The Big Bang Theory. Massively popular with viewers, but also despised by many. One of the loudest arguments on the “The Big Bang Theory sucks” side is that the show is exploitative of nerd culture.
As with most shows, there are problematic elements to The Big Bang Theory. Does this show utilize many, many nerd/dork stereotypes? Yes, absolutely. The Big Bang Theory is not free of it’s issues, but I do think it is one of the most realistic, character driven shows on TV today. (minor spoilers ahead)
The Big Bang Theory has some of the most natural character growth I think I have ever seen. When the show starts, you have a core group of friends in the beginning of their careers. They spend their nights doing “stereotypical nerd things.” None have self confidence, you know minus Sheldon who has nothing but confidence – even when it’s misplaced.
Throughout the early season, as Penny and the guys build their friendships, each character starts slowly doing things slightly out of their comfort zone.
Howard’s development is the easiest to track. When the viewer first meets Wolowitz he is a slime ball. He is truly a gross dude – I mean his character is all about hitting on women and making a robot girlfriend. When a serious girlfriend enters the picture he starts to get better, but still tries to keep going with his immature, perv ways (cough Glacinda the Troll cough cough). Once he gets the chance to get back together with Bernadette, we can really see him mature and he settles into a happy relationship. Wolowitz changed from someone who compared being in a relationship to being at a “buffet and eating the same deviled egg over and over” into supportive husband, father and friend.
Overall, The Big Bang Theory has let their characters grow up in exaggerated, but relatable ways. This makes the show a worthy watch, in my humble opinion.