For twelve long years, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ has served the worst of society’s prejudices, and the viewers sat back and laughed. Racism and Sexism were not only part of the jokes that made viewers laugh, but were also rooted deep within the structure of the show. Whether viewers chose to ignore it, or simply didn’t notice, the consistent support to the show only propagated these ideas further.
‘The Big Bang Theory’ hideously served misogyny, racism, and all kinds of crap, for 12 seasons, to more than 15 million regular audiences in the name of a comedy. They fooled us with repetitive jokes, normalized prejudices, strengthened stereotypes, and still managed to rule the audience’s heart in 12-long seasons with some ignorance fuelled innocence.
- ‘The Big Bang Theory’ propagated the worst society tropes
- US audience remains unbothered about the prejudices served via the geek sitcom
- How ‘The Big Bang Theory’ escaped political outrage and continued for 12 years
Racism & Sexism in ‘The Big Bang Theory’
Let’s begin exposing their prejudices with racism. Until season 10, the show’s only brown star Kunal Nayyar made only 80 percent of what his white, male co-stars earned per episode.
Not only that, but his character has also been at the end of bad jokes which almost always has to do with his culture and race. Rajesh Koothrappali is a typical brown guy with an exotic accent, crippled by his inability to speak to women. ‘The Big Bang Theory’, through Raj, strengthens the stereotypical image of an Indian by an American daddy.
The show confirms and mocks the fact that pre-marital sex is a big deal for Indians. In an episode where Raj hooks up with Penny (Kaley Cuoco), he says,
“As your friend, you might want to know that we didn’t have sex in the conventional sense”.
Responding to this, Penny replies, “Oh God, did you pull some weird Indian crap on me?”
‘The Big Bang Theory’ portrays the image of an Indian through a white man’s gaze. Indians would hardly agree that Raj’s character has much semblance to the Indian community. But, after consuming ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for years, many people in the US think that Indians are like Raj Koothrappali, and the older generation of Indians is as bossy as his parents.
Even his sister Priya Koothrappali, who is a successful lawyer, fears her parents for having a white boyfriend. She, as an Indian woman, seemingly has no independence or choice when it comes to her life.
‘The Big Bang Theory’ even highlighted misogyny like no other modern sitcom. Throughout the show, men are celebrated for neglecting domestic chores. More importantly, the show is hell-bent on moulding all the female characters into being accepted by the society, whether it be Amy’s obsession with good looks or Penny’s eventual pregnancy against her consistent refusal to consider it.
US audience remains unbothered about the prejudices served via the geek sitcom
Undoubtedly, and unfortunately, most of the viewers were trapped in this trope of comedy. It doesn’t matter much whether they didn’t care about these things, or simply chose to ignore them. They loved what was served to them. Otherwise, why would it be one of the most-watched shows on US television? Were they so incapable of changing the channel for 12 long years?
People loved and laughed at the repeated jokes and hideously served stereotypes. We, as a society, laughed when Raj became the subject of racist jokes. We laughed when women were not respected.
Contrary to the title, which signifies the evolution of the universe, the plot of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ never evolved. Unlike the big bang, which was an instant event, the sitcom remained a long nightmare for a politically conscious few.
How ‘The Big Bang Theory’ escaped political outrage and continued for 12 years
Some viewers even raised their voice against the show. ‘The Big Bang Theory’ faced controversy for their enormous pay gaps. Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch were making ten times less than their male counterparts.
Later on, to avoid the controversy and outrage, many of the male leads took $100,000 pay cuts to increase the salaries of the two actresses. Though the plot of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ has remained unchallenged throughout, despite controversial themes, the cast has faced controversies.
Mayim Bialik also received heat during the Me Too movement, for a piece she wrote in the “New York Times”. She was accused of blaming Harvey Weinstein’s victims for what happened to them. She reasoned that the victims were responsible for what happened to them because of the way they dressed.
It is still unclear how we managed to clap and laugh out loud in response to the crass comedy and never raised our voice against the regressive non-sense served to us. Shouldn’t we be ashamed of making it rule the television for 12 long years?
Let us know if you agree about the many problems with ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Or do you think all should be forgiven in the name of comedy? Share your views in the comments box below!