Who would’ve thought that a show that’s essentially about socially awkward genius nerds of some of the most famed pop culture icons, and a comedic one at that, could run on television for 12 years and, in the process, become a distinguished icon themselves? Not the casts and crews of The Big Bang Theory back in 2007, for sure.
With CBS turning down the initial pilot episode flat one year prior to the official debut, the creators, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, had to do some heavy rewriting to save the series from being scrapped entirely. What was already a rough start didn’t get better as the ‘07 writers’ strike occurred, and the critical responses to the first season were lukewarm. In fact, the sitcom didn’t really make much of a big bang until around its third year. But, boy, has it left a mark in the field since then.
It’s been about four years since the finale aired, yet the sitcom is still a constant topic all over the internet until now. While there’s no denying that becoming a property of a hosting streaming platform as renowned as Netflix and having a direct connection to the ongoing Young Sheldon do play roles in giving The Big Bang Theory a nudge to more popularity at present, they’re not quite the substantial factors — the whys lie in the heart of the show itself.
A Fantastic Mix of Characters
The Big Bang Theory employs a band of characters that’s so diverse it’s entrancing, and not just because there’s an Indian fellow in the pack. The real charming part is not all of them are necessarily likable. Take Sheldon (Jim Parsons), the protagonist. His bratty manner, as well as lack of empathy and humility, would easily turn him into a detestable guy in the viewers’ eyes had it not been made clear that none of those actions resulted from deliberate intention. Actually, his social incapacity generates some of the sitcom’s most memorable humor, like the one time he was clueless to Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) revelation of her secret weapon to help Leonard (Johnny Galecki) land a tenured position in “The Tenure Turbulence.”
The other six, on the other hand, are no Sheldon, but quite a colorful bunch of individuals nonetheless. Leonard, while seemingly the most sensible, is an insecure asthmatic man with lactose intolerance and mommy issues, downright fulfilling the loser criteria. Interestingly, he succeeds in love — with the beautiful but a tad sloppy lady brimming with confidence and strength Penny by his side.
Around girls like Penny, many nerds would find themselves speechless, and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) is no exception due to his selective mutism, which lasted throughout the first six seasons. The funny thing is after his condition is cured, his once vague feminine side intensifies over time, a trait his best friend Howard (Simon Helberg) teases about frequently. Howard is a guy with a steadfast commitment to keeping his Beatles look, and later, his wife Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), a sweet-yet-spunky woman with a distinctive high-pitched voice. She, too, happens to be an additional character, along with Amy (Mayim Bialik). However, despite so, both never lose behind in the matter of presence. Now, high intelligence aside, Amy is a woman of wonder for achieving a feat as astonishing as marrying the asexual Sheldon and has been nothing but tolerant and loving to him.
So, when those seven unique humans get together, chaos can erupt, laughter arising, and at times, tears spilling — a portrayal most realistic as how all genuine friendships go. Divided, they’re offbeat; united, they’re mesmerizing.
Highly Relatable Situational Comedy
Set in the prevailing time, The Big Bang Theory adapts modern lifestyle. Although it’s a given, it must be noted that there’s now a wide array of older sitcom selections on streaming services, all competing for viewers. It’s no surprise the events that transpire in those series follow the convention of that period, like Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) getting caught in lies no thanks to his answering machine in “Secret Admirer,” and Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), who got put in a troubling spot because of speed dial list in “The Millennium.” In all honesty, who can relate to that plotline nowadays, right?
In The Big Bang Theory, however, gap generation isn’t an issue at all. Audiences are provided with light contemporary comedy that’s scintillating, digestible, and, most importantly, relatable in one go, a notable instance of which is the running gag where Sheldon changes the Wi-Fi password periodically to stop Penny, the freeloading neighbor, from mooching off of it.
Too outdated is one thing, but too American is another — which is not the case with The Big Bang Theory. As opposed to series like the legendary Seinfeld, which incorporated numerous jokes about the Yankee organization, Nazi regime, JFK assassination, and bottom-line topics only Americans can instantly understand and laugh at, The Big Bang Theory kept their jests universal enough for all to enjoy, regardless of national origin. As a matter of fact, most gags are quite literally universal as they’re scientific, seeing that most of the group are scientists.
In addition, the Comic-Con talks and superhero discussions Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard largely indulge in the series resonate best with present viewers, what with all the comic-book adapted superheroes’ cinematic universes currently dominating the entertainment industry. Whether it’s about the four men dressing up as different Hulks and The Flashes to a Comic-Con and a Halloween party or the rare occurrence of the three ladies’ heated arguing regarding Thor’s hammer, the majority of comical elements involving certain fictional heroes in The Big Bang Theory fits right into the niche of today’s generation, thus drawing them to watch the show over and over again.