5 TV Shows for Geeks and Mortals Alike
“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”
We don’t know if the statement originated from the hit TV show The IT Crowd, but they definitely made us laugh each of the hundreds of times it is uttered in the show. The statement doesn’t just ring true for general computer use but also reminds all programmers/system engineers of their own client support stories.
I remember I once developed an application for company-wide use, so the audience was mostly programmers. Once I told someone to refresh the cache or something and he laughed, ‘Hey, that’s what I tell my clients. Now fix this bug!”
The “IT” in the title is a dual reference to being part of the popular crowd. It simply depends on your definition of what’s cool. The show reminds us of how techies see the world differently through the eyes of different characters, including the cool nerd, the clueless nerd, and the wannabe non-nerd.
Silicon Valley is the new IT-show for anyone with dreams of startup success and would love to see cameos like Elon Musk and Eric Schmidt. The show sometimes has adult themes and verges on mocking the techie lifestyle, perhaps to ensure its light comedy rating.
More importantly, though, it is an underdog story of a shy kid with big dreams… and how, when faced with extraordinary circumstances, true friendship trumps all. Also, there’s a funny Google Car incident scene that poses some real life concerns for finicky commuters.
The Big Bang Theory is a no-brainer in this category, and may be one of the few shows that bridges the gap between geeks and the general public, due to its mass popularity. It deals with the various social issues that geeks face, while giving them a light, self-deprecating mood. It also deals with themes of bullying and the less commonly known reverse bullying, which is again, humorously put.
The show probably has the most likeable super-villain in TV history, one Mr. Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons, who is now one of the top paid actors on the globe. And just when the show was running out of annoying yet adorable Sheldon idiosyncrasies, bringing in the equally misfit girlfriend Dr. Amy Fowler (Mayim Bialik of ‘Blossom’ fame) hit the character balance hard and added a new dimension to the show, which has finally morphed into a show about geeks with girlfriends (Yeah Raj!).
MythBusters recently celebrated their 10th birthday with the final straw in a two-time failed experiment that involves rockets, cars and explosions. Wait, isn’t that pretty much every episode? The point of the show is not just to prove or disprove myths (like the one where they proved Adam’s mouth had more bacteria than their pet dog AND the warehouse toilet seat!), the show is about getting your geek on and conducting cool tricks that science has to offer, with a Hollywood budget in your pockets.
The show simply keeps getting bigger, and the cast is probably drinking a lot of coffee, since they seem to keep getting more excited and revved up (except Jaimie, of course), but it seems like a good time to download a decade of MythBusters and power through it, rather than the casual watch when you hit Discovery Channel while flipping the remote.
Louie, is a show about a real-life geek whose show has nothing to do with technology. But like most geeks, his comedy circles around challenging the norms and speaking out the awful truth, sometimes explicitly so.
The show is a remake of Louie CK’s last show Lucky Louie, with similar themes but a different overall narrative. Both shows are great. The underdog angle again gives the character likability and the show is simply a roundup of some of his best comic routines (think Seinfeld, if he cursed a lot). Both shows are especially a good watch for young parents (Disclaimer: not endorsing taking parenting advice from the characters), since the character often says the awful things that parents feel but are too decent to actually say or act on. And in the end, there is always a silver lining, a small parenting win of the young American (read: first world) parenting style, something that not everyone would agree with, but is still amusing to observe.