The core of Chuck Lorre

Photo illustration by Joel McCarthy.

He makes it easy to forget how good television can be

By Angela Espinoza, Arts Editor

When sitting down to write this piece, I intended to focus on my hatred for the television works by one Chuck Lorre, most famous for his co-creations Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. Eventually I decided to get down from my high horse and actually do some research, and while I’ve learned that not all his shows offend as much as the aforementioned, there are some things I’m having trouble understanding with the latter world of Lorre.

One of the more obvious questions is how his two major projects in question remain so enormously popular. Lorre’s past works include hits that could best be described as “meh”: Grace Under Fire (1993–1998) and Cybill (1995–1998). They came and went after a couple years, and were followed up by the infamously dull Dharma & Greg (1997–2002). For what it’s worth, Dharma & Greg is the only title out of the three that I recognized going in—and that’s what it was for a while. People were aware of his works, but it wasn’t like Lorre was the big name he is today (he couldn’t fill an entire room with several hundred people at a Comic Con, to paint a clearer picture). None of the three had the insane fan bases that his later works did, and even though they are different from his previous shows, it still doesn’t make any sense to me.

Lorre’s first two shows focused on single mothers, with Grace, divorced from an abusive husband and working a lower-class job to make ends meet, and Cybill, twice-divorced and finally taking fate into her own hands by attempting to find stardom. I don’t know about Cybill, but based on the premise alone Grace Under Fire actually sounds like it’s worth a watch (I never saw it, so I can’t actually make an opinion on the show itself). Dharma & Greg meanwhile was your typical rom-com, no more harmless than a Jennifer Aniston movie (regardless of quality, although assumedly low).

Then we have Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, neither of which I think anyone can actually give a synopsis to without having to look up their Wiki pages. It’s not like a synopsis matters anyway, I doubt anyone who watched Two and a Half Men before 2011 gave a rat’s ass about Uncle Charlie’s jingle career, and the same goes for whatever the main four of The Big Bang Theory supposedly do week after week (here’s what I compiled from Wikipedia: they’re geeks, laugh track, end).

Two and a Half Men has been, apparently, 213 episodes of innuendo and sex jokes, with women being the most evil force in the series (because chicks can’t bro out like bros can, bro). That is what I have gathered from having seen between five and 10 episodes at complete random over the past decade. I feel like the same group that watches this show is part of the Movie movie crowd: your Scary Movie, Epic Movie, Date Movie, and such. But that seems harsh—perhaps more realistically, they’re the crowd that keeps seeing Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler movies. So I suppose I’ve answered my own question: Two and a Half Men still exists because there’s just a very large group of people with a very poor sense of humour.

So then what’s the deal with The Big Bang Theory? I actually wanted to like this show, although granted this was before I knew Lorre created it. It took one episode for me to realize this was not the show I was hoping it could be, but I’ve still seen a number of episodes since—all of which infuriate me. Part of the show’s humour is just replacing Men words like “sausage” and “wet” with words like “Google” and “Android” (I dare to be proven wrong). Then when there are actual references to things I enjoy, do you want to know what the butt of the joke is? It’s that these things exist. “Actually, Batman wasn’t introduced in Batman #1, he was introduced in Detective Comics #27,” is an actual freaking joke in that series. How is that anything? Who laughs at that besides the guy who Googled it one time, or the Men watcher who doesn’t know otherwise?

But I digress. While I can understand Men’s popularity at this point, I still don’t get how The Big Bang Theory can be as popular as it is. At the end of everything, I don’t think my hatred towards Chuck Lorre was a fair judgment call; it’s not like he writes every episode of both series…

Two minutes later, I looked into it out of curiosity: Lorre has co-written almost every single episode of both shows… never mind, I still hate him, I hate his shows, and stay tuned for when I hate his next horrible hit, Mom, starring Anna Farris as a single mom.