I will admit I enjoy The Big Bang Theory quite a bit. I find it fairly clever, and amusing. Is it a perfect show? Not by any means. In fact there are those out there who are quite vehement in their disapproval of the show. I am going to take a look at both sides of this issue.
Let’s start with reasons to love the show. The Big Bang Theory is one of the better written shows out there. The writers do their research and for the most part the science and geek talk is accurate. (Or at least is accurate enough to fool me.) The show even has a real scientist on the cast. (Mayim Bialik who plays Amy Farrah Fowler has a degree in neuroscience.) So, the tech talk is pretty solid, and yet they don’t slam us with such a degree of it that people like me are left glazy-eyed and confused. The jokes on the show are fun and geeky. Every episode brings geek culture references from movies, comics, to video games and geek idols.
The characters all interact well together. Leonard who is the shows “everyman” is the perfect foil for his roommate Sheldon. (There are those in the Autism/Asperger’s community who point out that Sheldon Cooper may well have Asperger’s Syndrome. My own experiences in this lead me to find merit in this thought.) Howard and Raj share a relationship akin to Jay and Silent Bob’s. Howard “player ways” have been tamed by Bernadette, who is a good match to Penny. Bring in Amy Farrah Fowler, a brilliant, and socially awkward, neuroscientist as a girlfriend for Sheldon and you have a cast that is solid through and through.
Like any sitcom The Big Bang Theory has its share of catchy lines and moments. Mostly these come from Sheldon. From his “Bazinga” to the Soft Kitty song and his need to knock three times. Leonard’s lactose intolerance is frequently mentioned. Howard’s delusion that he is a real ladies’ man has led to some amusing moments. Raj’s selective mutism around women is often hilarious, even more so when it becomes apparent that he can speak with women when drunk. Sadly being drunk also turns him into a bit of a jerk so he can’t really win.
All in all, I find that The Big Bang Theory is a funny show, with occasional moments of brilliance. It can be touching, fun and engaging and not a bad way to spend 30 minutes.
Now, on the other hand there are those out there who really dislike the show. I’ve looked into it, talked to a few people here and there and read some stuff. Here’s what I’ve come up with. (And despite my enjoyment of the show I find I agree with some of what detractors of the show say.)
The show makes use of a laugh track. It’s obnoxious and takes away from the quality of the writing. We’re smart enough to know when to laugh, thank you. (It’s noted that Chuck Lorre uses laugh tracks on all his shows.)
Like so many shows The Big Bang Theory falls prey to treating women as not much more than objects of desire or confusion. The shows main female lead, Penny, doesn’t even get a last name. (Although I think that by this time it’s become kind of its own “thing.” The eventual reveal of her last name will be made into a big deal… if they ever decide to do it.)
The geek talk is another problem area. It can be patronizing. It is geek humor written more for the non-geeks than it is the geeks. Every episode has references shoved into it willy-nilly. Sometimes the writing seems strained as they try to find a way to “geekify” it. There have been errors and sometimes, I’m told, the tech talk in inaccurate. (Any mistakes in science speak and tech talk tends to go over my head.)
Some people complain about the over use of Will Wheaton. He’s been in a lot of episodes. It’s been said that Guest Stars are a sign of a struggling show in seek of ratings. I’m not sure that’s applicable in this case, the show’s ratings are pretty solid.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve run into is about Sheldonmania. For as many people who adore Sheldon there are an equal number of people who loathe him. One feeling is that the show focuses too much on Sheldon, to the point that story lines suffer because they keep trying to fit more Sheldon jokes into things.
The catchphrases… again, as many people who love “Bazinga!” and Soft Kitty there are people who would be very happy to shoot both things into oblivion.
So, basically you have people who love the show. They find it clever and amusing and engaging. Then there are those who think the show is condescending and insulting to those of us in the “geek culture.” As I said, I enjoy the show, even while I admit it has flaws. I would enjoy hearing about others opinion on the show! Let the debate begin!