It is a sitcom deemed the new “Friends,” and it has won numerous critical awards. It is “The Big Bang Theory.” Unexpectedly, all of those things describe what appears to be the most hated show on television. This unanimous hate seems to have sprung out of nowhere. While “The Big Bang Theory” aired its first episode in 2007, most of its detractors came forward in the last year. It is time to figure out where it all went wrong.
Things seemed to be going fine for this CBS sitcom about a nerdy group of nerds. I use this redundancy only as a segway to the first haters of “The Big Bang Theory”: the self-proclaimed real nerds. The so-called real nerds are the ones who first started publicizing their hatred of the show. These people are the men and women who went to the online forums to campaign to cancel the show.
Now, one could make a comparison here to the way that the boastful, insecure characters on the show act themselves. Except that would mean that “The Big Bang Theory” had the ability to portray real people. If there is one thing that the real nerds got right, it’s that “The Big Bang Theory” gets it all wrong. That is not to say that the show’s main flaw is misrepresenting nerds, but rather its failure to make characters that could be human, or at least interesting.
Massive criticisms of this kind started appearing around 2013, or the show’s sixth season. Now this seems late, but I assume the nerd hate was always there. Why they chose to come forward in force in 2013, I theorize, is because TV had a major shift that year.
In 2013, “Breaking Bad” ended. “Breaking Bad,” as in one of the most-watched shows (particularly the finale) of all time and one of the most highly applauded. This show made way for many darker and grimmer shows to spread their wrath. In the same year, “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “The Americans,” “Masters of Sex” and “Orphan Black” aired their pilots. Along with these darker shows came fresher, funnier comedies like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Kroll Show.” While none of these were sitcoms, the atmosphere of television was changing, making “The Big Bang Theory” look worse and worse.
Once these angry trailblazers raised their voices, other people started to take notice. When all these amazing pilots launched, “The Big Bang Theory” was starting its seventh season. Suddenly, everyone had an opinion. That fall and winter season of TV sprung a variety of listicles, which commented on all of the things wrong with the show. Say what you will about listicles being clickbait, but people were so angry that they had to list all of the ways Sheldon’s “Bazinga!” had offended them. An unavoidable staple of these lists was “the laugh track.”
Public opinion of the show only got worse in 2015, but the show hasn’t ended. It has been almost a decade since it first aired, and “The Big Bang Theory” is still around to make some people pissed. But there is something almost ironic, mostly pathetic about all of the rants — they require actually watching the show in the first place, in addition to all of the time and energy it takes to put that negative energy into the world.
I shouldn’t have to bring up our nation’s political state to prove that “The Big Bang Theory” is not the worst thing out there. But like Donald Trump, simply expressing hatred toward something is not always productive. If “The Big Bang Theory” really offends you so much, make things easier for everyone and change the channel. Or better yet, stop watching TV.