Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / The Big Bang Theory

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    A-I 
  • Abandon Shipping: In spite of the fact they are the Official Couple of the show, many fans have jumped ship from Leonard/Penny after they got married. The fact the two seem to have so little in common and joke often about how Penny had to "settle" for Leonard after he wore her down for years seems like a disservice to both characters. The fact the two rushed in marriage without even bothering to discuss their future, in particular Penny not wanting to have children, made quite a number of fans hope the show ended it's final season with the two deciding to divorce.
  • Acceptable Hobby Targets:
    • The show is infamous for its rather bitter and insulting humor towards science and nerd culture. Ironically enough, a lot of the show's dialogue and references can only be fully appreciated by those with an interest in the aforementioned subjects.
    • This video explains perfectly as how the show makes fun of geeks, nerds, and those who aren't the strongest, or stereotypically "male," of the male gender (all four of the main male characters are all of these at once, as the show portrays).
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Sheldon:
      • His mom mentions that she had the option to take him to a specialist in Houston,which she regrets not doing. Who knows what said specialist would have concluded.
      • He could be "Clark Kenting" to what he thinks all geniuses should be, copying a professor/doctor/whatever who had Autism whom he idolized when he was growing up in a highly religious part of Texas. Now he has become the mask.
      • Given that, according to Sheldon, his mother had him tested, and that this presumably occurred when he was a child, it is possible that he has a personality disorder that would not have been diagnosable in a child. Since a personality disorder is not "insanity" — and given that Sheldon is extremely Literal-Minded he may be just reacting to the terms "insane" or "crazy" only.
      • There have been lots of hints (some subtle, some not so subtle) that Sheldon's family life was not exactly ideal: his father was an abusive drunk and his mother uses religion as a form of denial. Losing his father no doubt added to the trauma. And then there was the analogy Sheldon once drew between schmoozing wealthy university donors for grant funding to being molested in the back of a van... which was probably a little ''too'' descriptive for the otherwise overly literal Sheldon to be making an extended metaphor. One gets the impression that Sheldon's childhood was horror even leaving aside the bullying he experienced as a result of his obnoxious personality. Combined with at least three severe emotional breakdowns we've seen him have, Sheldon's arrogance and aloofness may well be a defense mechanism which is breaking down over time.
      • Another aspect of his home life that might be affecting his social ability: Sheldon is extremely logical and a materialist. His mother is The Fundamentalist. He was raised by someone who, from his perspective, believes in irrational superstitions (and since her fundamentalism is a method of denial and she is heavily implied to be very controlling, he's likely been hidden away from the positive aspects of religion, assuming all religious people are like his mother). He would have been put off at living with and being raised by a person who went around talking about, or even to, a being that doesn't exist.
      • Sheldon may be a genuinely nice person. He's genuinely concerned when he thinks Penny's been hurt, runs to get her and takes her to the hospital. Rather than just telling Leonard that he wouldn't cover for him sleeping with Priya, he constructed an elaborate and detailed cover to help him. When Leonard lied to Penny about her singing, Sheldon could again have simply said he didn't care and told the truth, but instead chose to follow through and help. He went to great extremes to get Howard's forgiveness when he'd ruined his chances of getting security clearance. When he felt that it would be construed as disloyal to have dinner with Penny, he almost killed himself trying to keep both she and Leonard happy. He couldn't ignore the possibility that Amy was hurt when he didn't hear from her. As much as he may pretend otherwise, he actually cares about his friends. When given the option of being trapped in one of the coldest parts of the planet with anyone, he chose his three friends. He maybe even values their friendship more than any of the rest of them and, even if it may be seen as condescending, is the least frequent to ever intentionally insult any of them (try watching an episode and counting the number of insults Sheldon gives that would actually be considered an insult to his mind, then compare them against those Leonard makes).
      • How much of Sheldon’s eccentricities are real and how much are merely done to get his way as he seems to lose the majority of them when he wants to be a Jerkass to Leonard as shown in "The Irish Pub Formulation" and "The Itchy Brain Simulation".
      • "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplication" shows that when it's something Sheldon wants, he is willing to ride the bus.
      • Sheldon's Celibate Hero status is typically attributed to having the emotional maturity of a 10-year-old, although he seems to simply ignore it to focus on his work, referring to sexuality at one point as ‘the cross we all have to bear’; later on, he reveals to simply have issues with intimacy he’s working on. He is, however, definitely not asexual, despite previous speculation on the issue.
      • He's not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. He grew up a Big Fish In A Small Pond and has taken that attitude to college and now to his job at USC, but now he's surrounded by people who were similarly large in similarly small pools. Making an elementary math mistake on page 1 of a paper is a good example. He also doesn't have a Photographic Memory as he claims, or else he'd know that his Not the Fall That Kills You Superman explanation is completely at odds with what actually happens in the film. In "The Dependence Transcendence" he admits that his intelligence has limits.
    • Sheldon's mom is usually played as nice, but some of her comments, which are racist if unwitting, really show she's not much better than Leonard's mom. She's a fundamentalist who seems to have a very old-fashioned and limited view on the world, which she took just to compensate for her husband's cheating and uses it as a crutch to keep going. Everyone just tends to look the other way because she's nicer than Leonard's mom and tends to put a leash on Sheldon's antics, but she may very well BE the reason for Sheldon's antics. She's once described him as "one of God's special children", so she thinks, or at least once thought, he was retarded or insane, and seemingly preached this idea to Sheldon's sister. Sheldon's slightly autistic behavior could be the result of being treated as having autism.
      • This makes her far better than Leonard's mom. She does have a limited world view (and her view is from the Deep South), but aside from spouting stereotypes, she treats Howard and Raj with decency and respect. Leonard's mom, on the other hand, is very well read, brilliant, extremely educated, and just doesn't give a damn about anyone (except maybe Sheldon). She openly mocks her son for not being as good as his siblings, despite the fact that he is a brilliant researcher himself, she treats her family like an experimental group, and shows no regard for anyone except herself. She may not spout Mary's casual racism, but she's a far more destructive person. Sheldon's family may not known how to deal with a brilliant mind like his (driving many of his idiosyncrasies), but given that both of Leonard's parents are professors, they should know how their behavior would affect him as he grew.
      • Worse yet when you consider that Leonard's mother knew full well what she was doing, and didn't care. She treated him as nothing more than an experiment to take notes on. And when she finished taking her notesnote , she turned them into a book that she titled "Needy Baby, Greedy baby". That's right, you just read that. Leonard's mother gave birth to him for the sole purpose of writing a Child Psychology book after messing with his mind for eighteen years.
    • In the episode of Bernadette wanting Howard to move in, was Howard pulling a Batman Gambit? He knew Bernadette would keep bugging him about moving in but he wasn't ready so he had to make a plan. Move in, piss her off by his neediness and make her stop. Notice that in his explanation he said he wrote an email to his mother about moving out and her saying she never reads email since she doesn't know how to properly work a computer.
    • Leslie Winkle: Only Sane Woman or an immature, inconsiderate bitch who gets off of any punishment for immature behavior in the workplace? Not to mention the cold way she treats Leonard and Howard when she's in a relationship with them.
    • Raj being so opposed to Leonard dating his sister Priya. He puts up a "big brother" front stating he's just looking out for his sister and not wanting to see her get hurt. However, given the way Priya treated Leonard, it's possible that Raj knew exactly how Priya treats her boyfriends, and was actually trying to protect Leonard.
    • Wil Wheaton: Jerkass Magnificent Bastard, or a generally nice guy reacting like anyone would to Sheldon's asshole behavior?
    • Amy. A reasonable woman, who tolerates a lot from Sheldon, or a selfish, entitled woman? Episodes like "The Habitation Configuration" certainly gives off more of the latter interpretation.
  • Applicability: The show covers a wide spectrum of personality types and situations, leaving a lot of viewers to see parallels of themselves within. While these guys are on the extreme side of smart and nerdy, they accurately portray a lot of the behaviors that are evident with any sort of obsessive fandom. Sheldon's desire to get in line early for a movie can be compared to getting to the stadium early for a football game, for example.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • After 10 years, Raj has still been unable to find a steady girlfriend, even when Leonard, Howard and Sheldon all have. It's become more difficult to be invested in any relationship he pursues since they always end in break-ups.
      • The writers seem to have realized this as well, because a story arc between him and a cleaning lady at the university in the tenth season (which according to Raj's actor was what was implied to happen) was abruptly ended after a single episode with no mention of her ever again, and a later episode in the same season had all of Raj's ex-girlfriends point out how better off they were without him. Raj being a perma-bachelor seems to be the sum of his character now because of the pointlessness of his (several, by now) arcs. It's even lampshaded by Stuart in season eleven that Raj "will screw it up soon enough" after the latter has gotten another girlfriend, which of course he quickly does.
      • It's gone so far that (when he's not whining to everyone about it) he's pretty much given up. Once in a while he'll still try to make an attempt but nowadays he's regressed to the point where he can't even get a date while resident Butt-Monkey Stuart can. At times he's shown that he's scared to death at ending up alone and being left behind compared to everyone else (most of his core group of friends are now married with Sheldon soon to be as well, along with his five siblings back in India), but it's often inappropriately Played for Laughs instead of taken seriously.
