Big Bang Theory is ending at last?

That is good news: it’s a crap show, and the few times I saw it, it was agonizingly unfunny and relied on the audiences lack of understanding of what science nerds are actually like (hint: they’re mostly human, with just a few odd obsessions).

It’s been on twelve years, though? OK, somebody enjoyed it somewhere. I won’t be celebrating its demise, then, because I got all the celebrations out of my system when I saw it 11½ years ago and decided I wouldn’t be watching that garbage ever again. Therefore, the end of their run won’t affect my life in the slightest.


  1. nomdeplume says

    Agreed!!!! Possibly a show that has done much harm to the public understanding of science and scientists at a time when both were under strong attack from the Right. Still, I only saw one episode…..

  2. call me mark says

    My issue with BBT is that the whole premise of the show is basically a stalkers’ charter:

    Young attractive woman moves in next door to a geeky dudebro, who obsesses over her and pesters her until she finally agrees to sleep with him.

  3. says

    I never saw the show, but the actual theory is misnamed. There wasn’t any bang.
    The correct name is obvious — the Initial Singularity, which even spells “is” which is nice. I didn’t bother to enter the Sky and Telescope contest because I thought that was so obvious lots of other people would think of it.
    A Big Bang would be an orgy.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    Good Riddance! That show was a Nerd Minstrel Show. “Look at the geeks, kids! Aren’t they all unattractive and obsessed with that nerdy science shit! None of them will ever get laid! HA! Back in high school, I beat up two or three of those losers a week! One of the spazzes even committed suicide!”

    Yes, I have lingering issues from my adolescence. Why do you ask?

  5. mamba says

    There’s web series out there that takes Big bang Theory episodes and removes the laugh track and challenges anyone watching “If you weren’t TOLD to laugh at this, would you find it funny on your own?” I don’t like the show, but my sister does. So we watched 1-2 of these together, and even she had to admit that without the canned laughter, the show feels dull and lifeless. I pointed out I feel that way while watching the actual show and that’s because the jokes usually really aren’t that funny. Now she catches herself watching the show and seeing what I mean.

    The “nerd minstrel show” lasted 12 years on one joke. How it lasted that long tells you a lot about the people watching…it doesn’t have to be good to be popular. Ironic for a show that features such “smart” people, you really have to turn your brain down a lot to get into it.

  6. cartomancer says

    I actually rather liked the programme. Well, I did to start with. I thought it was a fun premise, and the characters were jolly and silly and cartoonish.

    It resonated with my British sense of humour – our greatest comic characters are all losers and misfits and thwarted misanthropes, so I found the main characters to be familiar and endearing. Stephen Fry compares the quintessential British sense of humour to the American one by setting up a little comic scene where a bumbling waiter spills soup on an angry customer. In an American comedy the protagonist would be the customer – endlessly annoyed at other people’s idiocy – while in a British comedy the protagonist would be the waiter, always screwing up despite his best intentions not to. I found Leonard’s hopeless infatuation, Sheldon’s manic obsessions, Raj’s feeble and thwarted attempts to fit in and Howard’s pathetic delusion that he was suave and sophisticated quite funny.

    One thing I really liked about the programme, while it was still good, was that it focused on relationships between close friends. In most American sitcoms, which are utterly dreadful, the focus is squarely on familial, romantic and sexual relationships. I think Big Bang Theory lost it when it stopped being about a gang of friends and started giving the main characters girlfriends, then wives and children. I found it very relatable up to that point, but then it stopped having any relevance to me – save bringing up the pain I feel now that my own friends have abandoned me to be in such relationships, which is not conducive to comedic television.

    The characters also changed and lost most of the quirks that made them fun – Leonard lost his hopeless infatuation, Sheldon became less quirky, Raj began to talk to people more fluently and Howard turned into a trite hen-pecked husband character, rather than a delusional lothario with an exaggerated sense of filial piety. Sheldon, in particular, I warmed to – because he was an unashamedly weird, self-absorbed neurotic who was accepted for doing his own thing and living life on his terms. That they decided to force him into a conventional relationship and marriage scenario ruined things for me – are we not allowed weirdly asexual characters who are happy in themselves?

