Monday, March 14, 2011

My "Big Bang Theory" Theory*

*Not actually a theory. The title is misleading. This is what I was going to chat with Abby about today, but apparently she's on vacation so I'm going to blog about it and she can read it at her leisure. It actually ended up being really long, so maybe it's better that I wrote it here instead of in that tiny little chat box.

I heard from several of my friends that I should be watching The Big Bang Theory. Apparently they all thought it was something I would absolutely love. Okay, so one friend told me I would love it, and another friend mentioned it in passing. It really doesn't take much to make me watch TV.

So anyway. I've watched the three seasons that were available at the library. I don't love it. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad show. It's really not. Sheldon is a great sitcom character. I am totally okay with Jim Parsons winning an Emmy for this role.

However, I'm not really sure why that one friend insisted I would love this show. A) I'm not really into comic books or Star Trek or any of the other geeky stuff the guys in the show love, so I don't get a lot of the jokes. Does this friend think I'm nerdier than I really am? B) I fucking hated physics class in high school. Well, that might be a little strongly worded. I slept through most classes, and I like naps, so I didn't hate all of physics. Three out of four of the main male characters are physicists, and there are physics jokes. JOKES about PHYSICSZZZzzzzzzzz

Sorry about that. Before I get into my biggest issue with the show, here's one pet peeve: The character Howard is constantly derided by a few of the characters because he's the only one of the main male cast that doesn't have a PhD. But he has a Master's degree in Engineering from MIT. Now I don't know a whole lot about this stuff, but it would seem to me that Howard actually has the most practical set of skills. Sheldon may be doing fancy theoretical physics equations, but he's doing them in a room in a building built by an engineer. Without lamps there'd be no light.

But anyway: my biggest problem with the show is that a painful number of episodes just seem like showcases for rampant misogyny.

The sole regular female main character, Penny, has a dead-end job is completely broke, and it seems her only reason for existing in the Big Bang Theory universe is to act as an object of desire for Leonard. And I do mean 'object.' SHE DOESN'T HAVE A LAST NAME. I have a feeling that the writers are trying to make this a Malcolm in the Middle-style "we never say the last name!" kind of joke, but it just plays like she's a less important character. And Leonard and Penny have very little chemistry, and no reason exists for them to have any chemistry. They have absolutely nothing in common except for living across the hall from one another. Penny is average intelligence, pretty, and a social butterfly. At least she was in the first season, when we still saw her hanging out with people besides the main four guys. And she used to actually try to be an actress (the character is an aspiring actress, I'm not making a dig at Kaley Cuoco, who is perfectly servicable in this role), and she would occasionally land the lame paying-her-dues type roles in weird productions of plays. I don't think it would kill the writers to either a) have her officially quit acting and pursue something else or b) score a commercial or something. But I guess that would get in the way of her relationship with Leonard, and her character has increasingly become only about Leonard. And Leonard sucks. He's a whiny jerk-ass who thinks he's entitled to Penny because he's sat around for years waiting for her to date him. He even takes advantage of a clearly drunk-off-her-ass Penny. AND THIS IS PLAYED FOR LAUGHS. Leonard is supposed to be smart; you'd think he could put together that "Ridiculously drunk to the point of making obviously bad decisions" = "unable to consent." Congratulations, Leonard. You just date-raped your ex-girlfriend. Hilarious.

So, aside from misogyny (which I'll get back to in a moment), my biggest problem with the show is that it suffers from "We're in love because the script says we are" syndrome. It's mostly seen in bad romantic comedies where there is absolutely no reason for the main two characters to fall in love except for the fact that it's written in the script. Penny and Leonard should NOT be together. They are wrong for each other in so many ways. But the entire premise of the show is that the Nerd has a crush on the Vagina across the hall, so we are constantly being told that they are, like, so in love.