    • For all of Sheldon's genius intellect (and letting everyone else know at any given opportunity), he hasn't exactly accomplished anything in his field so far. Of all the guys, it's Howard who is the most successful in his career (actually building and inventing things, not to mention being an astronaut) and personal life, despite everyone else's taunts and misgivings (especially from Sheldon). Any time Sheldon does seemingly get close to a major breakthrough that would change the scientific community, he's always wrong and ends up back at square one. It's not until the Grand Finale that this is finally averted.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Sheldon running a red light. The scene of him driving Penny to the hospital shows him refusing to even drive the speed limit (despite Penny begging him to), then stopping at a red light. It's a little hard to believe he would run a red light, much less that he would let Penny talk him into it. The ticket was issued by a traffic camera, though, and their accuracy for deciding what counts as "running" a red light is pretty notoriously questionable, although Sheldon and Penny's dialogue would seem to indicate he did drive through an intersection after the light turned red.
    • In season 11 The Retraction Reaction Bernedette says that she hides her successes from Howard so that he won't get insecure. However, earlier seasons show that she is always flaunting her success and her bigger salary in his face.
    • Penny getting pregnant in the final episode seems to come out of no where as a convenient way to resolve the underlying tension between her not wanting to have kids and Leonard (as well as Penny's friends and family) wanting her to have them. The fact that it is an Ass Pull stems from the fact Penny was actively trying not to get pregnant, yet we are expected to believe she was using no form of personal contraceptive to prevent it?
  • Author's Saving Throw: In Season 11, Raj finally calls Howard out for constantly making cruel and sometimes racist jokes at Raj's expense. And unlike in earlier seasons where the audience was meant to feel bad that Howard gets called out (such as when Penny justifiably called Howard out for harassing her constantly, only to apologize to Howard later for making him feel bad) it's made clear Raj is right to stand up for himself, and it's primarily Howard who should change his behavior.
    • Played with Penny and Leonard. Leonard also calls out Penny for how she treats him, and she makes an effort to modify her behavior. However, she quickly reverts back to form at the end of the episode.
    • Finally, Sheldon's behavior toward Bert and Geology led to Bert rejecting him and not accepting his apology.
    • In the third season when Leonard and Penny started dating, Sheldon tried using positive reinforcement techniques on Penny to correct annoying behavior, which involved giving her a chocolate treat whenever she did something he approved of. He later told Leonard he could speed up the process through negative reinforcement, specifically claiming electric shocks. This was actually one of the shows few technical blunders, as positive/negative reinforcement is not positive stimuli vs. negative stimuli, but the addition of something (the chocolate) vs. the removal of something (changing behavior due to the LACK of something). At conventions fans called out the writers on this mistake, and in the eighth season episode "The Focus Attenuation" Sheldon corrects someone on the improper use of positive/negative reinforcement and actually end up referencing an identical mistake made in Ghostbusters (1984).
    • The final Halloween episode had both Sheldon and Bernadette be called out on how mean they are to other people. It also explained that Bernadette became mean over time as a defense against being picked on over her height and bonding with Sheldon, as he too was picked on for being too smart at such a young age. That being said, the other characters have yet to be called out on how mean THEY are to other people.
    • "The Tam Turbulence" addresses the complaints of Tam (Sheldon's high school friend from Young Sheldon) not appearing at Sheldon's wedding, nor having ever appeared or been mentioned in the show previously. It's explained that Sheldon was angry at Tam for choosing to stay in Texas rather than move to California with him, and thus, Sheldon never mentioned Tam to any of his friends in Pasadena.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Viewers tend to either think Sheldon is the best part of the show, or wish that he'd remove that gigantic stick from his ass for once.
    • Howard, pre-Character Development. Either he's hilarious or he's a prick who needs a punch to the face occasionally. Even post-character development Howard can get this treatment. He's either the real hero of the story note , or he has become a boring Henpecked Husband who can't shut up about being an astronaut.
    • Penny as well — she's either a cute, lovable person, who's a nice addition to the group(s) or an ungrateful bitch who deserves to be thrown out on the street.
    • Bernadette is either adorable or annoying and bitchy. Her voice certainly doesn't help. Neither does the fact that later seasons seem to place increasing emphasis on her bitchiness, both at work & at home.
    • Leonard is either a total saint and a likable protagonist or a complete Jerkass who treats Sheldon like garbage and constantly complains about how life screwed him over. To others, he's somewhere in between.
    • Raj is either the biggest woobie on the show, or a passive-aggressive, girly creep who deserves to be alone.
  • Broken Base:
    • The episode "The Good Guy Fluctuation". Leonard briefly making out twice with a girl has earned more scorn than Priya sleeping with her ex-boyfriend in India.
    • The audience laughter — either worth it because the show's that funny, or teeth-grinding levels of annoying and frequency that quickly overstay their course and ruin the show.
    • Priya and Leonard's relationship, both in and out of universe.
    • The biggest example is probably when Leonard and the guys faked the readings they took during their North Pole expedition. Either you see the others as Jerkass Karma Houdinis who took the coward's way out or Sheldon as an insufferable ass who got exactly what he deserved.
      • Some people Take a Third Option by seeing both parties as in the wrong. Sheldon got a job dealing with two things: subordinates and data, and proved himself incompetent at both of them. The simple fact that they were able to falsify the data without him noticing shows that he was just dictating to them while they did all the work while periodically checking the results. However they had plenty of time during the trip home to tell him the truth which would not only have given him time to redact his statement but might have softened the blow.
    • Over Penny's pixie cut in season 8.
    • Amy, some people see her as funny, quirky and more reasonable, while others see her as selfish, and never getting called up for her behaviour. Her treatment of Bernadette before her wedding, AND her treatment of both Wil Wheaton and Sheldon in the "The Habitation Configuration" has won her few fans.
  • Cargo Ship: Howard/the robot hand he got stuck on, Sheldon/his spot, Amy/Gerard (her electric toothbrush), Raj and his mobile phone Siri....
  • Catharsis Factor: In the first half of the series finale, Leonard slaps the absolute shit out of Sheldon and it was long overdue for many.
    • "The Space Probe Disintegration" has Sheldon calling out Leonard for how much of a jerk HE is towards Sheldon much of the time. Even though Leonard goes right back to being a jerk to Sheldon after that, it's still pretty satisfying seeing Sheldon point out that Leonard isn't exactly the nicest guy in the world either.
  • Critical Research Failure: When preparing for the North Pole expedition by standing in a freezer, Sheldon tells Raj to paint a Van Dyke on a Spock figurine, then specifies "a Van Dyke is a goatee without a moustache". It's not. A goatee without a moustache is just a goatee. A Van Dyke is a combination of a moustache and goatee.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Even if you find the show funny, it can quickly become tiring watching the four male leads constantly being bullied, harassed, insulted and put down by everyone and their mother.note  in addition, the main characters (except Stuart) all Took a Level in Jerkass after the first season, making them very hard to sympathize with.
  • Designated Hero: All of the main characters except Stuart (who's too friendly to qualify) and Sheldon (who's intended to be an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist who's almost always called out on his behavior). They all have character flaws, which would be a good thing if those flaws hadn't been subjected to bizarre quantities of Flanderization through the years, and most of the time they just come across as whiny, egotistical jerks.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Sheldon and Wil Wheaton in "The Habitation Configuration". You see, Wil was helping Sheldon out with his Web Show, "Fun With Flags". Amy repeatedly stops filming to berate him for being a poor actor, and Wil tries to take it in stride the first few times. After a while he says that he can't do it if Amy's being a pain in the ass, and Amy gets angry at Sheldon for not calling him out. We're led to believe that Sheldon was wrong for not taking her side, even though Amy's the one who initiated the conflict and it's obvious she's doing it purely out of petty jealousy.
    • Priya, so very much. She was supposed to be a villain mainly because she was dating Leonard even though Penny wanted him even though she's the one who dumped him in the first place!. As such, while we are supposed to see her as a total bitch, other than not wanting Leonard to be friends with Penny anymore (Likely because she (correctly) thinks Penny is trying to steal him away from her), she doesn't do anything mean, and is nice to Leonard 90 percent of the time. Penny eventually does start to bond with Priya somewhat in the hospital episode however, and they may have eventually became friends except for the fact that she goes back to India a few episodes later.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Leonard. Sheldon/Penny fans never seem to catch Leonard a break even once, guy isn't allowed to so much as make a tiny mistake without them calling him a prick.
    • There's also Amy. Comes with the territory since she gets in the way of Sheldon/Penny, the Fan-Preferred Couple. Amy also stands in the way of fans who adamantly think Sheldon should be gay, like his actor.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Sheldon. He isn't really a bad guy, but correspondingly to the Ron the Death Eater effect that Leonard can be subject to, Sheldon's character flaws, arrogance and Jerkass tendencies can be drastically downplayed.
    • The other main characters (except Stuart) get this a lot as well, especially Leonard. They're often portrayed as saints by those who dislike Sheldon, but in truth they're no better than him and often make fun of him, torment him, or humiliate him for the heck of it. And unlike Sheldon, who's intended to be an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, they're rarely called out on it.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Both Sheldon's parents are very popular given their screen time.
    • Zack Johnson. Despite being a Brainless Beauty and ex-boyfriend of Penny, he's remembered fondly by many viewers because of his friendly personality, love of comic books, and Odd Friendship with the guys even after Penny broke up with him.
    • Stuart the Comic Book Guy. He's hilarious and Woobie-esque.
    • Alex, Sheldon's assistant. She is one of the preciously few people who manage to work under Sheldon. Her occasional Ship Tease with Leonard also accounts for her Darkhorse status.