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    Saw a few episodes back when. Jim Parsons is a talented actor, but the writers, aided and abetted by the physics consultants, had genius Sheldon write the one-loop QCD beta function on his whiteboard with a wrong sign. Utterly inexcusable.

  8. albz says

    @8 Rob: this could be an inexusable mistake. Or, it could be a smart move to have geeks discuss about it :)
    Anyway I like the show, what with all its stereotypes and all: it’s funny, and made my daughter actually go and search the meaning of some scientific terms she heard there.

  9. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Count me in the unfunny and glad it’s gone camp.

    I tried watching it after several of my (very non-scientific) friends said it was sooooo funny, and I would love it.

    After watching one complete episode, and trying to get through a couple random other episodes, I stopped trying. I like to describe it as a show that demonstrates what dumb people think smart people are like.

  10. kenbakermn says

    I actually like the show. Yes, it has many faults. I’m a real engineer and amateur scientist, I’ve interacted with many other engineers and scientists over the past couple of decades so I know the portrayals on the show are pretty far off the mark. Still, I enjoy it for simple entertainment.

    One thing I like, in a typical sitcom when someone tries to make some complex contraptions it almost always goes wrong to hilariously show how stupid the builder is. When the Big Bang characters make something it almost always works. So at least the show is not trying to make us laugh at the character’s stupidity, which gets boring. (Of course there are a few exceptions with supporting characters.)

    My two cents, and worth every penny.

  11. says

    I have a weird soft spot for this show: I started watching it as I thought it was a show “for geeks, about geeks” but was disappointed like many other people (tho many liked it obviously).

    BUT it lead me, via a blog post somewhere which shared my feelings of disappointment, to this other little show called Community which quickly became one of my all time favorites and so just for that it was worth it!! :)

  12. voidhawk says

    TBBT started badly, picked up between the 3rd and sixth seasons, then fell off the cliff. The final episode should have been Howard and Bernadette’s wedding on the roof of the apartment. By then, the main cast’s character arcs were finished, they were all on the verge of being too old to play the characters realistically, and it was genuinely heartwarming piece of television to cap the series off.

    (That said, the episodes partially set on the ISS were at least technically clever from a filmmaking perspective)

    I have no time for people who hate the show and are dancing on its grave after watching ‘one or two episodes.’

  13. rrhain says

    As a geek/nerd, having gone to the biggest science school in the world, living in the very city that Comic-Con is in, I know all of those characters. Sometimes, I am those characters.

    There’s no accounting for taste so go yell at a cloud if you so desire. Nobody made you watch it. But to say there was no truth in those characters is to completely misunderstand the art of caricature not to mention ignoring reality.

    Remember, Mayim Bialik is a PhD neuroscientist. When they show her in her lab, she’s actually doing what she studied. It’s even a meta-reference: In one episode, they’re preparing for a quiz bowl and they are thinking of who to get for the fourth (having kicked Sheldon out). They consider trying to get Bialik because they know she’s a scientist. To then have her join the cast was inspired casting.

    And I don’t think they’ve ever mentioned the connection, even to lampshade it.

  14. llyris says

    I watched it and enjoyed it for a while, in the beginning. This might be my Australian sense of humor, a bit more like the British than the American.
    And my brother is Sheldon. Recognisably Sheldon. My aunt one day asked if I had ever seen the show and said “Doesn’t Sheldon remind you of him??!!!” and we laughed about it. I mean, his friends even call him Sheldon.
    It really lost its appeal when someone pointed out that the empathy target was supposed to be Penny. That was so confusing. I thought it was Leonard.

  15. rietpluim says

    To be honest, I quite liked it in the early years, and the nerdy caricatures were so over the top that I thought they were funny.

  16. tomh says

    Such condescension. It’s been the most popular comedy on TV for years, so I guess someone liked it. Probably those plebeians who just don’t understand what science and scientists are really like.

