Tagged: Internet


Don JonOther than reading content here at ComicMix, we can stipulate that the Internet is for porn. There’s even a song confirming that fact. It’s easy access for free has transformed already sexist ideals of what sex is all about. An entire generation is being raised in the belief that women will drop their tops for beads, will perform sexual acts in the hopes of winning a Dare Dorm competition and professionals will do just about any act, in any position, for your, ahem, entertainment.

As a result, there are men out there who go to clubs, get laid and surprisingly remain unsatisfied. Multi-hyphenate Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been giving this kind of male some thought, dating back to 2008, and turned it into an interesting meditation on the matter in the entertaining Don Jon. Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and stars in this snapshot of the East Coast male. His Jon is a man of principals who includes taking pride in his home, his body, and in his immortal soul as witnessed by his weekly visits to the confessional. Still, he enjoys frequent one-night stands and when the women prove to be real and not the willing fantasy images on his laptop he returns there, frequently, to satisfy his needs. It’s an addiction to which he is totally blind.

He’s seemingly content with his minimum wage job in the service industry, a devoted son to his parents (Glenne Headley, Tony Danza), and lacks ambition. That begins to change when he spots the hot Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who was raised on the romcoms of the last two decades and whose expectations of the perfect mate are equally unrealistic. But they have chemistry and he before she has sex with Jon, she begins to reshape him. First, she convinces him to go to community college and then forces him to give up porn, which he tries to do but resorts to watching on his phone, even in class, which catches the amused eye of Esther (Julianne Moore). She playfully gives him a DVD of erotica which he rejects out of hand, not understanding the difference or her interest in him.

Bit by bit, we see the stresses on Jon and Barbara’s relationship which oddly shatters at Home Depot when she refuses to let him buy Swiffer refills because men don’t do that. As they drift apart, Esther, who has been recently widowed and has a more solid grip on the world, turns out to be the one who shows Jon there are ways to be satisfied with a friend/partner/lover. Their age difference barely comes up and there’s a sweetness to their story.

Gordon-Levitt plays everything on an even keel, never overly exaggerating the actions or characters, infusing each act with its own look, feel, and sound, subtly guiding the audience through Jon’s final maturation into adulthood. The performances are uniformly strong from Johansson’s gum chewing Jersey girl to Danza’s short-tempered dad.

The film, out on a combo pack (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) now from 20th Century Home Entertainment, looks great in high definition. There’s a satisfactory assortment of special features including the Making of Don Jon, where Gordon-Levitt nicely credits his varied collaborators; Don Jon’s Origin, a look at the writing process across the years; Joe’s Hats, writer, director, star; Objectified, a look at gender roles; Themes & Variations, a nice look at each act’s unique feel. Finally, there are four HitRECord Shorts, where Gordon-Levitt invited people to submit their creations on the same theme which occurred during the making of the film.

Martha Thomases: Girls Talk

thomases-art-131227-150x206-8794712Hey, 2013! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. Aside from my personal losses, I thought it was a pretty good year for comics. Not so much in terms of quality (we all have our own opinions and tastes, and often, it takes time to recognize the great books), but in terms of variety. It’s been a great year for people who like to read graphic stories about all kinds of different subjects, told in all kinds of different styles.

And it’s been a great year for the industry.

This is the year that the industry reached critical mass in terms of the participation of women. Yeah, the executive positions are still held overwhelmingly by men, and that has to change. Yeah, most of the mainstream books, and even most of the books from the so-called indie press, are written and drawn by men.

That said, the proportions are changing. There is more work by women out there. More important, there are more women in the audience, looking for (and buying) books that speak to them. At some of the conventions I attended this year, it seemed as if at least half the people who walked by the ComicMix booth were female.

These women weren’t necessarily at the show because their boyfriends / husbands / brothers / fathers were fans. More often, they were fans themselves, dragging along the significant men in their lives. They loved comics (or animation, or cosplay or steampunk or fantasy) for the same reasons as all fans – because we love the creativity and imagination of the media.


