Why is The Big Bang Theory Popular?

I posed this question on our Facebook Page and I wanted to get more opinions.  Given that some shows I enjoyed thoroughly in the past aren’t doing it for me anymore it’s time to explore some shows that I need to see.  By the way those shows that are turning me off are The Office and 30 Rock.  I guess there’s just so much you can take of the same kind of humor episode after episode.

And just a side note.  I do happen to agree with Paul that Community isn’t that bad.  So while I continue combing television I just want to pose this debate/topic to our readers.  Honestly I haven’t seen more than 5 minutes of The Big Bang Theory so I can’t really give an objective opinion.  All I know is that historically I’m not a big fan of Johnny Galecki (ever since Rosanne he just annoyed me).

The only role I liked Jim Parsons in was Garden State where he played a weirdo named Tim who spoke Klingon and was banging Peter Sarsgaard’s mom.   And to be honest his face kind of freaked me out at the Emmy awards.  What the hell was going on there?  Plus the guy is stick thin and looks anorexic.  I don’t know.  He just scares me a little.

From the 5 or so minutes I did see?  They weren’t pleasant.   I felt that Parsons (who I assume carries the show) overacted and each line was so intense or something.  Tough to explain.   Kind of like how Jenna speaks on 30 Rock.    The main girl isn’t that hot so it bothered me.  Also, I get having a “geeky” show and all but I simply didn’t understand any of it.  Granted 5 minutes is not a lot but it’s definitely enough to piss me off…..a la Two and a Half Men.  You do NOT need more than five minutes to realize that show sucks.

So if any of you do like The Big Bang Theory, please tell me why and convince me to see it.  If you don’t like it, then blast it as well.  Your comments are appreciated…..

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34 Comments

  1. The -laughters every ten seconds- are pretty much killing the show.

    I guess if the show would try to be a little smarter (like they did the first couple of episodes) then it would be worth watching. The cast, while beeing absolute cliches, are really sympathic. It’s absolutely not a show to not like from deep down, but rather they doing it wrong.

  2. I used to think the show was funny only because I have a brother who is a physics major who acts just like Sheldon from the first season. Also being a geek I liked hearing the references made in the first season. Leonard’s character was very funny as the geek with a personality. Personally though, the only episodes after the frist season I found funny was the one w/Stan Lee in it. After the first season to me it stopped being funny.

  3. I strongly recommend giving the show another chance… Without knowing what “5-minutes” you supposedly caught, I can’t speak to whether it was funny or not. I say start from the first episode and go from there. The first 2 seasons are especially funny, but then again maybe it’s just my friends and I who enjoy this type of humor. Another thing, and I only find it annoying now because someone pointed it out to me, but they really need to lose the laugh track. I guess I never noticed it because I was always laughing at the appropriate times. Sometimes I really dislike it when people pick apart a good show to show you it’s flaws, just let me enjoy the show instead of telling me why I shouldn’t. (Not saying that’s what you’re doing, more or less what a certain friend might do.)

    Whether the characters in the show are cliches/stereotypes or not is beside the point. Just because a character may be a cliche, doesn’t make the character any less realistic. I know people like this, and they tend to travel in packs and stick together. You wouldn’t say that someone who plays a police office is acting too much like a cop. Would you?

    Without knowing what episodes these scenes occurred in, I would suggest trying to find clips of when Howard brings the gang to his mother’s house and just wait for something funny to happen. (Shouldn’t take long.) If you liked George’s mother on Seinfeld, then you should like Howard’s mom. Although, you never see what she looks like, I imagine a rather large woman, almost immobile.

    Also, the “original” pilot for the show, which I didn’t see until after the first two seasons, was awful. Thankfully they changed it up, and the show is much better for it. Sheldon and Leonard’s characters were somewhat similar to what they are now, but they toned Sheldon down a bit (he would have been much more obnoxious had they not). The “Penny” character (I don’t remember if that’s what they called her) was a terrible character, my guess is that’s why she’s not in the show. She was an extremely slutty, needy, dimwitted type of girl, hard to believe, right? Even if Penny is similar is certain aspects, she has redeeming qualities that help you like her, even if she does shoot herself in the foot at times.