  17. wcorvi says

    I am a theoretical astrophysicist, and like the show very much – actually, the only TV I watch (on the web). It’s gone through thick and thin, but overall was enjoyable.

    What bothers me are the people glad it is going away. Why not just change the channel? Let those who want to watch it do so, and you go do something else? Problem solved for everyone. Or do you just want to shove your views down everyone else’s throat?

  18. Ed Seedhouse says

    As to the laugh track, name one comedy show that is funny without it. I mean it is of course, cheap manipulation but guess what? Human beings are easily manipulable! Including you and me.

    I think BBT would be watchable without the laugh track, but not as a comedy. Essentially it really isn’t a comedy, it’s a show about human relationships with a laugh track to make it seem funny. Stories are more effective and more memorable when they seem funny to us. Almost all “comedy” shows are actually tragedies in my opinion.

    I like BBT by the way.

  19. sc_dfe82e1833205a06c91d66e6c93f469b says

    Apparently Stephen Hawking liked BBT, judging from his several cameo appearances in the series. (I also like BBT, and I am a geek.)

  20. Dauphni says

    What made me stop watching wasn’t the terrible unfunny caricatures, but the relentless onslaught of misogyny in every single episode. I guess they did get that part of geek culture right.

  21. says

    I liked the first five seasons, somewhat. It helped me to cope with depression.
    But then I stopped watching and never felt the need to either re-watch or to watch the new episodes.

  22. hemidactylus says

    The end of BBT won’t have much impact on my life. It is good they are dropping the curtain on it after such a long and successful run. It probably exceeded its recommended shelf life. The Strain was smart about limiting its series run to make its point. Wish more shows followed suit.

    I rarely watched new BBT episodes and only started watching it in TBS reruns several years into its lifespan. It is one of the less crappy shows on tv. Citing a spleen venting article about a show admittedly watched only a few times is woefully inadequate. I guess with all the really bad stuff going on in US society it makes us feel good to scoff at a show beloved by the hoi polloi and their benighted views of nerds. Penny represented the non-nerd Other outside the bubble of the Academy. She had people skills and knowledge of the mundane. It took them a while but they eventually developed the quirky roles of female professional scientist counterparts to the core dudebro clique. That counts for something. And Sheldon’s biblethumping mom was a much more likable person than Leonard’s. And Sheldon’s nemeses were priceless: Leslie Winkle, Barry Kripke, Wil Wheaton.

    BBT will live on in syndication as has Scrubs. The latter misrepresents medical professionals as BBT does physicists. And Scrubs too (quoting PZ’s cite sarcastically): “…was packed to the gills with empty “hot girl” characters” whatever that means.

  23. Ed Seedhouse says

    @28: “The Simpsons, Futurama, Arrested Development, My Name is Earl, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Community, Parks and Recreation.”

    The last of which is the only one I found consistently funny.

    I concede that BBT is only funny with a laugh track but enjoy it anyway. Maybe the Simpsons would be tolerable with a laugh track, it isn’t to me without one. Does “Corner Gas” have a one? I think it would be funny either way but perhaps only because it presses my Canadian buttons, eh?

  24. ricardus says

    Why are people calling it “canned laughter” and a “laugh track”?

    The show is filmed in front of a studio audience. Criminy. Is it augmented? Don’t know.

    And I bet the test that people have suggested of watching it without the laughs, would be true for most sitcoms, because most aren’t that funny. That said, I have had some genuine laugh out loud moments watching the show.

    From what I have seen at cons, the geek audience seems to be 50/50 on BBT. Half think it’s laughing at us, and half think it’s laughing at us. I do find it mostly enjoyable.

    I have watched a lot of criticisms of the show on youtube, one called something like “adorkable misogyny of BBT” or something like that, and I don’t disagree. It has a lot of issues, but I find the characters likable to keep watching.

