3 Things About ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Pilot That Wouldn’t Fly Today

The Big Bang Theory isn’t an old show by any stretch of the imagination. The series, which premiered in 2007, only went off the air a little more than a year ago. Still, a lot has changed since the show’s premiere. There are several elements of the pilot that likely would not fly today.

Howard was completely creepy, and it wasn’t funny

In 2007, we apparently lived in a world where someone like Howard Wolowitz was considered funny instead of completely creepy and inappropriate. In the pilot episode, Howard nearly faints when he sees Penny in a towel but continues to creep on her, regardless of how uncomfortable it made her.

Penny bowls with Raj Koothrappali and Howard Wolowitz on 'The Big Bang Theory'
Penny with Raj Koothrappali and Howard Wolowitz | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

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Howard’s obsession with trying to seduce Penny and any other woman he met carried on for several seasons and got progressively creepier as time went on. Sure, Howard was supposed to be emotionally fragile and immature, but his behavior still wasn’t OK. The way he leered at Penny probably wouldn’t be OK with fans if the pilot were airing for the first time now.

Sheldon makes a joke about their former neighbor in The Big Bang Theory’s pilot

In the pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper’s transphobic statement gets a huge laugh track. The same joke wouldn’t work today. When Sheldon and Leonard Hofstadter happen upon Penny unpacking their apartment, Leonard mentions that she’s better than their last neighbor. Sheldon quips that their previous neighbor was “a 200lb transvestite with a skin condition.”

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper on 'The Big Bang Theory'
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

Reddit users point out that the pilot is not the last time a transphobic joke was made on the series. The former neighbor and their lifestyle was mentioned again in episode two. The show also often poked fun at the gay community. Raj’s sexuality is repeatedly called into question as a joke, too.  

Penny taking advantage of her neighbors would get a side-eye today

Penny came off sweet enough in the pilot and during the first season, but if you look at things closely, it’s pretty obvious she was taking advantage of her nerdy neighbors. She knew they were all, except for Sheldon, taken with her, and that she could use that to her advantage.

Leonard and Penny standing in the kitchen on 'The Big Bang Theory'
Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter and Kaley Cuoco as Penny on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

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She did just that. Penny felt bad about it when Leonard and Sheldon returned from her errand without their pants. She still did it, though. Feeling guilty also didn’t stop her from continuing to take advantage of Leonard. During the first season, she used her pals for free meals, free internet, and, in some cases, for rent money.