CBS’ The Big Bang Theory is an absolute television dynamo; up there with the likes of classics such as Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and perhaps even something as beloved as I Love Lucy. You would be hard pressed to come across someone these days who doesn’t have at least a casual understanding of the show. While it wasn’t an instant hit, the show has flourished in recent years, and it has become successful enough to warrant a funny (albeit a little trite) spin-off which explores the youth of one of the series’ main characters. Lots of shows go on to achieve a moderate amount of public notoriety, but even one-time phenomena like Glee or Ugly Betty eventually grind to a halt and are forgotten. This has not been the case for Big Bang and, as much as some still sit through reruns of the life and times of Ross, Joey, and Rachel, it isn’t hard to imagine that we’ll all gladly re-watch the exploits of Sheldon and the gang for the foreseeable future.
It must be said, however, that the show is sort of in danger of jumping the shark: Much of the original crew is now canonically married and the show is arguably past the point of logical conclusion. While it can be tough to see our favorite shows end, The Big Bang Theory has been wandering into some strange territory lately. Yet, to some, the show made little sense to being with.
20 How Much Does The Cheesecake Factory Pay?
For a chain restaurant, The Cheesecake factory is often viewed as a relatively swanky place. I’m not sure if that’s because I live in the backwaters of Pennsylvania where some consider Applebee’s to be fine dining or if it’s a sentiment held by people outside of this cultural wasteland, but the fact that it may be a slightly more upscale eatery doesn’t mean that they pay their wait staff fortunes. The Big Bang Theory’s Penny is supposed to be the stereotypical Hollywood wannabe freshly transplanted to California from the sticks with dreams of making it big. The thing is, though Leonard, Sheldon and the gang often poke fun at her financial situation, she has somehow managed to keep up with her rent.
Why does this seem so hard to believe? Well, she is living next to a pair of theoretical physicists who must be rolling in cash. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that a waitress and a physicist make quite the same amount of money. Plus, as far as I know, Penny doesn’t have a roommate, which means she is covering her living costs alone, while even Leonard needed a roommate. There has to be something going on here that we aren’t being told.
19 The Perfect Friend
It’s hard to determine which group was most impacted by the passing of renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, the scientific community or the fans of The Big Bang Theory. As we all know, he was one of Sheldon Cooper’s idols and he even agreed to come on the show to mortify Dr. Cooper by revealing a small error in one of his papers.
Sheldon and Stephen Hawking would have been perfect for each other: they both shared a love for physics both practical and mind-bending, they were both wickedly intelligent, and they both struggled at times to relate to others, albeit for different reasons. Plus, as Sheldon so succinctly put it on an episode of the show, “he is a genius, and he talks like a robot; that’s all I ever wanted in a friend.” It’s sort of a shame that this fictional relationship never really got the chance to flourish, though I think that Dr. Cooper and Dr. Hawking did connect at least a few times over the course of the show’s over ten year history. On another note, I would like to think that Hawking greatly enjoyed the show’s intro, as it’s essentially a summary of the entirety of cosmic and human history condensed into about ten seconds.
18 The Whole Universe Was in a Hot, Dense State
Though The Big Bang Theory is predominantly a show about social interactions much in the vain of something like Seinfeld or Friends, some viewers may actually have managed to learn a thing or two along the way. Sure, you would be lucky to pick up on anything Sheldon or Leonard talk about most of the time, but it is possible. It is, at the very least, possible to recall the show’s opening theme in a last-ditch effort to pull some knowledge out of relatively thin air.
If you have been a fan of the show for a while now, I guarantee that there is at least one fact that you have picked up on during your binge watching sessions.
You know that the whole universe was once in a hot, dense state, but nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started… wait. Sure, that isn’t exactly something you are likely to use during your day to day life, but, as was the case for whoever made this meme, it may unexpectedly come in handy at some point.
If you are ever faced with a particularly difficult question on a science exam, think back to all that time you spent watching The Big Bang Theory. If you somehow manage to comb through the mire of increasingly tired jokes and nerdy humor, then you just might be able to dig up something useful.