    One issue I have with it, as someone on the spectrum is that they have never identified Sheldon as being on the spectrum. To my eyes he surely is. I have seen people at con panels (SDCC) applauding them for not doing that for various reasons, but I think it’s more damaging than harmful. I GUARANTEE you there are millions of people around the world who relate to sheldon, but don’t know why. I was diagnosed in my 40s, and wish I had been diagnosed earlier, when some special education would have benefited me. Knowledge is power, and even being diagnosed in my 40s was helpful. It explained a lot of social failures that span my entire life. At this point they really can’t identify him as being on the spectrum, because they’ve made fun of him for it for the entire run of the show. It wouldn’t be cool for them to have been making fun of someone with a diagnosable condition for the past 11 years.

    The show really did cross a line for me 2 or 3 seasons ago when Adam Nimoy and WIl Wheaton were on the show, and Adam was interviewing Sheldon for his Spock Doc. At one point in the ep sheldon talked about how he had an engagement ring for Amy (Penny freaked out) and Sheldon talked about how it was a family heirloom except for a brief period when some native american indians cut off his great great great grandmother’s ring finger and stole the ring. Wil said “oh that’s horrible” and sheldon replied, “Oh no, the Texas Ranger hunted down the indians and slaughtered every last one of them, so alls well that ends well” (or something similar).

    So when did native american genocide become an acceptable sitcom punchline? I mean talk about tasteless, to say the least.

    I just want to know how this joke made it to the air. It must have gotten past several levels of scrutiny. Fist some writer had to propose the joke, and then other writers in the room had to laugh and think it was OK. Then the producers had to OK it, and then the actors read their scripts and had to think it was OK to say out loud. Then finally the CBS censor or network person had to think it was OK.

    Why did not ONE of these people say, “Um… gee whiz guys, we can’t use this joke, it’s HORRIFYING.”

    I meant WTF?

    The best answer I can come up with is that they thought they were doing a super woke comment on the genocide… or something. All I know is in the moment, I thought of 4 different jokes they could have used there that would have elicited laughter.

    If I ever run into Bill Prady at a con I am going to ask him about this.

  25. hemidactylus says

    Atlanta and Detroiters work without a laugh track. Atlanta is only marginally a comedy. The parts that are funny are epic, such as the agent who mistook Earn for someone else and he unfortunately played along or the set-up at the nightclub for the invisible car scene.

    Surprised someone mentioned Always Sunny. If Big Bang could cause offense, steer well clear of Always Sunny.

    One show that offended me so badly I stopped watching was The Detour. Wince!

  26. consciousness razor says

    The last of which is the only one I found consistently funny.

    That wasn’t the challenge. I don’t think any show is consistently or unfailingly funny (through most of every single episode, let’s say), whether or not it has a laugh track (or a studio audience, although that isn’t really the same thing).

  27. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ed Seedhouse @31:

    Does “Corner Gas” have a one [laugh track]?

    No, praise Jebus. Sad day when that show ended. And the animated version doesn’t work for me.

  28. pacal says

    I am amused by the people getting upset over PZ expressing dislike for TBBT. Why are you upset? He didn’t like the show – so? As for TBBT I myself am not fond of the show. Mainly because I find the four lead characters in desperate need of death. They are in my opinion despicable people (The characters that is.). Compared to that the distortion of Geek Culture, the Misogyny, Homophobia, and covert contempt for Science are minor problems.

    I myself rather like Married With Children, but I get why people despise it and frankly I get why people like TBBT. I, like PZ, am not one of those people.

  29. tacitus says

    As to the laugh track, name one comedy show that is funny without it.

    Assuming you mean a show with the laugh track removed, there is a classic example: MAS*H.

    When the BBC bought the UK rights to broadcast the show, they made the decision not to use the laugh track. It was one of the most popular TV shows on the channel it was broadcast on.

  30. vucodlak says

    I sort of liked the show at first. Contrary to what my family insisted, it wasn’t the greatest thing I’d ever seen, but it was ok. I didn’t care for the fact that a lot of the jokes were based on Sheldon being non-neurotypical, but I knew what people would say if I said anything. I kept my mouth shut, lest I be called oversensitive yet again.

    Then they introduced the guy with the speech impediment, who we’re supposed to laugh at specifically because of said impediment. I know exactly what the “defense” will be, because I’ve heard it several times- that he’s a terrible person, so it’s ok. No, it isn’t. We’re not laughing at him for being terrible; that’s fig leaf. The laugh track doesn’t just, or even mostly, play when he’s being awful. It plays when he “talks funny.”

    The there’s Howard’s mother, the living embodiment of a fat joke. Conveniently, we never see her, so it’s not like she’s a person or anything. I think my favorite “joke” about her is when she had a heart attack and fell off the toilet, which was of course accompanied by a comically exaggerated BOOM! and the whole house shaking. Haha- she might have died! It’s funny when fat people die, especially if they’re women!

    The show punches down. A lot. Fuck that noise. Oh, and before anyone says “but you’ve only seen a few episodes,” I’ve probably seen 75% of the show. My entire family loves it, so it’s been difficult for me to avoid.

  31. says

    I was not fond of the show. It seemed to be about a monster named Sheldon who tortured his friends and controlled his girlfriend by withholding affection for her, when he wasn’t treating her as a helpmeet. The geeky behaviour didn’t resemble that of real geeks or nerds, as most of the geeks I know are far more functional than these. Most of all, the show was laughing at the geeks, not with them.

    It’s a joyless show. There’s something fundamentally cruel about it.

    Actually, I tell a lie: there was one joyful sequence I remember, when Howard and Amy found themselves in a car with a tape deck and a shared love of Neil Diamond. It was a joy because it showed fannish people bonding over a genuine love for something, rather than scattering nerd-references around like easter eggs, hoping it would give the show some cred.

  32. mnb0 says

    @21: “As to the laugh track, name one comedy show that is funny without it.”
    The Dutch version of Archie Bunker that lasted four seasons is hilarious.

    And all pretty normal characters.

    If you recognize the stereotypes in Fassbinder’s Lola this movie is one of the funniest movies of all time, because it’s a scathing critique of post-war Germany.

  33. robro says

    I don’t watch TV and I never saw even a snippet of this show so will refrain from expressing an opinion about it, although I suspect the title refers to something more prosaic than a modern cosmological theory.

    ricardus asked, Is the laughter augmented? Almost certainly even if it’s filmed with a live audience. In fact, it’s possible that it’s recorded to minimize picking up audio from the live audience so they don’t have to scrub out inappropriate stuff, keep the audience reaction balanced, and not mess up their timing. Plus, how funny is a bad joke if they have to reshoot the scene several times.

    In the last year or two that I watched TV I almost always watched with the sound turned off, primarily so I could noodle on my guitar. Quit a revelation to see how it looks.

  34. DanDare says

    My favourite moment was when the gang were setting up to bounce a laser off the reflector on the moon left by the Apollo missions. Penny had her know nothing boyfriend with her who was worried they might blow the moon up. Leonard removed his anxiety by telling him they put the laser on stun.
    There was a lot at play in that scene.
    1 you really can do what they were doing.
    2 if you understand the science it’s awesome. If you don’t it’s kind of so what.
    3 penny has grown up in the sports jock world but is seen to be warming to the idea of knowledge being cool.
    4 penny is realizing this is socially awkward for her as she likes her boy friend and other friends so there is a dilemma.
    5 Leonard is thoughtful enough to identify the boyfriend needs reassurance and doesn’t sneer at his ignorance. However his quip about set it on stun doesn’t do more than cover the problem. Made me laugh though.

  35. hotspurphd says

    I tried two or three episodes twice and didn’t like it at all, but unlike PZ and still me others don’t don’t think of it as “crap”. Eye of the beholder .
    I rather liked a number of comments by people who liked the series.
    Like@20 wcorvi
    “24 August 2018 at 11:09 am
    I am a theoretical astrophysicist, and like the show very much – actually, the only TV I watch (on the web). It’s gone through thick and thin, but overall was enjoyable.
    What bothers me are the people glad it is going away. Why not just change the channel? Let those who want to watch it do so, and you go do something else? Problem solved for everyone. Or do you just want to shove your views down everyone else’s throat?”

    Yeah, why are you glad that a show that millions of people enjoy is going away?
    Condescension, I agree.

  36. hemidactylus says

    @47- DanDare

    Zack wasn’t as stupid as portrayed prima facie-

    “The guys are describing what they smell in the wine, except for stopped-up Leonard. Zack comes by to say hello. Zack sees that they are married and wonders if it’s to each other. Despite breaking up with Leonard and keep coming back to Zack, he was always rooting for them. The guys tell Zack about their navigational system and he wonders if it could be misused by the military. Zack then asks if it better than the one they’re using now. “Yea!” they exclaim as they realize that the military would want it. Zack then wonders if they really are smart.”

    That is one of the cases where counternarrative the mundane people win the day in the show.

  37. susans says

    @15: Mayim Bialik is an anti-vaxxer and promotes homeopathy. An anti-science scientist.

  38. billforsternz says

    The BBT reliably delivered engaging and gentle humour for many seasons. Admittedly the quality has fallen away latterly, the writers are clearly exhausted and no doubt the only reason to continue in recent years is reluctance to shut down a monetary fire hose. But I will remember it fondly, it will be up there in the pantheon of superior American sitcoms I’ve enjoyed; Barney Miller, Taxi, Cheers, MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Scrubs, Modern Family. Probably others that don’t immediately spring to mind.

    PZ says “it’s a crap show”. He saw a few episodes and “decided I wouldn’t be watching that garbage ever again.”. Sure, different strokes for different folks. But this still seems like bizarre, tone deaf and weird commentary to me. PZ is apparently quite happy to watch an endless stream of pointless superhero movies that aren’t even made for an adult audience. So perhaps I shouldn’t be expecting reliable or even worthwhile thoughts from him on the subject of popular entertainment.

  39. kaleberg says

    I never got into Big Bang Theory. I did enjoy Real Genius, misogyny and all. It did capture something real, misogyny and all. Sad, that, but horribly honest.
    I wonder if any sitcom writers know about Polly Matzinger, the immunologist who was working as a cocktail waitress when she overhead a discussion of protective mimicry of butterflies and asked why no animal mimics a skunk. One of the scientists discussing was so impressed that he slowly sold her on the idea of becoming a scientist and sort of sucked her into getting her PhD. She developed the damage, not self/non-self, idea of immunology, achieving a breakthrough insight while taking a shower. The comic possibilities are obvious.

  40. chigau (違う) says

    I didn’t watch BBT during its run because … no TV, no cable, etc.
    In the most recent two months because reasons, I have been watching reruns for a couple of hours per day. The episodes I have been watching seem to be from very early to very recent.
    I have yet to see “engaging and gentle humour”.
    Lots of nasty, mean-spirited, cruel, punching down.
    (well also punching up and punching sideways)
    and blatant misogyny
    and blatant racism
    oh well, good for the occasional chuckle

  41. Ed Seedhouse says

    PZ, along with everyone else, is perfectly entitled to hate BBT and doesn’t need to explain his preferences to anyone, least of all me. Our tastes in this differ, but I am nearly 75 and not really interested in fighting about it.

  42. skybluskyblue says

    Surely there’s a way to make a comedy show with elements of science and the humorous aspects of the lives of scientists and science lovers without misogyny, ableism, sane-ism, fat phobia, homophobia, rank cruelty [without humorous condemnation/correction], and overall harmful stereotypes about autistic people?
    “Recent research, engaging with autistic people as partners rather than simply observing them, suggests that we have badly misunderstood the interior life of autism – as I will show, these cold, naive characters are nothing more than literary tropes.”

    Writers of all genera of material need to be more creative and not just full of trope-ideas that their studio bosses think the public will like.

