The Big Bang Theory

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Big Bang Theory TV Poster Image
Geeky sitcom plays with stereotypes and innuendo.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 63 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 194 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & representations

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. 

What 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. 

User Reviews

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

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... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written byMom of Young teens March 1, 2012

Really...do people sincerely watch this as a family?

I can't believe families would choose to rally around the tv to watch this together. After finding out nearly all of my 12 year old's classmates watc... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMiranda B. January 17, 2011

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 lo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBook_lover98 April 21, 2011

Great for laughs with mature older kids

I think it's fantastic! The humor is intelligent, not plain crude. I completely disagree with the website's rating; this show is funny and it protrays... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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