    I don’t really want to go into why I like each character so much, for one reason, my response would be much much longer… Also, I’m at work and need to wrap this up. The point is, either you’re going to like the show or you’re not. Until you sit down and give it a proper chance, you won’t really know. And me telling you that you should might not matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s a show about a group of friends (like most of us have) who take shots at one another, look out for one another, etc… Sometimes the show is really funny, other times it slacks off a bit, but never have I sat down to watch and wished I hadn’t.

    Last thing, and this is totally unrelated, but I think the funniest show on TV might just be Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

  4. I fought against this show for a long time (I’m susually anti sitcom, laugh tracks, young people in sitcoms, pretty girls who are stupid being the joke, etc). Just this fall they started running repeats when I go to bed so I started giving it a chance…and Thank God I did, it’s HILARIOUS!

    I love Sheldon (Parsons) he earned the Emmy for sure and Wolowitz *sp* and Raj are awesome too. Tv’s Blosson is Sheldon’s girl-friend (pardon me, she’s his friend who happens to be a girl) this season and they’ve made her basically the girl version of Sheldon which I thought would get old quickly but the scenes of the 2 of them together are outstanding.

    I’m a dork tho so maybe that’s why I like it so much?

  5. My buddy is a physics major and has a ton of mannerisms from the show. It’s pretty scary! Also, I really appreciate and understand any type of Star Wars joke.

  6. Completely dismissing another show because the very small sample wasn’t immediatly enjoyable. That’s akin to saying “I don’t like black people because Michael Vick is an asshole”

  7. I think you should give the show another go. Maybe watch a few episodes to get the whole feel of the show. A lot of the shows that people think are over-rated usually don’t meet the crazy high expectations people have.

    Also, there is NO laugh track. It is filmed in front of a studio audience.

  8. Q. Why is ‘The Big Bang Theory’ popular?
    A. Because shows like ‘The Nanny’ were popular.

    Neither were my cup of tea, but they both appeal to audiences who like more obvious jokes, laugh tracks, etc.

    @Nate: maybe, but you also don’t have to eat a pound of cow manure to know it’s not good…

    BBT is a show about smart people, and throws in “smart” references, but it’s not a smart show.

    Any show with jokes like:

    Guy 1: Would you like pie?
    Guy 2: What would I do with 3.14159265?
    (laugh track)

    is the same as:

    Girl 1: Don’t you know that Jesus saves?
    Girl 2: Well, he obviously doesn’t buy Louis Vuitton!
    (laugh track)

  9. I dunno, in one of the recent episodes…it turns out howard broke up with his geeky attractive waitress girlfriend after she caught him cybering under a bridge on WOW with a troll, then later when they get back together, howard wants to tell leonard…leonard already knows they did…when howard asks him why, leonard says the janitor told him, howard is incredulous “how did he know that?!”

    Leonard: He’s Glacinda the Troll

  10. If you’re a nerd, if you like sci-fi movies, comic books, fantasy video games, or dreaming about girls that are light years out of your league, it’s hard not to fall for The Big Bang Theory. It’s a constant reference/parody of pop culture in the same successful style of animated shows such as The Simpsons or Family Guy, and the “laugh track” that everyone keeps complaining about is actual audience members actually laughing cause the show is hilarious and that’s what happens when you watch these guys. The characters are outlandish and take things to extremes but the writers give them a humanity that’s hard to fake and if you watch for a while you can’t help empathizing with them. Obviously this is love-spout coming from a nerdy fan-boy, but I offer this challenge. Get on Netflix or however you obtain your shows and watch the first three episodes (this does not include the pilot, they still had a few kinks to work out then) and try not to laugh. No one I’ve ever showed it to has passed.

