A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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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 Trek, and lots of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Characters occasionally drink and smoke.
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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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love to laugh
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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