In these wheezing, dying days of network television, it seems very likely that Chuck Lorre’s The Big Bang Theory will be the last traditional prime time sitcom to be an across-the-board, omnipresent mega-hit. Already in its eighth season, the program’s ratings rival even those of NFL football. Store shelves buckle beneath the weight of Big Bang Theory board games and bobbleheads. The program is, by seemingly any measure, a success. There are Emmy awards, fat syndication deals, and millions of Nielsen-certified viewers to attest to that success. And yet… does anyone actually watch and enjoy this multi-camera, laugh-track-infested, catchphrase-ridden concoction? Perhaps this nation’s lawmakers should get to the bottom of this conundrum. That’s the premise of Above Average’s new video, “Who Watches The Big Bang Theory? (Congressional Hearing).” This sketch is part of an ongoing series of sober C-SPAN-type parodies by Simply Unemployable (Matt Catanzano and Richie Moriarty) in which, according to Above Average’s own site, “Congress takes on society’s minor issues.”
Actor Russ Armstrong, proudly clad in a “BAZINGA!” T-shirt, portrays Burt Tills, an astrophysics PhD candidate and Sheldon Cooper superfan who testifies about the popularity of The Big Bang Theory to a committee of bewildered politicians who simply want to know what he (and so many others) see in this show. None of Armstrong’s evidence seems to satisfy the committee. “I consider myself a nerd,” says one stymied inquisitor, “and I didn’t laugh at a single reference in all of Season One.” “If you’re a nerd,” the show’s defender replies, “Stephen Hawking is a Stormtrooper.” This Lorre-esque rejoinder sets off gales of prerecorded laughter, which emanates (along with fart noises and monkey chattering) from a machine manned by dazed-looking technician named Terry. This last detail proves the hearing’s undoing, as Terry is extremely bad at his job. The riddle of The Big Bang Theory thus goes unsolved.