This is a huge change from the first conventions I worked nearly 25 years ago, when a woman (the wife of a prominent writer) told me that a man had once followed her into the ladies room and crawled under the stall because he didn’t believe a woman was at the show. However, there is still an attitude present that if a woman is at a comic book convention (or office), she is there for the amusement or education of the men who belong there.

Which is why this happens. If you read the link, you’ll see it is the first-person account of a woman who was sexually harassed while participating in a panel at a comics convention. The offending party was identified as writer Scott Lobdell.

I’ve been to a lot of conventions, of all kinds. Besides comics, I’ve been to book conventions, library conventions, licensing shows and shopping center conventions. Even at the latter, which had more than its share of booth babes, I’ve never seen that kind of unprofessional disrespect in a public setting as part of the convention programming.

Here’s my horrible comic convention story. It’s about 20 years old, from the time I was working at DC. We were at a show, and one of the marketing guys was entertaining a group of people, all men, with his stories. The people were freelancers, editorial staff, maybe a retailer or two. As I walked past, he made some remark about my body, which tied into the story he had just told. I stopped (because I heard my name mentioned) and gave him a look. The look. Everyone who had been listening to him walked away sheepishly.

Now we have the Internet, which works even better. Scott Lobdell isn’t someone I know. We may have met, but not in any kind of memorable setting. He never particularly offended me until he ruined Starfire, but I didn’t particularly think he was more of a stupid rube than anyone else in the business. He still might not be.

Here’s what’s different: We’re talking about it. We use the Internet to share our experiences and gather our strength. We inspire our allies (such as Mark Waid, in the comments on the ComicsBeat link) to stand with us.

With luck, we also change the Lobdells of the world. Look, I’ve said some stupid crap in my time. I’ve tried to make a joke and hurt someone’s feelings in the process. I’ve been unaware of my position of privilege and spoken in an insensitive manner. What’s different is that I’ve learned from the process (I hope). I don’t say, “I’m sorry if you were offended.” I say, “I’m sorry I offended you. I spoke poorly and thoughtlessly. I did not express myself well.” That way, the mistake is clearly mine. In the best case, I learn how another people hears my words and how they think. It’s not only good politics, but it’s an aid for good writing.

It is my sense that there are parallel stories and alliances going on within other fan communities, including those for people of color, the LGBTQ community, and more. I hope their stories get told in a way that I get to hear them.

Happy New Year. Here’s to better days.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander



Mike Gold: Sex – Our Moral Dilemma

gold-art-131127-150x79-1347101Regular readers of this space may have discerned I have an absolutist attitude towards the First Amendment: freedom of expression must not be abridged in any way or form. That doesn’t mean people or corporations shouldn’t be held responsible for what they say, just that they can say it.

As A. J. Liebling said, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” That’s obviously true, although the Internet has expanded our deployment of these freedoms exponentially. But the same attitude probably should be expected of retailers: is your local mom’n’pop candy store (yeah, yeah; nostalgia) obligated to carry the latest issue of Steamy Dwarf Sex? Probably not.

But let’s take this one step further. Do corporations that are publicly traded – public corporations – have the right to decline to offer whatever publications they dislike? If Apple’s bookstore and magazine stand doesn’t like, say, Boy’s Life, do they have a right to prevent their customers from getting it through their facilities?

That’s not an easy question to answer. Setting aside the completely ridiculous fact that in the United States of America corporations are defined as human beings, where does one “person” get off deciding what you get to read on your tablet… or hear on your Internet radio station… or see online? The Internet’s success was spurred by the availability of free pornography. The entire home video business was founded on the availability of porn in the solitude of your own home. So have various On Demand services. And where would HBO be today if not for the availability of free tits for the past 41 years?

(Yes, Virginia, there was a time when nary a nipple was permitted on the boob tube.)

Today, there’s much controversy about Apple’s bookstore and magazine stand service setting arbitrary “standards” that, by their very definition, cannot be evenly enforced. This policy has kept Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky excellent (in my opinion; this is not a review, although the book does offer the best recap page I’ve ever read) series Sex Criminals from being listed in their service. This story rightfully has garnered a lot of publicity, so I’ll use that as my example while promoting a worthy book that may be hard to find in some venues.

Sex Criminals is not a salacious book – but that is not the issue. A book’s “redeemable qualities” are completely irrelevant: that’s a standard that obviates freedom of expression. And Apple – as well as sundry other “public” corporations – has declined to distribute the title.

Outside of expanding opportunities for letting corporations determine what we can and cannot read through their efforts, the problem here is that Apple has established a standard that they do not enforce evenly. Their music service distributes all kinds of “explicit” stuff. So does their movie and teevee service. Same thing with iBooks. Their newsstand service distributes material that is truly salacious. So why dump on Fraction and Zdarsky?

Let me pose this question a different way: If Image Comics’ Sex Criminals was written by, say, Stephen King, would Apple refuse to offer it?

What’s Valley-Speak for “no fucking way?”




Martha Thomases: Sweet Lou

loureedWord of Lou Reed’s death spread across the Internet on Sunday. For me, it was Sunday afternoon, so I can’t make this allusion. Nor will I call it a perfect day.

That’s what Lou Reed was to me. From the time his first album came out, he provided not only a soundtrack for my life, but a running commentary. His New York-inflected nasal vocals seemed to perfectly capture my own yearning for something I couldn’t define, but wanted desperately.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, this made me unusual, especially in Ohio, where I lived. Lou had a hit in the mid-1970s, but there still weren’t a lot of people who would admit to liking him. I can only believe that people bought “Walk on the Wild Side” without acknowledging that they knew it was about drag queens.

He wrote about drag queens, and heroin, and despair. He also wrote about domestic violence, video games, and Doc Pomus. It didn’t matter. It felt like he was talking to me. It felt like he knew what mattered and who cared what anybody else thought. A valuable point of view now, but absolutely priceless to me when I was younger and even more insecure.

I’m not the only one. There were millions of us. Even though his sales never reflected it, he had millions of fans worldwide. He played for a pope. It’s possible to argue that he was part of the inspiration for the people’s revolution in Czechoslovakia.

It always seemed to me that Lou would like comics. Maybe he’d like Marvel superheroes, or maybe he’d just like cool, outré stuff like World War 3. He was in a comic as himself. And, according to Neil, he was an important inspiration to another.

Despite his reputation as a serious poet (or maybe because of it), he could also be hilariously funny. He was the reason I went to see what would turn out to be one of my favorite movies, Get Crazy where he played Auden, a singer-songwriter clearly satirizing Bob Dylan. If you don’t have time to watch the whole movie, you should still take ran minutes and look here.

(In our family, when we’re running, we sing, “We’re late for the show.”)

I only saw him perform a few times, not enough, and I never met him. If I had, I don’t think he would have liked me. He had a reputation for being mean to people he didn’t like. A woman I know who attended the dinner Neil describes above says he was vicious and dismissive to her and to the other woman at the table.

And yet….

He didn’t have to sit for an interview with Punk. Lots of musicians less famous than he would have refused to talk to a couple of kids with no published clips. He didn’t have to perform at Farm Aid.

In “Sweet Jane,” one of my favorite songs, he sings,

“Anyone who ever had a heart

they wouldn’t turn around and hate it

anyone who ever played a part

they wouldn’t turn around and hate it.”

Thanks for the life and the work, Lou Reed. I’m glad I spent it with you.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Review: “Pokémon X & Y” bring new dimension to franchise

With nine sets of core games, six generations of characters, and eighteen years of history, one would think that Pokemon might be approaching the end of the tall grass.  But with Pokemon X & Y selling over four million copies worldwide on its premiere weekend, the series show no weakness at all.  The new game, the first to run exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS (and the new low-budget option for new gamers, the 2DS) adds a lot of new characters, new battle formats and a beautiful 3-D design to make it easily the most beautiful game in the series, as well as the busiest.