    • Howard's mom, thanks to tons of hilarious lines and excellent delivery courtesy of Carol Ann Susi.
    • Bob Newhart as Professor Proton in "Proton Resurgence" was so popular among the fans and cast that he was brought back in a recurring role the following season. The fact that Newhart won his first Emmy for his portrayal really bolstered it.
    • All the cats Sheldon temporarily adopted in "The Zazzy Substitution" are loved for being adorable and bringing out Sheldon's Kindhearted Cat Lover side, but especially Zazzles. A lot of fans have said they wished Sheldon had kept Zazzles, even after he gave away all the other cats.
    • A lot of people really like Dave, which is remarkable considering he's the guy Amy dated during her temporary breakup with Sheldon. However, much like Zack, he avoids the standard pitfalls of being a Romantic False Lead, in this case because he's a genuinely sweet, funny, affectionate guy... who becomes a Shipper on Deck for Shamy. Plus, the fact that he's played by Stephen Merchant certainly helps. A lot of people have expressed hope that he comes back, especially since he parted ways with Amy on good terms.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Community. Besides having a geeky appeal there is little in common with regards to the two series, but when TBBT was moved to compete with NBC's comedy lineup on Thursdays (which includes Community in the exact same time slot) it sparked the rivalry.
    • Also with Genshiken, for having more or less the same idea, only Genshiken was more nerdy.
    • Fans of The IT Crowd tend to passively bash this show a lot, saying that it's the former show's premise "done wrong."
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Sheldon/Penny, enough that Chuck Lorre even commented on that prospect, saying that while they have an amazing rapport Penny would probably kill Sheldon if they hung around each other too much. Other TV writers have remarked that just the idea of Sheldon being Sheldon is what makes their relationship work, the lack of romantic entanglement. Going for Slap-Slap-Kiss is too generic a description of their chemistry.
  • Fanon:
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the episode "The Griffin Equivalency", Raj tells the patron next to his table, Charlie Sheen, that he's going to be in People's Magazine for discovering a celestial body. Sheen then tells him "Yeah? Call me when you're on the cover." This line becomes less funny when Sheen does end up on the cover of various magazines, and not in a good light, nor for any positive things he did.
    • In the ending of the same episode, Raj is forced to verbally apologize to Penny about his behavior towards her, and she hugs him right when Leonard and Sheldon walk out, with their getting the wrong idea that she and Raj spent the night together (she was wearing a bathrobe). Come the Season 4 finale, Penny and Raj, while drunk, do end up sleeping together, and the consequences of which are made apparent in the Season 5 premiere, where it almost shattered the group's friendship..
    • Several times when together with Leonard, Penny would tease about finding another dumb guy when Leonard is caught up in one of his geeky activities. Come the Season 3 finale, Penny realized that being with Leonard actually made it impossible for her to enjoy dating dumb guys again.
    • In "The Zarnecki Inclusion", Raj jokes that Priya was talking to her ex-boyfriend Sanjay. Then in "The Good Guy Fluctuation" where it's revealed that she slept with him.
    • "The Roommate Transmogrification" in Season 4, Bernadette gets her Ph.D and a good job, and the guys joke she's now the female of the relationship, Howard protesting he still has his own life. Leonard snarks "until you have kids". As of Season 5, Howard has discovered Bernadette doesn't like kids and if they choose to have them once married she wants him to stay home to take care of them while she works.
    • Bernadette's comments about crossing the Ebola virus with the common cold don't seem as funny as it was, now that we have an actual Ebola epidemic taking place. So far, the virus is not airborne, but such a mutation taking place is one of the biggest fears, since containing the virus in its present state has already proven troublesome.
    • Every single joke Howard's made about his mother's poor health is this now that Carol Ann Susi passed away after a short period of battling cancer.
      • Related: When Howard returns home to find five of his friends staging an intervention (to prevent him from returning to space) his first thought is that they're about to break the news his mother has diednote . A few months after screening of this episode, Carol Ann Susi passed away.
    • Penny once made a comment that Howard gave her a teddy bear which contained a hidden webcam. Come the news of the leaks of private nude photos of Kaley Cuoco and other famous actresses, this comment is a lot harder to laugh at.
    • In the Season 6 premiere, Penny and Sheldon are left wondering why they're missing Leonard so much when he's just having a good time in the North Sea. Sheldon hypothesizes that Penny is thinking that he might have drunken sex with one of the researchers there. Come the Season 8 finale, and it turned out that Leonard had a drunken kiss with one of the researchers there.
    • Howard imitates Raj's accent, drawing this comment: "Did you have to make me sound like a Simpsons character!?". Not so funny when the controversy behind recurring character Apu blew up in The New '10s, to the point where his voice actor Hank Azaria considered not voicing him anymore.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • It is the number one comedy in Latin America, comparable to the love for House.
    • This is one of the most watched shows in Canada.
    • It's also extremely popular in China.
    • Though it's not reached total cultural saturation in the UK quite as much as Friends did, no one would know that from how often it's shown on UK TV, with the number of The Big Bang Theory reruns on E4 comparable that of Friends before they lost the rights to the latter. They regularly run somewhere between four and six older episodes twice a day and have done for years, which seems to be a fair judge of its popularity. Plus, if someone has a British friend who only watches one American sitcom, odds are very high that it's either The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family (and BBT has the added advantage of being on a FreeView channel).
      • Some British reviewers note that the series is unusually vicious for an American comedy. This appeals to the long-standing and proud British TV tradition of laughing at oddballs placed in amusing situations, which is a factor in the show's British success on E4. It still carries a bit more sentiment than the typical British show and the nerd leads can be even heroic despite their innumerable weaknesses. But Sheldon and especially early seasons Howard is almost straight out of British comedy of a socially awkward oddball who refuses to change.
    • In-universe, it is commented upon that India LOVES Doogie Howser, M.D. because it features a child genius becoming a doctor, and the Indian culture focuses a lot on higher education and the medical field.
  • Genius Bonus: A staple of the show's humor.
    • Surprisingly accurate math and physics jokes at times. Geek culture references can get very obscure.
    • When Penny mentions that she's used to getting free drinks due to her... less than modest attire, Sheldon offhandedly says that she has a lot of money tied up in 'promiscuity futures' (futures contracts are derivatives where two parties agree on a trade that will take place at some point in the future).
    • This is one of the few sitcoms with science advisers. The producers said they went about a day before they realized there was no way they could study the proper material for all of the science, and so recruited David Salzberg from the University of California, Los Angeles, to help with the dialogue and even certain plot points (Sheldon's search for Magnetic Monopoles for instance). note 
    • When Raj asks Sheldon to look at data points to see any correlations, Sheldon finds one almost immediately. Raj is skeptical, until Sheldon explains his process with details like how prime numbers have a distinctive color and he can "taste" the speed of light. When Raj tells him that is not normal, Sheldon remarks "I guess I'm a special boy." The whole conversation is based on actual documentation of savants describing their mental process in similar ways, such as doing complex math via associating numbers with shapesnote .
  • Growing the Beard: The show wasn't quite certain what tone they were going to have for the show in the early episodes, focusing on the characters getting themselves into awkward situations and barely climbing out of it unscathed. It wasn't until the Halloween party in the 8th episode where the real strengths of the series came into play, showing the characters trying to navigate relatively common social situations and coming up short but wiser for it. This continued into the later half of the first season that cemented its characters better.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary" Leonard initially refuses to hold up his end of the girlfriend pact saying "What am I supposed to ask? 'Hey Penny, you got any friends you never want to hear from again?'" Come "The Stag Convergence" when Bernadette finds out about Howard's sleazy past and that Penny knew all along when she set them up, Bernadette runs out the run crying that she thought Penny was her friend.
    • The problems Leonard and Penny have after their wedding. Shortly after the Season 9 premiere aired, it was announced that Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting were separating, and they have now divorced.
    • In season seven, the gang was talking about whether any of them had dated more than one person at the same time and lied about it. Penny scoffed her disbelief that Leonard would do that to her. Come to the end of season eight, when Leonard revealed that he did cheat on her at one point while on a boat for 4 months, but this may not quite count since the whole thing was just a drunken mistake and Leonard is not a person who cheats.
    • In "The Jerusalem Duality", 15 year old Dennis Kim told Sheldon that his work in string theory was a dead end, and that he will soon see that. Come to season seven, where he DOES see that, and ends up having to basically start his career over.
      • Becomes a lot less harsh if you consider that this basically set Sheldon on the path that would lead to him actually winning the Nobel Prize in the Grand Finale.
    • In season two, Sheldon was having a hard time getting rid of Ramona, so he went to Penny for advice. When she wondered why, Sheldon stated that due to "man after man leaving her apartment", she seemed to be an expert at ending relationships. Come season nine, when it's revealed that someone did go to Penny for advice on ending relationships: Amy! It also casts Penny's earlier interactions with Sheldon in the eighth season finale in a new light: she was subtly warning him not to get Amy to end things.
    • Also related to the above, when Sheldon is emotionally wrecked after he is forced to give up string theory, Amy makes a joke about how she hopes he is as devastated if they ever break up. Cut to season nine, and Sheldon is an utter mess.
    • Hearing Leonard talk about hoping to be a father and raise his own kids, sporadically throughout the series run, is kind of sad to see given that in Season 12, Penny finally makes it clear she never wants children, and Leonard reluctantly respecting her wish. It's made better with Penny and Lenonard accidentally concieving a baby in the Grand Finale and them deciding to go through with the pregnancy.
    • Season 4: "We wait for my mom's heart to explode from all the salt she eats. Then we stick her in the ground, flip the mattress, and move into the big bedroom."
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • "Shelbot", the mechanical stand-in for Sheldon. "Shelbot" is a remote-controlled stand with a Webcam and tablet computer screen attached that projects Sheldon's face and voice to the outside world while he stays in his bedroom. This video was eerily reminiscent of that creation. The concept was picked up again for Conan O'Brien's Web series, "The Cone Drone," where Conan sends out someone dressed in a papier-mache costume of Conan, while wearing a tablet screen projecting Conan's own face, to irritate or annoy random people.
    • One episode focused on Howard's space toilet having a possible malfunction and trying to fix it. Well, on July 2009, it became an actual issue.
    • In the second season finale, the guys left to try to find magnetic monopoles. About two weeks before the Season 3 premiere, real-life scientists found something that sounds similar: magnetic monopolar quasiparticles — something completely unrelated to Sheldon's experiment.
    • The Mars Rover got stuck in a ditch, just as it did in Season 2. (But it didn't accidentally find life on Mars.)
    • In the first-season episode involving the physics bowl, after Sheldon leaves the other geeks' team, they discuss people who they might be able to recruit as replacements, and one of the people they consider is the actress who played Blossom. Guess who ends up getting the last laugh as Sheldon's date at the end of the third season?
    • In season 4's episode "The Prestidigitation Approximation", Sheldon can't figure out how Howard does his magic trick. Howard sarcastically says "Yeah, he's going to win the Nobel Prize." In the episodes "The Change Constant" and "The Stockholm Syndrome", the last two episodes of the series, Sheldon and Amy do win the Nobel Prize.
    • When Sheldon and Stuart argue about who will succeed Batman after Final Crisis, Sheldon contends that it must be Dick Grayson while Stuart believes it has to be Jason Todd. The argument is basically Stuart being awesome and smacking down Sheldon's position, calling it "as wrong as calling a tomato a suspension bridge". In "The Battle for the Cowl", Jason Todd actually tries to become a Batman with guns, but in the end Dick kicks his butt into the ground and takes on the Bat mantle
    • The entire episode "The Barbarian Sublimation", where Sheldon gets a guy named Tom to date Penny, as he was the result of an dating site Sheldon submitted Penny on to try to find a boyfriend in order to get rid of her MMORPG addiction, but is implied to be gay and thinks Sheldon is the one he's dating, is even better with the knowledge that Sheldon's actor, Jim Parsons, is gay.
    • Similarly, in "The Recombination Hypothesis", Sheldon receives a life-size cutout of Spock that he bought on the Internet, and is dismayed to discover that it's Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the reboot, rather than Leonard Nimoy. His response — "Live long and suck it, Zachary Quinto!" — is doubly hilarious in light of both Parsons and Quinto having come out as gay.
    • Related to the two above, a season 7 Thanksgiving episode has Sheldon (played by the now openly gay Jim Parsons) get along very well with Bernadette's father, who was hinted in an earlier episode to be homophobic.
    • Penny dressing as Wonder Woman to go to a New Year's Eve party with Zack, who is dressed as Superman, gets funnier knowing that Kaley Cuoco dated Henry Cavill.
    • Hard to believe Sheldon's sweet mom used to be a psychopath.
    • The gang has often made jokes about Sheldon being an alien in human disguise. In the DreamWorks movie Home, Jim Parsons voices an obnoxious alien invading on Earth.
    • In one episode, Wil Wheaton receives a call about being in Sharknado 2: The Second One. He actually was in the movie, though strangely uncredited.
    • In the episode "The Justice League Recombination", the gang, plus Penny's boyfriend Zack, dress up as The Justice League of America for a costume contest, with Raj, unwillingly, dressing up as Aquaman and later finding it ridiculous that their Aquaman will be Indian. Cut to 2014, when it's announced that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will introduce an Aquaman played by Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa.
    • Her is more difficult to take seriously if one has seen the episode in which Raj falls in love with Siri.
    • In "The Solder Excursion" Leonard and Howard end up as part of a test screening for Suicide Squad (2016), and Howard teases Raj with spoiling the movie. Suicide Squad ended up famous for setting up test screenings of different cuts of the film and using audience response to blend the different cuts together, resulting is a very uneven film upon release.
    • The recurring joke of Sheldon making fun of Howard for being "only" an engineer at NASA becomes this when Sheldon's actor, Jim Parsons, plays a lead engineer at NASA in the 2016 film Hidden Figures.
    • In Season 1, we discover that Sheldon is a big fan of Fiddler on the Roof, one of the most famous Jewish plays. And guess who he falls in love with a few seasons later? The actress who's played by a Jew.
    • Toward the end of Season Ten, Sheldon tells Amy that if she runs into a scientist who is as smart and tall as he is, but with hair like Thor, she needs to back away from the situation and call him immediately. Several months later, Thor: Ragnarok has the main character get a haircut, losing his trademark locks.
    • In "The Decision Reverberation", Bernadette says that she wants to see Avengers: Endgame in 3D so that she can lick Thor's abs. It turns out that in the movie, Thor has become grossly out of shape.
    • One of the sections of Sheldon and Amy's Relationship Agreement involves conditions for hand holding. This includes a hearty handshake after winning the Nobel Prize. In the Grand Finale they both win the Nobel Prize as a married couple, and have done much more than hand holding.
  • Hollywood Homely: Averted to a degree. None of the characters would be considered unattractive, but they do make efforts to explain their lack of social success. For example, Johnny Galecki combines the glasses with unflattering hair, awkward posture, unflattering facial expressions, and nervous character tics (he frequently plays with his fingers when talking to someone). He also wears slightly oversized clothing to hide the fact that Galecki is actually in pretty good shape.
  • Ho Yay: Wolowitz and Koothrappali.
    • Even Leonard's mother noticed.
    "So Howard, Raj, have you finally built up the courage to admit your latent homosexual feelings for one another?"
    • "The night the heat went out..." "It was a bonding experience!"
    • And then, this happened. Granted, it is more or less accidental, but there nonetheless. Can you hear the squees of thousands of Yaoi Fangirls?
    • Sheldon and Leonard. When Raj's mother calls from India in one episode she thinks they are "like Haroun and Tanveer" who are "sweet young men that recently adopted the cutest little Punjab baby". Despite Leonard denying it initially, upon realizing that they own the special edition of Fiddler on the Roof, Leonard notes, "Maybe we are like Haroun and Tanveer".
    • It's also a little suggestive that Leonard's mother is a less neurotic female Sheldon. Especially considering that there's quite a bit of discussion about the psychological complexes her unaffectionate parenting style gave Leonard.
    • Similarly, Amy, who Sheldon has kissed, confessed to loving and even had sex with and planned to propose to looks and dresses much like a female Leonard.
    • As of season four, Howard and Raj have now kissed on the lips. Then we get this Innocent Innuendo from Leonard the next day:
    Leonard: So Howard, did you have fun playing with Raj's big telescope last night?
    • In one episode, Raj and Stuart got a moment when Raj asked Stuart to hang out, but sounding more like asking him on a date.
    • In a season 3 episode, Penny and Sheldon fought over who Leonard would take to Switzerland for Valentine's Day until they both come down with the flu. Leonard ends up taking Raj, who is over the moon with all the romantic furnishings.
    • In somewhat of an It's a Wonderful Plot, the gang wonders what their lives would be like without Sheldon, Howard still thinks he and Bernadette could've gotten married since they would still go to the Cheesecake Factory where she and Penny worked, but Bernadette theorizes that she would simply assume Howard and Raj were a couple and not even bother introducing herself.
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • Sheldon on occasion. The show likes to play up how he overreacts to things and is generally a Know-Nothing Know-it-All, but there are times where the viewer may side with him but he is still treated as being ridiculous.
      • In "The Bozeman Reaction", Sheldon and Leonard have their apartment broken into and ransacked with numerous valuables stolen. For the remainder of the episode, Sheldon is paranoid about the burglars returning, is uncomfortable sleeping and being alone in the apartment, asks for a security system to be installed, and finally decides he no longer feels safe in Pasadena and is moving to Bozeman, Montana. Short of moving into another state, all of Sheldon's actions in this episode are perfectly understandable after dealing with such a frightening experience, yet the cast treats it like it's his usual antics, and Leonard seems more upset with Sheldon's behavior than he does over the robbery.
    • Near the end of "The Engagement Reaction," Bernadette berates Howard for thinking that his mother had suffered a heart attack on hearing the news that the two were engaged, when in fact she actually passed out from food poisoning and it was purely coincidental that this happened at the exact time Howard told her about the engagement. While Howard was perhaps a little tactless into jumping straight to the assumption that it was a heart attack instead of his mother simply passing out from shock, and his inability to break down the bathroom door indicates that he should add a little muscle, Bernadette is portrayed as being completely right to yell at him for not working out that such an absurdly improbable coincidence had taken place.
    • While the show tries to show the guys' interests as not being a bad thing in general, it also has a tendency to say the opposite. In season 8, it's revealed Howard had a replica life-size prop TARDIS from Doctor Who in a shed behind his mother's house after he and Bernadette moved in. He wanted to keep it and store it in the basement, but Bernadette kept treating him like keeping it was the end of the world (and she ends up getting her way in the end). She's continued on with similar instances where she treats his love of pop culture as something that's wrong with him rather than just one facet of his personality. Penny also gets into this as well a bit in a subtle way. While she won't openly state Leonard's love of pop culture is outright wrong, she sometimes passive aggressively acts like it is, such as when he found out she slowly replaced most of the nerdy items in his room with what would be considered "normal" substitutes in season 9 and put them somewhere else without asking him or seeing if it was ok. The audience laughter even gets in on it where a good degree of the laughing they're told to do is directed at the guys rather than with them. Whenever they make a reference, it's always followed by a pause by the actors, then a laugh from the audience, as if it's somehow bad to bring up instances in pop culture that apply to the situation, especially if you are a fan of the things that they talk about.
    • There are also episodes where the guys will bring something up about their relationships, mainly Leonard and Howard, with legitimate reasons as to why they would, and yet will be berated or labelled as wrong by the girls for some reason, mostly petty ones. There isn't exactly Two and a Half Men-levels of it, but it's definitely there if you pay attention.
    • In one episode, Bernadette was excited about being on a cover of a magazine for being hot, until Amy went out of her way to ruin all of that for her. Bernadette got angry and snapped that she only did it because she herself would never be considered for such an issue. Amy got all hurt and left. However, Bernadette was right to be pissed that Amy basically sabotaged something for her just because she didn't like the idea of it. Yet, the episode treated Amy like she was the victim and ended with Bernadette attempting to apologize for snapping at her.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Amy and Bernadette become part of the show's main cast from Season 4 onward.
    • The relationships: Leonard ends up with Penny, Howard with Bernadette, Sheldon with Amy, and Raj is the only one that's still single.

    J-W 
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Leonard. Yeah, he may be considered a Designated Hero and an ass, but the insults that other characters throw at him about his height or romantic life can seem mean a lot of the time. Also his mother can be quite a bitch, to the point where he relates that he built a hugging machine so that he could fake having human contact. Once Leonard is actually with Penny his retorts to them are basically "You said it would never happen, well I made it happen." In fact most of the time whenever he does something mean or socially stupid you can trace its origin to what someone else did to him.
    • Sheldon can be highly difficult to be around, his quirks constantly interrupt the lives of everyone else, he outright insults the intelligence of everyone and berates people for not conforming exactly to his schedule. However, his emotional maturity is that of a 10-year old and whenever he is in distress he responds much like a child would and the few times he will Pet the Dog will sometimes backfire on him. For a few specific examples:
      • "The Excelsior Acquisition", Sheldon is taken to court for a traffic violation and Sheldon's style of defending himself (insulting the judge, among other things) ended up getting him thrown in the courthouse jail. The problem was he doesn't drive much and the ticket happened in the same episode when he "played the hero" taking Penny to the hospital when she dislocated her shoulder; it was Penny's coaching that led to the violation and she directed the ticket to him to avoid an insurance hike. It basically ended up as No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. However, being that he was in control of the vehicle (and the ticket was issued by a camera, which photographed Sheldon driving, not Penny), he is 100% at fault. Penny convincing him into running a red light is not a defense, as even if she was far more experienced than him, traffic lights are a pretty black and white indicator that even people who've never been in a car at all would know not to drive through. He is in fact trying to deflect the blame onto his incapacitated passenger.
      • A Tear Jerker moment (as well as a case of Mood Whiplash) comes in Season 6's "The Santa Simulation", the guys play a Christmas themed Dungeons & Dragons game with Sheldon being annoyed by the theme and eventually leaving Santa, who they were supposed to rescue, to the ogres that captured him. Jerkass, for sure. The Woobie comes in when he tells "Santa" his story of why he hates him and Christmas — the last time he saw Santa was at a mall where he asks for his grandfather back, who had died earlier that year and was the only one in the family who encouraged Sheldon's interest in science. Instead, he got Lincoln Logs. "You can build a lot of things out of Lincoln Logs, but a new Pop-Pop's not one of them."
      • "The Guitarist Amplification" suggests that much of Sheldon's colder aspects were his defense against being hurt emotionally when his parents fought, as seeing his friends engage in vitriolic bickering has him on the edge of a full-fledged breakdown.
    • Raj. Yes, doubtless, he Took a Level in Jerkass since around Season 3. Only one catch: living without being able to talk with women is especially hard. It's a wonder he hasn't ended up a bitter drunk yet. He may put a Smug Snake face in front of his friends, but once or twice, we see he cracks.
    • Pretty much every character with any development save for Stuart (due to being too friendly to qualify) will have shades of this. Everyone has moments where they act selfish, intolerable, or just generally disdainful, but they all also have so many issues and problems that it's hard not to feel bad for them.
    • Dr. Crawlie from "The Jiminy Conjecture" would be a full-on Woobie if not for being played by Lewis Black.
  • Les Yay: Amy Farrah Fowler and Penny, although this is more of a one-sided crush.
    • Penny has since revealed that as a high school student in Nebraska, she participated in extracurricular activities with the gym coach who had a massive and unwise crush on her. Just to specify the gym coach's gender, they apparently went to a Mellisa Etheridge gig together. Penny was not explicit on what she had to do to get the A-grade for gym, but mysteriously remarked that "it all worked out OK".
  • Magnificent Bastard: Wil Wheaton is a Hollywood actor and Sheldon Cooper’s mortal enemy who constantly finds ways to outwit the Insufferable Genius. Learning that Sheldon hates him for not showing up at the '95 Dixie Trek Convention Sheldon attended, Wil uses this information to persuade Sheldon into letting him win a card game by lying that he had to attend his grandmother's funeral. Competing with Sheldon Cooper again in a bowling match he convinces Penny to break up with Leonard, dismantling Sheldon's bowling team and leaving Wil victorious once more. When Wil notices Seldon and his friends trying to steal the film reel of Raiders of the Lost Ark, he rallies an army of movie goers to chase them down. Eventually deciding to make peace with Sheldon, Wil gives Sheldon a signed and mint condition Wesley Crusher action figure, immediately earning Sheldon's forgiveness, and making Wil Wheaton the only character to go from Sheldon's enemy to his friend.
  • Memetic Mutation: Sheldon tends to generate these.
    • "Bazinga!" ()
    • Oh, the Humanities! (An Unusual Euphemism, substituting "Humanity", the typical word, for "Humanities", the collective fields of study of Human culture, which Sheldon tends to reference on occasion)
    • Yes! Yes! My brain is better than EVERYBODY'S! (A reference to Sheldon's typical Insufferable Genius behavior)
    • (knock knock knock) "Penny?" (knock knock knock) "Penny?" (knock knock knock) "Penny?" (A reference to Sheldon's compulsive door knocking quirk)
    • On /co/, the show is commonly made fun of in variations of "Hey guys, Green Lantern!" (audience laughter shakes the studio, snowballing into an apocalyptic event)
    • Replacing the laugh track with a variety of other people's laughs like Ricky Gervais, Tidus, SpongeBob, a random guy or just random sound effects in general.
    • There are lots of extremely surreal MS Paint productions that rival Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff in terms of Stylistic Suck. They almost always have extremely botched English, with the punchline usually being some warbled variation of "bazinga" ("bandingo", "bonswazzle", "bazooper", "carabooda", "jumanji", "bepzinky", "vajazzle", etc.) or African and Asian countries (Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Botswana, etc). Have a look for yourself.
    • For snarkers against the show, the spin off Young Sheldon became this, in particular the assumed joke where the titular character corrects his mother over the actual name of salt when she asked him to pass it to her.
  • Older Than They Think: a number of tropes that seem original actually show up in episodes of The Office.
    • Angela's Creepy Cleanliness prevents her from submitting to a group handshake without first laying a napkin on the pile of her coworkers' hands. Sheldon makes the same move in "The Zarnecki Incursion".
      Sheldon: I'm hell-bent on catching a cyber criminal, not the common cold.
    • Sheldon's Roommate Agreement and his Relationship Agreement with Amy seem unique and quirky, but Angela and Dwight had a formal contract regarding procreation. Like Sheldon, Dwight was also a notary public and validated the agreement himself. The contracts on both shows were used to invoke Read the Fine Print and Magically Binding Contract and served as plot devices in several episodes.
    • A few of the main characters having really bad parents, and bad relationships with them as a result, is a trait this show shares with Two and a Half Men. It's, for some reason, a favorite trope of Chuck Lorre's, since he's also had the trait show up in Mike & Molly as well, to have some of the main characters have bad relationships with their bad parents and also explore the psychological aspects of them. Leonard's mother in particular shares an immense amount of traits with Evelyn, Charlie and Alan's mother, in that they show absolutely no understanding of why their children hate them, blame their children for their problems with them rather than actually examining their own actions that have screwed up their kids' lives, are very hypocritical when they're blamed for their problems, despite how true the claims are, and show absolutely no signs of changing for the better. She even shows more genuine appreciation for Leonard's siblings' accomplishments rather than his. They even have Leonard proud of the fact that she's his mother, as it's lead to his success, rather than saying he would've wanted a more traditional mom who supports everything he sets out to do, is full of genuine warmth, and loves all of her children as much as she can. Even Penny had this happen to her early on with her father, as it's established that he wanted a son and, consequently, pushed Penny away as a result of not having one rather than appreciating her for being his daughter...at least they established that before he actually showed up in the show, with absolutely none of those traits as a part of his characterization as you'd expect. Sheldon seems to be somewhat of a subversion of this as, while his mother and he don't see eye-to-eye most of the time, she does genuinely love him and he genuinely loves her and they, generally, have a good relationship outside of their thoughts on religion and Sheldon's tendency to act like a big baby when she comes to visit. Even Bernadette has a good, normal, family life with her parents.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Alice from "Good Guy Fluctuation" was incredibly popular, being an attractive, friendly and quirky female nerd played by Courtney Ford.
    • Martha and Abby from "Psychic Vortex" are similar, given how they double date Raj and Sheldon based on him carrying a Green Lantern prop around.
    • Yvette from "The Locomotive Manipulation" is one of the more popular love interests for Raj among the fanbase, despite appearing in only one episode, due to the fact that they shared a lot of the same values and seemed quite well-suited generally. The casting of Tania Raymonde was made quite a big deal of at the time, suggesting that the character might originally have been meant to be recurring.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In one episode, it's revealed Howard once gave Penny a teddy bear that she discovered had a webcam inside it.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-universe. "Shamy" in the Season 4 Premiere for Sheldon and Amy. Amy is quick to put an end to it, though. The fans still use the term to discuss the Sheldon/Amy pairing.
    • Also in universe, Raj has suggested "Koothrapemily and "Emipalli" as one for himself and Emily.
    • "Lenny" is the term used by fans to discuss the Leonard/Penny pairing. Somewhat confusing since Lenny is a nickname of Leonard.
    • The term "Shenny" is used by fans to discuss Sheldon/Penny shipping. The Big Bag Theory Wiki has a small article on the subject.
    • The term "Howardette" is used by fans to discuss the Howard/Bernadette pairing.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: When Amy was initially introduced she came across as a Distaff Counterpart of Sheldon competing for the Brutal Honesty lines, which many fans did not appreciate. Once she started up a friendship with Penny, calling her "My Bestie" (best friend), and demonstrating her own personality outside of a female Sheldon fan response has switched around. Particularly her instigation of the rumor-mill in "The Herb Garden Germination" and Sheldon calling her a "vixen" for getting him into the social sciences.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Leonard is frequently turned into this in order to promote the Sheldon/Penny pairing. Correspondingly, Sheldon becomes a Draco in Leather Pants where Leonard is a horrible person for teasing, pranking or otherwise making fun of him, supposedly because Sheldon is a child and unaware of the hurtful things he says and does.
    • Penny is susceptible to this as well complete with a healthy dose of slut-shaming for having a healthy sex life while single. Some examples are the below mentioned Escalating War with Sheldon over the rules at his apartment yet no mention is ever given of the fact that he basically forces his rules everywhere he was going, including Penny’s house. Or her keeping all the horrible things Howard did from Bernadette in "The Stag Convergance" while forgetting that Penny has told Bernadette how sleazy Howard is many times from repeatedly bad mouthing him after they broke up to repeatedly asking her if she really wanted to marry him. Plus the things they saw in the video were things Penny had no knowledge of.
    • Just about every character over the course of the show has had only their flaws focused and their positive traits ignored, often but not always when in comparison to Sheldon.
  • Seasonal Rot: While there are plenty of fans who think it gets better every season due to more Character Development and more humor, plenty of other fans think the show has been going downhill since Season 4, because of moving away from the original plot, less focus on the "nerdy" elements and more on relationships, and taking away aspects from the characters that many people loved.
  • Ship Mates: Those who ship Leonard with someone other than Penny (like Alex), which leaves Penny open to be with Sheldon.
  • Shipping Bed Death:
    • Leonard and Penny's relationship had a lot more fan support in the first two seasons than after they get together in the third. The thing was that much of the Character Development of the first two seasons was about getting them to that point and resolving their Unresolved Sexual Tension while trying to otherwise keep the status quo left the third season feeling very stale. Their relationship had little impact on the stories other than a couple of fights and token episodes where they try to learn more about each other (Leonard tried to learn about sports, Penny tried to learn physics) and they eventually broke up towards the end.
    • Leonard and Penny getting back together in the fifth season has produced a mixed reaction. Some like that the characters are actually trying to interact with each other on a more personal level (avoiding the stale feeling from before) while others feel that the whole story had run its course and the show is just putting the audience through another round of drama.
  • Shallow Parody: The jokes about geek culture hit really obvious targets like video games, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. The targets are so big in the mainstream it's considered perfectly normal to be into them. The show itself even acknowledges this early on, when Penny mocks Leonard for collecting action figures when she herself has numerous My Little Pony and Hello Kitty dolls.
  • Snark Bait: One of the more popular ones in modern live-action TV, be it due to accusations of Seasonal Rot, the portrayal of nerd culture which many see as insulting or just plain wrong, or simple It's Popular, Now It Sucks! reactions. It's a common joke online that the show can be vastly improved by replacing the Laugh Track with various other sources of laughter and noises, or just removing it entirely.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Penny tells Leonard to go against a Double Standard and put his foot down and tell Stephanie that he wasn't ready for her to move in.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • In the Season 5 premiere, Sheldon has a nightmare where several bugs start crawling all over him. The bug effects look like something out of windows movie maker. Though that does not stop it from being disturbing.
    • In Season 6, the boys (in Star Trek cosplay) get ready to take some photos by Vasquez Rocks. Or rather, in front of a backdrop portraying said rocks — it's rather painfully obvious they're on a set! Possibly intentional, as a reference to the obvious sets in the original Star Trek.
    • More like Scenery Effect Failure, but the brief scene of the women at Disneyland in "The Contractual Obligation Implementation" can be a bit of a Mind Screw to those who actually have been to Disneyland. The scene is very quiet, and it looks as if Penny, Amy and Bernadette are the only guests in the park!
  • Squick: Howard's subplot in the fourth season premiere. He built a robotic arm, and after showing it to his friends, when he's at home he gets it to massage his shoulder. Then, as soon as he realizes "it's just like a real hand", well... guess what he tries to get it to do. And it doesn't even stop there — the hand misinterprets what it's been programmed to do, mistakenly believing its duty is about twisting a screwdriver. As soon as Howard no longer has any control over the situation (which is pretty quickly), he has to ask Leonard and Raj for help, and then everything goes downhill from there.
    • In Season 1, Penny's "friend" Christy comes to stay with her for a bit. The night she does, she gets seduced by and sleeps with Howard. The next day, Howard reveals they showered together and used Penny's loofa, which "reached places [Howard's] just won't." Later, Penny said that they made all her stuffed animals "sweaty." If you know what happens at the end of sex, then both are very nauseating to think about.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Sheldon is a difficult person to get along with and is often assumed to be wrong on certain matters because of his selfish behavior and desperate arguments. But there are a few times when you have to admit he has a point in his argument.
    • After they return from the North Pole after several months of experimenting Sheldon discovers the others interfered with the results so Sheldon would be more tolerable. The problem was Sheldon immediately sent out an email to the University about their findings before they clued him in on what happened; the forced redaction hurts his career and turns it into Disproportionate Retribution. While he is not free of fault due to his own haste in taking credit for the discovery, Sheldon is the victim in this, and is utterly hollowed out when he finds out. The others only offer a light apology, with only Raj actually seeming to regret it, and Leonard was only worried about getting back to he could have sex with Penny. This also doesn't get into the fact that falsifying data in the academic community is a huge breach of ethics; excluding the emotional hurt done to Sheldon, the group's actions could have resulted in the total ruin of their friend's (legitimately distinguished) career, humiliation for the university they work at, as well as calling into question the validity of any of their own current or previous work because they were part of the research team.
    • One particular event that really sticks out is in "The Deception Verification"; Sheldon's treated as if he's in the wrong for being angry when he discovers that his best friend intentionally lied to him, because he didn't want to spend time with him.
    • Both Sheldon and Wil Wheaton in "The Habitation Configuration". See Designated Villain for more information.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A good portion of the fandom is upset that the guys are having some success in long term companionships, claiming that the show has become just another stereotypical sitcom with a focus on relationships. The thing is that even the early seasons were focused on relationship stories, mostly on how the guys would strike out (especially Howard). Whether or not the changes to the cast and the formula have been handled well (balanced cast, creative stories, insider jokes, etc) is a different subject altogether.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • At the finale of "The Santa Simulation," Sheldon reveals to "Santa" (in a Christmas-themed game of Dungeons & Dragons) why he dislikes Christmas; Sheldon had asked Santa when he was a child to bring back his grandfather, who had died earlier that year and was the only family member to encourage his interest in science. Sheldon instead got Lincoln Logs. In The Stinger, Sheldon meets Santa Claus during a dream, in which Santa apologizes for letting Sheldon down as a boy. Rather than a heartwarming moment where Sheldon's Pop Pop comes back for one dream so Sheldon can say good bye and make amends, Santa shoots Sheldon with a cannon, making the ending a Catapult Nightmare.
    • In The Bozeman Reaction, at no point does Sheldon point out that Bozeman is the future sight of the test of the first warp engine & first contact with the Vulcans in the film Star Trek: First Contact. Given his love of Star Trek, and TNG in general, this would surely have been a factor in his decision to move there. On a side-note, this counts as a Genius Bonus, and might be deliberate on the part of the writers.
    • The show had the tendency of introducing possible love interests only to completely drop them off the face of the earth after a couple episodes without any explanation whatsoever as to what happened to them.
      • One notable example of this is Dr. Stephanie Barnett (Sara Rue) in Season 2. She's introduced in a 3 episode mini-arc as Howard's boyfriend only for Stephanie to end up hitting it off with Leonard, and eventually becomes his girlfriend instead. How does Leonard and Stephanie's relationship evolve from there? No one knows since Stephanie never appeared again after the mini-arc. The show just continued on as if the Stephanie plotline never happened.
      • Another example is the Ship Tease between Leonard and Alex Jensen (Margo Harshman) in Season 6 not going anywhere. Alex just suddenly stopped appearing after a couple episodes to the point of not even bothering to show why she stopped being Sheldon's assistant.
    • "The Bakersfield Expedition" centered around the guys going to Comic-Con while cosplaying as Star Trek characters, only to have their car stolen and put in embarrassing situations as they make their way home. IGN's review of the episode posits that, instead of devoting the episode to mocking the leads for their hobbies, it would have been much better to put them in a dangerous situation that would let them live out their fantasies of being Starfleet officers.
    • Due to the increasing amount of attention nerd culture has received in recent years, it would be interesting if the four male leads suddenly found themselves becoming more popular for the geeky hobbies and interests that earned so much ridicule over the years.
    • The Grand Finale, instead of having Sheldon be called out for the hundredth time how much of a jerk he is (seeing the other characters "stand up to him" isn't very satisfying when they've already "stood up to him" multiple times in previous episodes), could've been a good opportunity to have Leonard, Penny, Howard, Raj, Bernadette, and Amy be called out for THEIR Jerkass tendencies (granted, Leonard and Bernadette have been called out before, but both received Aesop Amnesia in episodes after that, and it hasn't happened as often as Sheldon being called out), perhaps even by Sheldon, which considering how mean they are to him much of the time would've been far more satisfying, especially since unlike Sheldon we're intended to see them as likable characters.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Howard is this in the story arc dealing with Howard's feeling unwelcome and underappreciated after returning from space. While the episode tries to play him off as having Acquired Situational Narcissism. Howard has been the butt of his friends' jokes since the beginning of the series for not having a doctorate. Even Penny and Bernadette have mocked him for this. So when he finally has something to brag about they just come across as petty for not letting him do it.
    • Sheldon can fall into this a lot as well. Yeah, he's an Insufferable Genius, but the things that Leonard and his friends do to him generally slide into Disproportionate Retribution, and they're also rather fond of messing with him because it amuses them, making it hard not to feel at least a little sympathy for him. For example, in the aforementioned "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation", he and his friends return from the North Pole, only for Sheldon to discover that his friends faked data in order to get him to be less obnoxious. They tell him this AFTER he sent out an email to the university about how he'd discovered magnetic monopoles, and as a result he is humiliated and mocked. Even if they were planning on telling him before he sent out the email and just didn't realize how fast he would do it, the others just shrug him off and act like he's overreacting (the only one who has his back is Penny). We're presumably supposed to side with them, but can you really blame him for being upset and betrayed considering that they humiliated him and on top of that FAKED DATA - which is a big breach of ethics in the academic community - just to get him to be less annoying?
    • In "The Agreement Dissection", after Priya abolishes the Roommate Agreement, we have Sheldon coming home to discover that Leonard, Howard and Raj got Greek food, which they know that he loathes, on Pizza Night just to tick him off, which was not justified at all - none of them had said anything about not liking pizza, and Leonard hates Greek food just as much as Sheldon does and yet he's totally okay with getting it for no other reason than to make Sheldon angry (not to mention that when Sheldon points out that Leonard hates Greek food, Leonard just replies "Not as much as you."). How exactly is Sheldon in the wrong for being angry about this?
    • Wil Wheaton for being fed up with Amy's whining and bitching in "The Habitation Configuration", and Sheldon for siding with him, and being treated like he's somehow in the wrong for it.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Leonard and the other characters are supposed to be sympathetic for having to put up with Sheldon. The problem with this is that they're no better than him and enjoy tormenting him and insulting him to his face, and are also very rude and insulting towards each other as well. This is even lampshaded by Sheldon in one episode: after Leonard whines about Sheldon being a pain, Sheldon replies that Leonard thinks he's so tolerant when he's mean to Sheldon much of the time (not that it changes anything, as Leonard promptly goes back to being a jerk to Sheldon in the next episodes).
    • Penny has sometimes been put into conflict with the others where we are supposed to side with her but some feel that she ends up being mean and cruel while the others were at worst ignorant of how it would affect her. She gets into an Escalating War with Sheldon over the rules at his apartment (though it's also Leonard's apartment, and he ought to be able to have guests over). She gets angry at Leonard for sneaking a look and fixing her bad history paper because she wanted to do it herself, only to recruit Amy and Bernadette to help her rewrite it to stick it to him (prompting a reference to the Alpha Bitch trope from them). There's also the time when Sheldon decided to try alcohol, and made a complicated drink order (that he would happily have paid and tipped for), and Penny simply poured him a shot of whiskey saying "everyone makes it different." If it had been anyone but Sheldon, the audience's sympathy may have been with him for the crappy customer service.
    • Lucy, Raj's girlfriend. She is afraid of anything and everything, but unlike our main geeks, she never actually makes an honest effort to correct her fear. The joke of her abandoning Raj in the middle of their dates may be funny on her first appearance, but as the season progresses it becomes clear that Raj is the one pulling all the weight on their relationship. While her social anxiety is meant to be Adorkable, running away from dates all the time makes her look like a Jerkass Dirty Coward.
    • Raj after being dumped, when the episode showed him pressuring his socially anxious maybe-girlfriend to meet his friends and to say whether she was his girlfriend or not.
      • Raj again after breaking up with Emily spends the rest of the episode as a thoroughly depressed mess. The problem with this is that he only broke up with her after obsessing over another woman (who clearly told him she wasn’t interested) for days before breaking up with her right before Valentine’s Day. He then went crawling back to her when this stupid decision blew up in his face. All in all, he comes across looking more like a sleaze than someone you should feel sorry for.
      • There's also the subplot in an earlier season where Raj wanted to steal Bernadette away from Howard, including fantasizing about Howard dying and wishing for Raj to "take care" of Bernadette. It's all Played for Laughs but for some also shows how despicable Raj really is in that he'd betray his best friend if he had the chance to (Bernadette herself shows no interest in Raj, luckily).
    • When Penny gives Howard a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, we are supposed to feel sympathy toward Howard when he hides himself away in his room, despite his prior consistent, unrelenting harassment of Penny and her consistent, unrelenting lack of interest in him. On top of this, he ignores her apology and tries to kiss her. And then, even after she punches him in the face and breaks his nose, he still won't let up, claiming he's "halfway to pity sex." Pre-Character Development Howard was a creep and a half. Though, considering how crappy Howard’s life was back then and how Penny proves to be no better than Howard in later episodes, you might consider being neutral to both of them.
    • Even Sheldon falls victim to this. There are a number of episodes where Sheldon gets his way and the audience is supposed to be happy at his triumph even when his motives are petty and childish. When Priya begins examining some of the (ridiculous) things in the roommate agreement the audience is supposed to be happy when Sheldon blackmails her into leaving it alone even when Priya is completely right: Sheldon constantly uses the roommate agreement to make Leonard's life miserable, but fuck forbid he should have to live by the rules set forth in his own agreement; he blackmails Leonard, through her, into signing a new agreement that favors him even more than the old one. Really, Leonard deserves credit for not brutally beating Sheldon until he signed an agreement that stated, "Sheldon is Leonard's bitch from now on." In another episode, Leonard and Penny decide to buy a dining table so everyone can sit together. Sheldon opposes this decision simply because he doesn't like change (despite Leonard pointing out that he bought the couch against Sheldon's will) and doesn't care that Raj is always sitting on the floor. In the end, he gets his way, even though his motives are entirely selfish.
    • Sheldon, once again, in The Friendship Contraction. After dealing with Sheldon's incessant whining one too many times, Leonard rightly tells Sheldon where to stick the roommate agreement and dissolves their friendship. Sheldon spends the bulk of the episode trying to find someone else to wait on him hand and foot (never even once considering doing anything for himself), and when he can't, he cuts the power to the entire apartment building to get Leonard to be his servant again. Penny notes that Sheldon simply misses his best friend, but it'd be hard to think that given Sheldon's behavior, and Leonard is completely in the right to call Sheldon out on his childishness. A particularly grating moment is when Sheldon has the nerve to say that the roommate agreement provides "mutual benefits" when all it does is give him power over Leonard.
      • Of course, as Penny pointed out in the third season, since Leonard kept on choosing to live with Sheldon as opposed to moving out and living on his own, it's hard to really feel sorry for his complaints. Later on, he did actually move after a fight with Sheldon, but then proceeded to foist himself on Penny, who was nowhere near ready for such a step, and spends the entire episode ignoring her obvious feelings about it.
    • Beverly Hofstadter: we're supposed to feel sorry for her in “The Line Substitution Solution” due to the fact that Leonard and Penny didn’t invite her to their wedding or even told her about it. The problem is not only does she act the way she usually does but when confronted she admits that she wouldn’t approve of it and wouldn’t have gone. When you add to this the fact that Beverly has kept important events from Leonard such as the death of relatives and pets but they’ve had this exact same conversation before when she found out about he and Penny dating, it just makes her come across as more of an abusive hypocrite.
    • The Apology Insufficiency really makes Howard this, and to an extent everyone who sides with him. They're all mad at Sheldon for damaging Howard's career by...telling a government agent something completely true about Howard, that demonstrates the he is indeed an irresponsible person who really shouldn't have security clearance...
    • This was most likely the point of their plot of the episode, but Bernadette really showed off her bitchy tendencies in the episode where she and Howard were going to sell things from his house after his mother passed away and they moved into her house. They find Howard's life-sized TARDIS police box prop replica in the backyard shed. While no one explicitly takes either one of their sides outside of the Ping Pong match that ensues, Bernadette really comes off as a cold-hearted bitch for trying to sell it, even though Howard still wanted it for sentimental reasons, since he's a fan of the show it comes from, Doctor Who. She also had been, for some reason, developing a growing resentment towards his more geeky tendencies in a more passive aggressive manner, but this was one of the first overt instances of this, despite not a lot of establishment of it prior. She tries to get rid of a prop replica TARDIS...on a show where the main male characters are geeks and the audience is made up of similar-minded people. Granted, Bernadette's not stated to be in the right, but she treats Howard like he's wrong for wanting to keep it and ends up winning in the end. They didn't even need to have it out in the open, it could've stayed where it is, or be moved to the basement, or something. It's even more awful when no one calls Bernadette out on the blatant ignoring of Howard's feelings. This isn't an instance where he acts like a child either. He didn't do anything to deserve such harsh treatment. The show seems to have a lot of problems with Bernadette in this area in the later seasons. She's justified when Howard overtly acts like a baby/child, but there's really no reason she couldn't let him have things to show what he's a fan of.
    • Amy in "The Habitation Configuration" for whining pettily about Wil Wheaton's "poor acting" in Fun with Flags, and then being annoyed that Sheldon doesn't pander to her whinging. Also, Penny and Leonard for backing her up.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Most of the characters on the show are not popular in the conventional sense, but within the context of the main group this comes up regularly.
    • Sheldon, whose Jerkass behavior is barely tolerated by the others and they have contingencies on how to deal with his narcissism and arrogance, but was certainly the Breakout Character of the show.
    • Barry Kripke is an obnoxious tool the other characters dislike, but being such an unapologetic ass who can put Sheldon in his place earned him a good deal of fans.
    • Stuart is straight up The Eeyore sad sack, but being the owner of the Local Hangout and friendly demeanor earned him a place in the main credits.
    • Bert sees the main group as the popular crowd, and his social awkwardness is hard to get around, but his sincerity and being played by Brian Posehn elevated what was originally a one-gag character.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In the years since the show premiered, the MCU has brought superheroes and comics back into the public consciousness, Star Wars and Star Trek were both revived to wide acclaim, social media has made pop culture and memes more accessible to everyone, and video games have become so popular that major sports networks air gaming tournaments alongside major sports competitions. Simply put, this show that's built around mocking nerd culture came out only a few years before nerd culture became part of the mainstream.
    • At the time of the show's premiere, shows depicting nerds being bullied and ostracized because of their interests was very common. However, there's currently a very anti-bullying stance and the show gets a lot of flak for continuing nerd stereotypes. There's also controversy over the show's repeated belief that women, especially attractive women, have no interest in comics and video games.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: In the Season 7 premiere, Leonard gets hoisted off of a boat by a Kraken's tentacles. It really looks believable.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: The show has made pop culture jokes and references relatively close to their original air date, but avoids trying to be TOO topical by not making them the focus of an entire story. I.e., references to the guys missing '09 Star Trek because they were on an expedition over the summer. One exception was the guys playing Halo 3 in the first season, with a couple of factual mistakes made because the episode was obviously written and filmed before the game actually came out. A season six episode had Sheldon angsting over which game console to buy, X Box One or Playstation 4, but made the point that Sheldon has backed the wrong format over the years, i.e. Zune over iPod, Betamax over VHS, etc.
    • Two episodes in Season 9 actually revolve around an upcoming pop cultural event - the imminent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the premiere of Game of Thrones Season 6 were both the focus of episode-long story arcs. They got around any potential issues by being aired a few days before the Real Life events they were depicting, and to avoid spoilers focusing on the interactions between the group prior to the premieres and the guys geeking out blissfully in the aftermath, rather than the content of the show/film being watched.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Season 3 was criticized for an overabundant focus on Sheldon and a lackluster exploration of Leonard and Penny's relationship. Season 4 was slightly better with Amy and Bernadette shaking up the character dynamics, but the quality control on Season 5 left a normally reliably funny show as being hit or miss, especially as Raj became more incidental to the stories. But after an iffy start to Season 6, many people started praising it as hitting a new high mark as everyone started getting some really juicy comedic moments, and Raj became important to the show again.
    • The Long Runner nature of the show meant that everyone would have their own opinion of when it started suffering Seasonal Rot (ranging from season 3 to season 12). The Grand Finale, on the other hand, was wildly praised by just about everyone as a great conclusion, ending on a high note as a love letter to both the characters and the fans.
  • The Woobie: Pretty much the entire cast and even side characters take turns at this, since they bonded by having mutual problems with apathetic family members and growing up ostracized for their intelligence.
    • Leonard is generally a decent guy who tries to find some sort of emotional attachment and rarely getting it. But then we find out he was never hugged as a child, his parents never celebrated any birthday, and often directly mocked for his struggles (especially by Sheldon, but Raj and Howard also teased him about Penny frequently with no provocation).
    • Woobie status will shift to Sheldon sometimes. Especially here, where he nearly has a panic attack because the guys cut off one of his long rants, and they did it on purpose. Although Sheldon's 0% Approval Rating attitude makes him an Acceptable Target for a lot of pranks, this show still probably deserves credit for making The Woobie out of characters who, in most sitcoms, would merely be one-joke occasional characters. Consider how much of a Flat Character Sheldon — or even the other guys — would be as extras in a more traditional sitcom.
    • When Amy was first introduced she was rather cold and distant to most people, only becoming friends with Sheldon because of feeling a kinship between them. As she became friends with Penny she opened up extensively and often recalls having a rough and lonely childhood, probably more so than any of the guys. While her dialogue is still meant to be funny, a lot of it hints towards her being very sad and depressed before she met them. When Penny is staying at her place and Raj shows up Amy said, "A sleepover and a man at my door. I wish I could tell my 13-year-old self it does get better!" Things get worse in the Season 5 episode "The Isolation Permutation" where Amy has an emotional breakdown because Penny and Bernadette don't ask her to pick out wedding dresses with them. She spends most of the episode agonizing over how no one wants to hang out with her and recounting some pretty horrible experiences where people have humiliated her, at one point calling herself "the tumor nobody wants around." Yeah, pretty safe to say she's the show's biggest Woobie by now.
    • Stuart, due to his growing debt, Perpetual Poverty, and the fact everyone takes advantage of his friendliness and easygoing-ness to get cheaper prices on stuff from his store really makes you feel for the guy. The closest thing he has to a dating life is a cat he doesn't own that occasionally visits to share cans of tuna. He finds it hard to talk with people outside of the nerd community, and is often depressed about his lot in life, and the fact that he's rarely invited to hang out with his friends in their group events. To cap it off, his comic book shop burns down in the Season 7 finale (and no matter what other people say, he didn't do it to collect the insurance), and in Season 8, Debbie (Howard's Mother), who he was getting close to, passed away right after providing him with the funds he needed to get his shop back in business. The poor guy just can't catch a break.
    • Alex Jensen, Sheldon's assistant. The poor girl tries so hard, and she still gets talked down to on a regular basis.
    • Raj. In Season 6, he and Stuart bonded over their shared loneliness as Raj's best friend was away and both were single. For the past few seasons, he's been feeling really depressed about being single while all of his friends are paired up (especially since one of the couples involves Sheldon). When he does finally get a girlfriend, she breaks up with him. He also had a girlfriend for an episode who ended up being a Gold Digger.
    • Howard. His father abandoned him when he was a kid, forcing him to look after his mother (who may qualify, herself.) Sheldon constantly taunts him about not having a doctorate (at one point, Bernadette joins in), Bernadette goes behind his back to tell his mother about his going to space, he comes close to breaking up with her after his lecherous past is revealed. He is clearly terrified of going into space. There, he's bullied by the other astronauts who dub him "Fruit Loops" and he suffers from Space Madness. It doesn't get much better for him upon re-entry, as his wife is trying to seduce him while suffering from a cold. His mother is having an affair with the dentist, he finds himself between Raj and Stuart's Ho Yay, and the rest of the group coldly rebuff him, leaving him to eat cheesecake alone in a diner where he finds out he caught the cold from Bernadette. Poor guy.
    • Howard's mother used to be thin and beautiful until she became a chocolate addict from eating the candy her dates brought her. Her husband up and leaves her alone with a young child to raise alone and she clearly suffers from a fear of abandonment because of it. Her controlling and manipulative nature just seems to be her way of keeping the only person who loves her close to her. Then she dies while on a great vacation and only a short time after developing probably her closest friendship in years.
    • Even Penny can be this at times (just not as often as the others). In the early seasons she had a tendency to fall for Jerk Jock types only to be devastated when she realized they were jerks. When she and Leonard broke up and Leonard began dating Priya, Penny tried to pull an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, but couldn't actually say it out loud without bursting into tears mid-sentence. She's an aspiring actress (and has some genuine talent) but her acting career has been going nowhere. Every now and then, the realization of that hits her hard. Even when she gets a job that pays a lot of money, she eventually admits to Leonard that she hates it because having to flirt with doctors all day to make sales doesn't feel good, but she also isn't sure if she wants to go back to acting because she remembers how miserable the auditions and failure made her.
  • What an Idiot!: In "The Speckerman Recurrence", if Leonard wanted to get his childhood bully out of the apartment, a simple threat of calling the police would have solved that problem.
Advertisement:

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report