Thursday, September 26, 2013
Back with a Bang
Through my days in B school and Company D, Friends was one series which was my constant companion, every time I felt low, every time I felt happy, every time I was bored or every time I needed some company. I remember having weekend pizza parties at home, and as we put on weight over pizzas, pastas, garlic bread and cheese dip and coke, we barely noticed it as we grinned at Chandler’s jokes or empathized with Ross’ seemingly doomed romance.
So when the ten long seasons finally ran its course, I was depressed like never before. It was as heartbreaking as letting go of a long-term partner, it was unimaginable to imagine a life without Friends, it was almost as if life itself would come to a stand-still. And like any grieving devastated soul, I also had my share of flings: with alcohol, with Sex and the City, even with How I Met Your Mother! But as all empty experiences go, these too were short-lived and meaningless.
Until I watched the first episode of BBT. And I knew I was hooked for life. It was love at first sight. Soon I was part of the world of the five nerds and dumb (but street smart) blonde who turned my life upside down. So here is what appeals to me about each character:
Sheldon: I have never known such a person in real life, and I doubt I ever will. But as a kid I did come across the nerds-in-the-making: bespectacled front benchers, toppers, teacher’s pets, but helplessly uncouth when it came to social interactions. While we all looked up to them in primary school, by the time we moved into our teens, the same kids became the easy targets for making fun. Now that I look back, I would have probably been more kind to them if only I knew their inner struggles.
Howard: The Jewish funnyman who uses humour as a defence mechanism is a bit of a cliché, but his empty bravado, loud taste in clothes and the underlying vulnerability make him an easily identifiable character, if not the most liked.
Raj: As the Indian guy in the lot, he is like the typical Indian expat in the U.S., struggling to come to terms with the cultural differences, be it about his difficulty in finding a woman, the food he eats or the idiosyncrasies of the country which still fascinates him. Brought up in a conservative Indian household, educated in the best institutes with very few women and then moved to the U.S., i.e. practically going through life without any idea about how to interact with the opposite sex, and thus ending up tongue-tied when faced with a girl, it’s the story of an average Indian boy in the U.S. with an above-average career graph.
Leonard: My favourite character in the show, I completely identify with his slightly diffident nature, brought upon by an overachieving family and a lack of physical stature. Smart, sensitive and funny, he still manages to perpetually strike out with the women he cares the most about and his on-again-off-again romance with Penny is a testimony to the quintessential battle between the head and the heart, where his head tells him to move on, but his heart refuses to do so.
Penny: Finally the spunky and hot girl-next-door is a complete departure from the nerds: a struggling actress who makes a living by waiting tables, becomes the unlikely breath of fresh air badly needed in the estrogen-starved lives of these guys. Conventionally dumb, she is street smart and makes her way through the tough demands of the city life using her charm and a generous dose of sarcasm.
The supporting cast of Bernadette as Howard’s wife and Amy as Sheldon’s girlfriend as well as the tertiary characters like Stuart, Howard’s mother, Will Wheaton or Kripky add to the entertainment.
I have been watching comedy sitcoms for over a decade now, but BBT would definitely go up there as my favourite show of all times, ahead of Two and a Half Men, Full House, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Modern Family, Seinfeld, Frasier or even The Simpsons.
At the end of the day, it’s not so much about math, science and history, but more about friends…