The basic gameplay remains unchanged – select one of three Pokemon to start your journey around the world, this time the lovely Kalos Region, a land based on the architecture and design of France. Use that Pokemon to catch other wild Pokemon, raise and train them to more powerful levels, allowing you to catch even more powerful creatures, lather, rinse, repeat.  But as with each game, there’s a whole new set of interesting critters to catch and collect, and almost unlimited strategy potential as you choose the most powerful moves for your characters, as well as choosing the most versatile fighting types to meet the challenge of both wild monsters, but other trainers, both in the game and in the real world.  The game is fully rendered in 3-D, taking advantage of the power of the 3Ds to deliver a new view of the characters, no longer the sinple top-down look of past games.  Battles feature sweeping camera angles as the characters battle, much in the style of the Pokemon Coliseum games for the various console systems.  There’s endless little details in the animation – your character drops to one knee when chatting to children, you see them actually pick up found items, and errant breezes make the trees sway and the grass rustle.  For the first time, the circle pad lest you move in diagonals, not the simple four directions of the games with only a D-pad.  Indeed, it’s so easy to move around, it takes some getting used to – you need to take an extra moment to make sure you’re actually lined up with items and characters you want to interact with.

Over and above the basic battle of the game, X & Y give you new ways to train and interact with your Pokemon.  Minigames allow you increase your friendship with your little friends and raise their battle stats.  Pokemon-Amie is a feature to the Nintendogs games, where you can pet your Pokemon, feed him treats and more, via the 3Ds touchpad.  The system’s camera is used for basic facial recognition, allowing you to play “monkey-see monkey-do” with them.  Super Training is a series of minigames designed to increase their battle stats like strength and speed.

About the only hardware feature of the 3DS that isn’t used to its fullest potential is Street and Spot Pass.  The game will receive messages of game updates and promotions from Nintendo in the game via Spotpass through an in-game device called the Holo-Caster, but interaction with other players only happens while the game is in play.  The Player Search Service allows you to interact with friends that you’ve met using friend codes, and if you connect to the Internet, any random players from around the world that are playing at the a moment.  Trading is much faster now, and more flexible.  An upcoming app release, Pokemon Bank, will allow you to store up to 3,000 characters on the Cloud, for a small monthly fee.

Each new Pokemon adventure brings new players and cartoon viewers to the series, and for long time players like me (seriously – the only thing I’ve done uninterrupted in my life that play Pokemon is be married), sparks the excitement of the series anew.  X and Y are easily the best new addition to the franchise in years, and if you were looking for an excuse to pick up or upgrade to a 3DS, you’ve got your reason.

Three Notes On “How To Spell Dragon Con”

Three Notes On “How To Spell Dragon Con”

300px-Dragonconlogo1. It would be carry more weight if the Dragon Con Director of Media Relations would not use the asterisk in his job title.

2.They’d get more search engine optimization if they got rid of the space too.

  1. As Patrick Nielsen Hayden pointed out, this is a great way to show that Dragon Con no longer has the asshole.

Here’s the press release:

How to Spell Dragon Con

Dragon Con Now Spelled Without Asterisk

Atlanta, GA, 2014 – As part of the recently announced merger that created Dragon Con, Inc., we have elected to change the style and spelling of our name. Going forward, the proper style and spelling of the convention is Dragon Con (two words, no asterisk) while the company is Dragon Con, Inc.

We hope that by providing this style note, it will be easier for reporters and editors to write about Dragon Con by eliminating questions about usage. We also believe that a consistent spelling of the name will make searching for stories about Dragon Con on your website or on the Internet more complete.

It is entirely possible that you will see printed materials at Dragon Con 2013 that still show the company or event name using the asterisk. These materials were printed before the merger. Materials printed in the future will be consistent with the new style.


Dan Carroll
Dragon*Con Director – Media Relations

Reminder: Google Reader goes away tomorrow, so update your feeds!

If you’re using Google Reader to read ComicMix, we regret to remind you that Google Reader is going offline tomorrow after eight years of service– which is almost sixty years in Internet time.

