YESTERDAY, it was announced that the upcoming season of The Big Bang Theory would be the comedy’s 12th and final season on the air.
The sitcom has served as one of the most popular shows on TV for many years, whether you like it or not, and it’s quite clear many do not. What’s less understood is why, exactly. Because especially in this instance, it seems as though the loudest detractors have seen the fewest amount of episodes.
What exactly did The Big Bang Theory ever do to you? It’s arguably one of the most innocent shows on the air, as it isn’t trying to be overtly offensive. Sure, it’s had its moments and its jokes might be outdated, but I promise you The Office has even more of those.
Just weeks ago, people were up in arms over Netflix’s dark comedy Insatiable , accusing it of body shaming and starting petitions to get it shut down, before any more than a two-minute trailer hit the internet. And even that show deserved to be released, though it was certainly riddled with many more issues than Big Bang.
There’s a sweet and simple nature to TBBT. The jokes might induce eye rolls and the studio audience laughter might not be music to your ears, but this show does not go out of its way to be edgy or offensive in ways that are decidedly political, racist, homophobic, or sexist the way other comedies do in attempts to be provocative.
It’s a show about a group of “nerds” yes, but these are also accomplished scientists and parents and loyal friends. Of course, the loudest Big Bang Theory critics are those that feel very protective over nerd culture, which comes with its own problems these days anyway.
It’s too bad if you don’t feel as though these TV characters represent you. But to the majority of America, they do. And that’s actually very much to your advantage — viewers now realise nerds can be funny and charming and not just locker stuffing.
The show has displayed nerd culture just as it’s blown up over the last 10 years. The characters that may have merely started out as those who identified as part of a subculture, are now the mainstream: they’re attending conventions, they’re standing in lines for the opening night of Star Wars movies, and they’re freaking out about spoilers on Twitter along with many, many others that do so in real life.
In fact, and you’re gonna hate this one, these characters would be scoffing at the idea of The Big Bang Theory, along with you!
There are going to be hundreds of shows that you feel don’t represent you, no matter what you identify as, and only a precious select few you do connect with. And that’s fine, but stop sh*tting on the things that you feel don’t represent you, as they mean a lot to someone else: in this case, perhaps scientists, especially the female ones, and yes, even select nerds.
Television critics are often quick to dismiss The Big Bang Theory as well, believing they have a taste that’s simply way too good for this show, as it has not reinvented the sitcom or really served as a revolutionary program in its multi-camera execution.
They’re very right in that they do have better things to watch, but they’re wrong in thinking this show isn’t important to people, that it doesn’t serve a purpose, and that it’s not quality entertainment for millions. You don’t have to watch, but there’s absolutely no need to be judging those that do.
While the sitcom has never diagnosed the brilliant yet obnoxious Sheldon (Jim Parsons) as having Asperger’s syndrome, which many speculate he might, he’s clearly showing signs of being on the spectrum, something many families are either struggling with, or learning about from this character.
As we’re desperate for young women to become interested in science and engineering careers, this show has highlighted several intelligent women in those exact jobs, even showing they can be smart at work and still find love (albeit, with goofballs) and in general, be dynamic characters.
Even Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a character we were designed to have low hopes for, has blossomed into a sensible, astute woman — oftentimes the smartest one of the bunch when it comes to basic human interactions (not to mention, Cuoco is a fantastic comedic actress).
Many people enjoy this show. Are they stupid for doing so? Or are they merely hardworking people who choose to end their day with an easy laugh? Again, The Big Bang Theory is not changing the television landscape, and believe it or not, that’s a big reason why many people enjoy this show.
It can be silly and stupid from episode to episode, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I learned what Schrödinger’s cat was from this show and not from a science class — and I’m not alone.
Just … stop cheering for a show to end that you don’t even watch and judging the people who do. Isn’t that a major peeve for the “enthusiastic fans” of nerd culture projects and yet they’re the ones perpetuating it? That’s a real Bazinga indeed.