Did ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Suffer From Lazy Storytelling?

By most measures, The Big Bang Theory was one of the most successful television shows in history. Running for a storied 12 seasons, the sitcom about a group of scientists living in Pasadena collected accolades and high ratings everywhere it went. The show even spawned the spinoff, Young Sheldon, which is similarly successful. That doesn’t mean the show is without critics. Some of its most ardent opponents insist the series was sexist, close-minded, and more than a little lazy. So, was The Big Bang Theory the victim of lazy storytelling?

The use of stereotypes is indicative of lazy writing, claims some critics

The series may have been wildly popular with some fans, but people who hate it really hate it. Many of its critics point to the show’s use of stereotypes as problematic and indicative of lazy writing and storytelling. At first glance, the show may appear to celebrate geek culture, but as it progressed, it became glaringly obvious that the writers weren’t celebrating the culture. More often than not, they were making fun of it, argues Screen Rant.

Penny and Leonard Hofstadter
Penny and Leonard Hofstadter | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Image

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Fans also point out that the women in the show were also incredibly stereotypical. Penny, for example, was beautiful but portrayed as being rather dim. Amy Farrah Fowler was brilliant but characterized as being less attractive. Fans pointed out that the writers seemed to think that a woman couldn’t be attractive and intelligent, a problematic stereotype.

The Big Bang Theory’s critics also claim the show’s numerous plot holes prove that the show wasn’t well thought out

The Big Bang Theory might have relied on stereotypes and sexist tropes to get by. Still, it’s most passionate critics point to a different issue when suggesting the show’s writers were inherently lazy. They point out that the show had numerous plot holes. Plot holes aren’t all that uncommon in long-running series, but The Big Bang Theory did seem to have more than most.  

It would be impossible to list all of the plot holes, but the most glaring ones have been discussed over and over again on forums. During the show’s lengthy run, the writers offered different names for Penny’s father. Fans noticed that Sheldon Cooper’s birthday appeared to change, as did his alleged allergy to cats. The length of time that the elevator was broken changed twice and the show ended without ever giving Penny a last name. Bernadette’s views on parenting and the length of her pregnancy were also inconsistent. Reddit users point out that there are dozens more, too. In short, there was a lot wrong, and critics think writers could have avoided a lot of plot holes by simply paying closer attention to past scripts.

Why do fans like The Big Bang Theory?

Even though the series has a ton of critics, and their reasons for accusing the writers of lazy storytelling are sound, The Big Bang Theory has plenty of fans, too. Reddit users who continue to enjoy the show even after it aired its final episode point to its references to geek culture, interesting dive into the scientific world, and it’s comforting, warm delivery as reasons why they still love it.

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Even critics can agree that Jim Parson’s portrayal of the odd but brilliant Sheldon was inspired. Johnny Galecki delivered a similarly inspired portrayal of the pushover, Leonard Hofstadter. Each member of the cast brought something to the table, and while the show may have suffered from some banality in the end, it still offered a ton of comedic levity over the years.