Here are a couple of numbers sure to keep you up at night – 20 million and 250. When talking about CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, these are the two numbers that are likely to make you want to throw your TV out the window. Every week, consistently for over 10 years, 20 million people watch The Big Bang Theory. That means that there are 20 million people that actually WANT to watch the antics of these characters and their lives. And as we approach the half-way point of the show's 11th season, they are coming up to their 250th episode. To put that in perspective, Breaking Bad, widely regarded as one of the greatest TV series of all time, only has 62 episodes. In this case, quantity definitely doesn’t equal quality.
Those numbers mean that The Big Bang Theory is one of the biggest shows on television. But, like many of us at CBR, not everyone is happy about that. There are many fans of comics, science and pop culture that hate being parodied like they do on the show. To show their disgust, some denizens of the internet have lovingly rendered biting memes to tell us all how they really feel. Let’s all take a moment to burn a Bazinga! shirt and go over 15 memes that show why The Big Bang Theory is just the worst.
At this point, everyone, including your grandma and even the family dog, know what the hell Bazinga means. There are t-shirts, mugs, hats and probably gravestones emblazoned with the catchphrase of perhaps the most divisive Big Bang Theory character, Sheldon. Of all the aspects of the show that have caught on in a big way, Bazinga seems to be the biggest. But that doesn't automatically make it "good."
As this meme illustrates, Bazinga has turned into a quick cue for the laugh track on the show. It’s the completely idiotic way that lets the general audience know, “Hey, Sheldon said something silly, make sure you laugh now!” If there’s one good thing that has come out of the use of the dreaded B-word, it is that if you meet a stranger, and they happen to be wearing a shirt with the word on it, you can immediately judge them for being a Big Bang fan and ignore them post-haste.
14 HORRIBLE THEME SONG
If you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory with a group of fans, you’ve probably had an experience similar to this. The show begins, and the theme song comes on. Then, shrill voices of the Barenaked Ladies burst out of the speakers, and suddenly, everyone thinks it’s a cue to sing along. However, no one really knows the lyrics. They literally only know the first couple lines, and the very last line. Then they giggle at the end of the song, and you want to locate the closest window to jump out of.
There have been great theme songs for shows, and there have been horrible theme songs. Somehow, The Big Bang Theory’s theme makes even the worst song sound like Mozart. Frankly, we’re sorry for sharing this meme because, inevitably, that means the song is now stuck in your head. Please forgive us!
13 BROKEN ELEVATOR?
There’s the old joke about how many [INSERT TYPE OF PERSON] does it take to screw in a light bulb. Normally, the purpose of the joke is to illustrate how stupid said people are. In that vein, how about answering this question, “How many genius-level physicists and engineers does it take to help fix and elevator?” Apparently more than four.
As this meme illustrates, The Big Bang Theory literally has a cast of geniuses, with multiple scientific backgrounds that would rather take an insane number of stairs than help fix their broken elevator. It’s pretty ridiculous, which of course makes it a "bit." But seriously, one of the four builds spaceships for a living. You mean to tell us he couldn’t take a Saturday out of his busy life of harassing women for sex to fix an elevator for his friends?
12 WAITRESS PAY SCALE
Sitcoms have always had a way of making living life in a big city seem so easy and attainable. According to Friends, you can totally have a middling job and still afford a massive apartment in Manhattan. And on The Big Bang Theory, you can afford a massive apartment right across the hall from two physicists with PhD's on a salary from The Cheesecake Factory.
Penny, who is a stereotypical Hollywood portrayal of a dumb blonde for boys to ogle at, can somehow afford an apartment equal in size to one that is shared by two physicists who work at a prestigious university. It’s mind-bogglingly stupid. You can insult our intelligence by making lowest common denominator jokes about nerds and science, but please don’t expect us to believe that real life works this way. If that’s the case, we suggest quitting school and beginning your highly lucrative serving job in table waiting.
