Curb Your Enthusiasm, Pet: The Big Bang Theory

With it’s ninth season having just begun airing, The Big Bang Theory has quite literally exploded into pop culture, scientifically proven to lower brain cells and send nerd wannabes into cardiac arrest. For what started out as an ingenious concept, focusing on the everyday mishaps of what would typically be the side characters of most other ‘slice of life’ programmes, TBBT has evolved into a repetitive and indisputably unfunny sitcom that needs to become extinct.

Rather than celebrate ‘Geekdom’ like the criminally under-watched Community (and trust me, it’s taking every ounce of my strength to not make the entirety of this article just me writing ‘WATCH COMMUNITY INSTEAD’ repeatedly until my fingers bleed), TBBT simply mocks it, playing upon stereotypes of the socially awkward and copy/pasting an unbearable laugh track over ‘dorky’ buzzwords. “Dungeons and Dragons! Comic books! Anime!” it cries out, placing the audience on a higher moral pedestal than the protagonists who we’re meant to empathise with. No surprise then, that most regular viewers of the show aren’t even into the aforementioned hobbies, and merely watch to subconsciously make fun of characters who resemble the kids they bullied in primary school. You know the show is exploiting geek culture when DC Comics actually sponsors Sheldon’s Green Lantern shirt.

It’s a shame, as it could’ve been the perfect platform to get younger viewers into STEM subjects, but instead chooses to jeer at such disciplines. For example, there’s an episode where the group give a presentation to get girls into science, only for it to derail into Leonard complaining how he was forced into becoming a physicist by his parents.

TBBT didn’t just jump the shark; it did a quadruple flip on a flaming motorcyle, the show-runners diving into the water in cheap superhero costumes, all while Jim Parsons screams ‘BAZINGA!’”

It’s stereotypes like these that dominate most of TBBT – whilst some are due to lazy writing, such as mocking Howard’s Judaism, and ‘dumb blonde’ Penny, others are much more harmful and elitist, such as how we’re supposed to laugh at Raj’s hinted bisexuality. Most degrading though is Sheldon Cooper, who showcases multiple traits of Aspergers syndrome and so us often played for laughs, depicting him as a  nuisance to both his friends and society in a highly distasteful manner.

This isn’t even beginning to touch upon the show’s repetitive plotlines and shoddy pacing. TBBT didn’t just jump the shark; it did a quadruple flip on a flaming motorcycle, the showrunners diving into the water in cheap superhero costumes, all while Jim Parsons screams “BAZINGA!” as he frantically waves his Golden Globes. Howard has a girlfriend? Boom, married in two seasons! Sheldon and Amy have no chemistry and their relationship is borderline psychologically abusive? Jackpot! A chance to make more jokes about social anxiety and asexuality.

Despite this, TBBT  still prevails through natural selection. If the scientific explanation of our universe really involves continuous re-runs of a poorly written US sitcom on E4, consider me converted at the nearest nunnery I find.

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Zoë Godden

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