    If a show these days was based on racist stereotypes of black people, for example, it would not be tolerated. So why is harmful stereotype-based “humor” about some of the most vulnerable and mistreated people in our society tolerated? It is bad enough that some supposed “charities” use fear mongering about autistic people to get donations [Autism Speaks does this– (did you know they used to be anti vaccine BTW?)], but lately several sitcom shows make us look like heartless jerks or like an inhuman alien species?

    I am so happy the show it is ending but it has done its damage to several marginalized groups not least of them is non-neurotypical people. It is 100% possible to write wonderful shows and even comedies with autistic people in them without it being, like others have said, a minstrel show where every harmful stereotype is used to get a laugh out of the dominant populations at our expense. It ran for 12 years. Now there is a whole generation that has been misled. It did not have to be this way. Read the linked Aeon essay on writing about autistic people to see how it is possible to “do it right” (it has an audio version of it available).

  43. marinerachel says

    I won’t watch anything with Miyam Bialik in it. I don’t need to help popularise people who treat vaccination as optional if it gives parents bad feelings.

  44. says

    I have occasionally been exposed to The Big Bang Theory and I got the same vibe from it as I got from Two and a Half Men, which is that I was losing an IQ point for every minute I spent watching. The two series share the same writer, IIRC, Chuck Lorre.

  45. says

    I watched the first 5 or 6 seasons with my wife when we were first dating but had to eventually pull out of watching because there was at least an average of 3 or 4 trans jokes a season and I really don’t like watching a show that mocks me. It punched down at many many other groups as well.

  46. andyo says

    I just didn’t watch the show cause simply it wasn’t funny to me from what I’d sampled and it’s a typical CBS show, so I didn’t really have any strong feelings like comedy nerds have against it (who by the way can also be very assholish, these are the Rick and Morty and Always Sunny fans that post idiotic troll memes like this).

    But then I saw this video a while ago: The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory. Now I really dislike it.

    #56, thanks for that video, it’s from the same guy, I didn’t realize he had made another one.

  47. methuseus says

    @wcorvi #20:

    What bothers me are the people glad it is going away. Why not just change the channel? Let those who want to watch it do so, and you go do something else? Problem solved for everyone. Or do you just want to shove your views down everyone else’s throat?

    When family used it to make fun of me and then assume I loved it (I really don’t) that makes me glad it’s now gone in some way. I’m still not trumpeting it, and PZ barely mentioned it. Look at his longer posts to see what he writes when he really dislikes something. Also, the very first episode made me very uncomfortable in many ways.

    @Ed Seedhouse:

    As to the laugh track, name one comedy show that is funny without it.

    The Office. Scrubs. Community. Parks and Recreation. Episodes. Dinosaurs. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Superstore. The Simpsons. Arrested Development (haven’t seen the new seasons yet). New Girl. Malcolm in the Middle. The Orville. I could go on. Many have made me laugh my ass off without a laugh track.

    @kalegerg #52:

    I never got into Big Bang Theory. I did enjoy Real Genius, misogyny and all. It did capture something real, misogyny and all. Sad, that, but horribly honest.

    I still love Real Genius, but recognize the problematic parts of it. Yes, it’s much more like reality than Big Bang Theory was, at least for the about a third of the episodes I’ve seen.

    @chigau #53:

    I have yet to see “engaging and gentle humour”.
    Lots of nasty, mean-spirited, cruel, punching down.
    (well also punching up and punching sideways)
    and blatant misogyny
    and blatant racism

    Exactly why I really don’t like it and haven’t changed my mind after further viewings. Never liked it, in fact. Well, I have rarely chuckled at certain lines, but no actual belly laughs like other shows I actually enjoy.

    Obviously, people can like a show I don’t, but this show is particularly problematic in some ways, especially as shown by the videos that have been done by Pop Culture Detective shared by Matthew Ostergren and andyo.

