The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory – Pop Culture Detective

I’ve taken a video from this channel as a jumping-off point before, I’m back to do it again. Pop Culture Detective just keep bringing up such great points of oddly misogynistic characters and story-lines in popular culture, that I can’t help but pick up exactly what they’re putting down, and examining new TV and movies I watch with a more thoughtful view.

The video embedded here mainly discusses the Big Bang Theory as its example of male characters who are part of the problem in a male-dominated culture that tries to gain power by belittling the women around them (women aren’t the only groups subjected to this kind of treatment in popular culture, or on this show in particular, but let’s save that for a future discussion).

Having gone to grad school with as many or more extremely talented female scientists as I did male ones, I can definitively say that gender should absolutely not be a factor in deciding who can be successful in any particular career path. I was fortunate to not have seen any of this directly in my lab, but working in grant administration now, I see that gender bias is a huge focus of federal science funding, especially as one rises in the ranks of academia.

It’s jokes or insults at the expense of someone that focus on traits that are innate to a person that really get to me the most. Denigrating or belittling someone based on gender, sex, race, sexual orientation, or other traits that either come pre-determined at birth, or are fully determined internally later on in life is an attempt to exert power over someone, and generally nothing more.

There is a big difference between making a joke about somebody based on a stereotype – taunting someone saying “you’re gay” or “be a man” – and making a joke subverting those stereotypes or tropes, even if the joke itself hinges on an inferred call to those stereotypes.

This past weekend, I was watching an episode of Friends subverts expectations about homophobia. The show on the whole, especially in the early years, is actually pretty bad about this, and many jokes in this vein don’t hold up all that well (sorry, Chandler). But, in this episode, Ross and Joey fall asleep on the couch together while watching Die Hard.

When the two wake up, they realize they took a nap together, and both are horrified at the prospect of it ever coming up to the group. However, as the episode goes on, both Ross and Joey realize more and more that the nap they took together was one of the best naps they’d ever had. Even though their friends finding out about this might lead them to be ridiculed, the two good friends are considering planning another (completely non-sexual) nap together.

At the very end of the episode, Joey tells Ross he’ll be taking a nap in his apartment upstairs, implying that he would be taking a nap and that Ross would be welcome to join. Joey leaves, and a few seconds later, Ross surreptitiously follows him. I really love this depiction of intimate male friendship in popular culture, especially in the late nineties/early 2000s, because you just didn’t see it that much.

Both Joey and Ross were willing to potentially be ridiculed for napping together, but they valued the experience so much that they did it anyways (and based on the final scene, both friends seemed to be satisfied by the nap). The fact that the very end of the episode involves Ross and Joey being confronted by the rest of the friends upon waking up tells me the writers weren’t all the way there yet, but Ross’ reaction at the end tells viewers and the rest of the gang that both he and Joey knew what they were doing.

I love that moments in pop culture like this still happen, and it’s refreshing to see more and more shows and movies tackling personal moments and stories from a wide variety of viewpoints. I think there’s hope that one day characters like those on the Big Bang Theory will not be misogynist stereotypes, and that the writers won’t feel like they need to make characters assert dominance over one another to get laughs anymore.

A list of the apps on my phone that can make calls

Doesn’t require phone number:

  • FaceTime
  • Phone
  • Contacts
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Google Hangouts
  • Messages
  • Whatsapp
Can/does use your phone number:
  • Phone
  • FaceTime
  • Messages
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Notes
Announced, but hasn’t shown up yet:
  • Slack
As it turns out, pretty much every remotely social company has a way that people can talk to one another in a phone call-type manner. Many of these apps also let you use video chat, but people have no idea. For instance, you’ve been able to make phone calls (and recently, video chats) with any of your Facebook contacts on your phone, for such a long time. But I can routinely blow people’s minds by telling them that, because approximately nobody* knows about this feature.
Snapchat updated their app yesterday to revamp chat, and added the ability to send video clips or make voice calls to any of your Snapchat contacts who’ve added you back. But none of the features in the update are actually new capabilities your phone didn’t have before, and I’m betting people aren’t going to be making use of this feature any more than they did, no matter how good it is. 
If I were a gambling man, I’d put money on Snapchat continuing to grow at a rapid pace for quite some time. But people who already have a predefined way of communicating, like my generation and those older than me, won’t use Snapchat for voice calls because to us, the way you make a phone call is by calling a phone number.
But the kids, they don’t obey these rules. They do whatever their friends are doing, and their friends don’t make phone calls to a phone number. That’s not cool anymore, at least not until their parents stop doing it.

The “Honeymoon” Phase of #JuliaRoberts2015

Getting married has honestly been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. The idea of committing ones-self to only one other person for the rest of your life seems like the kind of thing that would be terrifying, but so far I have been completely fine with it.

“The One Where They Got Married” #juliaroberts2015
Posted by Jacquie Watkins on Saturday, July 25, 2015

Even though the day-to-day events of Julia’s and my life since we got married are basically unchanged (finalizing wedding stuff obviously notwithstanding), everything feels very different. Getting home and seeing Julia’s beautiful, smiling face is that much nicer, going and running errands as she recovers from her excellent party on Saturday feels like no effort at all. I know we’re still fully in the “honeymoon” phase of the marriage, but I think we are both acutely aware of the fact that this is going to take work. More importantly, Julia and I should easily be able to put aside our minor squabbles and disagreements, and focus on what really matters, our life together and our mutual happiness.

We are still fully entrenched in post-wedding business, like writing thank yous to everybody who was SO generous this past week, with their time and with their love, and our friends and family have proven to us just how much they care about our future together. I can’t wait to get started!

At what point do we change #JuliaRoberts2015 to #JuliaRobertsForever?