Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dear "The Big Bang Theory": It's Over.

I hate you, The Big Bang Theory.

I've not always hated you. (I've always criticized you a lot, with good reason, but I've not always hated you.) A couple Decembers ago, when my relationship was falling apart and winter was doing its usual number on me, I marathoned your first three seasons. You've never been a good show as such, but you were an adequate guilty pleasure.

I mean, I was always troubled by your broadness, your reliance on lazy stereotypes, and your tendency to invite the audience to laugh at your characters rather than with them. (NERDS LIKE TYPICALLY NERDY PURSUITS! AHAHAHA!) But I put up with all that for the same reason my queer sisters suffered through five seasons of The L Word: when mainstream representations of people like yourself are so rare, you take whatever crumbs you can get. And also because Sheldon was awesome.

(Remember when Sheldon was awesome?)

Last year, though, you were in serious decline. The twin headlights in the darkness of season four were Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, both criminally underserved as Penny's friends Amy and Bernadette. And now you've completely lost the plot.

You've always kind of mocked your characters, but it used to be in an affectionate way; now it's just outright contempt. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia this ain't – you're not a dark, edgy show about horrible people doing horrible things; you're a fluffy three-camera sitcom for mindless entertainment, and You're Doing It Wrong.

Look at How I Met Your Mother. It's always been better than you, of course, but the comparison stands because it too is a show well past its prime, coasting on its six prior seasons of audience goodwill. (Again, not like Always Sunny, whose seventh season is completely killing it and, if it continues like this, might just be the best thing to happen to television ever.) HIMYM has gotten lazy and is spinning its wheels, but – ideological problems aside – is still a pleasant, unchallenging watch, because it doesn't hate its characters.

You seem determined to make your viewers hate all your central characters. You've stripped them of every non-loathsome characteristic, reducing them to cartoonish bundles of broad tics, unfunny running gags, and unbelievable interactions.

And you're just so fucking offensive.

I've put up with so goddamn much of your shit. For four seasons I've overlooked your dumb gender essentialist stereotypes, your constant racism, your sneering at nerd culture; and I just can't take it anymore. The four episodes of season five that have aired so far turn the racism and slut-shaming up to eleven, but it's the most recent episode that was the final straw for me. It was so irredeemably loathsome on every level that I no longer feel even the slightest pang of regret in saying:

Fuck you, The Big Bang Theory. I hate you and will never watch you again.


  1. I was just talking about this to someone today! I actually made the switch from TBBT to Community last year - they air at the same time where I live - but it wasn't until this season that I stopped bothering to catch up on TBBT at all. I just can't take it anymore, for all the reasons you mentioned.

  2. Another thing I loathe about the show, aside from everything that's been well-said by others, is the assumption that nerd = can't get sex. Whoever is writing the scripts obviously has never been to a Mensa convention. As it happens, nerds can be the sexiest people in the room. A lot of nerds also like to be physically active and quite sociable. They're not unidimensional by any means.

  3. @thedelphiad - yep, the Sci Fi & Fantasy Society at my college doubled as an unofficial dating service! Also, one of my nerdiest new friends here in Cali is a huge sports fan. So, you know, layers.

    @Lynz Pickles - yay Community! It's my favorite show on TV right now and it always makes me happy to know other people are watching it too.

  4. As someone who watched the pilot of TBBT and never returned I feel vindicated