11 CAN’T DRIVE?
We get it, Sheldon’s quirky. Let’s pretend that Sheldon isn’t a gross parody of people with Autism, and is somehow a realistic character. As the meme above shows us, he has a litany of amazing credentials, except one – driving. This grown man, or more accurately man-child, can spend hours a day questioning the foundations of science, but the concept of driving is somehow above him?
All this does, from a story perspective, is give Sheldon another quirk that makes him endearing to the fans of the show. “Look at Sheldon, he’s so smart, but can’t drive! I can drive! That makes me smarter than him!” It would be one thing if his lack of driving was mentioned once and forgotten, but this consistently has shown up in the show, and makes Sheldon even more divisive a character.
10 NOT FUNNY, AT ALL
There are all sorts of comedies on television nowadays. Some are good, and some are not-so-good, but there aren’t many that are so aggressively unfunny as The Big Bang Theory. For most discerning TV watchers, you can easily watch 10 hours of The Big Bang Theory and not laugh once. Instead of tackling clever subject matter, or write jokes that are interesting and timely, the show resorts to the same sort of bathroom humor and sex jokes that have been recycled for decades.
If The Big Bang Theory had a steady stream of laughs, or even just one or two per episode, you could almost excuse the stereotypical characters and hugely outlandish stories. At least then, it would be humorous. Instead, it’s a show that makes fun of groups of people without any charm or grace. It’s the TV equivalent of the big dumb bully that constantly said “Your Momma” jokes in middle school.
9 YOU’RE NOT A NERD, SORRY
We hate to break it to you, but if you think that just watching The Big Bang Theory makes you a nerd, you might be sadly mistaken. It’s so hip nowadays for people to claim the “nerd” badge of honor. They think it somehow makes them quirky and interesting, but if you're just getting that because you watch one television show lampooning that community... well, you might be doing it wrong.
Just because you wear hip glasses and laugh at Sheldon’s half-accurate science jokes, you aren't suddenly a nerd. As this admittedly sometimes problematic meme shows, nerd culture has turned into a fad. It’s suddenly cool to like all the things that the characters on The Big Bang Theory like. And when the average fan understands a comic book reference in the new Big Bang episode, they think they’re somehow an adorable nerd. Nope. Nerds are awesome, and they don’t watch a show that parodies them as sex-crazed, socially awkward people.
8 YOU DON’T KNOW SCIENCE
If they’re not making fart jokes, or parodying comic book fans, the characters on The Big Bang Theory are busy making really stupid jokes about science. Most of the time, this would mean that a “dumb” character would be talking to one of the “smart” characters, and the smart one would make a joke that would fly over the head of the dumb one. Cue laughter.
However, as the meme illustrates, these supposedly smart science jokes turn into an opportunity for people to say, “Hey! I got that one!” Then they proceed to tell you about some fifth-grade science class they were in and how they learned about it. We all know there’s nothing more annoying that someone trying to explain why they're so smart. For future reference, using the jokes on a sitcom to prove your intelligence isn’t ever a good idea.
7 LAUGH TRACK
You can always tell when a sitcom isn’t confident in its writing when the laugh track is so overbearing. On The Big Bang Theory, you can barely hear the actual “jokes” being told because the laughter is so deafening. As this meme showcases, that laugh track is loud enough to almost burst your ear drums. It’s also a reminder, to those of us who don’t laugh at the show, that this is what the average viewer finds hilarious. If this is what the general public finds funny, we are doomed.
Laugh tracks, in general, are a horribly outdated concept. Many shows like The Office, 30 Rock, Modern Family and Black(ish) are able to tell jokes and create laughter without literally telling people when to laugh. And when it comes to a show like The Big Bang Theory, the laugh track creates a desperation that is almost uncomfortable.
6 POOR STEPHEN HAWKING
Common sense would dictate that a show about science would celebrate scientists. And when a show about science features a world-renowned scientist, the fans of the show would be amazed and cheer their heads off. As this meme perfectly shows, the fans of The Big Bang Theory aren’t necessarily worried about someone like Stephen Hawking. Instead, they’d rather just cheer at the pretty girl showing some cleavage.
