The Big Bang Theory
‘The Big Bang Theory’ is a popular comedy show shot in America, evolving over 7 seasons since 2007. The show focuses on a group of highly intelligent friends and their troubles as they go through life. The tag line ‘smart is the new sexy’ changes the view on ‘nerds’ making them the people you wouldn’t mind hanging out with.
There’s a saying that every story can be summed up as ‘a stranger comes to town’, this is also true for the series. The original concept was as simple as two geeky guys suddenly find they have a new sexy neighbor. The main characters being highly intelligent requires the language they use and their actions to reflect this. One episode requires the group to dress up so Sheldon wears a striped suit mimicking the Doppler effect, some members of the audience may understand what this is and actually understand the physics of it and so appeals to their understanding. However for those that don’t understand what is going on Penny acts as the audience’s voice asking what the striped suit represents. The jokes are then fed into the way Sheldon explains the science behind it as though it were common knowledge. This then includes the audience with the scientific side to the show making them feel intelligent for then understanding. The language and tone of the show is family orientated keeping the rating a 12 in the UK, innuendoes are used but in a subtle way as not to be rude. The characters within the show all have different qualities and attract different audiences for that reason, similarly to the content mixing comedy with education. Viewers of television shows tend to have a majority of people with similar attributes to the characters so some may watch to see Penny’s view on the ‘geeks’ she hangs out with finding their antics amusing. Alternatively people may view to follow the ‘geeks’ and see what they get up to out of enjoyment for their activities. The characters are based around stereotypes, which usually have a negative view on the individual, however the show has embraced these qualities and used them to show a different society. Instead of finishing work and heading out to the bar the group of scientists will meet up at a comic book store to spend their time there before playing videogames as their social activity. This would be looked on as a dull way to spend an evening however this is the element where the characters become the alpha males. These activities also tie in with the audience relating to their personal interests, the majority of viewers are aged 18 – 29 making them student age or recently left education. The scientists work at the university and experience similar situations to those found in reality. Cultivation theory suggests that those that watch television programmes for an extended period of time often find themselves coming across situations like those in their favorite show because it has shaped their perception on life. This is not always negative as the show promotes working hard to achieve and so seeing characters you enjoy watching in a similar environment it can often inspire despite the fact its not real. Students are the primary market for video games where comic books may be a little less common. Recently Marvel have released a chain of superhero films brining these characters into the public eye in a popular way, The Big Bang Theory characters discuss the heroes in their comic books but now the general audience can understand more about them as they can relate it to the films making the ‘geeks’ less geeky for liking the characters. This once again refers to the shows tag line ‘Smart is the new sexy’. That being said the scientists are still seen as the nerds that enjoy subjects not associated with being ‘cool’ and the Penny characters is seen to be the pretty, dumb blond. This stereotype of Penny is furthered in an episode when she needs to erect a TV stand and seduces the guys to help her out, as she doesn’t know what she’s doing. To mix up the characters social groups female scientist characters are introduced, the idea that ‘nerds’ struggle to talk to women and find it awkward is then put into play. Raj is a character that suffers from select mutism and physically can’t speak to women. Other issues like social anxiety and autism are also dealt with in the show tastefully adding humor to the situations they face. Other common issues do to with relationships between friends, spouses and parents also arise. There have been a few episodes based around dating, the group test bizarre theories for dating hoping to succeed, but often don’t. This appeals to the audience as they can relate to the situation in some way, research suggests that people imagine what they would do in that situation should it be real responding to the content on screen. Relating back to cultivation theory some may believe that these pick-up lines may work in real life as they did for the characters and so copy what they saw.