The Big Bang Theory: Regression of comedy.

The aminches is the hour of schism. I will say evil, a lot of trouble of The Big Bang theory. For some of you, the burden will be intolerable. I therefore expect to suffer the worst verbal outrages but at the same time, as Jack Burton would say, “What the hell” …

If I had to appeal to my objective fiber, I would say that BBT is, objectively, incontestably a good series, in the sense of well done. Much of his dialogues and jokes are pretty funny on paper, or even in fact. All references to comics, video games, movies and series of SF are pointed and verified. A universe has been laid and mayonnaise has taken not only with the general public but also with apparently a large part of the “geek” community targeted. To my dismay elsewhere, even Alexandre Astier devotes a passionate devotion to Big Bang Theory (I know for: himself). And yet I excecre this series. That is how it is, totally subjective and uncontrollable.

Between BBT and me, the towel burned from the vision of the pilot episode. I would probably have stayed there, not being specially maso. But the almost plebiscite of BBT by most of you calls me inevitably. Maybe I was badly lunged on the day of viewing this fucking pilot. Maybe I needed more time to go back to Leonard’s screams, Sheldon and their big breasts. As I am not a centenarian oyster, so I took it upon myself to view the integral of Big Bang Theory, to this day. I drool, the guys. But I held fast and nothing to do: the vision of each episode of Big Bang Theory and its characters so superficial and outrageous triggers in me irrepressible cravings of strangulation of the whole cast. I will try to explain serenely why, you can then proceed to my stoning.


Let’s go back to the beginning. In The Big Bang Theory, series created by Chuck Lorre and aired on CBS since 2007, we follow the lives of two young physicists gifted co-tenants of an apartment in Pasadena, Leonard Hofstadter (played by Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (alias Jim Parsons) .

Their particularity: Leonard and especially Sheldon are two totally unfit to social relations adulescents whose life is entirely governed by their passions for science, comics, science fiction, TV shows, manga, role playing, video games and food trays Chinese ordered systematically to the same caterer … in short, here are two perfect caricatures of über-geeks.

Their courtship is limited to two social misfits scientists , working like them on the campus of the prestigious University of Caltech: their friends Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh Koothrappali (played by the excellent Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar), respectively engineer in applied physics and astrophysicist .

In the first episode of season 1, Sheldon’s well rehearsed routine Leonard and explodes ( “BANG!”) Lorsqu’emménage their new next-door neighbor: the blonde Penny , Midwest pitcher dreams of Hollywood glory and Bossant as a waitress at restaurant “Cheesecake factory”.

During this first season, an unlikely idyll will be born between Leonard and Penny, who to his surprise will eventually understand or even adopt the lifestyle of his two alien neighbors. Conversely, Penny will push Sheldon and Leonard out a bit more from their shell and venture more often out of their sanctum of screens, equations and comics.

Whatever its qualities (as it has, I repeat), The Big Bang Theory brand in my deep regression of TV comedy , a flashback to the sitcom Dad, when gems like 30 Rock, Old Christine or the late Arrested Development offer alternatives that are more daring and innovative. Why a “regression”?


It’s like back to the glory days of the sitcoms of 80/90 years . The traditional sitcom, with laughs recorded in cascade, small recurrent visual commas, gritty replicas with just what it takes of scato-sexual allusions and staging worthy of a boulevard piece.

Each episode of BBT, I seem to see Boeing-Boeing theater Michodière . It is a specialty of chef Chuck Lorre, creator of BBT and author of the already well-balanced Two and a half men, as well as Dharma and Greg.

With Big Bang Theory, Lorre remains in conquered territory and tightens all warmed codes and reassuring the kind that turned his business for 15 years:

  • Recurrence of four key sets (Sheldon / Leonard’s apartment, one of Penny, the workplace Sheldon / Leonard, one of Penny …)
  • Multicameras with field / counterchamps dialogs
  • Dress Codes caricature (small shorts / tank top for the blonde service, flashy clothes / Deschiens for the loser Wolowitz, superhero t-shirt Sheldon …)
  • And so the famous audience laughter and / or recorded . I timed: in BBT, hilarious hubbub attacks my eardrums every 5 to 10 seconds. The smallest valve, the least bit of humor, the slightest mimicry, the smallest fly of Californian fly is heavily stressed with blows of laughter in box, even when the fall is fickle, which happens nevertheless frequently in this series .

