5 Ways Big Bang Theory Respected Comic Book Fans (& 5 Ways It Was Cruel)

Although it has operated successfully for twelve seasons, some have suggested that The Big Bang Theory never really knew how to approach his audience. While it centers around “geek” characters and references to their way of life can become surprisingly deep, the geek nature of its protagonists and others like them is often used as a punchline in and of itself.

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One of the main criticisms The Big Bang Theory had to face is that he seeks to make fun of “nerds” – especially comic book fans. Nevertheless, there are also times when The Big Bang was downright kind and supportive of his protagonists and those like them.

ten Respected fans: sometimes shows the “cooler” side of old-fashioned hobbies


Joe Manganiello Plays D&D With Other Nerdy Celebs Such As Wil Wheaton And Kevin Smith The Big Bang Theory

The first episodes of The Big Bang Theory were made before the Marvel Cinematic Universe. big Bang was also before shows like Game of thrones and Strange things it made old-fashioned interests more “mainstream” when they were still seen as a kind of social oddity.

Although big Bang was accused of aging badly, he later begins to show the more socially accepted sides of these hobbies. In particular, it shows popular celebrities associated with hobbies like comics and role playing, like Joe Manganiello.

9 Disrespectful Fans: The Bosses of Stuart’s Shop


Captain Sweatpants peering into Stuart's The Big Bang Theory store

Despite the cheesy and socially awkward nature of Raj, Leonard, Sheldon and Howard, they are shown to be several rungs higher up the social ladder than many comic book fans seen in big Bang. Patrons of Stuart’s comic book store, especially the man known as “Captain Sweatpants,” are sometimes shown, and never flattering.

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In The Hofstadter isotope, Penny walks into the comic book store, everyone stops to watch, and Stuart threatens them to act vaguely “normal”. As a result, references to Stuart clients usually take the form of insults or punchlines. While people like this definitely inhabit comic book stores, they are far from the only customers, and moderates are rarely shown.


8 Respected Fans: An Episode With A Esop To Enjoy Collectibles


Sheldon and Leonard in their The Big Bang Theory time machine prop

Nerdvana annihilation focuses on the train of events that occur after Leonard makes a joke offer on a life-size time machine prop from The time machine. This leads Penny to blame him and the others for being obsessed with “toys,” and Leonard decides to sell his collection.

After that, Sheldon and Penny get into a fight, with Sheldon pointing out that Penny, a so-called “normal person”, also collects “toys” of all kinds and that she has been unfair to Leonard – an assessment with which Penny agrees. Ultimately, Nerdvana annihilation comes with a moral not to give up on your hobbies, even cheesy ones, just because others expect you to.


seven Cruel to fans: suggests comics are part of unhappy childhoods


Leonard Hofstadter listening to the Nobel Prize in a cut in Young Sheldon

Being sitcom characters, the four main geeks of The Big Bang Theory have somewhat unhappy childhoods which leave them their share of neuroses. Although Sheldon is explored at length in Young Sheldon, the others only get occasional referrals, usually referring to their loneliness and comic book reading for comfort.

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Thus, one can easily see that big Bang suggests that the comics are used by lonely or bullied people to fill in the gaps – or that there is a feedback loop with being bullied for being fans of the comics. Since it lacks an explicitly depicted happy childhood that involves comics, it can seem disrespectful.


6 Respected fans: several deep comic book references


Raj Koothrappali, Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz, Sheldon Cooper and Stuart Bloom in The Big Bang Theory comic book store

The nerd refers to The Big Bang Theory can be something of a mixed bag. To keep the jokes in territory the audience can primarily understand, the interests directly discussed tend to be of the relatively common variety. These included Star trek, Superman, Batman, The Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man and Game of thrones, among others.

Despite the superficial nature of most references – and the inaccurate nature of others – big Bang also made surprisingly in-depth comic book references. In particular, some topical comic book events such as Final crisis are referenced, showing real appreciation for the medium, even if used for jokes.


5 Cruel To Fans: The Innate Nature of Raj, Sheldon, Leonard and Howard


Sheldon, Leonard and Howard all watch Raj The Big Bang Theory

Although they undergo considerable character development to become better, more socially aware, and more sympathetic people, the four scientists at the heart of The Big Bang Theory start in a rather desperate social state. They are romantically unlucky, awkward with others, and lack awareness of social norms.

big Bang presents this as fairly typical of comic book fans, and even as the characters develop, it’s explicitly shown to result from the more “normal” people in their lives, such as Penny.


4 Respected fans: the repeated point that bullying people for their interests is low


Kurt bullies Leonard and Sheldon over Big Bang theory

Even when The Big Bang Theory makes his nerdy protagonists the butt of the joke, he never had time for bullies. The negative effects of bullying are explored through several scenarios, from several angles. Being a tyrant is a sure-fire way to ensure big Bangthe story loses all sympathy for a character.

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Some episodes explicitly poke fun at the characters for their cheesy interests, including the comics. While sometimes these episodes see the characters discouraged by their hobbies, the point is always that bullies are wrong and people should be left alone for their interests.




3 Cruel To Fans: The Changing Characterization of Stuart


Stuart is told about his flaws in the Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory faces occasional criticism for being mean, and that never rings truer than in Stuart’s character – and especially how he’s been changed. In his first appearances, Stuart is revealed to be witty, charismatic, a talented designer, and aware of nerd status – even when compared favorably to Leonard.

In all other subsequent appearances, he became the cast’s explicitly stated biggest loser. He was broke, despised, utterly devoid of social norms and a target for bad luck. His change of character is quite inexplicable and seems to be due to the fact that the writers couldn’t imagine a happy owner of a comic book store.


2 Respected fans: how characters mature without losing their interests


The actors sit and eat takeout for a final time twelve years later in The Big Bang Theory

As with many character-focused sitcoms in your late twenties and early thirties, The Big Bang Theory has a recurring story of the characters maturing and progressing through the stages of their lives. At first single and early in their careers, they eventually become husbands, fathers, and leaders in their fields.

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Importantly, despite a few wobbles, the actors do this without giving up their interest in comics, avoiding the hint that these things are childish or incapable of being enjoyed by successful people. When people try to get them to dispose of their stuff as part of the “maturation” process, it is usually presented as a fault of that person, rather than justified by the narrative.


1 Cruel To Fans: Treating Comic Book Fans Like Unicorns


Sheldon talks to Denise in The Big Bang Theory

Lots of jokes in the early seasons of The Big Bang Theory indicate that women never buy comics, never set foot in comic book stores, or participate in other nerdy hobbies. These jokes have faded over time, but big Bang never make the effort to show female fans indulging in these hobbies.

In addition, the rare big Bang portray – like Alice and Denise – are generally treated as if they were something rare or shocking, with the emphasis on their gender. More than a few comic fans who watched big Bang were put off by this performance.

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