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Old 10-01-2012, 11:37 AM   #1
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Are there any Big Bang Theory ripoff shows?

Even though Hollywood doesn't like to make copycat shows based on other popular shows and prefers originality, I'm surprised there isn't some sort of nerdfest sitcom floating around someplace. Or did I miss it?

I wouldn't mind another sitcom like that.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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You're forgetting that the Big Bang Theory was a ripoff of The Misfits of Science, oh wait that was Heros.

I can't remember everything I did last week, but I still remember that dang theme song....
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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I'd like it if AFF got a spinoff.
I haven't watched any new Big Bangs this season. Is AFF still on it this year?
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Nope she just disappeared























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Old 10-01-2012, 12:27 PM   #5
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The Theorists

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Old 10-01-2012, 12:32 PM   #6
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IMHO they have a way hotter Penny.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:50 PM   #7
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IMHO they have a way hotter Penny.
And their nerd is way nerdier.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:54 PM   #8
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It's not a BBT ripoff, but you would probably enjoy The IT Crowd.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:04 PM   #9
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It's not a BBT ripoff, but you would probably enjoy The IT Crowd.
That's the kind of show BBT wanted to be in the beginning, before it decided it wanted to be a generic sitcom.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:34 PM   #10
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It's not a BBT ripoff, but you would probably enjoy The IT Crowd.
That's the one I was thinking of, but not sure if that was before or after TBBT, and it is from the UK, so maybe not really a ripoff of TBBT.

Another one was "Outourced" which was on NBC a couple of years ago. Not quite the same thing, but similar in feel.

And then there's Eureka on SyFy, which is chock full of geeks. Again, not really a ripoff and it might have started around the same time as TBBT.
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:20 PM   #11
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You're forgetting that the Big Bang Theory was a ripoff of The Misfits of Science, oh wait that was Heros.

I can't remember everything I did last week, but I still remember that dang theme song....
OMG I was obsessed with Misfits Of Science.
OBSESSED.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:21 PM   #12
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It's not a BBT ripoff, but you would probably enjoy The IT Crowd.

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:34 PM   #13
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That's the kind of show BBT wanted to be in the beginning, before it decided it wanted to be a generic sitcom.
Given that Chuck Lorre is the creator/producer, I have a hard time believing that it was never going to end up as anything but a generic sitcom. That's his specialty.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:56 PM   #14
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Given that Chuck Lorre is the creator/producer, I have a hard time believing that it was never going to end up as anything but a generic sitcom. That's his specialty.
But that's very much not how it started out. For the first two years, it was a very sincere (and funny, and not always flattering) look at geeks. Since then, it's been all stereotypes...nothing you couldn't get from preconceptions and Google.

I have a theory that somebody very important behind the scenes on the show, who was intimately connected to geek culture, left after the second season.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:10 PM   #15
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But that's very much not how it started out. For the first two years, it was a very sincere (and funny, and not always flattering) look at geeks. Since then, it's been all stereotypes...nothing you couldn't get from preconceptions and Google.

I have a theory that somebody very important behind the scenes on the show, who was intimately connected to geek culture, left after the second season.
They used to bring in actual physicists as consultants to make sure they got the references and the various whiteboard equations correct. I think it's been a long time since we saw any whiteboards or had any deep physics references.

As for the geeky/comic stuff, they still seem to have plenty of that, but it's probably been mainstreamed.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:19 PM   #16
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As for the geeky/comic stuff, they still seem to have plenty of that, but it's probably been mainstreamed.
Yeah, my view is that the references used to be pretty deep (i.e., they talked about stuff in the ways that geeks would talk about stuff), but now it seems more just name-checked.

And on the science stuff, they say they still run it all past scientists, and I believe them, but again, I get the impression that now they just drop equations into the show, whereas in the early days they built episodes around the concepts the equations represented.

