For twelve years, The Big Bang Theory was one of, it not the most popular show on TV. But sometimes it’s lonely at the top. There have been countless in-depth articles and research about the show. Research calling out its blatant sexism, treatment of people in general, stereotypes, and the fact that show just isn’t funny. Comedy is a very subjective thing. Even though the world is changing and ideas of what is okay to say and okay to joke about change just about every day. It’s almost as if everyone who says something they think is funny better be prepared to put their foot in their mouth and apologize.
One day, it will be for the better, but right now it’s leading to a sanitized look at everything that’s come before. As far as this show is concerned though – it doesn’t make any of those articles wrong. As evidenced by lasting for so long, plenty of people did find the show endearing, but let’s take a closer look at some of the jokes and stereotypes of this show. Here are 10 Jokes That Have Already Aged Poorly on The Big Bang Theory.
Updated on May 15, 2020, by Richard Keller: Despite leaving the TV landscape in 2019, The Big Bang Theory still has a following through YouTube clips, DVDs, and streaming on HBOMax. Though loved by many, some of the cast’s characteristics and episode plots have lost their charm. Here are a few more Big Bang Theory jokes that have already aged poorly.
Penny Drinks Too Much
With so many stories about teenagers and young adults dying due to binge drinking, adding that element to Penny’s past and present was always uncomfortable. Be it the amount of wine and beer she drank or the stories she told about her teenage years.
It was similar to what Max Black did in 2 Broke Girls. Every chance the writers got, Kat Denning’s character would discuss all the drugs she took. As the fight for women’s equality and recognition grew through the 2010s, Penny’s constant discussions about alcohol weren’t a good influence.
Nerds Are Not Accepted
The term ‘nerd’ is placed on those who are different than everyone else. Fonzie called people nerds if they weren’t cool. In Revenge of the Nerds, the Tri Lambda members were constantly harassed for their intelligence and quirks.
This continued into the Big Bang Theory, even though, by 2007, nerdiness was on the verge of becoming normal. By the time the show ended, everybody became a nerd, so the topic was a moot point.
Comic Con Is Only For Geeks
In the season five episode “The Stag Convergence,” Raj reveals Howard’s previous sexual experiences. One of these is a moment with a heavyset Sailor Moon cosplay girl at the San Diego Comic Con. This implies the annual event is filled with people who would rather portray characters than live in the real world.
The fact that the first panel the BBT cast attended in 2008 was filled with very few people in costume should have diffused this belief. Comic Con has become more than comic books. It’s a star-studded multi-media event that fans of all ilk visit to see their favorite writers and actors in person.
Smart Guys Can’t Get Good Looking Girls
In one of the show’s later episodes, Leonard attends Penny’s autograph signing. Numerous people come to their table and discover the pair are married. The response from the autograph seekers is something on par of, “How did you get her to marry you?”
Love isn’t preordained for like-minded people to get married. The fact is, having a few differences is good for a couple. It helps them to grow and share what they love. Even Penny began to enjoy some of Leonard’s favorite things as they grew closer.
Stuart Is Always Down On Himself
Throughout the show, comic shop owner Stuart is the group’s sad sack. He’s always under-confident, lonely, and feels sorry for himself. He wants to be part of the action is rarely asked to join the gang.
Two things that didn’t age well with Stuart’s personality. One, the “Woe is me” attitude started to grate on viewers. Two, his depression should have been addressed years before. They constantly repeated the joke about Sheldon being on the Autism spectrum, so why not help Stuart?
Girls Aren’t Geeks
There has been a long-standing joke on the series that the girls have little to no interest in any of the “nerd” stuff that Sheldon and company are into.
In “The Bakersfield Expedition,” not only do the girls decide to read some comics but then have a stereotypical girl conversation about Thor’s body. Not only are there plenty of true geek girls out there, but they actually are interested in things like video games, cosplay, and comics. You’d think these three would have at least feigned interest.
Sheldon’s Egg Salad Line
In “The Egg Salad Equivalency,” Sheldon makes a wildly inappropriate comment towards his lab assistant and winds up having to go to Human Resources. In the real world, comments like this would land Sheldon out of a job and potentially blackballed.
But on this show, we all laugh at the smart guy who doesn’t understand what he said was wrong and he gets away with a slap on the wrist, instead of a real punishment to teach him a lesson. It took a whole episode to get him to realize what he said was wrong, and the next week, he was at it again.
Penny Isn’t Smart
The whole premise of the show was that these two really smart guys with little to no common sense meet Penny who is street smart with little book smarts, she once said the Stephen Hawking was “the wheelchair guy who invented time.”
But did we really need at least one joke per episode at her expense? After all, more than half the time, viewers had no idea what the boys were talking about.
The Guys Are Womanizers
For a bunch of guys who got bullied their whole lives, you’d think that they would know how to treat women better. While all of the guys have their moments, of course it’s Howard who is the worst. But everyone just jokes about how creepy the guy is.
Even in one episode where Penny calls him out on all of his disgusting behavior, she winds up apologizing to him for hurting his feelings, how Bernie even falls for him could only happen in sitcomland.
Raj And Howard – Will They Or Won’t They?
Raj and Howard’s friendship on the series transcended friends, they became brothers. But in between all of that, their genuine love for each other would occasionally lead others on the show to either make fun of them or think that they were lovers.
Sometimes they don’t even realize it, for instance in one episode they make out virtually with each other. To which, they would recoil in horror at the thought. Even when the show started, this was a joke in poor taste.
Sheldon’s Just Mean
We get it. Really smart people who devote themselves to nothing but science don’t have any social skills. That’s Sheldon in a nutshell, that and he’s completely mean. Constantly correcting people, always putting Howard down for not having a doctorate, and in particular, his treatment of Amy over the years has just been an exercise in how patient can she be?
He finally got really told off in the final episode and thinks that he made up for his behavior over twelve years by citing his friends during his acceptance speech, that’s a perfect example of how the entire show worked.
Even though these are sort of good stereotypes, Sheldon still has a lot of Texas-bred stereotypes. Namely his intimate knowledge of football, ability to dance at cotillions, and inane ability to rip into people and act like that’s just part of his Southern charm.
On the flip side, Sheldon acting like he’s superior to his fellow Texans (or anyone for that matter) goes back to him just being mean.
As the hopeless and hapless romantic, Raj, it was always sweet to see him pair up with someone. After all, all of his friends (even Stuart) were able to find someone.
Yet, The Big Bang Theory writers were perfectly content making fun of the guy and his loneliness. Every season, he would grow gradually lonelier and gradually more effeminate, seemingly because of his failure to get dates.
Howard’s A Creep
Besides making all sorts of lewd and inappropriate comments over the years, if you need any further proof that Howard should probably be in jail or at the very least on some sort of list than watch “The Panty Piñata Polarization.”
In that episode, Howard uses his knowledge of Pasadena to triangulate the position of the America’s Next Top Model house. It’s all played up for laughs, even though certainly at least one episode of SVU or Criminal Minds probably started this way.
Haha, Amy’s Ugly
Amy dresses frumpy and essentially a female version of Sheldon, but she certainly had a lot more social skill than Sheldon. Even she too falls victim to the show’s cruddy writing towards female characters.
In one instance, she was actually upset that she passed out at a college party and woke up with more clothes on. She was upset that nobody took advantage of her!