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Matt Smith leaving “Doctor Who” at Christmas, Internet asks for tissue

Matt Smith as the Eleventh DoctorThe BBC announced officially this weekend that Matt Smith, current star of Doctor Who, will be leaving the series in the Christmas episode.

Both Matt and showrunner Steven Moffat have already been quoted heaping glowing praise on each other, and rightly so.  Doctor Who fandom has already kicked into overdrive, showering tumblr and other blog pages with a deluge of tribute graphics, please to remain, and other spontaneous eruptions of raw emotion.

Doctor Who fans will now once again pass through the seven stages of grief, a process that some have never experienced, being new to the show, some have already seen once or twice, or for older fans (raises hand), seven, eight, or as many as eleven times.

One of the most amazing things about Doctor Who is this process of regeneration.  While other actors have been replaced on television shows, Doctor Who invented a process that made it a part of the narrative.  Time Lords, the Doctor’s people, have the ability to completely rejuvenate themselves in times of extreme trauma, completely reborn, with a new body and a new personalty.  It allows the show to not only move on past the departure of its star, but forge into brand new directions.

Along with the regeneration process will be an equally traditional series of events:

The news media will kick the rumor mills into high gear – Names will be floated, denials will be made, and actors will play coy, taking advantage of the publicity to get their name in the sun.

The betting will begin – Gambling is legal in the UK, and the local bookies have traditionally taken wagers on the identity of the new Doctor.  And the aforementioned media will report the current oddsmaking, as if it has some connection to reality. As in the rumor mill, new names will emerge and rise and fall in the rankings, and it’ll be a delight to watch.Unless you’ve put money down, in which case it’ll be harrowing.

The discussions about making The Doctor a woman will re-emerge – So too making him black, or Asian, or any of the other “types” of people a character can be.  Both Mike Gold and Yr obt svt. have discussed the recurring meme, more about the fervor and hysteria around it.

The fans will swear blind it will never be as good as (insert name here) – Nothing is ever as good as what you have now, or if you are older (just leaves hand in air), than what you had when you were younger.  Each Doctor was perfect, and nobody can ever replace him, until about five minutes into the first new episode when the new guy grabs you and rubs your tummy with his acting and makes you forget the last guy’s name for a moment.  The show will careen off in a new direction, just like a trip in the TARDIS itself, and the trip will be thrilling and terrifying, and ultimately satisfying.

Someone’s life will never be the same again – Moffat has it right – “Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor“.  The show was popular during its original run, but now it’s dead center in popular culture, and the person selected to play The Doctor will shoot  to super-stardom before a frame’s been shot.  Matt Smith has already taken advantage of the opportunities the role has afforded him – he’s currently filming Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut How to Make a Monster, and plans to direct himself.

With six months to go before the final Smith adventure airs, and several weeks before it starts filming, fandom will be filled with many emotions, a rampant desire to learn new details, and will spent a great deal of time trying to separate reality from fantasy.  Moffat and the BBC will begin the arduous process of choosing the actor to entrust with their golden franchise (if, indeed, they haven’t already started…or even finished), all the time trying to ride the line between keeping it all a secret and letting just enough details slip to keep the media hungry.

There may be an important wrinkle to the new Doctor’s story that may take the show in a dramatic direction.  Matt’s Doctor is the eleventh regeneration, but events at the end of the final episode of the series suggest that there’s one more to be accounted for.  John Hurt was revealed to be playing The Doctor as well, and fans has surmised he may be (have been) a regeneration between Eight (Paul McGann) and Nine (Christopher Eccleston).  If so, even though Matt’s calls himself the eleventh Doctor, he’d be the twelfth…and the next one would be the thirteenth.  According to the show’s history, a Time Lord can only regenerate twelve times, for a total of thirteen bodies, which would make the next Doctor…the last.

Which will likely never occur.  Russell T. Davies has already said that when the time to get around that little plot device that seemed SO far away when they came up with it decades ago, “I’m sure someone will wave the Amulet of Zog and sort it all out”.  But it’ll be the process to get to that eventual happy end that will make the show all the more exciting,.

