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I really don't understand the hate for Big Bang - is it because I'm British? I think the characters are actually quite sympathetically drawn. Sure, it's not as sophisticated - it's just a very straight sitcom - but it's still funny, has some relatively intelligent references, and Jim Parsons' acting is often outstanding.

Well, I don't hate it. Its a funny show. What you must understand is that is it not a show for nerds, but for regular people. The IT crowd is for nerds. Otherwise you would not understand the humour. Take for example the episode where Jen is fooled into thinking a black box with a blinking red light is "the internet". Everyone believes her, because he is the head of IT (which itself is quite funny, given how she is clueless about IT, something many IT managers have in common). Watch the episode. On the other hand, BBT humour seems to be about nerds. But look at the main characters. A somewhat functional genius (sheldon) with the social skills of a rock, a socially shy astronomer (or is it cosmologist?), an engineer (portrayed as being smart but puny and weak), and Leonard which is the bond that ties nerds between normals (his relationship with Penny portrays this). He constantly explains the context of the situation or of the characters. And let's not forget the comic book shop owner ( I forget his name). He is portrayed as a weak loser who has no other option in life. All of them stereotypes. Real to some extent, but stereotypes.

I'm just not sure I buy that. Maybe it's because I DO know non-nerds that like The IT Crowd; like all sitcom, the situation is merely a vehicle for the humour on top of it. in just the same way that you can find Father Ted funny without being a catholic priest. And there are plenty of non-nerds who would get the 'Internet as small black box' joke. And there ARE gags in BBT that non-nerds wouldn't get (not a huge number, but they are there)

If you're Irish, there is another layer to Father Ted that you'll get. Basically it's mostly a very good satire of Ireland and Irish culture. Most of the personalities are based on Irish personalities, and there is a lot of references to Irish society (the Bishop with the son happened, the Dancing Priest existed, the Lovely Girls Competition is the Rose of Tralee, etc.)

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