The Big Bang Theory was an American television sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady which ran on CBS from September 24, 2007 to May 16, 2019, having broadcast 279 episodes over 12 seasons. It follows two roommates Sheldon and Leonard – both scientists – whose lives change when a beautiful new neighbor moves in next door. What follows is their journey of individual growth which involves them finding love and getting into several science based escapades with their fellow nerds – Howard and Rajesh. As with most of Chuck Lorre’s creations, it involves an annoying laugh track which went out of fashion with the ending of FRIENDS.
The Big Bang Theory however is enjoyable since it doesn’t pander to the LGBTQ movement unlike almost anything on Netflix or Amazon Prime these days where in the name of “inclusion”, it makes the LGBTQ community a majority instead of a minority. Anyways, as having such characters is currently “in” right now, we can’t help it as studios will milk any trend which gives them the most money. Coming back to the Big Bang Theory, you’ll notice that aside from Rajesh, who is the whitest Indian guy ever, there are hardly any minorities in the show who play a major role. Although if I remember correctly, in Season 3, episode 22, they do bring out the guy who used to live in the apartment across the hall before Penny – a cross-dressing, gay black dude which I guess was Chuck Lorre trying to tick every box in the LGBTQ in one character and also satisfy the minority hiring bit. For South Asians, the character of Rajesh seemed to be a trend in the right direction although his full name “Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali” is a middle and last name hard to find among a billion Indians. Plus having a middle name like Ramayan is like saying Bob Bible Moore or Imran Koran Khan – seems idiotic and doesn’t seem like Chuck knows much about India or Indians. Although as we dig deeper into the characters, Rajesh Koothrappali is also the least knowledgeable about India, despite being Indian. He says Indians consider the cow to be a God which isn’t true or his facts about life in India which even to rich Indians would appear quite strange.
Anyways, atleast all the other racial stereotypes work out nicely. We have Howard Wolowitz who is creepy but funny; Leonard Hofstader who could be basically any straight white guy trying too hard to be a “feminist” and you have Sheldon Cooper, a Texan nerd with Aspergers, who as played by Jim Parsons, is a brilliant character and the reason why most of us stuck with the show. Penny is played by Kaley Cuoco, is your typical hot but not too bright blonde. Then you have two other characters – Bernadette Rostenkowski played by Melissa Rauch and Amy Farrah Fowler played by Mayim Bialik, who are love interests for Howard and Sheldon respectively. Both characters however are dull, boring and unfunny with Bernadette literally being a manipulative bully and Amy being the most exhausting characters ever to be cast on television. The show is mostly fun if you ignore Bernadette and Amy and focus on the five main characters and two supporting characters – Stuart Bloom (who owns the comic book store), Howard’s Mom Debbie (who is never seen but her interactions with Howard are golden) and Barry Kripke (a co-worker at Caltech who annoys Sheldon).
So who are the main nerds? First up is Leonard – an experimental physicist with an IQ of 173, who received his PhD when he was 24 years old. Leonard is a nerd who loves video games, comic books, and Dungeons & Dragons. Leonard is the straight man of the series, sharing an apartment in Pasadena, CA, with Sheldon Cooper. As mentioned earlier, Leonard has a crush on his new neighbor Penny when they first meet, and they eventually marry after a series of bad dates, breakups and finally realizing they are meant for each other.
Next is Sheldon Cooper – originally from Galveston, Texas, Sheldon was a child prodigy with an eidetic memory who began college at the age of eleven and earned a PhD at age sixteen. He is a theoretical physicist researching quantum mechanics and string theory, and despite his IQ of 187, he finds many routine aspects of social situations difficult to grasp. He is determined to have his own way, continually boasts of his intelligence, and has an extremely ritualized way of living. Despite these quirks, he begins a relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler, and they eventually marry.
Third is Howard Wolowitz – an aerospace engineer who got his master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Howard is Jewish and lives with his mother, Debbie (Carol Ann Susi). Unlike Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Bernadette, and Amy, Howard does not hold a doctorate. He goes into space, training as an astronaut and serving as a payload specialist. Howard initially fancies himself as a womanizer (but never succeeds), but he later starts dating Bernadette, and they get engaged and married. Howard also has a tendency to waste money on toys and argues with Bernadette because of his oddly low income as an engineer and her high income as a pharmaceutical biochemist and because Bernadette is also extremely manipulative and controlling.
Fourth, is Rajesh Koothrappali – A particle astrophysicist originally from New Delhi, India. Initially, Raj had selective mutism, rendering him unable to talk to or be around women unless under the influence of alcohol, which formed the basis for most of the gags on his behalf in the early seasons. Raj also has very feminine tastes and often takes on a stereotypical female role in his friendship with Howard as well as in the group of four men. Raj later dates Lucy (Kate Micucci), who also suffers from social anxiety, but it eventually ends. He later speaks to Penny without alcohol, overcoming his selective mutism. He begins dating Emily Sweeney, and their relationship later becomes exclusive. Raj also has a Yorkshire Terrier named Cinnamon. Despite his considerable quirks, Raj has the most success with women in the group but remains single at the end of the series for unexplainable reasons. Although there is one episode where all of his ex-girlfriends get together to tell him why he was such a bad boyfriend but do meet the list – a cripplingly shy girl who isn’t much in the looks department who leaves him when he suggested meeting his friends (Lucy), a seemingly normal dermatologist who likes cutting people and watching excruciatingly gory horror flicks (Emily), a deaf gold-digger who used him to pay off his credit card debts (another Emily) and a woman who herself couldn’t decide whether she wanted Raj or not and then blamed her issues on him by calling him needy and vain (Claire).
Now, the primary female character is Penny (surname unknown) – an aspiring actress from Omaha, Nebraska. Penny moves in across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard. She waits tables and occasionally tends the bar at The Cheesecake Factory. After giving up hope of becoming a successful actress, Penny becomes a pharmaceutical sales representative. Penny becomes friends with Bernadette and Amy, and they often hang out in each other’s apartments. Penny and Leonard form a relationship and eventually marry.
Much of the series focuses on science, particularly physics. The four main male characters are employed at Caltech and have science-related occupations, as do Bernadette and Amy. The characters frequently banter about scientific theories or news (notably around the start of the show), and make science-related jokes. Science has also interfered with the characters’ romantic lives with Leonard’s initial relationship with fellow scientist Leslie petering out due to a difference in opinions. Nerd media, like Star Wars and Star Trek play a major role in the characters’ lives – a little too much considering Sheldon gets laid for the first time with the characters watching the latest Star Wars movie in the background. The jokes are funny at times but the forced laugh track isn’t.
Stand-out characters are Sheldon due to Jim Parsons wonderful facial expressions and body language. Rajesh is another interesting character although as with all of Chuck Lorre’s characters since Two and a Half Men, he has to make one straight character extremely feminine and pathetic, which might be due to some of his own personal issues or might not. Guess Charlie Sheen had a point? *insert laugh track*. Penny works in the role she is given – the other two major female characters definitely do not. Leonard and Howard are fun at times too although the probability that any normal person would endure a guy like Sheldon for so long seems unlikely.
A light-hearted comedy one can enjoy but if you’re looking for intellectual stimulation better to just read a book.