When we think of sitcoms and their characters, a few stock characters come to mind- the lovable idiot, the Casanova and the diva, to name a few.
The story mostly revolves around their escapades. But The Big Bang Theory did things differently. What are the factors behind The Big Bang Theory’s success? Let’s see!
1. Quick Review
With a fresh and unusual story and an amazing cast, The Big Bang Theory achieved a milestone in the comedy genre. Unfortunately, the comedy in the later seasons could not match the comedy of the first few seasons.
2. Series Info
The Big Bang TheoryAir Date: September 24, 2007 Status: Finished Studio: Chuck Lorre Productions, Warner Bros. Television No. of Seasons: 12 No. of Episodes: 279
3. Is It Worth Watching?
The Big Bang Theory has a comedy style that is very unlike other sitcoms and comedy shows. So yes, definitely worth your time and a good number of watches and rewatches!
Central to the narrative of The Big Bang Theory are four men who are also co-workers- Leonard Hofstader, an experimental physicist; Sheldon Cooper, a theoretical physicist; Howard Wolowitz, an aerospace engineer and Raj Koothrappali, an astrophysicist. While they have a flourishing career in CalTech, their life outside work is weirdly limited. Though they are geniuses sharing an amazing wealth of knowledge, they are socially awkward ‘nerds’ and this sets the tone for the entire story.
Each of them has a specific personality issue that hinders them from freely socialising with people.
The show begins when Penny, an easygoing and cheerful woman, moves next door to Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment. Leonard feels an instant attraction to her. But very soon, it becomes clear to the audience that Penny is not as smart as Leonard; in fact, they are as different as they could possibly be.
But the guys are not nerds by choice (except for Sheldon); they often try to break free from their geeky tendencies, which inevitably result in hilarious situations.
II. Detailed Analysis
The Big Bang Theory is given credit for bringing nerds into popular culture. Before the show premiered, nerds did not make good enough characters for prime time television or sitcoms. They were boring or simply not relatable.
The Big Bang Theory not only made four great characters out of scientists but also represented a certain section of the population that was previously never shown onscreen before.
When the showrunners added Penny’s character to the story, they made sure that the audience had a way to connect to the geeks of the show.
The show is also a great example of how knowledge and comedy can be perfectly balanced. If someone does decide to listen to the scientific jargon and look up all science problems that the scientists on the show encounter, they will find that these are not made-up problems at all; these are active areas of research in reality.
But at the heart of the show is the four guys’ antics- those are bound to make anyone laugh, science nerd or not. Their hobbies which include comic books, collecting merchandise, paintballing, playing video games and Dungeons and Dragons, testing their theories with experiments and fanboying over Star Wars and Star Trek, stitches together an accurate portrayal of nerds.
However, the plus points of The Big Bang Theory turn into its drawbacks. The show relies too much on the stereotypes of nerd culture to propel its story. As the show progressed, the characters developed and slowly lost their nerdiness. This meant that the show lost its uniqueness. The level of comedy declined as well leading to a loss of viewers.
Sheldon Cooper is the outstanding character of The Big Bang Theory. He is the only one who is proud of the ‘geek’ tag. His IQ is 187, which makes him a certified genius. Sheldon is well aware of his intelligence and fully uses it in his work and hobbies. Social norms and practices are beyond his understanding and quite frankly, beneath him.
His interactions with Penny is one of the most entertaining aspects of the show.
Sheldon Cooper has been such a fan favourite that after The Big Bang Theory ended, there was a spinoff show called Young Sheldon which revolved around Sheldon’s life as a child prodigy in an ordinary Texan family.
In fact, Jim Parsons, who played the role of Sheldon Cooper, received four Emmys for his perfect portrayal of the character.
Sheldon might be a unique character but the show would not have worked without any of the other characters. Leonard, played by Johnny Galecki, is the shy, insecure and the most ‘non-geek’ of the four. He had a sad childhood because his mother was cold and distant. She looked at him as a psychological project rather than her own child.
Even with all his issues, the audience realises that Leonard’s love for Penny is genuine. Of the four guys, it is Leonard that everyone sympathises with the most.
Simon Helberg plays Howard Wolowitz, the only one who does not have a PhD among the four. Howard believes that he is a smooth-talking ladies’ man. Unaware to him, his ‘smooth-talking’ is far from charming to the ladies. It is very close to creepy.
Kunal Nayyar’s Raj Koothrappali is another great character. During the earlier seasons, Raj struggles with selective mutism whereby he cannot speak in the presence of women. This leads him to be completely dependent on his best friend Howard, for any type of communication. Although he overcomes this deficiency in the later seasons, Raj with selective mutism is a much funnier character than Raj without it.
Raj and Howard’s bromance is another appealing part of the show. It is guaranteed to get a few laughs out of the audience.
The opening song is an asset to the show. Created by the band The Barenaked Ladies, it is not only catchy but it also explains the subject of the show very effectively. In under 15 seconds, the song recaps the most important scientific events that led to the creation of the world, starting with the big bang.
5. Final Thoughts
Even though the show starts with a great premise, the charm factor dries up after a few seasons. Storylines become slightly repetitive and slow. Nevertheless, The Big Bang Theory is definitely worth a watch because of its unique characters.Originally Written By Epic Dope