I don't usually write about television on this blog. The exceptions I tend to make are for limited miniseries that I admire, such as ESPN's "O.J.: The Making of America," HBO's "House of Cards" (at least the first season) and the BBC crime miniseries "Happy Valley."
What I don't usually do is write about standard sitcoms. Yet I read something on IMDB this morning that caught my attention. It was a report from Variety that the creators of "The Big Bang Theory" have received permission to produce a spinoff. "Young Sheldon" will go into production and premiere during the 2017-2018 season.
OK, I can't think of a TV show that is both more popular, and more trashed, than "The Big Bang Theory." Having debuted in 2007, the show was the most watched series in 2016 (attracting nearly 20 million viewers). Yet the show consistently attracts critics among the public that lampoon not just its attempts at humor but its basic concept.
Here are just a few comments (courtesy of Reddit):
"I don't know if I speak for everyone, but it gives the impression of being a show for smart people but really it's just sex jokes over and over again. Just because it has smart people in it, doesn't make you an intelligent viewer for watching it."
"(I)t's a 'comedy for smart people' that is filled with dumb jokes. Making a dumb joke about smart things does not make for a smart joke. I don't enjoy most stereotypical U.S. laughtrack sitcoms, why would I enjoy this?"
"It's 'Two and a Half Men' + a thesaurus."
And those are among the milder critiques.
It's been years since I've heard television referred to as "the idiot box." But it's clear that the notion persists: Some people will watch anything. Not that I refrain from watching my own versions of escapism (anyone watch "Star Trek Voyager"?), but it's hard to argue with the great Groucho Marx.
“I find television very educating," Groucho once said. "Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."