  48. says

    I used to watch it and kept watching it out of habit, despite the horrible aspects. The sexism, the racism, the homophobia, the fat-shaming, it was all there and I was aware of it but it was more background noise. Then one episode Howard was mentioned a sex worker – either a stripper or a prostitute – and the “joke” was that she had an Adam’s apple and it was like I was jerked awake. All of the rest of the bigotry was always there, but when a new one is just thrown in there and spoken out loud it’s like being doused with cold water.

    The additions of Bernadette and Amy to the show were improvements – hey, women can be smart and geeks too! Except there was still a division as to what female nerds are supposed to like and what is supposed to the domain of men. Anything to do with the comic shop was particularly egregious about this. For the most part I still don’t mind the way Amy is written because, while I’ve no doubt it’s entirely accidental, she exists as a counter to one of the more prevalent Nice Guy/incel/manosphere imaginings of women – that we can all get male attention just by snapping our fingers. Bernadette on the other hand, oooooooh. While Howard is still presented as entirely unsympathetic most of the time, she’s still portrayed alternately as a “shrew” and mother replacement for Howard (especially after his mother died).

    And then there’s Raj, where most of the racism and homophobia is tied up in one neat bow. To get the homophobia out of the way first, a lot of the “jokes” about him is that he is nurturing and enjoys some stereotypically female coded things. There was once a point that people thought he would end up with Stuart (the comic shop owner) because ha ha neither of them could get a woman so they’d have to turn to each other.

    But one thing I’ve become more aware of lately (and this is why “shut up and listen” matters, and I shut up and listened to Asian Americans) is how Asian people are depicted in American pop culture, and in this case, Asian men. How so often they are completely de-sexualized, and how much more de-sexualized can a straight (or straight-ish) man be that he literally can’t talk to women? Yes they finally scrapped that nonsense, but of the four main male characters, he’s still (or was when I stopped watching) the only one not in a relationship.

    So yeah, it’s a bad show and I feel bad that I ever watched it.

  49. says

    I only watched a few episodes of the show, so I’ll temper my comments a bit. I found to the show to be mildly amusing, despite not being into sitcoms. I can see how some people with a scientific background could find it to be funny. OTOH, I have a PhD in the natural sciences and worked 35+ years with PhDs in physics, earth sciences, math, etc … and observed them to be a diverse group of people in terms of personality types and interests. But none of them fit the caricatures presented by the writers of TBBT. That’s OK, insofar as it being entertainment. However, the thing that bugs me is that the drawing of the characters on the show plays to a tendency in our society to ridicule people who have an interest in science. Or … perhaps pursuing any form of higher education.

  50. blbt5 says

    I liked BBT, at least the first few seasons. It was positive PR for scientists, and with the planet under constant attack from science deniers and their puppet-masters, one can’t be too picky. But I stopped watching after the Amy character was introduced, because despite the brilliantly inspired acting and comic timing of Jim Parsons, he can’t play straight. Having an obviously gay character in a relationship with a straight woman was just too ridiculous – and cowardly on the part of the producers. Why not a boyfriend for Sheldon? Now that would have made Young Sheldon a lot more interesting! .

  51. says

    @Bblbt5 #66

    Jim Parsons can’t play straight? So you can tell who is gay and straight by how they act? I am glad you have such well defined ‘gaydar’. I would love to see a gay – or even better ace – Sheldon for representation but you can’t immediately tell a gay or straight person from how they act or talk or anything other than their stated preference and preferred partner.

  52. Phrenomythic Productions says

    Well, I for one thought the show is brilliant and have enjoyed it with family so far, however flawed it may have set out to be and however off-putting it may look on the surface to some. I’m aware that’s an unpopular opinion these days in certain circles.

  53. Phrenomythic Productions says

    I’m fine with people not liking the show, or being uninterested in investing in it. However, those videos by Jonathan Macintosh are a prime example of cherry-picking hack-job to fit a preconceived narrative. I guess you have to one of those like me and my wife who watched all seasons several times to understand that, no, misogynistic behaviour is almost never rewarded or made adorkable.