On the face of it, The Big Bang Theory should appeal to a fairly small section of society.
After all, since the dawn of theatre, the aim has been to create characters who an audience can either identify with or regard in awe.
Neither of these seems to apply to the geeky boys in The Big Bang Theory.
Relatively few of us have so much as a basic grasp of physics, we don’t spend our evenings playing ‘Mystic Warlords of Ka’a’, nor do we know anyone quite as exasperating as Sheldon.
Nevertheless, there is something here that we can all relate to.
We’re not laughing at Leonard, Sheldon, Howard or Raj (at least, not all of the time). If it were a simple case of laugh-at-the-geeks, the show would not have captured the hearts of a legion of fans.
No, there is much more to it than that and, I suspect, that it is because, deep down, there is a bit of geek in all of us.
I think that we all experience moments of social awkwardness; we’ve each, at one time or another, felt like an underdog and most of us know what it’s like to be interested in something that is just not “cool”.
The vast majority of people spend their entire lives trying desperately to conform, fighting to fit in or to be seen as a stronger member of the herd.
The truth is, I and many other people, relate more to the plight of geeky physicists than we do to the supposedly hip, young things on reality shows, which now seem to dominate the TV schedules - we’ll come back to that heinous subject in a moment.
What the creators of The Big Bang Theory (Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady) have done, is exaggerate our common experiences of ‘outsiderness’, by creating characters who are off-the-scale in their peculiarities, hang-ups and social disasters.