Babblr: anatomy of a misfire, and how to avoid launch mishaps

Babblr: anatomy of a misfire, and how to avoid launch mishaps

Tumblr is a micro-blogging site, tending more towards short posts with pictures and video attachments, and with over a hundred million blogs (including mine), it is officially more popular than blogging itself.  It’s populated by an amazing assortment of creativity and madness.  Memes flower and spread with a speed heretofore unseen (seriously, go look up “Moon Moon”), and the love the users shower on its fandoms is staggering. So when a new third-party app called babblr began to get serious buzz, promising real-time chat for tumblr users, excitement was high. When it was released on the 7th, there was no surprise that it was downloaded quickly and used heavily.

Well, maybe a little surprise.

The creators of the app were expecting perhaps 50,000 users in the first day.  They got 50,000 downloads the first half hour.  I would bet you could fry eggs on their servers.  Someone must have spilled the butter, because hours into the launch, the app and its servers shut down.

It has not been a good week for the three fellows who wrote babblr.  Hopefully, future app designers can learn from their mistakes.

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE INTERNET – If there are one hundred million tumblr blogs, even a fraction of one percent of that is a staggering number.  So to make your first beta release available to the entire Internet is at the very least, a risk. Compare to Thrillbent, which proudly weathered their first Reddit storm earlier this week.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY – In a vacuum, facts appear spontaneously to fill the void.  When babblr shut down, people immediately began spreading rumors that it was in fact a hack program, designed to drain your bank account, spam your email box and delete your reaction GIF folder.  And there wasn’t nearly enough data coming from babblr to stem the tide.  Save for the odd tweet to the effect of “we’re working on it” and “It’s not a hack!”, there was little information forthcoming.  They needed to post a LOT of data, on their main website, the one that you want to download the software.  A generic “the download is unavailable” message is insufficient.

YOU HAD ONE JOB – Make an app that worked.  Reports claim that it did work rather well before it crashed, but people began reporting that even when it wasn’t running, the add-on seemed to interfere with other popular tumblr customizers  like Xkit and missing-e, causing some functions to fail, adding fuel to the “hack” rumor frenzy”.  It clearly needed more testing (with other popular apps) before ANY release, especially one as wide as they went for.

ASKING FOR MONEY AFTER YOU DELIVER A BROKEN PROGRAM IS A UNIQUE BUSINESS MODEL – Two days after launch, and one after the servers curled into a ball and died, an update was posted on their website.  The app will be repaired shortly – if everybody ponys up a couple bucks.  After offering the app for free, it will now be made available to a limited number of users who pay for the privilege.  In short, they will have the Beta program they should have had in the first place, and get paid for it.  Assuming anyone goes for it, that is.

THERE CERTAINLY SEEMS TO BE A MARKET FOR AN INSTANT CHAT PROGRAM FOR TUMBLR, DOESN’T THERE? – That’s the big message to take away from this.  Tumblr users jumped onto this like a starving man on a Ritz cracker.  Should an app come along that has what it takes under the trunk to deliver what tumblrers clearly want, it could do very well.  I expect we’ll see at least two new entries in this brand spanking new market by end of year.

Marc Alan Fishman: The Anti-Big-Bang Hypothesis

Fishman Art 130119Welcome back everyone. It would seem that last week I ignited the Internet ablaze by admitting I’d not seen “Wrath of Khan” until the week prior. The fine people folks trolls at Fark.com labeled me an ignorant dork. Ignorant of what I don’t know. Dork? Agreed. But then one of the feistier folks in the thread scoffed “I bet this guy loves Big Bang Theory.” And it’s pretty clear that’s an insult.

Well, motherfarkers? I do.

