The Big Bang Theory

Common Sense Media says

Geeky sitcom plays with stereotypes and innuendo.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Highlights positive friendships and the value of intelligence, but much of the humor revolves around stereotypical representations of science geniuses and pretty women.

Positive role models

The guys are exaggeratedly geeky, some are pompous, and all are awkward socially; some may find that the show elevates geeky guys to role-model status. Women range from being ditzy to geeky. Some ethnic diversity.

Violence

Contains occasional arguments. There are some comical references to physical violence, but actual confrontations are never shown. Bullying is discussed.  

Sex

Some strong sexual innuendo, including subtle or geeky references to sex acts. Characters are shown in their underwear or in bed together. Some episodes revolve around a character trying to get the other one to have sex.

Language

 "Bitch," "bastard," "hell," "damn," "crap" infrequently.

Consumerism

Lots of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Penny works at the Cheesecake Factory; constant references are made to sci-fi shows, comics, and superheroes. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional drinking (beer, wine, cocktails) and, on rare occasion, smoking cigarettes. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Big Bang Theory is fun but has a fair amount of sexual innuendo (hints about sex acts, people in their underwear or in bed together), and lots of stereotyping (mainly about "geeky men" and "dumb blondes"). Frequent strong vocabulary ("bitch," "crap," "bastard," "hell") is mixed in with lots of jargon that science fans will enjoy. There are a lot of pop culture references, ranging from Snoopy to Star Trekand lots of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Characters occasionally drink and smoke. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

THE BIG BANG THEORY is a sitcom about a group of Caltech 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 (played by folks such as Sara Gilbert and Mayim Bialik), who match Leonard and Sheldon's braininess.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This lighthearted, 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, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks about them.

Still, although the show is definitely funny, its story lines about camaraderie and romance aren't exactly original. It also promotes all the expected clichés about people in the sciences: They have a passion for sci-fi characters and can't sell a pickup line to save their lives, for example. 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 such as "geek" and "nerd" really mean? Are they intended to be insulting or are they 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?

  • How has Big Bang Theory changed over time? What characters have developed into more positive figures? Less positive?

  • Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular shows on TV; why do you think that is?

TV details

Cast:Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco
Network:CBS
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship, Science and nature
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 prefer to spell blonde like I am 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. Still most certainly a must watch! :)
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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