E! broke the news that The Big Bang Theory is renewed not for one season, but 3 more seasons, and this is why you should celebrate.
This makes my day! The Big Bang Theory is quite possibly my favorite show on basic cable…maybe it’s tied with Community. Those are two different comedy genres, so it’s not really fair to pit them against each other.
TBBT defined modern Geek Chic with Sheldon’s iconic overlaying double tees, Leonard’s hoodie hanging out of his jacket, Howard’s dickies, and Raj’s sweater vests. It’s brought a lot of attention to the fact that smart is sexy, funny, and Nerds create their own culture. Not everyone needs to succumb to mainstream standards to fit in. In fact, TBBT could even be credited with the huge acceptance of comic book movie success, the increase in sci-fi awareness, and could they even possibly be responsible for the significant increase in Syfy’s content quality? I would like to point out that Syfy’s first most popular show was Eureka, that was launched the same time as Big Bang. Eureka is still on the Netflix queue, however Warehouse 13 (once you get through the first season) is totally epic (basically, Claudia carries the show until chemistry finally kicks in between the book worm and vibe-guy). The point is, Syfy/Sci-Fi shows are getting bigger and better budgets with more and more mainstream following.
Or maybe I’m just noticing geek culture now? But I’d like to think it’s because of Big Bang Theory that so many people are OK with it. I’ve always been an intense, intense fan, and never before has it ever been this OK to swoon over Doctor Who and Sherlock. I could never get away with my intense love for X-files, Invader Zim, and Scrubs, I was totally shunned in school. It wasn’t cool to be a geek, so I had to adapt to make myself into what people wanted. That’s totally lame and no one should have influenced me to the point of not being who I was, but that’s what happened back then. Most likely, that’s what happened to a lot of the demographic that makes up the 19 million viewers between the ages 18-49. Now the entire world is on social media so niche cultures can connect and share easier than ever, and that sense of community has also most likely encouraged acceptance of oneself. Good for social media! And good for Big Bang.
Sometimes this show gets hate, but perhaps it’s really not for everyone. After all, 19.779 million viewers tune in weekly to watch it, and some of us at Larkable make up that number, so obviously someone likes it. There have been articles about how it’s not really about nerds, it’s too much, it’s disrespectful, and it’s sexist (just google “big bang theory criticism” and you’ll see what I’m talking about). Those articles are valid. I can’t say I haven’t seen that in the show. But I still love it.
I consider myself a nerd in the extreme. Because I was so cruelly teased in school, I’ve cut out wearing Sailor Moon t-shirts, using purses with show logos, reading novelizations of TV shows (yeah, you’re looking pretty mellow right about now, right?), and I certainly come off looking what I consider “mainstream.” That doesn’t mean I forgot the theme poem to the opening credits of Hercules, or haven’t seen all 10 seasons/3 movies/2 spin-offs of Stargate, or can’t sympathize in the fullest with poor Amy Farrah Fowler. If Amy hadn’t entered the scene, I might not have stuck around for the entire series, because the truth is Penny drives me up the wall. I don’t care for her in the least. But people–haters–need to understand she has to be there. She’s a point of constant resistance for Sheldon, tension for Leonard, and an opposite for Bernadette and Amy. Of course haters wouldn’t hang around Penny, but that’s why we don’t have TV shows following us around. We’re too smart to indulge in that kind of conflict, or associate with people who would bring us down like that, or don’t challenge us to always better ourselves. There’s nothing about Penny that makes Leonard better rather than prove he has arm candy and helps him actually dress up for a nice event. But as I’ve stated before, no one needs to be told how to be accepted. That’s society’s fault, not Leonard’s. Just because he’s more concerned with experimental physics than he is with his wardrobe shouldn’t demean his status in society. That’s not fair.
But it does make for a funny joke. Because–it’s probably safe to say–most of us in that 18-49 year old 19 million viewers have felt exactly like that. And it’s funny to watch it happen to someone else.
The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom. It’s a comedy. It’s filmed in front of a live studio audience like Full House (have you seen those reruns? That show was terrible and it was America’s favorite!). It’s award winning, it’s signed on for another 3 seasons, and the writing–while somewhat sexist (though it has improved with Bernadette, Amy, and even to some extent Penny), homophobic, demeaning, arrogant, and insensitive–is pretty good. I’ve seen several shows boil down to terrible jokes that are told and the audience is almost expected to laugh just because the timing was right. The delivery sucks. The characters deflate instead of grow. It’s just not funny. I’ve watched The Big Bang Theory when in a bad mood, the prime time for deciding if a show is actually funny or not. And it’s made me laugh. Every time. I love The Big Bang Theory. It has it’s faults, it pokes its fun, but overall, I just enjoy comedy. I want to laugh at over exaggerated satire. I want Sheldon to be a prick. I want Leonard to be an emotional masochist. And I want Bernadette to crush Howard’s misogynic view of women with her cute little heels, because he’s a good guy, just slightly twisted. I want Raj to stand up for himself that whether he actually likes men or women, he can say it and Howard can just deal with it. I want Howard to be OK with it! I want Amy to get some more self respect, and I’d like to see her in a different outfit. But if she doesn’t change her style, that’s OK. Because it’s TV. And I’m still going to be all about Shamy regardless of which way things go.
As long as the characters continue to grow, as long as the writing stays solid, as long as the science stays current and as long as the jokes keep me laughing even on my worse days, I’ll tune in.
You want equality? You want a dwarf to be a hero and a woman lead an army and have the handsome guy turn humbly modest? Watch Game of Thrones. The Big Bang Theory is just for laughs.