After 11 seasons, the time may be finally coming to a halt with the series that has been one of the most celebrated and watched multi camera sitcoms. While the longevity is impressive, the story hasn’t felt the same since the early days of just 4 geeky guys all with their quirks (some funny, some extremely aggravating) and their lone neighbor who might have befriended them out of guilt or because she felt bad for them. Regardless, as the decade long of 30-minute episodes have come and gone, the success and syndication cannot be ignored despite the glaring flaws within the shows DNA.
Flaws which cannot be ignored no matter how many laughs from the cans are generated to deflect the poor characterization of the main characters. In fact, every sincere moment is closely followed by a joke to make certain no one thinks too hard about what is happening on screen. The Big Bang Theory has historically misrepresented the group of individuals they believe they are praising. Sure, the stereotypes may exist in some pocket in the world, but these stereotypes don’t represent the mass of fans that love anything related to the geek culture. I should know, I’m one of them.
And through 11 solid years of storytelling, while a lot has certainly changed, a lot has stayed the same. Season 11 starts with Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) finding out they’re pregnant, again, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) is still alone and desperate for love and affection, and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) are newly married and still have nothing extravagant to show for their decade long suitor ship toward one another. But finally, the two characters the show has shifted focus toward, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) have grown in ways no one ever saw coming a mile away – The couple is finally engaged.
During the early years, the thought of companionship in any shape or form to Sheldon was a joke, pure hokum as he would put it – he’d rather stick to his obsessive-compulsive behavior (that’s never diagnosed but every character mocks whenever they get a chance as if it’s something to look down upon) and lay claim that he knows more than everyone else with an arrogant attitude. And then came Amy Farrah Fowler and Sheldon was never the same. Thank goodness for that. To be fair it took Sheldon 10 season to move out of his bachelor pad with Leonard to across the hall in Penny’s old apartment, but Sheldon did that with Amy making him easily one of the most likeable characters on screen.
I get that multi camera sitcoms rarely change their sets but come on, they upgraded Howard and Bernadette’s home why can’t they upgrade an apartment building into a house. These are characters who hold PH. D’s yet all they can afford in Pasadena California is a cramped 1 – 2-bedroom apartment?
I’ve said it before (in all honesty it probably sounds like I’m beating a dead horse) and i’ll keep saying it, but the quality has steadily declined over the past 3 or so seasons. What made the show great is no longer there – the culture the writers have appropriated is gone. Instead, it’s been replaced with marriage, children being born, sex and crude jokes. Stuart (Kevin Sussman) finally has an upside even though the character is written as a freeloading moocher. The end is nigh for The Big Bang Theory, the white light is coming closer despite the big-name guest stars like Kathy Bates and Mark Hammill showing up. What “nerd” wouldn’t ask Mark ten thousand questions about Star Wars given the opportunity. Leave it to the characters ignorance to believe he knows or cares. But Mark had one of the best cameo appearances out of the slew of them over the years officiating Sheldon and Amy’s wedding.
The finale to season 11 does give a reminder to what made the show worth watching for all these years. It’s a sweet and sincere episode full of emotional weight that has been building since Amy and Sheldon became boy slash friend slash girl slash friend. Signs of hope poke through with Leonard, Sheldon and Amy getting excited about science not realizing they are supposed to be getting married. And speaking of science, the foundation for the shows existence, writers really know how to alienate Burt (Brian Posehn) and Geology by constantly making a joke out the discipline. So much is in poor taste with this series, cultural appropriation, lack of sympathy for mental health issues etc…, yet we keep watching in hopes the characters get a better deal out of it. And now that everyone is coupled up (minus Raj) maybe the 12th and final season will wrap up the series in a nice bow.
For the most part, I enjoy The Big Bang Theory – yes, I am aware of its many flaws but still I celebrate its existence. There are some genuine moments throughout the series and when they hit, the impact is felt. I find myself laughing more with those moments because of how few and far in between they are.
Created By: Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady
Music By: Barenaked Ladies
Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, Mayim Bialik, Kevin Sussman
Where to Watch: Syndication & HBO Max
Release Date: September 25, 2017
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
My Score: 3 out of 5