Analytical profile of the Big Bang Theory
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The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory like many other popular TV sitcoms espouses traditional American values while at the same time on the surface it pokes fun at a specific segment of society. The producers of the show found a good formula for getting the top ratings that are required to be a success in Hollywood. By poking fun at a group that some, if not most would consider nerds in our society the producers have created a formula that works well by appealing to a broad audience and also satisfying the networks.
The show is called the “Big Bang Theory” and it focuses on two friends Leonard and Sheldon, two physicists who work at the California Institute of Technology. Both men are very intelligent when it comes to things like quantum physics and nuclear half-life but they can’t seem to stay out of the way of their own two feet when it comes to tackling social issues, in particular those that involve the opposite sex.
The twist in the storyline involves Penny a waitress and aspiring actress who moves into the apartment next door. Penny begins to show the two socially inept, scientific geniuses just how much they don’t know about the world outside of their laboratory. Also included in the cast are Howard and Raj, two fellow Caltech scientist who sometimes hang out with Leonard and Sheldon. The rest of the main cast includes Bernadette, Howard’s significant other and Amy, who is Sheldon’s wannabe love interest, who according to Sheldon, is the girl who is his friend, but not his girlfriend
The shows cast and crew which includes, Johnny Galecki as Leonard, Jim Parsons as Sheldon, Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Simon Helberg as Howard, Kunal Nayyar as Raj, Mayim Bialik as Amy, and Melissa Rauch as Bernadette make up the main cast members. Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady the show is now in its 7th season. In the seven seasons that the Big Bang Theory has aired the show has had 8 directors, Mark Cendrowski has been there from the beginning, 26 writers and dozens of producers and other crewmembers. Additionally, the show has featured some of the most familiar names in Hollywood, Bob Newhart, Lavar Burton, George Takei, Regina King, and Leonard Nimoy, as well as some who are not known for their acting abilities at all, like Stan Lee, Steve Wozniak, Buzz Aldrin, and Bill Nye.
The Big Bang Theory first aired on CBS on September 24, 2007. And in 2011 CBS sold the popular show to Fox Television and TBS for simultaneous broadcast that began airing with the 2011 fall season.
"When the top sitcom on television becomes available, you have to take it seriously from both a qualitative and competitive standpoint, which we did," said Frank Cicha, senior vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations, in a statement. "We are confident that The Big Bang Theory will strengthen our already powerful comedy blocks on the Fox-owned stations." (Source: broadcastingcable.com)
At its most extreme the Big Bang Theory propagates that smart people are smart in book terms but lack the social skills needed function in society. The show uses this theme to create funny comical interactions between the main characters. It explores social issues that are common to society in general but uses the characters of Sheldon, Leonard, and the rest to make us laugh.
Some of the more subtle messages deal with specific life circumstances, for example, boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl.
However, some of the funnier episodes center around the inept way the characters fumble through life. While professionally he is considered a genius with an IQ of 175 Sheldon is often shamelessly awkward when interacting with people even those within his immediate circle.
The show also attempts to tackle some of the lighter issues of the day, albeit from the perspective of the shows characters. The characters are sometimes rude, sometimes funny, and often get in the way of what their friends are doing but you tend to overlook that because of the way their personalities blend together to make the show interesting and fun to watch.
This show for the most part, tends to stick closely to the traditional American views on life, freedoms, and relationships. It does not attempt to tackle the more controversial issues of the day, although some episodes have hinted at more of a physical attraction between two of the characters that happen to be of the same gender. Additionally, jokes about the “hidden gender” of one main character are occasionally brought into question. Outside of that the show tends to stick pretty close to its niche.
The demographic is the 18 to 49 age group. This is reflected in the types of commercials that air during the program. It airs in prime time on CBS and back to back on TBS several days a week. The types of commercials that air run the entire gamut from automobile commercials, to credit card commercials, to commercials about the Disney Parks, as well as commercials for Folgers coffee, Subway sandwiches, Tylenol cold medicine, Stovetop stuffing and the popular Wii.
The show continues to win in the rating wars. With the Season 7 premiere bringing the show it’s highest audience ever.
“The Big Bang Theory" just keeps getting bigger: Thursday's Season 7 premiere was its highest-rated premiere ever, bringing in 18.9 million viewers, with 5.6 in the coveted 18-49 demo.” (Source: Huffingtonpost.com)
The Big Bang Theory continues to be a very popular show with the 18 to 49 demographic. Some experts are still trying to explain why the show hit its highest numbers in the Season 7 premiere. One expert insists that it may be based on the fact that the show had been off the air for a while and was missed. Whatever the reasons the producers have proved that the show resonates in popularity and the formula works. I remember something from one of the popular “Nerd” movies that aired some years ago. In one line from the movie the character was heard to say” we are all nerds at some point”. This may explain why a show like the Big Bang Theory can reach and entertain such a broad audience.