The Big Bang Theory



Geeky sitcom plays with stereotypes and innuendo.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

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.


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


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.


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


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. 

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.

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
Topics:Friendship, Science and nature
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

This review of The Big Bang Theory was written by

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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; OK 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

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 of a 12 and 14 year old Written byMom of Young teens March 1, 2012 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 watch this, I gave it a shot (without the kids around). Talk about the degredation of our culture. While some thing may be funny to adults, the thought of parents sitting around with their tweens or young teens to see the show I did is bewildering. The show centered on the four main characters going out to Ladies night at a bar and how to get lucky. Many inappropriate comments were included. Find something else to watch as a family, like Wipeout - that will crack you up laughing.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byMandersSoares April 26, 2012

From one who's conservative.

I have no kids of my own yet, but I am an aunt, and I would not wanting my nephew and nieces watching this. There are things they talk about and refer to that I would not even want 11-13 year old kids hearing (I have been told that I'm conservative) but that's just what I believe.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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