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Who could have imagined a TV sitcom based on four nerds and their attractive next-door neighbour would have lasted this long, yet here we are. It's ten years to the day since The Big Bang Theory graced our screens, and has since pumped out an impressive 231 episodes over its lifetime.
Depending on who you ask, it's either a witty comedy that promotes science, or it's a painful experience that perpetuates negative stereotypes of a typical geek with misogynistic undertones. And there are plenty of comments in between.
Like many shows in the sitcom realm, it relies on heavily emphasised puns with a laughing track to ensure that the audience knows that that line was supposed to be funny. However, a post went viral last year for pointing out that The Big Bang Theory's idea of humour is a bit off.
This perfectly encapsulates why I hate "The Big Bang Theory" pic.twitter.com/G2P4TLyUKy
- Lyle McDouchebag (@LyleMcDouchebag) January 27, 2016
The video focuses on the dialogue produced by Simon Helberg's character Howard Wolowitz, which says: "So it's settled. The fate of Doctor Who's Tardis will be decided by a Game of Thrones inspired death match on the battlefield of Thundercats versus Transformers."
It's worth noting that the punchline appears to be a throwback to something referenced earlier in the episode. However, it drives to the heart of why the show is so heavily criticised by some viewers, because it tries to make jokes out of saying things that would be classified by the masses as 'nerdy', but without much actual comedy.
The Big Bang Theory sucks.
It's an insult to geek culture, nerds, scientists, women, smart people, comedy writing and television itself.
- Daniel Jung (@trulyolaf) September 14, 2017
big bang theory sucks for a bunch of reasons but mostly its just really not funny? like at all?
- mike (@PLAYKILLER7) September 18, 2017
If you want to see whether you find the jokes funny without a handy prod from a laughing track, watch some of the videos where it's been taken out. When people aren't heard giggling at the digs at the female characters or the protagonist's varying personality characteristics that are supposed to be 'comedic', it makes for very uncomfortable watching.
Granted, you could do this with a bunch of sitcoms, like Friends and How I Met Your Mother, but ask yourself whether you think the comedy is comparable. In a YouTube video titled The Adorkable Misogyny by Pop Culture Detective, Jonathan McIntosh says: "Adorkable misogynists are male characters whose geeky version of masculinity is framed as both comically pathetic and endearing.
"And it's their status as nerdy nice guys that then lets them off the hook for a wide range of creepy, entitled, and downright sexist behaviours. These types of characters are shown engaging in a variety of harassing, entitled, and sexist behaviour where women are concerned.
"They consistently stalk, spy on, lie to, and try to manipulate the women in their lives. They're overbearing, they refuse to take 'no' for an answer, and they often ignore the basic tenets of consent."
Again, there are elements of those attributes present in Ross from Friends and Barney in HIMYM, but none of these shows have virtually all the characters making these jokes. The female characters in BBT try to level the playing field, but are usually drowned out by their male counterparts and become the butt of the punchline.
A show doesn't become CBS's most watched programme in the US for 18-49-year-olds for no reason. And of course, we'll get people saying that BBT is just too smart for regular folk and that's why they don't 'get it'.
If you're a fan of the show then you'll be overjoyed at the idea of a spin off series called Young Sheldon is set to begin in November.
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