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The show The Big Bang Theory is coming up on its eleventh season, in our society today that is a remarkable feat considering how flighty our society has become. I believe that a lot of the success of the show stems from the characters. Not only are they funny, but they also are social outcasts. Being such more people can relate to the characters and have a connection to the overall themes of the show. I also feel that the characters also make other people feel normal, that they are not alone in how they act or feel. Being able to relate to someone, even an actor makes the show much more popular to the viewers.
Personally I can find bits of myself in each character portrayed, like Raj I was always afraid of women for the most part, like Leonard I just wanted to fit in and get the girl, like Howard I tried too hard to fit in, and like Sheldon I was somewhat of a know it all. I find more of myself in each of the characters but I do not need to relate every facet. That being said, this is the reason that so many people can relate to the show. It makes them feel something for the characters. It breeds the success that the show has enjoyed.
The show takes place in modern times in Pasadena California, but it does have ties in with history, usually pointed out to us by the character Sheldon Cooper. For instance in the episode the Toast Derivation Sheldon tells viewers and the rest of the cast about points in history, such as how Archimedes determined the volume of a crown by noting how much water was displaced when the crown was placed in the container with the water, this is an actual event in history that is not just made up (Chowdhury, 2002). The Big Bang Theory is full of references like these, teaching viewers about events in history that shape science and how we look at the world today.
The Big Bang Theory makes use of a lot of science to make the characters more believable as scientists rather than actors. The science is actually true science that is being worked upon today by other researchers, or is true proven information that is being related. The responsibility for the accurateness and even drawing the whiteboards that are used extensively on the show belongs to Professor David Saltzberg of UCLA, coupled with Mayim Bialik who carries a PHD in neuroscience (Ulaby, 2013). Together they make sure that the science is accurate, and to make sure that little to no errors get through to the broadcast. He also helped the set designers by showing them real graduate student’s apartments, however the faithful recreation of those apartments was scrapped in testing because they were too depressing. Thus he apartments were born and while they may not be as real they still match up to what you would expect for low paid scientist.
Ethics…. Has to be fleshed out still
The Big Bang Theory occupies an important part of today’s culture. It made it cool to be the nerd and play video games and know things that other people do not know. It also makes people want to get more involved in science rather than science having a stigma attached to it where only nerds like science and if you want to be part of clubs or intellectual teams or you like comic books you have to wear pocket protectors. A writer for scienceblogs.com points out that The Big Bang Theory is the subject of some controversy within the physics realm, on the one hand it provides a benefit to science by making it more popular and popularizing the nerd culture, on the other hand it could just be perpetuating bad stereotypes (Orzel, 2013). Orzel goes on to point out though that the show gets its interactions correct for the most part, showing the scientist and doctors working pretty much alone then all meeting up for lunch to discuss projects and get advice. He then compares it to his experiences at various universities and locations over the years. This just goes to show that you can be true to the culture while also involving humor and teaching lessons.
The critical aspect of the show is that it turns out that a show is all it is. At the end of the day it wastes an hour of your night and there are no huge benefits to your life. It does teach you things you may not have known such as how to speak Klingon or about Schrödinger’s cat, but at the end of the day there is no real plot it is just a group of friends living simple lives. What makes the series popular is that it takes advantage of things like the rising popularity of the nerd culture and maintains characters that people can relate to. The characters may be exaggerated but all of them have human qualities that people can relate to. The other reason that the show remains immensely popular is that even after ten seasons it still remains funny. The characters are able to make fun of each other and the culture and themselves in a way that draws in viewers. One article says that critics do not like the show and do not watch it, however viewers really do not care and tune in each week to watch the show anyway. In the article they interviewed a writer for The Atlantic named Joe Reid, he said “no one I know watches it, so there’s no one to talk to about it” (Locker, 2014). To me that is a short sight of the critics themselves. The show remains popular no matter whether they enjoy it or not so do they really have a feel for what the people want?
In conclusion whether you love or hate the show or are somewhere in between the show will remain popular even after it eventually gets cancelled as all shows do. That to me is the real measure of how the show really measures up, does it stand the test of time and become a cultural icon the likes of Friends and those shows before it remain in syndication years after they were cancelled. The way the show is designed by making geeks and nerds feel normal and able to relate better to those around them I feel it will remain relevant for many years to come. With that being said some of the references may lose validity with time such as many of the games that the characters play or the references to muggles. Those things will not remain as valid as they are currently so it will remain to see how the show stands up over the years and how the jokes continue to stand up through time.
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