And weren't the earlier episodes of BBT a bit different? I seem to remember they had more "hard" science/tech jokes that actually made sense (jokes that seemed like they would be quite obscure without an exact/tech background).
So, what if BBT had squeezed their ideas into a smaller amount of episodes?
Of course one could say that it was exactly that choice, that makes the one better than the other. And I'd have to give you a sort of kind of "yes, maybe". Because I don't know, sometimes the UK format series are a little bit too short (indeed, like The IT Crowd!!), but some US format series go on for way too long. I would hope there is some optimal middle road.
(but then maybe not, the first example that came to mind of mixing US/UK serial styles was Torchwood: Miracle Day, the worst of the series, IMHO. There may be better examples I'm not thinking of right now, though)
 How I Met Your Mother being a prime example. If only they would push it a little bit further, and then some more still, so it would turn back upon itself in a somewhat post-modern sense, by actually making the viewers just as bored as the "Kids, ..." at the beginning of each episode, their inner voices silently screaming at Ted to get to the bloody point and finish up the story already. This would of course kill the ratings, but they could sell the show to Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries where anti-humour is still appreciated :-P There is time ...
Now, the IT Crowd, along with Futurama, are shows that celebrate nerds and geeks. Our quirks, our good parts, and our bad parts. But its not us who are being made fun of, but the world around us.
A lot of sitcoms aren't funny, but Big Bang Theory is like being held down by your older brother while his spit drips on your face.
Maybe it's supposed to be ironic? Like it's so bad it's good?
In high school my friends and I had bad-movie nights, where we'd do our own Mystery Science Theater. Is it like that? Do friends get together and smoke pot and have a Big Bang Theory marathon where they make fun of how terrible the jokes are?
Just trying to understand.
Maybe it helps that I can't really identify with the characters because everything is so American (and I'm not)?
(it's hard to explain, I never exactly realized which parts of US series--comedy or not--were "show" and which parts are just how US culture is, before I visited the USA. Maybe imagine all the tiny things that are slightly "different" when you watch a European series? Related, there's probably a lot of scenes in European series that make me cringe because they're a little bit "closer" than for a US viewer who maybe assumes it's just part of the show's quirkiness. Dating culture is one of many examples)
This is how/why my family and I watch it. It's fun(ish) if you go in with that mindset. Even so, it can be a complete cringe-fest at times.
A lot of people just don't find BBT funny, which is a reasonable opinion to have, but they both manage to poke fun at their respective sub-cultures.
The IT crowd subculture is generic "IT support." The subculture of BBT is the pseudo-intellectual crowd who took biology 101 and are now experts in everything "science."
As I said, I would never begrudge anyone who doesn't find BBT funny (it rarely is!) but let's not pretend that IT crowd is somehow magically different, it is just better written.
That's just the thing though, people can't tell the difference and I don't think the show even knows it, having all those characters around who apparently know very little about science but who are being portrayed as prodigies.
I learned about this show when friends told me "hey, you're a science type, you'll love BBT. It's so funny and clever!"
Then I watched it and it wasn't clever at all. But it is designed to look as if it is.
When will we get our own show where a vim user and an emacs user, both contributors to the linux kernel, have to share an apartment next door from a frontend web developer writing ruby in SublimeText?
BBT isn't just "not funny", it's actually rather obnoxious.
The only consistently funny show I would recommend is Archer.
I don't get the hate for Big Bang Theory. I don't think they are laughing at or poking fun at geeks. I think it's pretty good natured. I think the science in it is meant to be above-average (is it?) but it ain't meant to be proper nuclear physics and stuff. Granted, it is not even in the same league as IT Crowd (which is easily one of my favourite shows) but it's not that terrible, is it?
I try not to hate anything — words to live by — but have to say that the writing is really poor in Big Bang Theory. I don't like poor writing.
What the IT crowd has in its corner is some absolutely absurd moments that make up for the hokey bits (laugh track, etc.):
I think it went downhill when they brought Matt Berry in, as too much screen time was just devoted to him doing silly things.
OTOH I doubt the show could've handled both of them :) (without losing too much sight of the IT nerds in the basement)
Rhetorical question, of course it isn't!