It’s a sad state of affairs when Penny, dressed as a superhero just to show skin, gets a bigger crowd reaction than someone like Hawking. One has given the world amazing knowledge that will help shape our view of our universe for decades to come. The other found a low-cut costume and was told to act ditzy. But then again, this is a perfect encapsulation of the many things wrong with The Big Bang Theory.
5 PHYSICS MAJORS
You have to feel bad for those poor students studying physics in 2017 and beyond. It used to be that they would visit their families, try to explain what they were studying and their family would feign interest. Now, these students go visit their families, explain that they’re studying physics and their family members instantly think that he or she is now Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. That might be enough of a deterrent for students thinking about studying physics that we might see a sudden drop in physics majors.
The Big Bang Theory has mocked comic book fans, as well as people of various races and religions; it was only a matter of time before physics majors were directly affected. God forbid you and your physics roommate ever go anywhere together. It’s probably safer just to tell people you’re studying Communications.
4 CHICKS DIG NERDS, BRO
Look, we know that not all nerds are single and have trouble finding partners -- that's part of the point we're trying to make here. In fact, it’s safe to assume the opposite because nerdy people, in general, tend to be witty, fun and well-adjusted members of society. It’s just that, in The Big Bang Theory, they go to great lengths to make the nerds on the show into the worst stereotypes of nerd culture that it’s absolutely absurd that they can function in adult relationships.
The biggest offender, and subject of the meme, is Leonard. He’s hopeless. He can’t talk to women. He overanalyzes every situation. His best friends are despicable and weird. And yet, seemingly against the show's own narrative, he "gets the girl." Big Bang Theory has even gone so far as to have Sheldon, the most socially-inept character on the show and someone who many fans identified as asexual, somehow fall into a relationship, once again seeming to go against its own structure.
3 PERHAPS NOT SO SMART, AFTER ALL
If you make a show about a group of geniuses, expect real smart people to judge it harshly. The average fan of The Big Bang Theory may not be a genius, but you can’t just slack on the details because you don’t think anyone will notice. As this meme shows, the details matter.
It’s almost as if the producers of the show, or the set designers specifically, just went to their local computer store and blindly chose things to decorate the apartment with. Or worse yet, perhaps Norton decided to pay The Big Bang Theory for product placement. That’s almost more egregious because The Big Bang Theory would actively be peddling wares that are useless. Either way, there’s no possible scenario where someone as smart as Leonard or Sheldon would be caught dead with that software on their shelves.
2 WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?
We all have moments of weakness. It happens to the best of us. And yes, that means that out of almost 250 episodes, The Big Bang Theory might actually make you chuckle once. Clearly, laughing at such an atrocious show might make you go on an emotional, existential spirit quest that could rock the foundations of "you" down to their very core.
When you find yourself smiling, or actually laughing at a joke on The Big Bang Theory, stop everything and find the closest classic comedy, as a bad joke cleanser. There is so much great stuff out there, and you can’t let The Big Bang Theory win. So come back inside from screaming defeatedly into the sky or the nearest crevasse you can find -- we can’t let the 20 million weekly viewers dictate the future of comedy and mainstream nerd culture.
1 FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BIG BANG
Nobody’s perfect. If you ever want to have friends, you have to always cut them a little slack. If you expect too much out of them, then your friends are bound to disappoint you. However, do not cut them slack if they decide to turn on The Big Bang Theory while you’re visiting. It’s perfectly reasonable to drop what you’re doing and leave the situation.
As this meme shows, you can’t support your friend’s sitcom tastes. If they don’t understand why you’d remove yourself from a Big Bang situation, then perhaps you should question the very nature of your friendship. Even though you might feel overwhelmed by The Big Bang Theory’s vast reach, there are plenty of great people out there who feel like you. And most of them are making memes.
How do you feel about Big Bang Theory? Let us know in the comments!