a permanent “Resurection sickness”.

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