  11. I saw some clips of ‘TBBT’ on YouTube out of curiosity, and I wasn’t exactly impressed. I mean, yeah, there’s a cute line here or there, but nothing makes me want to tune in, especially now that it’s on Thursdays to demolish ‘Community’ (*shakes fists at the sky*).

    I’m also really impatient with audience laughter or–good grief–clapping whenever a celebrity enters.

    Maybe it’s a matter of taste, but I just find the show as friendly, harmless fluff that you put on when you don’t really want a show that challenges you, and I’m not blasting its fans or anything. I, too, watch some series that don’t bother to challenge me (stuff like ‘Family Guy’ and ‘True Blood’–though don’t expect me to tune in for Season Four), and that’s alright.

  12. it is funny in some parts but i think they try to hard to make it nerdy, and that gets really annoying, plus i can only take so much social inwardness in one day

  13. You only going to like a show like this if you can relate to the people in it or are familiar with the subject matter. That’s why I don’t watch shows like Desperate Housewife or DWTS or crap like that.

    If you guys like BBT you should totally check out “The IT Crowd”. I nearly blacked out a couple of times laughing.

  14. @lewarcher Say what you want about Big Bang Theory. I watch it on occasion but I’m not a huge fan.

    My point is that NattyB goes into these things completely predisposed to one side or the other. Look at the article written a few months ago about Futurama. Completely written off as a crappy Simpsons spinoff without viewing so much as an episode. It’s not a spinoff, and any opinions on the show’s quality should be reserved until actual observations are made.

    These “Articles” (if you want to call them that) are no more than internet trolling. NattyB says “I don’t like ‘X’ despite not having given it a chance”. Knowing full well portion of the audience for this site does like it, he then waits for the responses.

    It would be one thing to say “Hey I’m truly thinking of watching this show. Why do you guys think it is good/bad?”, but it is obvious that his mind is already made up and he’s just baiting others to argue in the guise of “Debate”.

  15. You can’t judge a show based on five minutes of watching, and what the actors/actresses have done before and their physical appearance have no bearing whatsoever on the quality of the programme.

    I like TBBT and I like Community. The laughing/clapping doesn’t bother me at all, I just tune it out. Both shows make me smile and laugh for a while, I feel happy and that’s enough for me.

    Humour is a very individual thing and you’ll never find two people who laugh at all the same things all the time. I find it odd that you seem to think you HAVE to like it. Calm down and just be yourself.

  16. First, I just want you to know that giving 5 minutes to “watch” if the show is good it’s not enough. I could give you a lot of examples of shows, that are not really bad, but have a lot of bad five minutes examples, but right now here’s three: Two and a Half Men, Family Guy & The Simpsons. They are shows with very good episodes and bad moments, but you have to see all of it to have an impression.

    Second, The Big Bang Theory does not try to be a smart show, is a sitcom with geek jokes. Believing that just because it has scientists and physics it’s going to make this show like House, who has doctors and medicine, serious about the work of its protagonists, it’s naive. IT’S A SITCOM NOT A SMART SHOW.

    And finally in third, if you don’t get the geek jokes or you don’t like them, don’t blame the show. It makes jokes about how the characters don’t fit in the real world, how they play videogames and how they try to have relationships. It’s the normal live of every person, just in another level. That’s why the show is popular and that’s why I like it.

  17. Well Natty, I’ve seen more then 5 minutes of the show, however I’ve come to pretty much the same conclusion regarding this show as you. I watched the entire first season and bits of the second before the show lost me. Revisiting episodes from the current season with the hope that it might find a way back into my heart were sadly fruitless and only confirmed what I had previously thought. There are several things that turn me off about the show, but I think the biggest over riding thing is that I feel like that show is very pandering towards it’s target demographic. That demographic being of course “nerds” or to be more kindly people who invest themselves in geek culture. (Like people who read this site. Myself included.) As noted by a previous commenter who is simply glad any time some one makes a Star Wars joke this show aims for that demographic but I think in a very insulting way. Are people really that starved to hear someone make a Halo reference on TV that it can support a show like this for as long as it has? Apparently so. I feel like this show has been riding the “HEY!!! WE TALK ABOUT WARCRAFT SO WATCH OUR SHOW!” aesthetic for far to long. I am not saying that I am opposed to geek culture being portrayed on TV, but I would like to see it done in a bit more organic fashion. To me that aesthetic on this show feels like it is tacked on.

