The Big Bang Theory

Common Sense Media says

Goofy sitcom plays with stereotypes; some sexual innuendo.

Age(i)

2
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights the strong, positive friendship between a group of very intelligent men and an attractive young woman (and later, other, more brainy women). But much of the humor revolves around stereotypical representations of science geniuses and of pretty women.

Positive role models

The guys are "geeky" and don't always know how to socialize with people outside of their group, but they're also the heroes of the show -- and their brand of geekiness can be charming; Penny's sexiness and quasi-"dumb-blonde" traits are played for laughs. Some cast diversity.

Violence

The gang sometimes argues with each other. Comical references to some rough behavior; a confrontation with Penny's ex-boyfriend leads to some violence, but the incident isn't shown.

Sex

Some strong sexual innuendo. Male and female characters are shown in bed together. Some clear references to masturbation as well as more subtle references to sexual identity. Characters use words like "penis" and "coitus." Some episodes deal with things like sperm banks. Penny often wears low-cut tops and is occasionally seen wearing only a towel; Leonard and Sheldon are sometimes shown in their underwear.

Language

Words include "bitch," "bastard," "hell," "damn," etc. -- though a fair amount of the "swearing" is made up of scientific jargon.

Consumerism

References to sci-fi shows and films and characters, including Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek. Sheldon sometimes wears a Flash Gordon T-shirt. Penny works at the Cheesecake Factory. The show's theme song is by the band Bare Naked Ladies.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some episodes show the cast drinking hard alcohol, beer, and smoking cigarettes. But the guys often prefer milk and juice boxes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's a fair amount of sexual innuendo in this sitcom about a group of socially dysfunctional geniuses who start up a friendship with their pretty female neighbor. Expect men and women appearing in bed together, as well as references to masturbation and words like "penis" and "coitus" amid the scientifically oriented dialogue. The characters are somewhat stereotypical; the guys' "nerdiness" is evidenced by their love of science fiction, abstract theoretical discussions, and inability to talk to women, while Penny, at least initially, exhibits a lot of "dumb blonde" traits. Drinking and smoking are sometimes visible. References are made to pop culture, ranging from Snoopy to Star Trek.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE BIG BANG THEORY is a sitcom about a group of Cal-Tech physicists who can unlock the mysteries of the universe but are too socially inept to connect with most people here on Earth. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) are roommates who spend their free time with fellow scientists Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), playing board games in Klingon and watching recorded Stephen Hawking lectures. But the planets start shifting when they meet Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a pretty blonde waitress/aspiring screenwriter who's moved in next door. Even though she doesn't always appear to have a terribly high IQ or an affinity for quantum physics, Penny's looks and willingness to befriend them has the geeky guys trying their best to charm her with their limited social skills. As the series progresses, additional female characters are introduced (Sara Gilbert and Mayim Bialik) who match Leonard and Sheldon's braininess.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This fun, well-written series features an endearing cast who provide viewers with lots of humorous moments. Leonard, Sheldon, and their friends fully embrace their genius and recognize their social shortcomings. They also understand the value of friendship, loyalty, and staying true to themselves.

Still, while the show is definitely funny, its storylines about camaraderie and romance aren't exactly original. It also promotes all of the expected clichés about people in the sciences -- they have a passion for sci-fi characters and can't sell a pick-up line to save their lives, etc. -- and, in Penny, it sometimes puts forward the stereotypical "dumb blonde" image (though women with brains and awkwardness to match the guys' have been introduced as the series has progressed). But in the end, this show is about a group of nice guys basically having fun and looking for love.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the characteristics typically associated with intelligent people -- particularly in the media. What do terms like "geek" and "nerd" really mean? Are they intended to be insulting or a recognition of someone's intelligence?

  • Are stereotypes ever appropriate? Although sitcom writers often use stereotypes to create humor (and sometimes call attention to intolerance), do they ever go too far?

TV details

Cast:Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco
Network:CBS
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Big Bang Theory was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 4 year old Written byMr. K4077 December 11, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Do you EVER update your reviews?

This is a terrific show.

Do you people ever update your reviews? You say things like "Penny occasionally appears in a towel." So that happened once -- in the PILOT! Are you saying that once out of 75 episodes is really "occasionally"?

Also, you talk about Penny's "dumb blonde" character. That's true of the pilot, yes, but if you'd just WATCH THE SHOW(!) you'd see that she's grown into the smartest of the five main characters (not book smarts, but practical real-world smarts). She is NOT A DUMB BLOND!!

And what character has ever smoked a cigarette?

Seriously... do you even watch these shows or do you just watch the pilot, make a snap judgement and be done with it.

I think this show is a great way to get young people to think about careers in science. Do you mention in review that all the science is accurate and checked by a PhD from UCLA? No. Do you mention that the creators were inducted into the main Canadian science society? Or that the show was the only sitcom ever reviewed in "Science"? (By the way, they loved it.)

I think you just decided to hate this thing and you did.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byFoxxydaddy October 10, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Why this show is great for children

This show shows the facts of life. That you must all quit controling your children and filtering the information they recieve throughout life. Because if you do filter the things they see they will grow up just like the characters on this show and overall will be at a social disadvantage. This show is AMAZINGLY funny and you can even learn a few life lessons from it too if you look deep down into the plot of the show.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN January 17, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

You may want to watch the first few episodes with parents to see what they think, only because of sexual content at times.

I absolutely love this show! I watch it with my parents all the time. Leonard, Sheldon, and Penny alone are a perfect trio; add in all of the other dorky and lovable characters and you have one of the best smart-comedy shows of all time. Sheldon has so many quirks: the way he knocks on the door, where he sits in the apartment, and "Bazinga!!" Though Penny is portrayed as the "dumb blonde" (yes I spell blonde like the English!) she's still able to keep up with the antics of her neighbors across the hall. My only concern is that with every episode the sexual innuendos and dry language have begun to oust all of the other parts of the show that I thought were truly funny. Consistent drinking amongst characters has become more prominent as well.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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