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Genius and Intellectual Mentality in America - Essay Example

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The Big Bang Theory American Studies. Culture and American television Jose A Contreras. Introduction The CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory is a study on the way in which subcultures within the greater culture of the United States function when their intellect, their physical appearance, and their attractions to unusual resources for entertainment have placed them in categories that are commonly known as ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’…
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Genius and Intellectual Mentality in America
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Download file to see previous pages The program The Big Bang Theory is a social experiment that is not only entertaining, but reveals a great deal about a sub-culture that has emerged that is child-like in their social habits, but have intellects that exceed the average. The Big Bang Theory revolves around four males and one female. The four males all work at the same university as research scientists and two of them live in an apartment as roommates. The third male lives with his mother and the fourth male lives in an apartment by himself. A more detailed character analysis will be within this essay, just as it will be important for clear definitions to be created for the words nerd and geek, which is the foundation of the identities of the four male characters. It is in the conflict between the social status of the men to the young woman that provides the opportunity for humor and social exploration. Definitions According to Anderegg, the definitions of a nerd or a geek are often interchangeable, but the specific definitions are actually quite different. A nerd is defined by someone who tends to be focused on academics and as a result is socially awkward. A geek is defined by someone who is more focused on sub-cultures that are not as socially accepted, but are still part of pop culture. Anderegg states that “nerds and geeks possess arcane knowledge that few other people possess” (n.p.). The types of knowledge that they have often mean extensions of popular culture products, which can mean computer and electronics. This also includes playing games such as World of Warcraft, collecting action figures, reading and becoming absorbed in alternative universes through books, comic books, and graphic novels, as well as being fans of cult favorite programs such as Star Trek, Stargate, and Battlestar Galactica. One of the reasons that nerds and geeks are attracted to alternative universes is that they are not completely comfortable in the social structures of the real world. In learning about and inserting themselves in the fantasies of new universes, the possibilities of being a welcomed member or an imagined hero allows for the social awkwardness to be minimized (Pustz 250). In learning about those who engage in online gaming, it is possible to see that the social problems of not having the appearance of a sexually attractive body falls away with the opportunity to build an avatar that allows the individual to express their identity in a safe space, where it is arguably easier to become the more authentic self. In creating and ‘living’ a life in a fantasy world, the social problems that have impeded them from expressing themselves is melted away and they can sink or swim according to who they are on the inside (Waggoner 10). Character Analyses The lead character who exhibits the most realistic characteristics and against whom the caricatures of the other three males are balanced is Leonard. Leonard is played by Johnny Galecki who previously was on the American program Rosanne, which also was a reflection of contemporary culture (IMDB). He has a realistic appearance which is not overly good looking, nor unattractive. Through the prop of a pair of glasses that dangle near the end of his nose, only to be repeatedly pushed up again, he is transformed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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