Biggest Complaint: The Big Bang Theory

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Biggest Complaint: The Big Bang Theory
Here's the place to let the world know about something that doesn't work about this show, trope, or author. As the votes roll in, you'll be able to see if it is also a problem for other folks.
At issue:
+37 (yeas:40 nays:3)
For a show that seems to cater to the Nerd crowd, it's completely and totally against that crowd a good percent of the time. We're not supposed to identify with Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj, we're supposed to identify with Penny, the outsider, the "normal" person, having to deal with all these losers. Being a "nerd" is a punchline by itself.
+35 (yeas:40 nays:5)
My biggest complaint with The Big Bang Theory is how much the show runs on one particular trope: The Unfair Sex. It's particularly grating because in the earliest episodes, it wasn't as prevalent. In later episodes, however, it's remarkable how, for example, Penny can chastise Howard for having a fear of commitment with Bernadette while breaking up with Leonard for saying "I love you" too soon (for her) or saying "marry me" during sex. It just seems like an incredibly forced and petty way to break them up and whenever they get back together, it's hardly convincing. In these cases, the men always come off as being in the wrong while, at least in Penny's case, it's the other way around. But the humour is still derived from the men being pathetic and ridiculous.

Here's another example: in "The Lunar Excitation", a drunken Penny has sex with Leonard and leaves early the next day without considering how he'd feel about it. However, when he tries the same thing with her, she throws him out. He points out the Double Standard ... but the humour still comes from him being a loser, rather than any Hypocritical Humor that comes from Penny being a Jerkass who screws Leonard emotionally twice. It just strikes me as odd that a show that heavily features nerd culture takes such pleasure in mocking the kind of people who, more than likely, are a large part of their audience.

In summary, there are a few tropes that are a constant in the series that really bother me: Penny comes across as a Designated Hero in the examples above and it seems like the show has the Closer to Earth and Women Are Wiser tropes in full effect (similar to Frasier's dynamic between the intelligent Frasier and Niles and the common sense of Martin) ... but it's also an Informed Ability because of Penny's incredibly petty reasons for breaking up with Leonard. There's also the group of Penny, Amy and Bernadette, who squabble a lot less than their male counterparts and I somehow can't imagine any of the guys calling Penny their "bestie" like Amy does without her reacting unpleasantly.

Very true. In fact, in a recent episode Bernadette and Amy call out Penny for this unfair behavior after she claims that it's Leonard's job as a boyfriend to show an interest in the things she likes, but believing as the girlfriend she shouldn't have to do the same.

In a mid-series 6 episode, Leonard moved in with Penny without proper consultation, and Amy did the same to Sheldon; the episode ended with both Amy and Penny screaming at Sheldon and Leonard. It may have been justified in Penny's case, but far less so with Amy.

Agreed. In mid-season 6, Leonard spied on Penny's classmate, fearing that she might cheat on him, only to get chastised by Penny for not trusting her. However, a couple episodes back, Penny also spied on Leonard and Alex, with no repercussion ensuing on her part.

Let's see if we can answer each of these complaints. In the case of spying on Alex, she just mostly tagged along with Amy, who was being paranoid about Sheldon being attracted to Alex. All Penny did was walk into Leonard's apartment while he was talking to her, hardly spying. As for Howard getting chastised by Penny, it was because his fear of commitment wasn't so much about being tied down as it was he just wanted to hold out for a hotter girl unrealistically (i.e. Megan Fox) and cut Bernadette off without at least telling her he wanted to end things. Penny also didn't break up with Leonard for professing his love, Wil Wheaton planted the idea into her head. Leonard was also definitely in the wrong there, as even after she politely explained her fear of commitment in that sense and asked if they could keep dating while not taking things that fast, he agrees only to keep passive-aggressively bringing it up like a jerk throughout the episode. She also didn't break up with him over the proposal, just simply mad that he proposed during sex just as they were getting back together, which almost anyone one would. And men don't really use the term "bestie" to refer to their friends, regardless of gender, that's more of a female thing. Penny is definitely in the wrong for having sex with Leonard after their breakup and not really explaining, and while I don't condone her behavior, we've at least heard enough of her past to assume hit and run get-togethers have happened more for her, such as dating a guy for a few months while never speaking to him or knowing anything more than his initials. The worst part of what she did was fail to be sensitive of the fact that Leonard is less sexually experienced than her by a large margin and that he's not used to just simply having sex and simply shrugging it off, whereas Penny just kind of has a "boy, did I make a mistake last night," reaction. Also, Amy was probably mad because she asked Sheldon for a reason why she can't live with him and instead of telling her he wasn't ready emotionally, (a male example of this not portrayed as wrong), he doesn't give her a reason at all, so she moves in whilst trying to integrate herself into his schedule while doing whatever he wants the way he likes perfectly, only to randomly be told she can't move in with a false explanation.

Really, most of the "you're pathetic humor," comes from the fact the guys deal with women who are far more socially capable than them, or in Amy's case socially willing, and thus don't always know how to react. To be fair, they've had considerable development, with Sheldon getting a girlfriend, Howard being the first to marry, and Raj finally being able to talk to women, although that means he can only start to truly improve now. Leonard, however, has actually gone backwards from season 1 despite being the most normal by default and sometimes is more naive than he really should be. So while Penny has her jerk moments and the show kind of has a slant towards her, they all have their flaws and sympathetic moments.
+26 (yeas:32 nays:6)
The canned studio laughter. Compounded by the writers trying to make every single line funny (followed by laughter, clapter and sometimes hooting) rather than focus on fewer but better punchlines. While TBBT is a funny show, hearing the studio audience laugh on cue over a hundred times in a 20-minute episode can get really tiresome.
+26 (yeas:28 nays:2)
The rampant sexism. Almost every character in the show can be distilled down into three categories: the nerdy guy who has trouble getting with anybody, the hot hunk whom every girl wants to get with, and the shallow, girly girl whom every GUY wants to get with. Even Amy Farrah Fowler, who is the least feminine woman on the show desperately wants to be girly, even deciding to forgo seeing a movie with her best friend so she can hang out with Penny and Bernadette because, in her words, "I'm a girl." In one episode there was a girl who liked comic books and generally nerdy stuff, and I got my hopes up... only to discover that she used her nerdy interests to get guys to sleep with her.

I'm sorry, I used to like this show, but its message seems to be that every girl is either a smoking hot supermodel obsessed with clothes and shoes and guys or an ugly broad whom no one wants. And every guy is either a hopeless nerd or a charming, attractive guy who only wants women for their bodies. Can't we see a little more diversity here? Can't we have a woman, just for once, who is strong, smart, into nerdy things, and pretty but not a Barbie doll? And won't instantly sleep with a guy after her first date with him? Is it too much to ask that we see some more realistic character types, since not every woman fits into those two clearly defined stereotypes?
+17 (yeas:17 nays:0)
This might be supposed to be Rule of Funny, but I do feel somewhat confused at how they portray comic books as something "only male nerds/losers read", and if a girl walks into a comic book store, it's a sensation. I'm sorry but, do they know that comic book stores include mangas as well, which like, half of the fanbase to that consists of girls? Not only mangas, but plenty of comics as well are targeted towards a female audience. The "only nerds reads comics" is untrue too, but I can bear more with that, since it fits more within the context of the show. The portrayal that "only guys read comics" however (because girls are "too cool"?) is what just strikes me as a bit... well, offensive? And yeah, I'm saying this as a girl.
+8 (yeas:9 nays:1)
My biggest complaint, at least as of season 6, is Penny. It started with the whole college thing, getting angry at Leonard for WANTING to help, while (most likely) FORCING Amy and Bernadette to do ALL of her work for her. But it reached an unretrieveable point for me in the Valentine's Day episode, where she got angry and jealous at seeing an ex proposing to his new girlfriend and lamenting that she wants to be happy...IN EARSHOT OF HER BOYFRIEND. And the fact that Leonard is STILL portrayed as the bad guy, coupled with him forgiving her, is getting too much.
+5 (yeas:5 nays:0)
The way that this show, ostensisbly about professors at Caltech, sometimes number one university IN THE WORLD, undervalues intelligence and subscribes to the unthinking acceptance that the only value of a human being is how much sex they're having. Whilst it can't be denied that on a sitcom inter-personal relationships are important, the huge intellects of the main characters are repeatedly (and in recent series increasingly) played-down. Related to this is the terrible waste of the character of Amy, who was introduced as a female version of Sheldon, but has gradually become a sex-obsessed girly girl.
+5 (yeas:5 nays:0)
While I love this show, I do object to the fact that there are no really geeky women - there are smart women (see Amy and Bernadette) but they differ from their male peers in that they regard science fiction/fantasy as a childish pursuit, and on the few occasions when a female guest character enjoys those things she looks very "normal" (in that she's never wearing a T-shirt from her favourite show and usually looks to be following the latest mainstream fashions) and doesn't seem nearly as dedicated to her fandoms as the boys (she might get a reference or two, but doesn't show much interest beyond that). I speak from experience (checking the demographic at my university's SF/F society) when I say that, in this day and age, at least 1 in every 3 total, self-defining, all-the-way-out-of-the-closet geeks is female. In a show that's done such a good job of making male geeks popular in the mainstream while disproving the "brainless beauty" stereotype with its female characters, I'd like to see some women who have Ph Ds and love sci-fi. Because, seriously, if these guys were real they would definitely know some women like that.
+4 (yeas:5 nays:1)
It's bad enough when they make a nerdy joke for the sake of nerdiness (a particularly bad example was Sheldon going, "Oh, mimicry! I love mimicry! I've been working on doing Admiral Ackbar's 'It's a trap!'" and then proceeding to yell "It's a trap" a half dozen times), but a lot of the time they turn right around and EXPLAIN the joke too. If you're pandering to nerds, you don't need the explanation, and if you're not, you don't need the nerd references. The characters are strong enough now that they can do episodes without any of that forced humor, and it's quite a relief when they do so (6x20, "The Tenure Turbulence" is a good example of this).
+3 (yeas:9 nays:6)
I get what the writers are trying to do with the character of Sheldon, but there are many times in which boundaries are broken. It's to the point he's too much of a Jerkass for me to simpathize with him in the moments where he's the victim or is in the right.

He clearly takes his friends for granted. In one episode he dismisses Raj so he can befriend Kripke (Since he wanted to keep his circle of friends to an arbitrary low number), only to reinvite Raj again soon after "because he likes trains". And I don't really need to expand on his treatment of Leonard, do I? Almost every episode I'm left wondering what is keeping Leonard from kicking Sheldon out or simply snapping and beating his head against the fridge until he stopped moving.
+2 (yeas:3 nays:1)
My biggest complaint is Sheldon, more specifically who he represents to the majority of parents who watch this show; the autistic person, or more specifically the guy with Asperger's Syndrome.

This is coming from a guy who has Asperger's syndrome, and who has to deal with his mother comparing him to Sheldon. Every. Single. Time. The reason Sheldon is never supposed to be confirmed to be autistic is due to the fact that as soon as they admit it, the writers will get sued for being offensive, and as such they will have to re-write Sheldon.

The reason this infuriates me is because it's as if deep down, my mom regrets the fact I am autistic, despite the fact she keeps insisting its not a problem. She clings to Sheldon's character to try to console herself, constantly trying to paint me as her own Sheldon Cooper, the very character who pisses me off the most.
+1 (yeas:3 nays:2)
I'll admit, I'm not a fan of this show for several of the reasons already stated and thus stopped watching it long ago, but from what I've seen of the show since, there seems to be little to no character development with Penny, Sheldon, or Leonard. Which wouldn't be that much of a problem if said three characters weren't the three that are at times considered the most central, and thus the most focused upon.
-1 (yeas:2 nays:3)
Sheldon seems like the dumbest person ever even though he is supposed to be a genius. He is supposed to be insensitive & bad at understanding people but he never learns a lesson & a lot of the things he does are things a genius would have learned to stop doing years ago. He is not just insensitive. He intentionally criticizes people to their face for things he knows they can not control like their intelligence or appearance & he will complain about someone insulting his intelligence & then insult everyone else\'s intelligence in the same scene & not expect them to be mad.

I would like Sheldon if he was what the other characters claim he is but he is not.
-3 (yeas:0 nays:3)
The scenes where Leonard and his girlfriend do nothing but french kiss for 60 minutes or more oblivious to whatever is going on. I don't even like it when it lasts for like a second in romantic comedies.
-5 (yeas:7 nays:12)
I have three big complains with this show:

1. There's too much sex in it for a show about nerds. Seriously, I was a nerd growing up (I say was, because I strongly dislike what's become of nerds in mainstream media today, I have no idea who the hell these people who claim to be nerds are, and I certainly don't want anything to do with them), and as such, I can tell you that sex was one of the farthest things from a nerd's mind! But you turn on this show, and you almost always see the characters in bed with each other. If this were truly a show about nerds, I'd be interested, but I'm not interested in a show about sex maniacs that happen to be nerds; there's too much sex on television as it is anymore, and I'm frankly quite sick of the media always glorifying it. But then again, this is a Chuck Lorre show after all... I assume Lorre is a sex addict who lives out his sexual fantasies through the characters of his shows.

2. Admittedly, it seems like the advertisers have finally remedied this situation, but for a while there, any form of promotion (TV ads, magazine spreads, billboards, banners, etc.) always plastered Penny up front and center, with the nerds in the background, making it seem like the was really about a hot blonde chick that all the male characters on this show obsessively fawned over (think like if promos for M*A*S*H back in the day made it seem like the show was about a hot army nurse that all the surgeons were crazy about). At least this has been toned down in recent months, but still, this show is probably one of the biggest victims of Trailers Always Lie (next to Modern Family, which always came off as being a show about reverse-gendered polygomy).

3. EVERYBODY COMPLAINING ABOUT THE LAUGH TRACK WHEN THIS IS A LIVE AUDIENCE SHOW! JUST BECAUSE YOU HEAR LAUGHTER ON A SITCOM DOESN'T MEAN IT'S ALWAYS A LAUGH TRACK! There are SOME sitcoms out there that have live audiences, and this is one of those shows, Chuck Lorre even says he NEVER uses laugh tracks, even for sweetening.
-7 (yeas:11 nays:18)
One of my big complaints about The Big Bang Theory nowadays is the later seasons. Particularly the new characters: Bernadette and Amy Farah Fowler, while the writers are at least giving characters whom Penny can talk to outside of the main four nerds. They don't really add a lot other than just there to be the love interests for both Howard and Sheldon.

Bernadette has possibly the most annoying and grating voice that wouldn't look out of place in singing in the rain, but in a show set in the 21st century it's just jarring. Also Amy Farah Fowler is nothing more than a Distaff Counterpart of Sheldon with nothing original to her character. I just think that the first 3 seasons were fine without them.
-15 (yeas:5 nays:20)
Sheldon is just TOO obnoxious.
Total number: 17. Number shown: 17.

Total number of votes: 304

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