And I'm sure to the vast majority of the audience it doesn't make a difference, and I'm sure they've been able to broaden their audience considerably by laughing at geeks instead of showing how geekiness can be funny. But being a geek that people have laughed at all my life (since long before there was any sense in which geeks could be considered cool), I miss having a show that gets it about geeks.
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:23 PM   #17
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OMG I was obsessed with Misfits Of Science.
OBSESSED.
I adored Misfits! even though it's not great it's SO. MUCH. FUN.
I found it a few years ago in a torrent, dreadful quality but fun to have it around for a fix.

And this is what I thought this thread was going to be about:
http://science.kukuchew.com/2010/08/...g-bang-theory/
dammit that's STILL not the right link, and I know it's not the Belarus one that I'm looking for.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:54 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rob Helmerichs View Post

And I'm sure to the vast majority of the audience it doesn't make a difference, and I'm sure they've been able to broaden their audience considerably by laughing at geeks instead of showing how geekiness can be funny. But being a geek that people have laughed at all my life (since long before there was any sense in which geeks could be considered cool), I miss having a show that gets it about geeks.
I think what has happened, more than broadening this to appeal to a less "geeky" audience, is that our main characters have been flushed out. The first year, especially we are learning about the characters, but now that we know them, it isn't JUST about them being geeks, but about their personalities. We start to care about them more as people than just the math and science behind them.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:10 AM   #19
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I think what has happened, more than broadening this to appeal to a less "geeky" audience, is that our main characters have been flushed fleshed out. The first year, especially we are learning about the characters, but now that we know them, it isn't JUST about them being geeks, but about their personalities. We start to care about them more as people than just the math and science behind them.
I'll buy that (assuming you meant it as corrected here ), but I insist that in the early days of the show they acted like actual geeks, and now they act like stereotypes of geeks.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #20
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I'll buy that (assuming you meant it as corrected here ), but I insist that in the early days of the show they acted like actual geeks, and now they act like stereotypes of geeks.
My mad typing skills have become MADDENING

I'm sure you're right. As I'm only a semi-geek, I guess I don't see the difference between the stereotype and the reality. They have all the attributes of what the unwashed masses recognize as geeks.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:25 AM   #21
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I'll buy that (assuming you meant it as corrected here ), but I insist that in the early days of the show they acted like actual geeks, and now they act like stereotypes of geeks.
I, too, would prefer they go back to the early days when most of the storylines focused on the guys (and penny too) but with them getting older I guess the writers figured they needed to make them all "grow up" and get into relationships.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:22 AM   #22
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As I'm only a semi-geek, I guess I don't see the difference between the stereotype and the reality. They have all the attributes of what the unwashed masses recognize as geeks.
Yes, but when they have the attributes of what a geek recognizes as a fellow geek, that's funnier.

There are three jokes in the early days which have stuck in my mind as evidence of how much funnier the show used to be. These aren't necessarily the best examples, just the ones that stick out for me.

One is during a discussion that the guys are having with the department chairman (it could have been during the episode about the turf war over the office). Howard thinks he's not getting enough respect and says indignantly "I have a master's degree!" And the department chair says "Who doesn't?"

Maybe this is only funny when you've been in graduate school and hung out with PostDocs, but I laughed so hard, I had to pause the TiVo.

I don't expect them to hit on that same note over and over. Well, Sheldon does, but that's Sheldon. But if there have been other jokes in the show recently which are funny primarily to people who have been in academia, I don't remember them. The scenes which have been set at scientific conferences, for instance, have not had the vibe I recall from going to conferences. They don't make me laugh and say "oh, I've been there". They are "we want to do this joke, and we need them to be at a conference for it to happen" jokes, which to me means "stereotype" rather than "authentic".

Another early gag I recall is a visual from when they went to something like a RenFair. Howard is a jester, Raj is a monk, Leonard is a knight -- and Sheldon is in a Star Trek uniform. It was a brilliant bit of shorthand from the wardrobe department to illustrate their characters.

Then there was S2 episode "The Hofstadter Isotope" where Penny goes out on a date with Stuart from the comic book store. She was bringing Stuart home to her place, and Sheldon intercepts them by the elevator because he's been duking it out with people on the net over a Batman plot point, and wants to boast about how right he was to Stuart. I instantly thought of http://xkcd.com/386/ -- and I'm sure I'm not the only xkcd fan who did.

