When you have a seventeen-year-old son, there are few father-son bonding experiences left to exploit. Fortunately I have found one. On Monday nights, my son and I drive my wife out of the bedroom where the HDTV is and watch two of the nerdiest shows on television back to back.
Since they are both on at the same time on separate networks, it takes the miracle of DVR to make this happen. Sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 we fire up Chuck, skipping commercials, and then roll right into The Big Bang Theory. Chuck was a dark horse on my Show Killer Shortlist but it’s the only one of the four I’m still watching, mostly because it appeals to my kid enough to make it appointment television. Neither show is flawless, but they have something in common that makes them worth watching. See if you can figure it out:
That's right. Both shows have seriously talented actresses that give Meryl Streep a run for her money. Seriously, we watch the shows together for the geek humor as much as for the eye candy. My wife gets a little worried when we are cracking up over some obscure string theory joke. Of the two shows, Big Bang gets the geek right and Chuck teeters a little closer to guilty pleasure territory. The plots on Chuck are hokey and formulaic (Drink a shot whenever someone tells Chuck to stay in the car), but the light-hearted goofiness works in its favor. The endless Moonlighting-lite will-they-or-won’t-they sexual tension gets a little sophomoric, but you have to admire a show that puts it’s heroine in pigtails every week.
Big Bang has a little more, well, banging. By my count, three of the four chief geeks have gotten lucky already. Leonard the glum goofball geek’s big score was with fellow physicist Leslie. Leslie is played by out-lesbian Sara Gilbert who was Johnny Galecki’s TV
Over on Chuck, neither Chuck nor co-nerd Morgan have gotten past second base, but supporting character gum-snapping quasi-harajuku girl Anna has a past that needs more exploring. Adding to Chuck’s nerd cred is the casting of former Firefly crewmember Adam Baldwin as chief cockblocker John Casey who is a complete 180 degrees different from Jayne Cobb. The slapstick action sequences are barely tolerable, but the endless innuendo keeps things amusing.
Both shows are trying to get a lot of mileage out of nanotube thin premises and part of the fun is figuring out which show will run out of steam first. Until then, my son and I will be chuckling along with every nerdy double entendre.