Nerds are the new chic. Think about it: Hiro from Heroes, Hurley from Lost, Dr. Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds. So it was only a mat ter of time before nerd sitcoms (nerdcoms?) came down the development pipeline: NBC’s The IT Crowd, ABC’s Miss/Guided, and CBS’s The Big Bang Theory. Let me first start out by admitting that sitcoms aren’t my thing. I watch four (not counting The Simpsons or Family Guy): 30 Rock, The Office, Scrubs, My Name is Earl. I long ago grew tired of the laugh track on overdrive.

The only reason I gave The Big Bang Theory a shot was because it was directed by industry legend, James Burrow (everything from Will & Grace to Friends to Frasier to Cheers to Taxi), who has a great track record of getting pilots onto the air and written by Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, Dharma & Greg – although, frankly, that Dharma & Greg credit should actually have given me pause).

“It’s a paradox. Paradoxes are a part of nature.” Leonard

It’s a comedy about two genius roommates, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons), who understand the workings of the universe, but can’t figure out women. Now they get the girl, Penny (Kaley Cuoco), who’s hot, but we’re not clear if she can talk and change channels at the same time. So when they aren’t watching Battlestar Galactica reruns, playing Klingon Boggle, or doing quantum mechanics and differentials, they are left baffled by the mysteries of a woman showering in their place.

“What are you trying to accomplish here?” Sheldon

That’s a good question. Once we’re passed their use of the “No more tears Darth Vader shampoo”, we’re left with the issue of their difficulty in developing relationships. The awkwardness, the desire to relate—and we’re left asking “Why bother?” Why get involved in the game, the silliness, the drama? Why put yourself through the emotional roller coaster over and over again? Why invest or risk so much of your self-esteem, self-image, and personal happiness on the possibility of going out with someone? Why do we end up defining ourselves, our well being, and our worth through the eyes of another? Why, as a friend put it, do we insist on continuing to date after so many heart wrenching, near life-destroying, pain-inducing, love experiences (and then remain hopeful that the next dating experience will be different)?

One word: intimacy.

We might as well ask why form friendships or any relationships at all. Everyone wants to be loved and be loved by someone. Everyone wants to know and be known by someone. When people speak of intimacy–trying to define what it is they are wanting–they talk about genuine trust, vulnerability, and transparency. They want to feel connected to someone. This sense of connectedness is a characteristic that we want in all of our close relationships. We want to share our lives, be accepted, and be intimate with others. Especially an other.

We are hard-wired for intimacy; we’re relational beings. Augustine spoke of a God-sized hole within each of us – essentially that is that built in need for intimacy. Just as there was an intra-Trinitarian intimacy before creation, so–as His image bearers–do we share this need for intimacy. The pursuit of intimacy is similar to our pursuit of God. We seek that communion, that connection with him as well as with others. God created us with a yearning for relationships from the beginning (Genesis 2:18) when He said “‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’”

The Big Bang Theory has the ultimate outsiders, social clueless yet endearing all the same. I don’t know if we’re meant to be laughing with them or at them, thus pantsing them all over again. Right now, they aren’t fleshed out characters, but still mostly stereotypes not characters, though Sheldon displays the most comic potential. But there are laughs to be found here and possibly a mid-sized hit.

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