17 Norton is the Virus
Not so long ago, the term “nerdy” would never have been construed as one of endearment: nerds were a pack of geeks who spent too much time inside playing Starcraft when they should have been out living their lives. That perception of these kinds of individuals has softened and, in the modern world, tech savvy pop culture enthusiasts have divorced themselves so thoroughly from the misgivings of the past that they elect to use the term to refer to themselves. It’s even gotten to the point where there’s a good deal of gatekeeping surrounding nerd culture: to some, if you aren’t knowledgeable on all things nerd, then you haven’t earned to right to call yourself one.
That said, Leonard may have struggled with his societal perception in the past, but he has since come to terms with his lot in life as a geeky, science loving dork. However, someone with that level of education and know-how ought to know not to use Norton Security. While no security software is totally infallible, Norton’s reputation is comparable to that of a Bernie Madoff investment firm these days, and you really would think that he would know better than to use it. If you identify as a so-called “nerd,” then you wouldn’t be using Norton.
16 Ifs and Buts
I’ve complained about the usage of formulaic, by the numbers humor on The Big Bang Theory before, but that doesn’t mean that I think all of the jokes fall flat. While I tend to start rolling my eyes once I’ve heard “Bazinga” for the fifth or sixth time, a few of the sketches do strike me as pretty funny from time to time. To be fair, Big Bang is one of the few shows on television that has genuinely made me laugh once or twice, and, though it is far from perfect, it’s leagues above some of the short-lived dreck networks tend to shove out.
This line from the seventh episode of the fourth season sticks out to me because, not only is it funny on its own, but it was delivered perfectly by Sheldon Cooper actor Jim Parsons. Upon encountering famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, he accosts him for playing a role from the demotion of Pluto from its former status as a planet. Sheldon, an apparent Pluto fan, doesn’t take to Dr. Tyson well as a result. Though Tyson argues that he was simply a part of a larger scientific community which voted to demote Pluto, Sheldon believes that to be but a mere detail. “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we would all have a merry Christmas. Think about that, Dr. Tyson.”
15 In Case of Emergency
A lot of the humor of The Big Bang Theory revolves around the notion that geeky guys and gals don’t handle social situations well. Though it is a condition with which some struggle, it isn’t exactly fair to paint everyone of that ilk with the same brush. Sheldon Cooper, however, takes it to a totally new level. Sure, we have all come across individuals who may have found it hard to maintain eye contact or succumbed frequently to a loss of words, but few real-world people take it quite as far as Sheldon Cooper. It seems that nearly every single social interaction he has is marred by some qurious quirk. In fact, he is so completely neurotic that all of his relationships, and even the relationships of those he comes into contact with, must be grounded in an extensive, contractual understanding. It must be tough being Sheldon.
One thing he does understand—well, sort of understands—is the need to comfort others when they are feeling blue. Though he was initially totally oblivious, he was told that presenting an upset guest with a hot beverage is common social practice, so now he does it all the time. It is one of his very few endearing qualities.
14 Why Become a Scientist When You Can Just Look Like One?
Penny often has her heart in the right place, but much of what she does often turns out to be a bit misguided. Hopefully, that can’t be said about her marriage to Leonard. She’s made plenty of attempts to come off as learned and knowledgeable concerning all of the in-depth jargon employed by Leonard and company, but she usually only manages to make herself seem more dim-witted than she actually is.
It probably isn’t easy being friends with a bunch of brainiacs, but she should know that, on some levels, she won’t ever be able to relate to them.
This was particularly prevalent in the twelfth episode of the sixth season in which Leonard’s blonde neighbor, now his girlfriend, bought a pair of horn-rimmed glasses in a silly attempt to look like she might fight in with some of his more mathematically inclined friends. In an outright hilarious bid to look like she knew a thing or two about science, she dipped her glasses to the tip of her nose, looked at Leonard overtop of them, and said “molecule,” one of the very few science-y words she probably knows. I would tell you that this was one of the funniest moments in the show’s long history, but you already knew that.
13 You’re In My Spot!
For whatever reason, TBS somehow secured the rights and thought it would be a good idea to broadcast certain baseball and basketball games from time to time. Not only does it clash horrifically with their typical programing, but I can’t imagine that much of the network’s viewers really care about sports. Nobody goes to Turner Broadcasting to watch sports, as those things tend to be broadcast by other major networks, or stations like ESPN. Nobody in the history of television has ever said “hey, the game is on, flip it to TBS.” That doesn’t make any sense, or at least shouldn’t.