These days, the jokes seem to be much more generic, and less tech/geek/fan specific.

I know a lot of people think we are being over-fussy by going back to this complaint over and over again. However, to contrast/compare, I just saw one of the anniversary retrospectives for M*A*S*H, where the cast/show makers talked about what they used as background material for their show. They drew extensively on diaries and other primary source materials from people who had been in Korea in real MASH units, sometimes to the point of having characters in the show use the actual words of the real people in their letters home. Thus M*A*S*H feels very authentic.

I was looking up something about imdb about Alan Alda and discovered that Alda startled his doctor recently when he had surgery, because the procedure he was undergoing was one which had been done on the show. When the surgeon started to explain the procedure in layman's terms, Alda was able to refer to it by its medical name and knew enough to show that he was already familiar with the procedure by virtue of having "done it" on the show.

This is how you differentiate Verisimilitude from stereotype. It is this kind of authenticity which is now missing from TBBT.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:35 AM   #23
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Yes, but when they have the attributes of what a geek recognizes as a fellow geek, that's funnier.

There are three jokes in the early days which have stuck in my mind as evidence of how much funnier the show used to be. These aren't necessarily the best examples, just the ones that stick out for me.

One is during a discussion that the guys are having with the department chairman (it could have been during the episode about the turf war over the office). Howard thinks he's not getting enough respect and says indignantly "I have a master's degree!" And the department chair says "Who doesn't?"

Maybe this is only funny when you've been in graduate school and hung out with PostDocs, but I laughed so hard, I had to pause the TiVo.

I don't expect them to hit on that same note over and over. Well, Sheldon does, but that's Sheldon. But if there have been other jokes in the show recently which are funny primarily to people who have been in academia, I don't remember them. The scenes which have been set at scientific conferences, for instance, have not had the vibe I recall from going to conferences. They don't make me laugh and say "oh, I've been there". They are "we want to do this joke, and we need them to be at a conference for it to happen" jokes, which to me means "stereotype" rather than "authentic".

Another early gag I recall is a visual from when they went to something like a RenFair. Howard is a jester, Raj is a monk, Leonard is a knight -- and Sheldon is in a Star Trek uniform. It was a brilliant bit of shorthand from the wardrobe department to illustrate their characters.

Then there was S2 episode "The Hofstadter Isotope" where Penny goes out on a date with Stuart from the comic book store. She was bringing Stuart home to her place, and Sheldon intercepts them by the elevator because he's been duking it out with people on the net over a Batman plot point, and wants to boast about how right he was to Stuart. I instantly thought of http://xkcd.com/386/ -- and I'm sure I'm not the only xkcd fan who did.

These days, the jokes seem to be much more generic, and less tech/geek/fan specific.

I know a lot of people think we are being over-fussy by going back to this complaint over and over again. However, to contrast/compare, I just saw one of the anniversary retrospectives for M*A*S*H, where the cast/show makers talked about what they used as background material for their show. They drew extensively on diaries and other primary source materials from people who had been in Korea in real MASH units, sometimes to the point of having characters in the show use the actual words of the real people in their letters home. Thus M*A*S*H feels very authentic.

I was looking up something about imdb about Alan Alda and discovered that Alda startled his doctor recently when he had surgery, because the procedure he was undergoing was one which had been done on the show. When the surgeon started to explain the procedure in layman's terms, Alda was able to refer to it by its medical name and knew enough to show that he was already familiar with the procedure by virtue of having "done it" on the show.

This is how you differentiate Verisimilitude from stereotype. It is this kind of authenticity which is now missing from TBBT.
That's all fine and good, but the idea of TV is to get ratings. There has to be some sort of balance. Writing a show that is funny to just a few "geeks" who get the jokes might work on, say, SyFy where the audience is primarily geeks (or at least used to be). But for network TV you have to strike a balance. It's the same complaint I sometimes have with Community (another show I like a lot). When you write for a small group of people who get it, you sometimes, end up "mocking" a good portion of your audience, who DON'T get it. When you're left out of the joke, you're not going to want to keep watching. Community does this way too often and the rating suffer. TBBT found a nice balance. Yes a lot of it is stereotypes, but the characters are recognized as geeks, even geeks that other geeks will recognize and understand. Taking about a certain scientific theory for 5 minutes or about some obscure comic book character is just going to bore most of the audience. You might be laughing, but I wouldn't be, because I just won't get it, and I'll move on.

As for M*A*S*H, it was authentic, but it never talked over the head of the audience. Most people of the 1970s and early 80s had either lived through WWII, Korea or Viet Nam and got what they were trying to show. Still, the first three years, which were probably more authentic than the later episodes were not rated nearly what the show would be later in the run. And those first three years were some of the funniest TV moments of all time. That's due to Larry Gelbart and his writing team more than anything else.
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:29 PM   #24
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Yes, but when they have the attributes of what a geek recognizes as a fellow geek, that's funnier.

There are three jokes in the early days which have stuck in my mind as evidence of how much funnier the show used to be. These aren't necessarily the best examples, just the ones that stick out for me.

One is during a discussion that the guys are having with the department chairman (it could have been during the episode about the turf war over the office). Howard thinks he's not getting enough respect and says indignantly "I have a master's degree!" And the department chair says "Who doesn't?"

Maybe this is only funny when you've been in graduate school and hung out with PostDocs, but I laughed so hard, I had to pause the TiVo.

I don't expect them to hit on that same note over and over. Well, Sheldon does, but that's Sheldon. But if there have been other jokes in the show recently which are funny primarily to people who have been in academia, I don't remember them. The scenes which have been set at scientific conferences, for instance, have not had the vibe I recall from going to conferences. They don't make me laugh and say "oh, I've been there". They are "we want to do this joke, and we need them to be at a conference for it to happen" jokes, which to me means "stereotype" rather than "authentic".

Another early gag I recall is a visual from when they went to something like a RenFair. Howard is a jester, Raj is a monk, Leonard is a knight -- and Sheldon is in a Star Trek uniform. It was a brilliant bit of shorthand from the wardrobe department to illustrate their characters.

Then there was S2 episode "The Hofstadter Isotope" where Penny goes out on a date with Stuart from the comic book store. She was bringing Stuart home to her place, and Sheldon intercepts them by the elevator because he's been duking it out with people on the net over a Batman plot point, and wants to boast about how right he was to Stuart. I instantly thought of http://xkcd.com/386/ -- and I'm sure I'm not the only xkcd fan who did.

These days, the jokes seem to be much more generic, and less tech/geek/fan specific.
and all of these funnier things happened BEFORE Bernadaette, and Priya, and AFF infected the show. Coincidence? I think not.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:38 PM   #25
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and all of these funnier things happened BEFORE Bernadaette, and Priya, and AFF infected the show. Coincidence? I think not.
And also before the ratings increased to where they are now. Coincidence, I ALSO think not.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #26
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And now we get into the stupid TCF thread that bemoans that a show is not as good as when it started. I find myself coming here less and less. This place is so predictable.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:32 AM   #27
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I knew you were going to say that.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:42 AM   #28
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But that's very much not how it started out. For the first two years, it was a very sincere (and funny, and not always flattering) look at geeks. Since then, it's been all stereotypes...nothing you couldn't get from preconceptions and Google.

I have a theory that somebody very important behind the scenes on the show, who was intimately connected to geek culture, left after the second season.
I think this is a problem with a lot of shows. They become caricatures of themselves. Their most popular or funniest features become exaggerated. They tend to also become a bit formulaic.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:22 AM   #29
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I think this is a problem with a lot of shows. They become caricatures of themselves. Their most popular or funniest features become exaggerated. They tend to also become a bit formulaic.
Yeah, there's a combination of factors at work here. This (which I think is entirely a bad thing), and the general dumbing down of the show to broaden its appeal (which is not automatically a bad thing, although while they did it successfully, I think they could have done it in a less alienating way).
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:56 PM   #30
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and all of these funnier things happened BEFORE Bernadaette, and Priya, and AFF infected the show. Coincidence? I think not.
If I didn't know better, I might think that you don't like those characters.
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