Of all the shows currently on television, there’s none so divisive as The Big Bang Theory. Check anywhere online and you’ll find hate and venom spewed at the show, yet, despite all that, it is also one of the most popular on television. How does that work? How can it be both hated and loved by so many? Perhaps even more incredible is the fact that so many people have an opinion on the matter. Well, here’s ours: the show is not funny. But we don’t want to just leave it at that. We want to explore why the show is so hated and come up with a list of reasons that make it so.
On a rainy day in September, 2004, The Big Bang Theory premiered. The whole world tuned in to see if this sitcom was going to be our new Friends. We watched and we laughed hysterically. No, it wasn’t TBBT that made us laugh, it was remembering back to that “Junior Mint” episode of Seinfeld. Classic. But, to be honest, TBBT wasn’t all that bad in the beginning. The next thing we knew, however, it became this phenomenon. How did it get so popular? We asked around, but everyone we asked said they hated the show. Were they ashamed and lying? Where are all TBBT fans hiding? Well, fan or not, this list won’t be your friend. If anything, it’ll make even diehard fans question their allegiances. For everyone else, here are 15 Things That Will Make You Hate the Big Bang Theory Even More.
15. The Stars are Filthy Rich
People are always going to judge celebrities based on their salaries. It happens in sports and in it happens in show business. The salaries of the stars of TBBT have been broadcasted near and far by now. In the beginning, they made about $60,000 per episode. That went up to $200,000 and then increased about $50,000 per season as they went on. Nowadays, these actors are making $1 million per episode, which is nuts. The argument here isn’t that this should never happen. After all, the stars of Friends got this kind of money and several other actors have received something similar. Most were deserved. The argument is that this kind of money should not be paid to Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. While this is a judgement on the abilities of these actors in a way, it’s much more about the characters they play. None of these characters are particularly difficult to play. Penny runs around looking hot, Sheldon acts like a knob all day and says “bazinga” and Galecki’s character, whatever his name is, might just be the most two-dimensional character in all of television. It’s just unjustified is all.
14. Top-Rated Show
Prior to this last season, one of the big complaints that people had about TBBT is the love that it gets in the ratings department. Metacritic has each season (except for 10) in the mid-70s to mid-80s, which is right there with How I Met Your Mother, shameful really. On IMDb, the show ranks the same as Scrubs, Pushing Daisies and Lost. On most ratings sites, TBBT outranks some of the best comedies ever, which makes you wonder if the voting system is broken. If you say this doesn’t matter, you haven’t been paying attention. We all know the power of public opinion and what it can do to sway others. The more people think that everyone likes this show, the more people will watch it and the longer it will live.
13. The Awards
Of all the most divisive things on TBBT, Sheldon is the one that most people love to debate about most. Either you love him or you hate him. For the haters, it’s difficult to see why people find him so funny. His delivery and timing seems mismanaged and his jokes are lame. We’ll get more into the character a bit later on, but Parsons himself is a topic all to himself. While the show gets massive audiences, you wouldn’t expect critics to be too enthralled with it, though the red-headed step child of award shows, the People’s Choice Awards seems to love it. That being said, Parsons has won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2010, 2011 and 2014. He also won the Golden Globe in 2011 for the same category. These are prestigious events. He’s beating insanely talented actors. Is this mob mentality or bribery? It can’t be deserved.
12. The Audiences
Since 2012, TBBT has consistently been in the top three of TV viewership. Bringing in close to 20 million viewers each episode, which is simply astounding. Each night, 20 million people watch and laugh hysterically at all the hysterically funny hysterics, but yet there’s no fans of the show to be found when you need one. Audiences who don’t know what good comedy is aside, TV Guide rated TBBT as #52 on its list of the 60 Best Series of All Time. That’s right, the writers at TV Guide believe that TBBT is one of the best 60 shows ever to show up on television. This is no exaggeration, but this show might not even make it into the best 60 Shows on TV today, let alone of all time! That reason alone is enough to make someone hate The Big Bang Theory.
11. Drowning Out Better Shows
One of huge negatives about a show like TBBT having such a mammoth audience is that people get lazy when they watch TV. Not only did great shows like Community suffer from lackluster audiences when competing with TBBT, but now that the show is syndicated and playing reruns on the regular, other shows are losing viewers. You might say this is fair game, but without fresh content finding audiences, TV in general suffers. No matter how good you think TBBT is, that’s bad news. Sadly, while millions of viewers are giggling with TBBT because the ridiculous background laughter is infectious or they heard a vaguely familiar reference and feel nerdy because they understood it, many other new and exciting comedies and TV shows in general won’t see future seasons because the TV audiences are preoccupied with garbage.
Sheldon is the type of character that you want to punch right in the face. It’s harsh, but it’s true. He’s rude, uncaring, selfish, unempathetic, domineering and just an all-around jackass. But he’s so quirky and eccentric. Yeah, that worked for one season. Without growth, he looks stubborn. He still uses the same jokes 10 seasons later and is still the same rude a** he always was. Any time anyone but him has anything positive happen to them, Sheldon shoots them down to make himself feel better. He’s incapable of acknowledging that others around him have feelings, which isn’t the sign of an emotionally unavailable person, it’s the sign of selfishness and a general lack of intelligence. He’s stuck in the same old patterns and refuses to change and for that reason we hate him and the show that loves him.
9. Writing Women and Assault
One of the major criticisms the show has received over the years is regarding its inability to write women. Not only are the women in the show entirely objectified by these creepy men, but the writers seem to play fast and loose with the concept of r*pe as well. For one, the way Penny and Leonard got together is questionable and was lightly passed over. Penny was extremely drunk, nearly unable to stand on her own, and when she told Leonard they were having sex, he never even questioned it. Then there’s the episode where Amy passes out a frat party and complains that she woke up with more clothes on as if it were a judgment of her looks. Not only does she condone r*pe, she’s basically upset that it didn’t happen to her. Then there’s Howard who gives every nerd and every male a horrible name for how disgustingly perverted he is. He is the creepiest guy on television. If the next episode featured the gang finding out that Howard had several women held hostage in his basement, it wouldn’t even be jarring, it would be good plot development. The eerie sexpot has finally become the villain.
8. The Relationships
Over the years, TBBT has been stuck in a middle ground that they’ve struggled with. When the show started, many fans said it more accurately portrayed the eccentricities of nerd culture, but it’s become stagnant. As they’ve introduced new characters and new relationships, the show refuses to allow characters to change fully, throwing in mannerisms and attitudes from the past to remind fans who these guys were and still are. The relationships that have formed in spite of this are awful. Just watch the loveless relationship with Penny and Leonard. He’s only with her because she’s hot. He’s the unhappiest man on the planet, but he’s too much of a whiny baby to say anything. Sheldon is just flat-out rude to Amy, which can be found in real-life relationships, but shouldn’t exist in the comedy world. It’s sad, not funny. There’s Bernadette who got with Howard despite his constant sexual harassments and assaults on every woman he encounters. Then there’s the constant gay jokes about Raj and Howard…
7. That One Walking Dead Spoiler
Sheldon gets away with a lot of things because people are afraid to criticize him as it may be part of his disorder, but enough is enough. His routines and his inability to express emotions openly are fine, but his attitudes towards others and his social ineptness is sickening. No longer can you argue that he’s a quirky nerd. He doesn’t understand social cues. What? He hangs out with a large group of friends every day and night. He’s in more social settings in a week than the most popular and socially accessible people are in a month. It’s time people start questioning whether or not he has a crippling learning disability. But this all about that Walking Dead spoiler he dropped on the audience, when he revealed a major character had just died. The show-runners were really dumb for this one. For whatever reason, they thought they should show that Sheldon isn’t capable of understanding that other people like to uncover twists on their own? Why? It’s dumb. If they addressed it as Sheldon’s superiority complex forcing him to be the one to reveal spoilers thus giving him power than it would be ok., but they don’t. They just say, that’s so Sheldon.
6. Main Character is Useless
Almost every single show in history can be criticized for having the odd secondary character that isn’t fleshed out. It’s a reality we live with as long as the main character/s are fully developed. Well, with TBBT, the main character, Leonard is perhaps the least developed of them all. Seriously, who the hell is Leonard? We know that he’s got an on-again off-again loveless relationship with Penny. We’re told they love each other but we never see it. He’s incredibly whiny and always belly-aching about Penny, which gets to you after not very long, but the worst thing of all, the thing that drives everyone with a spine nuts, is that Leonard doesn’t smack the taste of Sheldon’s mouth. For over a decade Sheldon has emotionally abused and used Leonard, worse than Leonard’s mother does, but Leonard says and does nothing about it. He is just the worst. It’s time to fight Sheldon.
5. Show About Nerds for Non-Nerds
For years, TBBT has paraded itself around as a show for nerds about nerds, but we know that’s not true, don’t we? At first the jokes may have been intended to be enjoyed by those in the know, but, over the years, the show has devolved into something that can be digested by the masses. For this reason, the jokes have shifted to be at the expense of nerds for the non-nerds. No longer are people laughing with the nerds; they’re laughing at them. Critics have begun to call this “nerdface.” In shows that are properly representative of geek culture, there are in-jokes for those aware of the culture, they have a laugh at certain subsections, like roleplaying for instance, which informs everyone that they’re in on the joke, not just hurling insults. But TBBT is different. They just mention a piece of nerd culture and people laugh at it. Like “I’m going to watch Star Trek now.” HAHAHA! What a nerd! Or the time when the audience died because Sheldon said he was playing “Mario on a poorly coded Nintendo 64 emulator.” There’s no joke there unless you think playing early gen video games with emulators are hilarious.
4. Penny Shaming
Penny has become this character that people love to hate because she’s the odd one out in terms of her intelligence; it’s one of the founding principles of the show. Not only do they insult her intelligence on the regular, and her intelligence and usage as a sexual object insults the average female, but it goes a lot further than that. There’s been this long-lasting joke that Penny sleeps around because she’s had sex with more than one person. They shame her on several occasions because of this. The worst part is, Leonard, the guy who is supposed to represent the lonely nerd, has been far more sexually active than Penny, but he’s still treated as this wholesome virgin. We get it, she’s prettier than you guys. That doesn’t mean she’s been with copious men or that it would be wrong even if it were true. Move along.
3. Cultural References
Though they’re a relatively quiet group, you’ll read the odd forum post or hear the odd remark from a proclaimed TBBT fan that usually starts with, “I’m a huge nerd, so, naturally, I love the all the references on TBBT.” This irritates a lot of us because it’s silly. TBBT references aren’t nerd references. The classic quote from TBBT that got a lot of airtime helps prove this point. Howard announces a game, saying, “The fate of Doctor Who’s TARDIS will be decided by a Game of Thrones inspired death-match on the battlefield of ThunderCats versus Transformers.” Cue laughter and craziness. OK. So, this might be cherry-picking a bit, but c’mon. There’s no joke here. There’s also nothing nerdy here. Doctor Who has been one of the world’s most loved shows since the 60s. Game of Thrones is arguably the most popular TV show on the planet, and Transformers and ThunderCats were huge in 80s and were for kids—Transformers are still popular. This isn’t nerd culture. This is popular culture. Oh, and any self-respecting Doctor Who fan know it’s not Doctor Who’s TARDIS… There’s no such person as Doctor Who. It’s the Doctor’s TARDIS. Get it right you nerds.
2. The Live Studio Audience Debate
There’s been a lot of talk about the apparent laugh track on TBBT and the show’s taken a lot of criticism for it, but Chuck Lorre and many fans of the show have made it their mission to show that it is actually filmed in front of a live studio audience. But does it matter? Live audiences laugh at jokes more than TV audiences do, it’s the reality of live comedy, but the laughter on TBBT makes no sense. Jokes are not made but still everyone laughs. Hey, look over there at that nerd. People die. Besides, just because a show uses live laughter, doesn’t mean that we hear purely live laughter. There’s a thing called sweetening, which means a laugh track is added to the live audience. The laughter on this show is so obnoxious that it would almost be easier to swallow if it were a laugh track. The fact that it’s real people makes us wonder how much they were paid.
1. Caricatures of Autism Spectrum Disorder
When Mayim Bialik came out and said that keeping Sheldon undiagnosed was TBBT’s heroic way of saying that those on the Autism Spectrum are normal and accepted, people applauded and cried and said how brilliant she was, but it’s also disingenuous. The show creators have said on a number of occasions that they haven’t diagnosed Sheldon as on the spectrum because they don’t want to have to adhere to rules of the disorder. Instead, they let Sheldon portray symptoms and coded actions without ever owning up to what it is they’re doing. People laugh at his quirks, saying, that’s so Sheldon. He’s become a caricature of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and, because he’s not diagnosed as such, people can laugh without feeling bad. Oh, how funny is it that Sheldon is compelled to follow strict patterns? Let’s mess with him to see how riled up we can get him. Imagine if people did this to those in real-life who follow such patterns and routines. If they freak out, we’ll say, that’s so Sheldon, and everything will be fine.