Thursday, June 20, 2013

Geek Television -- By Us, For Us, OF Us . . . and For Others

When the phrase "Geek Television" hits my ears, I immediately think of "The Big Bang Theory." I know, it's not what some would call true geek television. Science-fiction! Discovery Channel! Nova! Anime! A sitcom about four awkward men's lives isn't what most geeks would consider Geek Television. Some would even say that TBBT has sanitized geek culture, made it palatable for the masses, even diluted it.

But when I think of geek culture as a whole, I think of community. And that's what "The Big Bang Theory" has revealed to everyone about geek culture. We see the friendship and camaraderie of geeks in all of their idiosyncratic, awkward splendor. Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj don't claim their vocation as scientists as their badge of geekdom -- it's through gaming, Dungeons and Dragons, comic book collecting, and countless hours of arguing about pop culture details that we see the bonds of community forged tighter than Superman's outfit. In fact, the show never succeeds quite so well as when we see these four reveling in that which makes them geeks. Whether purchasing a prop from "The Time Machine", playing Mystic Warlords of Ka'a, or thumbing through comics in Stuart's comic book store, these four characters rely on the right to assemble as the agent that binds them all.

The series solidifed this in the season 6 episode "The Bakersfield Expedition", where the men's female counterparts buy some comic books to see what all the fuss is about, and end up heatedly arguing over comic book character minutiae. It proves that the activity gets us involved, but the community keeps us enthralled.

It's because of shows like TBBT that the rest of the world has a window into our geeky lives. So soak it in -- we've got the world watching us now.

There Is No Box.
Zach

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