So. Misogyny. HOWARD WOLOWITZ. And also Raj Koothrappali. And Leonard Hofstadter. But seriously, Wolowitz is the worst. His entire existence, outside of being an engineer, is to get laid. He wants sex. Only sex. Women are prey to him. Mindless objects that he can trick into having sex with him if he can just figure out the right pick-up line. Wolowitz is like Barney Stinson, but without the charm. You can actually see why some women would sleep with Barney. I don't understand how Wolowitz has ever had sex, unless he uses the Leonard-approved "fuck her while she's drunk and can't say no" approach. He actually dates a girl for more than one episode in the 3rd season, but it's implied that they never had sex. She's never seen again, and in a throwaway line Howard mentions that they broke up weeks ago. Did the writers not think that Wolowitz actually sustaining a relationship was comedic fodder? Of course not, they want to see their little misogynist back out on the prowl. Yes, I hate Howard. A lot. I wouldn't say it's an "irrational" hatred, though. I think I have perfectly reasonable reasons to hate him. I do irrationally hate his wardrobe though. Fucking turtlenecks and tight pants.

I may have made the show sound worse than it is. It's pretty funny when it decides to stop being entirely about getting the characters laid. And maybe the problems which are so glaring while watching the DVDs are less obvious when you watch one episode and then have to wait a week for the next new ep. I haven't watched the fourth season that's currently airing, so maybe some of my problems with the show have been addressed. Probably not, but hey, a girl can dream about sitcoms where the female characters are treated with the same amount of respect as the men.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Normally I try to avoid writing about my dreams, because while they're usually pretty weird, nobody else cares. Well you're just going to have to read about it anyway. Or go read something else. Whichever.

So Abby and I are bank robbers (aren't you so glad you kept reading?). We're the brains behind our team, which also includes one completely random person I went to real-life high school with. I would never rob a bank with this person, I haven't even spoken to her since a mutual friends' wedding years ago. But dreams are weird, yo.

So anyway, these people = criminal masterminds.


So anyway, we're in the process of robbing a bank, when shit starts to go wrong. We're about to get caught, so I change into some businessy clothes to create a distraction so that my team members can get away. Yes, I brought a change of clothes, which Dream Abby thought was ridiculous but then when I had to create a distraction I was all "AREN'T YOU GLAD I BROUGHT EXTRA CLOTHES?" My distraction? That I'm a new employee. And yes, that totally worked. The woman who very nearly caught me committing a felony is now showing me around the bank, introducing me to people. I tell them I'm part of the new marketing committee, that I'll be in charge of gift baskets. AND THIS WORKED. (I'm going to blame the gift baskets thing on having just watched the episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon gives Penny like 10 gift baskets.) Abby and Other Accomplice tried to rescue me at one point, but they were totally about to blow my cover, so I sent them on their way. I explained to my fake boss that "They're just friends. Roommates, actually. I wouldn't be friends with those people." So I work a full day at a bank I was trying to rob, and then I finally get to leave. I have to gather up all my extra clothes, because apparently I brought more than one extra outfit with me. You were right, Dream Abby. The extra clothes were excessive.

And then I had to walk home from the bank, because Abby and Other Accomplice had taken the getaway car. And even though I walk to my grandparents' house, which means I'm in a small town, I have to walk through sketchy, big-city-type neighborhoods. I'm going to blame this on watching The Wire. When I finally make it to my grandparents' house, I realize I don't have my purse with me! Either someone has stolen my purse on my walk home, or I left it at the bank. Both are bad because either someone has stolen my purse, or someone at the bank is going to look at my ID and realize that I gave them a fake name. NOT GOOD. So I'm talking to my grandpa about what I need to do. He thinks I should go back to the bank and check if it's there, and I tell him I can't do that because they would have looked at the ID by now and it would be super awkward. I should call my credit card companies first. But he needs to drive me to my apartment where I have that paperwork with the phone numbers on it.

You can stop reading now if you want this to remain a silly story about a dream I had where I was a bank robber.

I ask my grandpa to give me a ride home, but since the beginning of the conversation he's gotten thinner and weaker. Like he was before he died last year. I'm starting to realize that it's all a dream and my grandpa's not alive but he's here now and I can talk to him for just one more minute if I can just STAY ASLEEP.

But I can't, I have to wake up. And he's gone. Again.

I lay in bed for a few more minutes, trying to will myself back to sleep, hoping I can get back to the dream where my grandpa is still alive and can talk to me and make fun of me for losing my purse. There are things I need to tell him if I can just get back to that dream!!

It doesn't work, of course. I'm awake. It's over.

I pull myself out of bed, go into the living room, and double-check that my purse is where I left it.

It's there. Of course. Things that were here when I went to sleep are still here. Things that were gone are still gone.