The Big Bang Theory is an American television show created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. The series premiered in 2007 and is halfway through their 9th season and continues to be one of the highest rated comedies on TV. The show follows two nerdy and socially awkward physicists, Leonard and Sheldon, played by Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons, who become the new neighbors of a sexy blonde named Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco. Leonard quickly becomes infatuated with Penny and basically starts gushing over her like the Captain of the Chess Club with the Prom Queen.
To be honest, I really enjoyed the show at first. The writing was clever, the characters were sometimes annoying but could still deliver laughs and they actually tackled some nerdy topics like Dungeons and Dragons, online gaming addiction, World of Warcraft and so forth. Although now, I can’t help but feel like the show isn’t as clever or funny as it used to be. There are a few reasons for this, in my opinion, and I would like to count them down starting with the most obvious:
1. Sheldon isn’t funny anymore
Sheldon was at his best during the first few seasons because they portrayed him as a quirky, annoying but still likeable guy with a social disability. He was basically the TV asshole that has become popular in a lot of comedy shows. These are the characters that everyone loves for being so mean, cynical and funny but everyone goes “Aww” when they do something nice for someone else. Other famous TV assholes include Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation), Barney Stinson (How I met your Mother), Dr. Perry Cox (Scrubs), Charlie Harper (Two and a Half Men), Jay Pritchett (Modern Family) and many more. Anyway, Sheldon quickly stole the show and the writers needed to incorporate him into every episode… and it’s way too exhausting.
The joke with Sheldon is that he doesn't understand how other people act in social situations and he would either embarrass himself or others around him. For a while, it was funny but now, he seems much more destructive and mentally-handicapped than socially awkward. A lot of the time now, I find myself just wanting Sheldon to shut up and let some one else talk or have a scene. I don’t think I’m the only one who cringed when Sheldon tried to give the black human resources lady a gangster handshake and a copy of the DVD “Roots” as a gift. The writers have yet to even remotely evolve his character from a socially awkward manchild and have just made him more talkative and annoying. Unfortunately, I just don’t see him changing any time soon.
2. Raj isn’t funny anymore either
I remember thinking that Raj was really funny in the first couple of seasons because he was the friend that couldn’t talk to girls unless he had consumed alcohol and it lead to some really funny moments and expressions. You also see him becoming successful with girls because he couldn’t talk to them and was more of a good listener, so he was kind of the accidental womanizer of the group for a short while… until they literally made him a woman. All Raj does now is complain how alone he is, how much he wants to find a girlfriend and how much he wants to show his friends and the audience that he is a metrosexual.
The writers have basically given him the “Alan Harper Syndrome” where they take a seemingly nice guy who just tries to be happy but constantly has misfortunes fall upon him and try to make him the most pathetic guy on the planet. Well, it wasn’t funny when Two and a Half Men did it after six seasons (coincidentally another Chuck Lorre show) and it’s not that funny here unfortunately. Like Sheldon though, they probably won’t change him much either.
3. The show portrays geeks very poorly
Ironically the show that made the geek community popular among viewers and common people kinda make geeks and nerds look… ridiculous. I guess that’s the idea because it’s a comedy show and they have to create quirky and weird personality traits for these characters so they can be thrown into comedic situations but do they have to make them so pathetic. We have all the stereotypes of nerds: Sheldon (The know-it-all nerd), Raj (The nerd afraid of women), Howard (The nerd with mother issues) and Leonard (The shy, overly nice nerd). They were funny at first until they made these character traits their only traits. Howard was still in love with his mother until she died and just turned him into manchild. Even after nine years Raj still complains about his relationships and how he'll never find a girlfriend and of course, Sheldon is still a big pain in the butt.
The only one who has shown any real growth in the series is Leonard who started out in the series as a shy, nice, people pleaser who spent the first two seasons crushing on Penny. Now he’s become a more sound minded, out-going person who stands up for himself every now and then. More on this later but Leonard has slowly but surely become my favorite character but the rest of the characters just seem like cut-outs of nerds of the '80s high school comedies. If you want a funnier show about nerds, check out The IT Crowd.
4. Penny and Amy have become very annoying and unlikable
The point of Penny as a character was that she was a popular, pretty blonde girl who wasn’t into the geek culture like the other main characters. This made her an identifiable character because many girls like her aren’t into things like Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies, comic books, or video games. However, we soon learn that she believes that movies like Lord of the Rings, The Marvel Cinematic Universe and other universally loved movies are things only nerds enjoy. We are in 2016 now, if you have not seen Lord of the Rings, superhero movies or Star Wars, then you are the one out of the loop. In fact, Penny has become more and more unlikable over the years and I don’t like it. At the beginning of the series, she wasn’t all that interesting because she was just a whiny, bimbo crying over her broken relationships and that’s not very funny or interesting.
It wasn’t until season 2 she started to become a likable three-dimensional character because she started butting heads with Sheldon more and they started to drop her inability to hold a relationship as her main character trait. They even had her dip her toe into the geek community by playing Age of Conan and she gets horribly addicted to it. This is probably still one of the show’s best episodes. Now Penny has gone back to her old roots of being insecure about her relationships and it is so boring and it makes her look really superficial and spoiled which is not a great personality trait. In the episode where Leonard and Penny double date with Howard and Bernadette on Valentine’s Day and she witnesses one of her old boyfriend’s getting engaged and she completely ignores Leonard and concentrates on staring at her old boyfriend. In another episode, Sheldon’s new assistant, Alex, asks Leonard out on a date and it gives Leonard a confidence boost like it would anyone else. Unfortunately, Penny pulls a guilt trip on him and gets mad at him for feeling good about another girl liking him and even guilts him enough to make HIM apology… for doing absolutely nothing.
Yeah, Penny has become kind of a terrible person and I haven’t even brought up the part when she used to be a bully and she stole clothes from the less fortunate. Another one who has become incredibly annoy is Amy, Sheldon’s girlfriend and perfect match… or at least she used to be. Amy was introduced into the series at the end of the third season after Howard and Raj signed Sheldon up for online dating, entered all of Sheldon’s information and Amy was suppose to be his perfect match. Although, what exactly do these two have in common. Sheldon loves comic books, Star Wars, Star Trek, video games and model trains; Amy does not like any of these. Amy enjoys playing music, she likes Downton Abby and going to social gatherings; Sheldon does not. When we were first introduced to Amy, she is actually completely like Sheldon with her monotone voice, social awkwardness and condesending attitudes but now Amy has turned into more of a Penny clone who doesn’t understand her boyfriend’s nerdy ways… because we really need three of these girls as regulars
5. The show almost has nothing to do with geeks now
Probably the biggest complaint I have with the show is that the show barely has any content that really aims at nerds anymore. Yeah, we might get a Lord of the Rings or Star Trek reference once in a while but those are just franchises known universally for being appealing to the geek culture. One example of this is Sheldon, who has been shown many times before for being a pretty big of the DC character “The Flash”. Well, why hasn’t Sheldon or any of the other guys been talking about it over the past few years of promos, previews, teaser and halfway through it’s second season? All the guys are shown for being big comic book geeks but they never have real geek conversations about upcoming Marvel movies, current Marvel movies, and TV shows including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Arrow, Agent Carter or any of the Netflix series.
The whole group is even a fan of the Justice League and they never bring up the Man of Steel movie or the upcoming Batman v Superman movie. Instead, the show has become about on again-off again romances, relationship issues, and men in they’re late thirties trying to grow up. I wouldn’t be so angry about this if the show didn’t advertise itself as the show about geeks and geek culture. I think it's safe to say that this show has become more like the black-face of geek culture.