Sheldon has a thing or two to say about the matter, too. The Big Bang Theory, as we all know, has been a massive success for the network and it must have come as a bit of a shock to find out that the program had been temporarily rescheduled thanks to the NCAA playoffs. Sure, that is a major event in its own right, but it seems like a really strange thing for which to postpone a show like The Big Bang Theory. Yes, I want to check on how my bracket is doing, but I can do that on my own time, TBS. You really don’t have to feel compelled to shove these games on my face. Let’s get back to the comedy, already.
12 The Iron Throne
Here’s a crossover for the ages: how awesome would it be to see Jim Parsons make an appearance in Westeros? Take your seat at on the Iron Throne, Mr. Cooper.
Of course, the “that’s my spot” meme has been around seemingly forever, as it’s been a major sticking point in the show from just about the beginning. Sheldon, as we are all acutely aware, has some really weird ideas about personal space and couch apportionment. We might all have our particular seating preferences, but he’s gone so far as to consider the very cushion on which he sits as his own. It seems like a really odd circumstance: that spot is indefatigably his, though it doesn’t really seem like the kind of spot in which he would prefer to sit. It’s literally in the center of his friend group, and, given his penchant for keeping people at arm’s length, you would think that he would be more comfortable further away from everyone. Who knows, though, Sheldon is a really strange guy, and, were he to give up his spot now, well, that just wouldn’t sit right with anyone. Get it? Sit right with anyone? I know, I am hilarious.
11 A Face Only An Amy Could Love
You are doubtlessly aware of the phrase “a face only a mother could love.” It’s not exactly something you might want someone to say about your appearance, but it doesn’t totally apply to poor Sheldon Cooper. He is a great many things, but ugly isn’t really one of them. Plus, Amy Farrah Fowler definitely doesn’t see it that way, as she’s borderline obsessed with the man who has agreed to designate himself as not not-her-boyfriend. These two can be so strange.
Penny has a point, though. Sheldon does tend to ramble on a bit too much.
Stemming from his total inability to grasp the nuances of most conversations, he will go on endlessly about the logical fallacies or theoretical inaccuracies inherent in some statements. We’ve all known people who, from time to time, just don’t seem to know when to stop talking, and dealing with these people can definitely be rough. I don’t blame Penny: I would probably want to get some distance between myself and Mr. Cooper should he start on some ridiculously, long-winded tangent. He has some redeeming qualities, but it’s pretty hard to think of any when he just won’t shut his mouth. Even his closest friends get sick of him pretty quickly.
10 Laugh Out Loud
Have you been spending a bit too much of your weeknights watching repetitive sitcoms? Are you looking for a way to escape the incandescent charm of characters like Sheldon and Penny? Well, there is one simple, surefire method to wean yourself off of the stuff, and that’s by paying too much attention to a program’s laugh track. Cynics often argue that they are there so the zombies out in TV land know when they are supposed to laugh, but laugh tracks are truly intended to fill the void which would otherwise be apparent with each comedic pause. If you follow closely, you’ll notice that there is always a five or so second pause each time Sheldon drops a “bazinga,” and, were there no live studio audience to offer an overly-loud smattering of laughter and applause, that small break would seem extraordinary awkward.
The Big Bang Theory has one of the most obnoxious laugh tracks of any modern-day sitcom, and much of the humor gets old quick when you pay close attention to that stuff. After just a few jokes, you are more likely to be deeply annoyed than anything else, and you’ll be sworn off of watching TV after just a few episodes, guaranteed.
9 Not Knowing is Half the Fun!
This might be my favorite joke ever to be written into The Big Bang Theory. Though the premise of the show got old pretty quick—an apparently dim, blonde waitress clashes with her brainiac scientist friends—that doesn’t mean a few of the jokes haven’t managed to make me laugh. This one, in particular, really resonates with me. I never went to community college and I don’t mean to offend anyone who has, but it just comes across as really funny to me. We are living in an era in which post-secondary education has ballooned to crazy proportions, and, in an effort to meet the demand, plenty of for-profit, unreputable institutions have popped up. I won’t mention any in particular, but most should be familiar with the suspicious, stupendous claims made in advertisements for less-than-reputable places of higher learning.
