Wednesday, February 17, 2016

New Bang, Old Tricks

"I never would have pegged you
For what you have become
Everyone lies, everyone cheats;
Not like you've done"

Garbage - Dog New Tricks

I complained before, as a point of comparison with the webcomic Weregeek, that The Big Bang Theory has long ago lost its claim to geek humor and degenerated to standard sitcom relationship comedy tropes. I recently saw two or three season 8-9 episodes and was unsurprised to find the male-bashing has also ramped up in accordance with lowest-common-denominator proportions.

Of course, from the start the show hinged on ridiculing male nerds for their low social rank and therefore low attractiveness to female instinct, but this was tempered for a little while, if to a low extent, by jokes about Penny's ditziness, Sheldon's mother's ludicrous Texan Jesus-freak ramblings or Bernadette and Amy's own lack of social skills relative to Penny. As the seasons dragged on, the female characters inevitably began to pull rank on their male counterparts. Whether manifested by Bernadette berating three males for being slobs, Amy being constantly glorified in her demands that Sheldon change his stripes or Penny's capricious demands on Leonard and his spineless supplication before her, the show has only become more feminist as its quality dropped. Every female character must be presented as more clever, more socially astute and of course morally justified in every way over their lowly male servants, magnanimously teaching those inferior masculine brutes how to live their lives.

How many of these ten-season tirades does it take to brainwash, say, a boy in his early teens? How many instances of a morally unassailable, indignant woman, arms crossed, laugh-track at the ready, browbeating a straw-man for not fitting himself more perfectly to her demands for how he live his life does it take to harden men's already subservient instinct into the family unit? 'Cause it seems enough is never enough. How many times do we need to watch a replay of Larry Linville being demonized from low to lower to lowest social rank while Loretta Swit becomes gradually deified season after season? How many Homer Simpsons and Tim Taylors does it take to beat an independent male mind into submission?

Funny that we have no problem condemning Ricky's moral authority over Lucy but don't even notice the myriad more modern examples of media pandering to chauvinistic gender roles.
Cue laugh track.

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