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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

The Big Bang Theory - The Television Show

By January 13, 2008

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A few weeks ago, while discussing the real Big Bang theory, I mentioned in passing the CBS sitcom called The Big Bang Theory. While I'm normally not a real sitcom person, I do have to recommend this series to anyone who is a science geek ... or just anyone who knows one.

The premise is that two roommate scientific geniuses - Leonard and Sheldon - are happy living in their logic-driven world ... until an attractive, and significantly less logical, blonde, Penny, moves in next door. Leonard falls hopelessly in love with her and antics ensue.

While entertaining, the series also does a good job of incorporating scientific discussions and terminology. The very first scene involves Sheldon accurately recounting the quantum wave particle duality, to which Leonard replies, "What's your point?" Sheldon says, "Oh, I just think it would make a good t-shirt." The scientists are certainly portrayed as caricatures, but lovingly so and with great deftness, by exaggerating real quirks that many scientists into the level of eccentricities and neuroses.

The show doesn't require an understanding of the physical principles to get the jokes, but if you do happen to get them, then I think it just adds an extra layer to the amusement. What impresses me the most is that, in general, they are applied so appropriately and accurately. Given that it was a sitcom, I was expecting the scientific concepts to be sloppily bandied about ... such as when George Lucas threw the word "parsec" in the first Star Wars film as a measurement of time.

Instead, The Big Bang Theory seems to genuinely attempt, at least, to portray the science accurately. It's funny precisely because it is so precise, because it makes jokes not only of the scientists but also of the very universe that they study. The very logic that allows them to understand abstract quantum physical concepts is what keeps them from understanding a normal person like Penny ... and what keeps us tuning in.

The Big Bang Theory runs Monday evenings on CBS. Check your local listings for times. For more information, or to watch some episodes, check out the show's official website.


January 14, 2008 at 3:41 pm
(1) Nancy says:

This show sounds great… I have opted out of cable or satellite tv for this time in my life…. Hopefully my son can record some shows for me to watch when I visit…. thanks for the great newsletter once again….

February 4, 2008 at 8:59 pm
(2) Evan says:

Watch the full episodes online at CBS’s website..

January 22, 2011 at 5:36 am
(3) jasmine moorhead says:

Its definitely wonderful show. My friends and me we really like this show very much. All episodes of this show are very interesting and entertaining.

October 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm
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