I’ve been a fan of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for ages but it seems to be going a bit downhill. Not because of the acting (Jim Parson as Sheldon just keeps getting better)
but because of the message it’s giving lately. One of the things I really liked about it when it started was that it celebrated intelligence, and, along with the trend of ’embracing weirdness’ that’s been popping up lately, it also did a really good job of promoting quirky personalities and interests that aren’t always considered ‘cool’.
It seemed to be trying to eliminate the whole ‘quirky=nerd/dork’ idea and was promoting a love of sci-fi, gaming, and fandoms like LOTR and Star Wars. It was also doing a really good job of showing that people who might have been bullied at school for liking that kind of thing, for not being popular or being more interested in science than sports, could escape that whole clique-y nightmare and go on to be celebrated for being good at what they love- Raj, Howard, Sheldon and Leonard were all making huge progress in their fields and enjoying it. And then. I haven’t seen Kaley Cuoco in anything else so I can’t say for definite that I don’t think she’s a good actress, but I’m not a huge fan of her in TBBT, or of the message her character gives. I realise that the reason they include the relationship between someone like Penny, who doesn’t know anything about science, and Leonard, who’s incredibly clever at that subject, is for comedic effect, and the jokes about how they work as a couple despite having nothing in common are hilarious. But then, again, it seemed to go downhill. Lately the show’s been more centred around Penny trying to change Leonard & his friends into the type of ‘cool’ people she normally hangs out with. The whole show has started to kind of belittle those interests it previously celebrated- the message seems to be that for Leonard to ever have a hope of being with someone like Penny, he basically has to stop doing all the things he loves. And, by presenting Penny as, literally, this:
it’s once again sending the message that intelligence doesn’t matter as much as popularity and prettiness, which is a big:
One aspect of her character that I do really like, and that the whole show does really well, is how patiently she handles Sheldon. I really like the way they handle a character like Sheldon with traits of OCD and/or aspurges; instead of ostricising him for his difficulty in social interactions the characters have more and more been encouraging him to talk about his issues, helping him to resolve them, and working with him to help him adapt to the social situations that he finds difficult. I really like that in a society which glosses over mental health issues entirely, this show consistently reminds people not to get frustrated with characters like Sheldon, instead remembering that he genuinely has trouble understanding social cues. The other characters continually address his issues from the love and respect they have for him, and when big changes in his life distress and scare him, they provide a comforting environment in which he can learn to conquer those feelings.
Another thing they do so well is presenting women as successful, intelligent professionals, which is just:
Plus, I love that Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler) is actually a neuroscientist in real life, and completely sassed a reporter with this fact:
GO MAYIM. There are so many movies/tv roles in which women are either sex objects, or, if they are shown in a professional environment, are ‘work bitches’ as a result, in the kind of ‘if a man’s pushy it’s good business, if a woman is she’s a bitch’ thinking. Amy and Bernadette however are shown as clever, capable women who are where they are in their fields because of their intelligence. Again, the character of Penny kind of confuses this message, but the overall impression is good:
to sum up this general rant, TBBT is good, I just hope they go back to promoting quirkiness
and stop with the whole ‘if what you like doing isn’t cool then you should stop doing it’ thing they’ve got going on at the moment. Plus, some of the awesome guest stars they’ve had:
And again, GO AMY. Ok, rant over!