The Big Bang Theory (Season One) 2007

"Well, we don't have a dolly, or lifting belts, or any measurable upper body strength.""Well, we don't have a dolly, or lifting belts, or any measurable upper body strength."

“Well, we don’t have a dolly, or lifting belts, or any measurable upper body strength.”

With each decade comes a sitcom that looks promising with its pilot episode and then out of the blue just explodes into a massive hit that lasts a long time. There are more misses than hits but the ones that are good stick around many years after the series finale wraps and the actors and actresses move on to bigger and better things. We’ve seen it with M.A.S.H.Cheer’s, Martin, The Fresh Prince, Friends, Seinfeld and The King of Queens along with countless others. As society advances, so does the sitcom. Tastes change and in turn the culture always follows.

What is once considered obscure and niche has made it to the forefront of popularity. The Big Bang Theory glorifies a certain niche market which gives a platform for a particular group of people. It’s the era of the nerdy and the geeky. It came out of nowhere and hit pop culture like a freight train. Just look at the rise in popularity in Comic Con, the growth is exponential given how widespread geek culture has touched every base in all our lives. The half hour sitcom isn’t what it used to be, there is a shift in what types of content consumers would rather spend their time with. 

The Big Bang Theory introduces us to two roommate’s Dr. Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) & Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) both Physicists who work at Cal Tech in Pasadena California. Their lives change in an instant when an aspiring actress named Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moves in across the hall from Omaha, Nebraska turning their worlds upside down. Unable to cope with their new reality Leonard and Sheldon along with their best friends Howard Wolowitz (only holds a masters degree and Sheldon never lets him forget it) (Simon Helberg) and Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) attempt to understand a new world they are thrust into. 

“I’ve spent the past three-and-a-half years staring at grease boards full of equations; before that, I spent four years working on my thesis; before that, I was in college, and before that, I was in the fifth grade.”

Big Bang follows the same formulaic route the primetime sitcom has. A group of unlikely but loveable characters, a few but overly used sets and some natural and some artificial (known as canned) laughter. Created by Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half MenBig Bang puts a giant magnifying glass up to nerd culture and shines a light on things most of us would never look twice at. Even more, Big Bang opens up a world of possibilities with many different personalities and characteristics in a way that makes them relatable.  

These four man children are the geekiest of them all. They collect everything from comics to action figures and their apartments and bedroom in their mothers house, clothes and hobbies reflect all that. Leonard and Sheldon’s home defense system are a couple of light up authentic lightsabers. What makes these guys unique is what also makes them interesting. Big Bang has made it acceptable to be proud of your geekiness – Most of the things they cherish and adore are things we all take pride in being fans of as well. Even with all this nerd culture all four are completely unapologetic about their lifestyles. But even as they live in their comfortable sustained bubbles, things have to change in order to have growth.

That growth comes in the form of an attractive new neighbor, who let’s face it wouldn’t look twice at this gang of geeks. Because these guys are all mega geniuses (except for Howard, he’ only has a master’s degree and Sheldon just loves throwing that in his face), they all suffer from the stereotypical personality traits that are associated with being a nerd and a geek. Raj cannot under any circumstance talk to or near a woman unless they are mixed into a crowd or is obliterated, Howard is overly creepy and pervy who is a huge mama’s boy that makes any situation uncomfortable, Sheldon is a child prodigy who thinks he’s better than everyone because he’s the smartest in the room and Leonard, although having a tough childhood trauma is the most normal of all of them. 

“Yeah, Leslie Winkle! The answer to the question, “Who made Sheldon Cooper cry like a little girl?”.

What makes Big Bang the overnight success is largely due to the writing of its main characters. It’s fascinating just hearing these guys interact with each other about science and the things they love. Jim Parsons in particular brings a sort of sympathy to a character that naturally comes off as arrogant and condescending. You almost feel bad for him that he doesn’t get sarcasm but when he does, you root for him. Sheldon is often used as the butt of the joke because of his lack of common sense. Their relationships shine because of the careful and expert writing – each actor delivers their lines flawlessly without having the audience second guess the accuracy. All are understandably believable as their characters.

Everything is taken literally by these guys. They’re very much gullible, they over explain things, don’t make eye contact and are extremely awkward in social situations. That’s what makes this sitcom work. No regular person would understand that Sheldon is dressed as the doppler effect for Halloween but it’s the manner in how he explains it to others that makes it funny. As much as Jim Parsons is the star of the show Kunal Nayyar deserves a lot of credit for his performance as Raj. A fraction of his screen time is spent not talking just acting using his body language and facial expressions. 

Big Bang is full of stereotypes – Penny is one that fits a stereotype like a glove. She’s attractive and therefore every character is drawn to her. Without knowing it or doing it intentionally, Penny has Leonard wrapped around her finger. She comes off as superficial only seeing the guys as friends (mostly… Howard is just way too creepy and perverted) she learns to break the habit of playing the damsel to get to know them on a deeper level. 

As much as Big Bang is completely an original idea, the influences of past sitcoms are woven into this series. Leslie Winkle (Sara Gilbert) is one of Sheldon’s mortal enemies. Just like in Seinfeld with Jerry and Newman, the way Sheldon and Leslie speak to each other resembles Jerry and Newman way too similarly.

Where things fall by the wayside in the first season is the number of jokes that are made. It seems that after every line of dialogue the canned laughter is going off as if it was the funniest thing a character has ever said in the history of television. When things aren’t supposed to be funny, laughter, when jokes are being made, laughter. Na lot of the jokes are made at someone else’s expense (mostly Sheldon) sometimes it can feel a bit bullyish.  Some of the science dialogue can feel convoluted but the social situations that are attached make up for the sometimes difficult to follow dialogue. A lot of that has to do with the characters themselves since they aren’t well versed in how to talk at a normal speed.

Big Bang Theory came out of nowhere and shocked the world. At its core, the show is about friendship and the things that we love that bring us together. The writing is absolutely brilliant, and the characters are interesting no matter how difficult the science is or how creepy or awkward the situation is. It highlights the relationships these characters have with one another even though it can be stereotypical at certain points. Big Bang shows us what it’s like to embrace our geekiness while making these characters relatable where they normally don’t come off that way. If I were to rate the first season of The Big Bang Theory, I’d rate it a 4 out of 5. 

The Big Bang Theory season one premiered in 2007 and can be streamed on HBO Max. The Big Bang Theory season one has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 59%. The Big Bang Theory was created for TV by Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady and stars Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar. 

So, tell me guys, have you seen The Big Bang Theory season one and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think. 

If you guys like what you’re reading, please subscribe and check out my Patreon to support the blog in different way.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: