Monday, June 24, 2013

Why I hate The IT Crowd

I am a persecuted minority. I've been mistreated all my life because of this minority status and I won't tolerate being grossly misrepresented.

I am a geek. I can identify Star Trek episodes by name. My second foreign language was FORTRAN. A day spent coding without any human interaction is a happy day indeed. I collected DC comics when I was too young to know any better, and Marvel comics when I hit college. Mr. Spock adorned my college dorm room wall. I spent a summer in Middle Earth and Narnia. I've watched every episode of The Guild.I make more money than any Liberal Arts major flipping hamburgers then I spend it all on computers. My geek score is higher than yours.

But I am not stupid. Stupid people flunk out of STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). When stupid people claim to be geeks, they are posers.

Then there are comedy writers. Comedy writers are the smartest writers, because you can't be stupid and write funny. However, all humans confront the sin of sloth. Lazy writers can always get a laugh by making someone act stupidly. The non-stupid characters in the scene can exploit that stupidity, and the audience will identify. Cue laugh track.

My daughter loved Big Bang Theory and slowly I began to watch it. Since I have a DVR and it is shown repeatedly on TNT I've had a chance to watch most of the episodes. I find it hilarious 90% of the time. "Big Bang Theory" follows a pair of roommates who are post-docs at a big university. One is a theoretical physicist and the other an experimental physicist. Both are scary-smart with low social skills. I knew a lot of guys like that in grad school. (Physicists are smart cookies, but not as smart as Mathematicians. So, the guys I palled around with in grad school were smarter.)

I'll forgive the writers of Big Bang Theory for this slip-up. These scary-smart individuals pal around with scary-smart friends: a stereotypical Jew and a stereotypical (as in India) Indian.

To complete the sit-com with single guys archetype, there's a smoking hot chick. Smoking hot blondes have a reputation for not having to bother about thinking. And generally, smoking hot blondes find rich dumb guys with fast cars who buy them things. This keeps them so busy they don't notice scary-smart geeks next door.

Nevertheless, Penny pals around with four geeks and provides a Watson to four Sherlocks in the room to receive explanations (and keep non-experts in the story).

Did I mention that scary-smart individuals are often socially awkward? Some of the people who know the most about the cosmos and the smallest infinitesimal quanta of the universe are hopelessly inept at social situations.

We stay home practicing Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock when all the popular kids go to the Prom.

Juxtapose social awkwardness with a smoking hot blonde and there is a rich vein of comedy. When Sheldon is condescending toward Penny he's not being condescending because she's a girl or blonde, but merely a normal human. Sheldon is like Luke Wilson in Idiocracy, but with all the IQs shifted way over. And Penny gives it back when Sheldon acts childish and/or socially inept.

I'll own childishness and I'll own social awkwardness, but I won't own stupidity.

That's why I hate "The IT Crowd." I saw the pilot and thought it brilliant. (Pretend I said "brilliant" with a British accent.)  I loved to see a somewhat dullard boss who is an attractive woman interacting with socially awkward guys and finding advantages to exploit with a certain low cunning.

I looked forward to seeing more of the formula that I thought worked so well in Big Bang Theory.

Then I watched the second episode of IT Crowd. They abandoned the social awkwardness and went for making the geeks act stupidly. Did I mention that geeks aren't stupid? Having committed that unforgivable sin, I realized the writers of IT Crowd had no idea what they were writing about.

So, I turned that off and watched Astropia instead. Anybody here know Icelandic?

1 comment:

  1. you should watch the whole series before crying over your love for American sitcoms (ie. TBBT)


Those more worthy than I: