With the eighth season running successfully, The Big Bang Theory, an old-fashioned multi-camera comedy about quirky, nerdy geniuses is clearly one of the highest-rated sitcoms since Rachel got off the plane in 2004. The show has garnered applause for making geek culture mainstream, where instead of making the brainy, intellectual and the different an outcast, we are celebrating them. The show lets the audience identify with the fact that the geniuses are also as human and as regular as the others around them. While Sheldon has misanthropic tendencies, Leonard fears not living up to his mothers’ expectations. We are not only laughing at them, but ourselves too.
The success of the show resides in its simplicity. Tropes of complicated plots, twists and cliffhangers are things of the past now. Like hit shows Seinfeld and Friends, producer Chuck Lorre said in an interview that the show is truly nothing more than friends hanging out with no complex story arcs. The characters breathe life into the idea that geniuses are just like us, which is exactly what the fans love.
The 7 quirks in the show are like the seven colors of the rainbow that together make for a beautiful spectacle to watch. Each character so different yet bound by a common thread of varying levels of awkwardness, they make the perfect broth of quirkiness.
1. Leonard Hofstadter:
Experimental physicist by profession, with an IQ of 173 Leonard is a total nerd who loves video games and comic books like the other male leads. He is Sheldon’s always annoyed roommate who has to bear with the rules set down in the ‘roommate- agreement’.
He comes from a family of geeks and is a constant source of mockery between Sheldon and his mother, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist who did not provide well for her son in his growing up years.
2. Sheldon Cooper:
The quirkiest man in the series, Sheldon is a ‘child prodigy with an eidetic memory’. By professional he’s a theoretical physicist and has an IQ of a shocking 187. Inspite of his intellectual capabilities, he has very poor grasp of human emotions.
He likes living by the rule-book and abhors the need for social interactions. He not only has a “Roommate Agreement” but also a “Relationship Agreement” to verify the ground rules for his relationship with Amy.
He is misanthropic and change-averse and obsessive and stubborn by nature, no less than a child. His habit of knocking on the door 3 times, sitting on the same spot, his compulsion to leave nothing incomplete, his fake chuckle, his bazinga and his attempt at showing sympathy by offering beverage to console his friends and tapping a ‘there, there’ on the shoulders make him all the more adorable to the viewers and we cannot help, but fall in love with his innocence.
He does not understand sarcasm(a direct opposite of Chandler who cannot speak without sarcasm). Jim Parson, for his role as Sheldon has grabbed 4 Emmy wins till date.
An aspiring actress, she is the mandatory hottie in the show. She’s the only one who doesn’t share an intellectual background but definitely has more common sense and self awareness than the others.
She’s the commoner among the geniuses. She barges in the apartment across the hall as and when wished and we see her grow as a character as she, in the company of the science geeks, starts to grasp scientific concepts and lingo.
In fact Sheldon happily declares that there’s still after all hope for her when she explains to Bernadette why Sheldon has a ‘spot’ on the couch. Over time she’s grown close to Sheldon and knows how to handle him better than others.
4. Howard Wolowitz:
An aerospace engineer and a self-acclaimed ladies’ man for the first few seasons, the greatest feat of his life is going to space. His lack of a PhD earns him Sheldon’s scorn but he defends it by pointing out that he has a master’s degree from the elite MIT and his apparatus(read toilet) are launched in space.
He habitually annoys the hell out of his friends by continuously talking about space even though he had had a horrendous experience there.
5. Rajesh Koothrapalli:
A particle astrophysicist, he’s Richie Rich rich but very shy around women until the latest season where he has finally begun to talk to women without consuming alcohol. He is teased by his friends for his feminine taste and hints of bisexual tendencies often keep cropping up.
She’s a young microbiologist with a very high-pitched voice. She comes into picture as an agreement between Howard and Leonard that if either of them gets a girlfriend she shall introduce the other to a hot chick. She’s like a miniature of Howard’s mom.
7. Amy Farrah Fowler:
She’s picked by Raj and Howard as Sheldon’s perfect mate on an online dating site. She’s the perfect female counterpart of Sheldon however her urge to get out of her cocoon is far more than his.
Both Bernadette and Amy were originally supposed to be only recurring characters instead of lead characters, but they were so well received by the audience that they eventually went on to grab the spot of main cast members.
The sidekicks or the minor characters in The Big Bang Theory, unlike in other series, are almost as important to the final recipe as the main characters. Adding necessary spice to the finished broth.
Stuart is a gentle but under-confident guy who runs a comic book store the guys frequent. He’s socially awkward and broody.
Leslie Winkie is Leonard’s female counterpart in appearance donning framed specs and sweatshirts but is much wittier and doesn’t get along with Sheldon because she calls him out on his eccentric habits and is not afraid to put him in his place.
Barry Kripke is an unlikable colleague of Leonard and Sheldon, who has a speech impediment shtick and likes taking digs at the 4 male leads.
Wil Wheaton, playing himself from the Star Trek series, though initially an antagonist is now a friend to all the characters. Wheaton has a recurring spot on Sheldon’s mortal enemies list.
Mrs Wolowitz, was Howard’s mom whose face we never saw; She made her presence known only by her loud and obnoxious voice. Her character was killed off in the latest season because of the demise of Carol Ann Susi, her off-screen voice.
The Big Bang Theory Theme song was written and recorded by the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies.
Interestingly, Robertson, lead singer and guitarist in the band had recently read Simon Singh’s book on the origins of the universe called Big Bang. When producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady heard his improvised freestyle rap about the origins of the universe and earth, they knew they had found their man.
TBBT fans will agree with me when I say that you cannot just start the episode without listening to the song first!
For all you fans out there, here’s a surprise for you: Checkout the video below for the complete theme song and go BANG!
Thanks to the young scientists’ awkward relationship with the outside world, most of the action takes place in their homes particularly, Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment on the fourth floor, followed by Penny’s apartment across the hall.
Then there is also the Cheesecake Factory, the Comic Book Store and the Cal-tech University, apart from Howard’s place and Raj’s apartment. The broken elevator since season 1 gives an interesting touch.
The couch in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment is a gathering place for characters where the characters eat and play games, each person in their ‘spot’ that faces the fourth wall, creating a subtle connection with viewers.
To see the lovable geeks grow before our eyes gives us such great joy. From Leonard and Penny’s on-off relationship(much like Ross-Rachel’s) till in the end Penny accepts the long-impending proposal to Sheldon and Amy finally kissing and confessing their love for the other, the show has given us many awww moments!
The introvert Raj can finally speak to women without being drunk while Howard and Bernadette are growing together as they face and conquer the challenges of marriage.
TBBT also has an odd-couple relationship between mild-mannered Leonard and the ego-maniacal Sheldon. Their opposite points of view on almost anything and everything makes for many a gags.
Of Games, Comics and Gags
The 4 lead male characters are avid collectors of fiction, comics and games. Sheldon, not only identifies with Spock but also invents Rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.
They are also fans of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica and the like. Dungeons and Dragons is one of their favourite games that even Penny gets addicted to.
On a number of times they’ve dressed as popular fictional characters like Flash, Aquaman, Thor, Green Lantern, Superman, etc. At one time the the group members are forced to visit the comic book store dressed as Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl as a consequence of having lost a bet to Stuart and Wheaton.
Occasionally, the characters also play paintball wherein Sheldon always volunteers to lead.
To delve you into nostalgia and tickle your funny bone below are snaps from some of the funny scenes of the series.
The show’s universally appealing humour reaches across demographics. It has taught us to not only laugh at ourselves but how each of us is beautiful inspite of their imperfections. So keep watching and laughing and say with me BAZINGA!
By- Aakanksha Kumari