I don’t think I have to sit here and explain why this is funny, though, as it’s the kind of humor on which most of the show is based. CBS probably doesn’t have a hoard of Ph. D.s tuning in each night to laugh at the exploits of the dimwitted Penny, but most of us still find the interactions between these two extremely different people to be downright hilarious at times.
8 Poor Raj
There are plenty of shy people out there, myself included, but people like Rajesh Koothrappali are few and far between. Tons of us claim to be introverted to some degree, though I think the term is overused these days. Yet, seeking social asylum or yearning to be free of certain societal obligations is a pretty universal sentiment. Raj, however, has taken introversion to its logical conclusion: he’s so shy that he literally can’t even talk to women. Everyone has a right to reservation, but poor Raj seems to be on the border of having a neurological disorder.
At least Raj has made the best of his situation, though, as even he has gone out on a couple of dates and engaged in a few relationships.
We all know that he can’t actually talk to women unless he’s had a bit of the ol’ liquid confidence, but, in reality, actor Kunal Nayyar is married to a former model and the winner of the 2006 Miss India pageant. Not bad for a guy who literally struggles to utter a single syllable in the presence of the opposite gender. Plus, Raj has actually proven in the past that he doesn’t need to be under the influence to talk to women, and it was later revealed that he picked up the unfortunate stigma thanks to a romantic rejection so embarrassing that it was the impetus for his flight from India.
7 Mr. Wolowitz
We all know the four core members of The Big Bang Theory to be Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj, and, though they may seem similar in almost every way, there is one major distinction between Howard and the rest of his friend group. No, I am not talking about his height, though his 5’4” frame does put him in a pretty small minority. Howard Wolowitz is actually the only one in his friend group to forego his doctorate—if you don’t include Penny, that is. Plus, his wife, Bernadette, has a higher-ranking degree than he does, which must be a constant source of familial embarrassment given how prying and doubting his mother tends to be.
Personally, I don’t blame Howard; pursuing a graduate’s degree must be pretty difficult and it doesn’t seem like the thing most people have the time or will to achieve. Plus, he’s done pretty well from himself regardless of his relative lack of academic achievement: he’s landed a prestigious job, married the love of his life, and even gone to space, a fact which he won’t let anyone forget. All in all, I wouldn’t say that Mr. Wolowitz is an unsuccessful man, though his propensity for living with his mother for his entire life serves as a mark against him.
6 Love is in the Air
One of Sheldon Cooper’s main character traits is his total lack of understanding when it comes to just about any social situation. Come to think of it, he is likely so backward in this regard that he might not even know what a meme is. Isn’t that a weird thing to think about: Sheldon is the focus of a ton of memes, but he might lack the capacity to understand them.
We all know that he is an extraordinarily smart guy, and, as we’ve seen in CBS's semi-unwarranted Big Bang spin-off Young Sheldon, he’s been that way for his entire life. Few people understand him, and he understands few people. In fact, his lack of social understanding was so severe that he drove his former roommate to… well, we’ll just say he “moved out’ and leave it at that, but viewers of the pilot episode will remember the horror story associated with Sheldon’s living situation.
Famous for his rational, exacting nature, Dr. Cooper wouldn’t understand what is meant by the phrase “love is in the air.”
Love, of course, is nothing more than the anthropomorphism of the machinations of the chemicals in our brains, and, in his eyes, to see it as anything more than that just wouldn’t be logical.
Alright, I know this one one may be a bit over-the-top, but I honestly laughed out loud when I saw this meme. It’s perhaps a bit meta, but, amidst an absolute torrent of awful, dated memes from early 2012, this is refreshing. Sheldon Cooper has become the face of cringey, eye-rolling Facebook posts and ill-conceived attempts at humor courtesy of your out of the loop aunt. Much like the minions from Despicable Me, a lot of people who genuinely find The Big Bang Theory to be some kind of comedic gold tend to be the same people who think Two and a Half Men is still funny. If you like those shows, I don’t intend that to be a slight against you, but it’s fair to say that both of these programs have fallen from millennial appeal in recent years.
What’s more, Sheldon’s constant comedic retort has long since stopped being funny and, in my experience, it really only ever appealed to an older crowd who couldn’t relate to the exploits of Sheldon and company to begin with. It’s played out and I’ve seen tons of memes centered around the fact that the show is still rolling in dough despite parading around the same tired comedic formula. This is sort of like that, albeit it just a little bit more esoteric.
4 Not Worth Doing
Right, well, thanks Sheldon. I don’t really have what it takes to pursue a career in theoretical physics… honestly, I can hardly even spell the word “physics” without the aid of autocorrect, so I think I’ll stick to what I’ve been doing, thanks.
Though his heart is, well, sort of in the right place most of the time, Sheldon really doesn’t understand that most of his sentiments are best left in his head. He doesn’t tend to respect any profession outside that of his own, and the few people he does respect in that field are himself, and.... Well, I suppose he was pretty buddy-buddy with Stephen Hawking for a while, and he might have gotten along well enough with Albert Einstein were he around to hang out with him. You aren’t supposed to go around blurting out your opinions of the professions of others, and this insult is often leveled at Howard, whom Sheldon probably doesn’t really consider to be an intellectual equal. We all know that he find Penny to be essentially a waste of space, though even he wouldn’t put it in quite those terms, but I wonder what he thinks of her goals of becoming an actor. Isn’t that sort of ironic, that Sheldon might consider acting to be a waste of a career?
3 A Gift or a Burden?
Life must be really rough for Sheldon. He considers everyone around him to be weird and to behave abnormally when, in reality, he’s the weirdo. I don’t want to tell anyone how to live their lives, but he does seem like he takes his career just a bit too seriously. In fact, the show actually explored what might happen if Sheldon were to abandon his goals as a scientist, and, well, he did go on to achieve some goals related to musicianship, though I don’t think many people would really consider the bongos to be a particularly difficult instrument to master. Of all of the social cues he doesn’t quite get, gift giving has to be the most perplexing to him of all.
Sheldon has famously stated that the exchange of gifts seems to him to be a fruitless endeavor as the ultimate result will be an equal, and therefore pointless, exchange of capital.
I don’t remember what his friends told him to get him to finally give up to ghost and get with the trend, but I do remember that, when it worked out, Howard remarked that “he came with a manual.” I suppose, to the cynical mind, gift giving can be something of a burden, but it’s the sort of thing you can only enjoy if you relax your mind a bit and don’t consider all of the particular details.
2 My Mother Had Me Tested
Sure, he may not be insane, but I find it difficult to believe that those test results actually came back negative. He is, one some level, totally neurotic, and you would think that someone would have picked up on that. However, we’ve since been treated to a healthy dose of Sheldon’s childhood, which has sort of ruined this joke a little bit. Plus, Sheldon’s wife is neuroscientist and, given that she is totally in love with him, we can probably discern that his is, in fact, totally sane. Well, on second thought, Amy Farrah Fowler is a little crazy in her own right, so perhaps her analysis of him can’t be trusted.
Either way, this is another great moment in the history of The Big Bang Theory. A joke baked into the very fabric of the show from the beginning, I suppose we’ll never really know exactly what makes Dr. Cooper tick. He doesn’t understand his mom, though he loves her all the same. Neither does he really understand Amy, nor will he ever, but that’s sort of what makes him such an endearing character: he is so ridiculously awkward that it makes him hard to not love. You do you, Sheldon.
1 Group Project
I’ll admit that I can’t exactly relate to this one: group projects were never my strong suit, and I am thankful that my work is pretty much a solo venture. That’s not the reality for most, though, and I feel sort of sorry for those who have to contend with an endless tirade of co-workers meddling with their projects. I was very much the type to simply go with whatever any of the other people in the group wanted to do and hope for the best, but I have never been much of a type A person. Sheldon Cooper and his ilk, however, must have it pretty rough in their own right. Everything has to be there way, and, in Sheldon’s case, he has literally approached group projects in the past with the mentality of “everything everyone else has done up until this point has been all wrong.” Dealing with others can be tough, especially when you are trying to get something done, but it never helps when someone like this comes along and proposes 27 little tweeks. Alright, Sheldon, maybe you should just go make your own project.
On second though, I think I would love to have Dr. Cooper help me out on a school project. I could kick back, and he would be happy to orchestrate the whole thing with as little interference from anyone else as possible. Sounds good to me!