    One other issue that I have with the show is what I want to call the “Cartman Effect”. If you can recall back in the day when South Park started out it became very clear that Cartman was the character who had caught people’s imagination. As a result of this, it felt to me that the early episodes started to cater to this realization and focus more specifically on how much of a spoiled and insufferable brat Cartman was. This constant pushing of the envelope of Cartman’s boorish personality eventually turned me off to the show as a regular viewer. I think that the same thing was done with BBT. As I recall, when the show started I felt that it was in fact Leonard’s character and not Sheldon who was to be the focus of the show. As the show went on, I noticed a very definite shift in focus towards centering the show about Sheldon. Just as with Cartman’s growing annoyance on South Park I began to feel that BBT episodes started to rely more and more on the formula of “What situation can we create that Sheldon will react to in an annoying fashion this week?” I think that the heart of the show was found in Leonard’s character, and when the focus shifted to Sheldon and his ticks BBT lost me. It is to the point now where he dominates not only the structure of the show, but even the other characters. I think it is pretty sad how Leonard, Raj and Wolowitz kowtow to Sheldon on almost a weekly basis. (Well maybe not Raj. The one current episode I saw was “The Desk” episode and it was good to see someone finally stand up to Sheldon.) In fact, I thought that the often maligned Penny is actually one of the better aspects of this show due to the way that she interacts with Sheldon.

  18. I hate this show.
    “Ha ha ha! Geeks are funny and self-awkward! Ha ha ha!”

    But, I think the reason why I hate this show so much is because I had to watch this show in my AP Economics class.
    Honestly, I would have rather done actual work instead of watching the show. I think I cracked a smile ONCE.

  19. I do not enjoy this show myself. It really lost my vote the one episode where they have a science quiz show and at the end the girl has some pop culture questions at the end that they can’t answer and she makes fun of them for it. I cannot abide a show that makes fun of the smart people who supposedly are socially inept.

  20. As someone who seems to have the same tastes as you, 30 Rock, The Office, ext. and also feeling that they have begun to reach their limits, Do no watch this show. It is as simple as that. Being a “geek” and going to a “geek” college this show is one of the least intellectual shows currently on television. My closest comparison would be Two and a Half Men, unfunny jokes strung together by an over used laugh track. I am constantly baffled why I continuously hear people recommend this show. I have suffered through at least 3 episodes with out cracking a single smile, and only feeling hate toward every character and every horribly written line spewed from their mouths. Heed my warning.
    If your looking for a funny, newer show try Modern Family if you haven’t. It is smarter and funnier in essentially all ways with a cast that you will enjoy instead of one you will hate.

  21. @slipstick
    All that was showing was that while some people may be smart in one field they may not be smart in others. In the show they always act like penny isn’t smart because she doesn’t know anything about physics and in that moment she was just getting back at them.

    @just about everyone else
    You guys are all just nitpicking. “I won’t watch because of the laugh track” “I hate it because it’s on cbs” “I saw one scene and it didn’t make me laugh”. Really people, grow up.
    Most people compare this to community, another show I love, and say how community is so much better and complain that the nerds in BBT are too nerdy. Well, tell me what’s the difference between sheldon and abed? It’s a sitcom there are always some characters grounded in reality and some that take characteristics to the extreme.

    The big bang theory is a hilarious show and if you don’t like it, fine. But at least watch it before you lambaste it.

  22. What #Crono said. The characters are in a way easy to relate to if you’re a (what I’d suspect) average reader of this site, but also very extremely stereotypical (though differently from each other) and in my opinion well developed in that way.

    But I also like Two and a Half Men (same creator), so maybe it’s just the type of humour that is not your thing. No biggy of course.
    I am surprised though, because BBT is very much related to the topics of this site, so I’d expect a connection 🙂

  23. I don’t mind the show,

    I just got into it a few weeks ago and have worked my way through S1, S2, and half of S3.

    and while it’s not the BEST show out there I (personally) find it to be the best current sitcom (there’s what? 2 half men, how i met your mother and…. what? According to jim?).

    basically this show is funny/entertaining because it’s NOT an everybody loves raymond clone, or a seinfield clone (which was never really that funny EVER anyways).

    and yes the lil nods to geekery I enjoy as well 😛

  24. It’s popular b/c male geeks desperately want to believe they can get the hot non-geek/cheerleader-type girl.

    That’s pretty much it. It’s male geek wish fulfillment.

    I know a lot of male geeks who LOVE this show. I don’t know any female geeks who do (and yes, I know quite a lot of female geeks.)

  25. Well, if you actually like 30 Rock and The Office, which are two of the worst shows ever in the history of television, then I’m not sure why you would like Big Bang because it actually is very funny. Different strokes I suppose.

  26. My friends continually berated me to watch this show, so I finally sat down and did… a whole episode (and I kept an open mind). I can say with complete honesty it’s the most painfully unfunny show I’ve ever watched. I don’t mind watching low-brow shows like two and a half men and how I met your mother, they are entertaining, a good waste of half an hour. Not this though.

    The laugh track is very irritating in this show! I found myself getting frustrated with the crowd as they howled with laughter when one of “the nerds” suggested buying tampons in bulk to the female lead. I get it, it’s not something you would usually do, he doesn’t understand social morays… But it’s not frigging hilarious!! I swear, if it didn’t have a laugh track, no-one would know when they are supposed to laugh. It just screams tacky 70’s sitcom crap.

    It is very frustrating when people tell me that I don’t get it because the jokes are “smart”. NO! The jokes have smart references, but they are not at all “SMART” or witty!
    I don’t hate “nerdy” shows, so that’s definitely not the reason. The IT crowd is great! I love it! Arrested Development, fantastic! Black Books, The Office (British), The Simpsons, Family Guy… I’ve just never HATED a show this much before in my entire existance.

    I really HATE IT when people tell me the big bang theory is high brow humour like Frasier! IT is NO-where near the standard of Frasier; Frasier has wit, tact and perfect comedic timing. I was waiting for a joke about someone asking for pie, then a nerd reciting 20 digets of Pi- “cause omg dats soooo funni lolz, cause he like didnt mean like that kind of pi, so thats y its funni as! I rofled sooo hard, u just dont get it cause pie is used in maths when u like calculate stuffz, like a nerd wood looolza! :P” eck..

    Feel free to prove me wrong, I would really like to not hate the show, but watching it is such a chore! Not to mention that it’s everywhere! I don’t understand why it is so popular, when all this other crap in the world isn’t. “total sadz fase 🙁 “

  27. the reson it is funny to me is that they are four science frekes how dont react well with normal people and they wonder why. but the only thing i hate about it is that sheldon takes way to long discribing things. and i love how i met your mother too!

  28. yeah I know it’s not a laugh track but it might as well be. I think what makes me most upset is the fact that it makes all nerds look like spineless easily manipulated, sexless freaks. all the characters are 1 dimensional at best token indian guy, according to them there are no black nerds, now that I think about it I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black character on the show (just saying) and I’m sick of all these jew jokes. I was trying to big bang theory because it was supposed to be for nerds like me, but really it’s a little brow humor disguised as somehing esle. and I can’t stand the fact that they just pander and name drop nerdy things eg. Star war ,Stan Lee, Lord of the rings etc. comicon fans.
    P.S
    most comicon fans hate the show

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