Now, let’s be absolutely clear: I like the show. I don’t profess to say it’s anything more than exactly what it is, a network sitcom. And amongst it’s pre-taped, live audience laugh-track, script-by-way-of-a-writers-room brethren? It’s on par, or maybe slightly better at times, than the rest of the dreck it sits with. No, an episode of BBT will never be regarded as a game-changing piece of television. But when did it ever have those aspirations? Anyone who took time to watch more than five minutes of the show would realize that it’s cut from the same cloth as all other inoffensive PC drivel. To think that it somehow had the ability to rise above that line is a thought shared only by people whose optimism borders on the terrifying.

With all that being said, let me lament again: I like the show. Quite a bit. The show celebrates a culture I myself am very much a part in. The fact that between the traditional tropes, I’m getting legit winks and knowing nods to characters, stories, and knowledge only really appreciated by a subset of society is a boon. Just this past week, the ladies of the cast had a subplot about reading comics and getting into arguments about them. Could anyone here tell me 10 years ago we’d predict we’d have a popular television show that contains characters who argue over the semantic properties of Mjolnir? Moreover, would you then say that said argument would actually be qualified as “nerd-worthy?” Well, if you’re raising your hand, then your pants are on fire.

For those naysayers out there, and I know there is a rising crowd of them, I beg you to truly mull over the gripes you’re bringing to the table. The big one? “Big Bang Theory is offensive to nerds!” OK. Well, guess what, Internet? I must have not received my invitation to the official nerd message board where I would make my vote. I certainly must be amongst your ranks. I own unopened toys. Long boxes. DVD box sets of defunct cartoons. I know the frame count of Ryu’s hadoken and why being several frames shorter than Ken’s makes it a more effective special move in Street Fighter 2 Turbo. Certainly if that doesn’t allow me access to the secret nerd cabal, I don’t know what will. To imply that the show, which again is a mainstream situation comedy, is offensive to nerds is offensive to me.

Is it offensive because the laugh track is cued up to moments that laugh at the main characters’ foibles instead of celebrating them? Perhaps it is. Or perhaps it’s a motherfarking laugh track, meant to usher the masses towards the guffaws. And guess what, internet? The fact that Howard Wolowitz admits to playing D & D is in fact funny to the uninitiated. Did I laugh when he said it? No. But then again, I didn’t get up in arms because the people in the studio audience did.

Nor did I sound the flugelhorn of justice when the same jackanapes chortled over Leonard getting picked on, or Sheldon doing just about anything on the damned show. Simply put, the show is aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator. To bemoan this fact is to hold a mirror up to every other sitcom in existence and shake your fist in anger. You can then join your true brothers in arms – the offended handy men who watched Home Improvement, the spiteful OB-GYN’s and jazz musicians in a murderous rage over The Cosby Show, and of course the bewildered radio psychiatrists aghast over Frasier.

The fact is Big Bang Theory caters to the median pop-culture nerd. The person who is vaguely aware of comics, Lord of the Rings, and perhaps Doctor Who. The show was built around the predictable notes of countless other shows before it; all of which can be explained. To think that we as a counter-culture are owed a TV series that doesn’t laugh at us, but with us… need only look to all the shows we’re already watching. Doctor Who, Toy Hunter, Star Trek, Battlestar: Galactica, Face/Off, Adventure Time, and so forth. Simply put, there’s already a boatload of shows that cater to us as a culture. Stop crying over the one that dares to poke at us for being dorks. As they say: let your freak flag fly. Maybe even laugh once in a while.

The way I see it, Big Bang Theory is plenty nice to the main cast the haters feel are nothing but forever picked on. Over the course of several seasons, Leonard (and Raj) have boinked Penny, Howard has gone to space and found love, and even Sheldon has found a partner. And sure, the audience has had their fair share of yuk-yuks over the boys’ failure, but to imply that the show is anything but loving of their stars is laughable at best. And for those who would say that the show is somehow regressing the nation to hate the geeks, dweebs, nerds, and dorks of the world… I offer a shoulder to cry on. There there, it’s O.K. I know it hurts when the big bad jocks push you into your locker, citing that they wouldn’t do it, had it not been for last night’s episode. Wipe those tears off, nerdlinger!

Because if TV sitcoms have taught me anything? It’s that it’ll all be forgotten next week.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander