The Problem with The Big Bang Theory – Serena Daya

I have a major beef with The Big Bang Theory; nobody on the entire show is cool for being smart.  I get that its the ploy for the show– there are several 30 somethings living together, being nerdy; but, is that all the show is good for?  The show could have done wonders for the image of nerds alike, showing exceptionally smart individuals (males) living life to the fullest, being proud of their nerdiness.

However, the show failed to exhibit any amount of “cool” or “suavity” in these four men; rather, the show makes fun of their quirks in a way that is often hurtful.

They make fun of the socially awkward Jewish guy (Wolowitz), who is sexually inhibited but curious, because obviously, all Jewish nerds behave that way.  They make fun of the immigrant Indian guy (Raj) who can’t talk to girls because in his country, he wouldn’t have to.  They paint OCD and social anxiety as a personality flaw in Sheldon, rather than something that is perfectly normal for anyone, nerd or not nerd, to have.  And the one guy (Leonard) who is seemingly ‘above’ all of the nonsense he is surrounded by, has a short guy complex.

The women in the show are brought in to “domesticate” the men.  The only point in the series when the men behave in a way we deem “socially acceptable” is when he is interacting with a female companion.

The characterization of the women is no better than how the show writers characterize the men. Amy and Bernadette are successful scientists in their own right, but are also portrayed as stereotypically nerdy-females.  Amy is a socially awkward, virgin and Bernadette is the soft spoken, surprisingly beautiful nerd.  Penny is an aspiring actress, blonde and hot.

Sheldon only behaves in a way that is seemingly like a “normal” man when he is interacting with Amy.  He loses his virginity to her in Season 9, whereas he would have never thought to interact in such a way with a person in previous seasons.

Wolowitz becomes progressively less creepy as he is courting Bernadette.  Bernadette does not put up with Wolowitz’s antics and brings him down to a person who is more “normal”.

Penny is the hot girl Sheldon never got to be with because he is short.

Raj can only talk to women if he’s drunk. [face palm].

The character development in the show is not interesting because the premise of each character is so stereotypical.  The only character development they can have is to become “more normal” and therefore “less themselves”.

Image: CBS | Opening sequence Season 6 to present

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7 Responses to The Problem with The Big Bang Theory – Serena Daya

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with you on this, Serena. The Big Bang Theory is one show I cannot stand to watch. The characters are just painfully stereotypical. It’s not funny to me. I feel like most of the time this show goes two ways for people, you either love it or hate it. For me, the character development is not enticing at all. I think that, along with the stereotyping in the show, are the main reasons why I can’t stand this show. – Katie Thevenow

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I have to admit I have never sat down to watch The Big Bang Theory, I think the most amount of time I have spent watching it in passing couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes. Even in that amount of time I thought that the show was very corny and over the top with its stereotyping. But aren’t the majority of sitcoms like this? Maybe not to the extent of The Big Bang Theory and again I’m no expert on the show but I always viewed sitcoms as the type of show that there wasn’t a big need for rich character development. -Courtney Green

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I normally do not watch the same shows my parents watch, and my parents are avid Big Bang viewers. With this show, however, if I walk into the room while my parents are watching it I am immediately glued to the TV. The humor is so quick and the characters are so quirky, I think it is hilarious. The Big Bang Theory has won many awards and has received a lot of recognition over the years which tells us that people really really like this show. Although I agree with you that the stereotypical “nerd” is way overplayed in the show, it is pretty cool to note how many people like it despite the stereotype. Viewers love these characters and I would even go farther to say if these “nerds” were portrayed as cool or sauve, it may not be the same, widely-loved show.

  4. mediaphiles says:

    ^^^^^Kendall FIschlein

  5. mediaphiles says:

    Perhaps Steve Carrell wrongly losing the Emmy so many times to Jim Parsons has exaggerated the bad taste in my mouth, but I am also quite averse to Big Bang Theory. I think the show does operate in broad stereotypes that are often problematic, which really just shouldn’t be acceptable anymore. So many other sitcoms have proven by this point that stereotypes aren’t necessary to create a funny and successful show. Continuing to use them is irresponsible and lazy. However, I will say, as much as I really don’t like the show, for whatever reason, TONS of people do. So even if the show runs on stereotypical humor, a large population of the audience still loves these characters, which has helped continue the trend of making nerd culture mainstream. Now, the interpretation of nerd culture the show makes popular is based on stereotypes and thus flawed in many ways. But it wasn’t too long ago that kids could get picked on and beat up for liking science or reading comic books. Those things are seen as much cooler now, largely thanks to Marvel and J.J. Abrams and Pokemon, but, maybe, just maybe a little bit also thanks to Big Bang Theory? I’m not sure. But, to quote Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation, “You know, nerd culture is mainstream now. So when you use the word “nerd” derogatorily, it means that you’re the one that’s out of the zeitgeist.”

    –Kevin Pabst

  6. marymdalton says:

    Two words for you: Silicon Valley. If you’re not watching it now, than me later after you begin.

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