Jim Parsons Reveals the Bittersweet Thing Fans Tell Him the Most About ‘The Big Bang Theory’

Sitcoms are still a viable form of entertainment on TV, even if you’ll find more than a few people who suggest similar shows are a dying breed. The Big Bang Theory is one that a substantial part of the American public thought helped revive the sitcom, if not really reinventing it from top to bottom.

If you can find critics who never truly appreciated The Big Bang Theory, the show will leave a lasting legacy in more ways than one. We’ve mentioned how it helped broach more interest in science, including creating a scientific scholarship program at UCLA.

As the show now ends, Jim Parsons is revealing how some ardent fans found joy in the show during personally trying times.

Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Can a sitcom be useful to help people through their troubles?

You can say all sitcoms in TV history have been useful for those who go through the worst possible life situations. In sitcoms from the earliest days of television, you can argue many shows were simpler and designed strictly to entertain rather than send social messages. Star power and production innovation were the biggest attractions of those early sitcoms like I Love Lucy.

Some producers eventually changed the game to produce more socially conscious dramedies. Norman Lear’s 1970s-era shows (like All in the Family) have never been superseded in equalizing entertainment with shocking looks at taboo issues. We saw much of this disappear by the 1990s to a point where most sitcoms devolved to more innocuous half-hour trifles.

The Big Bang Theory perhaps didn’t try to reinvent anything, yet they still managed to innovate in some ways. Parsons has recently mentioned how fans came up to him and said the show made them feel better simply by laughing. Maybe there isn’t any better tribute to a sitcom than this.

The Big Bang Theory’ helped fans through illness

A lot of people hurt out there, and it’s usually more than we ever know until seeing the evidence. No doubt Jim Parsons had no idea The Big Bang Theory was doing anything more than providing some vicious satire of geek culture. While those who appreciated this stance have been the bulk of the fan base, Parsons found out those who’ve faced illness found plenty of enjoyment with the characters.

During a recent cast interview with Entertainment Weekly, Parsons mentioned some of the fans he’s encountered told him they felt better watching The Big Bang Theory while dealing with chemo or during hospital stays. He even joked some of those fans said they were dealing with food poisoning.

Parsons isn’t the only cast member who experienced fans coming up and saying these things. Simon Helberg says in the EW interview he encounters similar fans who’ve found comfort in the show while dealing with cancer.

For the first time, the actors are seeing their sitcom from the perspective of someone else, something not enough TV stars have a chance to experience.

Should future sitcoms should be more interactive on social media for fans?

You’re starting to see more and more social media accounts for popular TV shows with someone handling fan interactions. There really should be more of this, including cast members having access to respond or react at will.

Sitcom legends of the past never had a chance to experience similar things other than receiving fan letters once in a while in their dressing rooms. For the cast of The Big Bang Theory, they’re ending just as certain media properties start to become more personalized through social media. Of course, some of the cast (like Parsons) aren’t on places like Twitter, even if they are on Instagram.

The open candor of fans, however, is usually something only spoken face-to-face. Hopefully, as TV shows try to connect better with fans, the casts of popular shows will learn that TV comedies are still a leading tool to help people feel better when navigating the hurdles of life.