How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization
David Hopkins

Interesting, I see things quite differently. While Friends then and partially Big Bang Theory now pulls everything down, I see one of the defining characteristics of the 2000s as the elevation of the nerd. The nerd has become the hero or main character in so many movies and TV series (Neo in Matrix perhaps the pioneer in 1999). Also, Willow in Buffy went from nerd sidekick to major force (1997–2003). And since then many major movies and TV series have had main characters that are nerds and/or socially awkward in some way. Off the top of my head, and I know I am forgetting lots: Transformers, Spider Man, Chuck, Bones, Dexter, Criminal Minds, The Bridge, Heroes, The Flash and Supergirl. Even Captain America started like a bullied nerd in the current movie franchise.

The reason for this rise of the nerd is probably the Internet. It was something that changed everyone’s lives and at the controls were the nerds. One could argue that the increased importance of social media in the 2010s were another shift back to anti-intellectualism, though, because on social arenas, online or otherwise, nerds are not at their strongest. But considering the shift in the 2000s, I really don’t thing we can blame Friends for the state of the world in 2016.

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