The Big Bang Theory is a treasure trove of pop culture references – both old and new. Sure, most of these are references to Star Trek considering Sheldon’s obsession with the franchise, but TBBT has also delighted fans with some rather obscure pop culture references over the years, and some rather timely ones.
But there have also been some weak moments when the characters got something wrong. This could be because they either misquoted a famous character or ignored the technicalities of a famous video game, which the eagle-eyed fans have always been vigilant about pointing out. Here are some pop culture references that the show got wrong:
The Darth Vader Mistake
This is kind of a big one considering how obsessed Sheldon is with Star Wars. Sure, many other shows and films have made the same mistake but no one expected Sheldon to fall prey to the Mandela effect.
In season 11, Sheldon and goes on to quote Jones’ iconic role of Darth Vader. But he says, “Luke, I am your father.” when the real line uttered by Vader in 1980’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V) is “No. I am your father.”
The Doctor Issue
In the episode where the guys buy a time machine, Leonard says he wants to set the date for March 10, 1876. “Good choice. Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone and calls out for Doctor Watson,” Howard says, appreciating this gesture. But Bell’s assistant, Thomas A. Watson, was not a doctor.
Watson was a revered electrical designer and mechanic, but he did not have a doctorate. In fact, it is a well-documented fact that the first words ever spoken over a telephone identified him as Mr. Watson. Bell said, “Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you.” It’s possible that this was a slip of tongue on the actor’s part where he confused Watson with Sherlock Holmes’ companion Dr. Watson.
Sheldon Says Cersei Used Her Body To Manipulate Men
This was a rather directionless, misogynist error, and not something that would have been an issue at all if Cersei was a man. Sheldon says Cersei used her body to manipulate men to do her bidding, but this is not exactly true. Over the course of the series, Cersei has planned marital alliances, only for the sake of politics and to safeguard her position, which was hardly using her body as a weapon.
In fact, most royal marriages were driven by political agenda in the GoT-verse. The only person she has manipulated with sex was Jaime, who was her lover and she was no doubt a toxic influence on him, but that is a different discussion.
Sheldon’s Superman Faux Pas
In the second episode of the first season, the boys have an argument about Superman’s flying abilities in front of Penny. Sheldon says that in Superman 1, when Lois Lane is two feet off the ground, Superman catches her as she falls from the helicopter. That is totally inaccurate. Lois’ helicopter malfunctions two feet off the ground on the roof of the Daily Planet office, but the helicopter then loses control and hangs by the railing of the roof which was at least ten stories up.
Sheldon argues that if the film was scientifically accurate, Superman’s ‘arms of steel’ would have killed Lois when he ‘swooped down’ to save her. But since Clark Kent/Superman had just exited the Daily Planet building after clocking out and was on the ground when he saw Lois hanging off the roof, he flew up to save Lois and not down.
The Star Trek Problem
In the fourth episode of season 9, Leonard recalls a time before he met Sheldon, to a place where Sheldon wasn’t as emotionally receptive, specifically 2003.
However, this is a plot hole as well as a wrong reference because in the eighth episode of season 4, titled “The 21 Second Excitation,” it was revealed that Leonard and Sheldon waited in line for 14 hours to see the midnight premiere of Star Trek: Nemesis. But Star Trek: Nemesis premiered on December 9, 2002.
Raj Says Cambridge Looks Like Hogwarts
Raj tells Lucy that he loved going to Cambridge because it looked like Hogwarts but that’s not accurate at all. Sure, one might argue that it stemmed from Raj’s love for the Potter franchise, and while the two buildings do share the pointy towers that most universities in the UK have as part of their architecture, Cambridge is very different in makeup than Hogwarts.
Firstly, Cambridge is entirely built upon flatlands, located over the River Cam and the architecture relies upon the collegiate gothic style that has been inspired by Tudor architecture. Whereas Hogwarts was built in a valley area and is perched on a rough mountainous black that explains the rocky, uneven terrain around the school. This mode of architecture was a haunting mix of medieval and Norman Romanesque style.
People Can’t Have Sex In World Of Warcraft
In season 4, Bernadette breaks up with Howard when she sees him engaging in sexual activities with a troll in the online role-playing game World of Warcraft, but that’s not possible. There are no in-game mechanics that allow characters to have sex with each other. Though there is a gameplay style called Erotic Role-Play (ERP) where players can role-play sexual acts, it’s all textual and not something visual.
It’s unlikely Bernadette would have found out if Howard was engaging in text-based role-play with someone. Howard also says that he was with the troll under the Bridge of Souls but in the game, there is no way to get under it and any WoW player would know this.
Sheldon tells Howard that he wants a car in the color of Luke’s icy blue lightsaber, but Luke famously had a green lightsaber. Obi-Wan Kenobi gave Luke Darth Vader’s blue lightsaber in Star Wars (possibly the one Sheldon was referring to) which was lost during the fight between Luke and Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.
In The Return of the Jedi, Luke has a new lightsaber, and once again, it’s green. Apparently, the decision to stick to a green lightsaber for Luke was made to make his blade contrast with the blue sky of Tatooine. It was also made because the writers wanted it to be more visible during the events at Carkoon. So, for the Star Wars obsessed Sheldon to call Luke’s lightsaber blue is a glaring error.
The Whole Lost Account Debacle
Surely a video game savvy scientist would know how easy it is to restore a hacked gaming account. During the episode, “The Zarnecki Incursion,” Sheldon’s World of Warcraft account is hacked and he loses all of his character’s gear. The group treats this problem like some big adventure by faking online identities and tracking down the person who took over their account.
However, in reality, all this is completely unnecessary because Sheldon would simply need to report the problem to Blizzard, the developing company of WoW. Post a brief, virtual-led open-and-shut investigation, his account would be back. So, why would they plan a one-on-one confrontation with the accused at all?
The Aishwarya Rai Song
When Sheldon visits Raj’s apartment and hears a Hindi song, he immediately recognizes The Pink Panther 2 star Aishwarya Rai, who also happens to be a famous Bollywood name. While Rai is considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, Sheldon seems to like another Indian icon named Madhuri Dixit better, and calls Rai a ‘poor man’s Madhuri Dixit.’
It is implied that Raj is watching something which features Aishwarya, but the background noise from the television plays a song that has nothing to do with Aishwarya. The song that plays is from the 1998 Hindi film, Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai, which starred Ameesha Patel and didn’t feature either Aishwarya or Madhuri.