The Big Bang Theory
Episode 13: The Bakersfield Expedition
By: Carlos Uribe
The Big Bang Theory is about a group of friends who happen to be nerds and the girl next door.
I have been to a comic book store before. It was actually soon after I came to college where I discovered there was actually the presence of a comic book store within walking distance. It excited me-I finally had the opportunity to go to such a store. I've bought some comics from them when I have money but one thing is noticeable. The idea that it's a male-dominated region is false. Most of the employees and many costumers are girls. The idea that girls don't read comic books is an outdated one but it's one that the Big Bang Theory seems to have. So much so that there was controversy over this when the marketing department pushed the plot that the girls went into a comic book store and treated it as a novel idea. It's true that the show continues to make the same old jokes that don't really apply anymore but it was all building up to the girls fighting over Thor's hammer. That they never got the irony that they were mocking their love interests for doing the same thing is a bit disappointing but it was frankly what made the episode hilarious. The idea that these characters who believe they have no interest in geek culture being embroiled in a debate over a comic book was the smart one for the series to take. It allows a plot that begins on the wrong foot to correct itself and explore just how serious people can take comic books. The Big Bang Theory is never going to be a show that realizes there's actual female nerds out there but I've accepted that by now.
While the girls were getting into comic books, the guys decided to head to Bakersfield for a comic book convention. Along the way, they decide to stop and take some pictures while in their Star Trek uniform. Their car ends up getting stolen which means they have to walk to a nearby diner. The entire joke is that since their in their Star Trek costumes and not at a comic book convention then the real world treats them like their...nerds. It does have some moments: Sheldon's delight with being dressed up as Data, their poses for the pictures, and the cop lead to some pretty good laughs. Yes, it's making fun of nerds who dress up for fun but let's face it: that's a pretty silly thing to do. People might take it seriously in real life but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous. That the series is able to portray that this is a serious matter for them but at the same time make fun of it can be a strength. There is no way anybody who watched that didn't get slowly crushed as the guys realized how lame the world must think they are. It gets to the point where Sheldon even feels like an idiot. Still, when they go back home and hear the girls arguing over Thor's hammer, it makes them remember that being a nerd might be humiliating at times but it's also very fun and awesome.
Seriously, females love manga to the point where I'm convinced that in the United States, the core audience of manga are girls. Coincidentally, I have yet to meet a guy who dresses up for cosplay or comic-cons-but I have multiple female friends who do. Granted, I have yet to go to a convention but still.
The closing with the two car thieves really getting into Sheldon's facts and quizzes was hilarious. Best part of the episode.