Random: iron you episode 5 of season 2. A particular scene, the one where Sheldon was scolded by the band to spend his license (10th minute), perfectly illustrates this abuse of raucous laughter to coat a fall yet well Flat. Several times, I feel the same embarrassment, the same tension as when a fat boy sitting next to you at a dinner laughs laughingly at his own jokes where you just sketch a polite smile.

I do not know why in Friends , Seinfeld, Thats 70’s show or Third rock from the sun, canned laughter does not bother me more than that while in BBT, they insupportent me. No doubt because I am more sensitive to the humor of the sitcoms mentioned above than to that of Mr. Lorre. Or else because the cup is full. The laughter recorded definitely belong to the past of the sitcom.

I no longer need to be told when and where I have to laugh , I’m not a chicken battery or a lab rat. I have infinitely more respect for the riskier humor and less whore of the “single camera comedies” type Scrubs, Malcolm, The office or 30 Rock, which give me the impression of seeing a real series without parasitic laughs and not Not a pathetic show for GM of Club Med. And “Old Christine” will you tell me? True, it is a sitcom formally in the vein of BBT, but by itself Julia Louis Dreyfus has infinitely more comic talent than will ever have the grimacing jesters of Chuck Lorre. Which brings me to the Big Bang Theory characters and their interpreters. Argh.


I hate this casting. Or let’s say at least half. Shit, I wanted to do in sober and lace, but it’s stronger than me, it had to come out. Let us resume. Before dwelling on the interpretation, small aside on the characters. Here again, BBT proposes a series of exasperating hypercaricatures, as pachydermic about the geeks as were those of “Geekdom”, emission of sinister memory presented by Lio last summer on Sci-Fi.

And you know why so many cliches? Chuck Lorre, creator of the series, does not give a damn about geeks. When asked in interview, as was the case at the Monte Carlo TV Festival 2009, the origins of the creation of BBT, he answers sincerely that he is absolutely not geeky and has no affinity With this culture or SF in general; He simply wanted to make a series on the tune of time. And inevitably, the geeks in Hollywood, we know, has been trend since the early 2000s.

Two guys geeks at Chuck Lorre, it therefore gives Leonard and Sheldon, torque limit Cage aux Folles (Leonard would be the man, Sheldon’s wife), portrayed in the same way “we” see “others”. Hear from which the general public “non geek”, the mass, the media usually see the geeks: neo-sociopaths, gringalets, frustrated sexually (even asexual) and obsessed with new technologies. When it’s Lio on Sci-Fi, it makes everyone shit (me first), when it’s BBT everyone flattens. I do not free …

I continue. In the pilot episode, Laurel / Sheldon and Hardy / Leonard are getting ready to sell their sperm just to be able to afford a “fractional T1 Internet connection” (the “pee / caca / sperm / nene” in family format is a source Of recurring inspiration in BBT). The scene is not necessarily irremediable, it merely conspires me by its phone bill, in the form as in the subject.

A little later, we learn that the ultimate geek according to Chuck Lorre is a creature of habits, a freak bordering autistic pathology: on the sofa of the living room, Sheldon has its place (chosen for its ideal geo-location between TV, The boiler and the window) and woe to anyone who tries to sit down. Sheldon also has a specific breakfast for each day of the week, pajamas of the day, a unique Asian caterer … In short, for Chuck Lorre, geek = Rainman.

Let us continue our exploration of the exasperating catalog of clichés. Sheldon reminds me of these side-by-side characters seen in other sitcoms … except that BBT makes him his main character and that he does not really have the shoulders nor the thickness required. Koothrappali, on his side, is an odious pumping of the Fez de That 70’s show for the side “exotic exotic accent”, string used up to the string. For the rest, the geek according to Chuck Lorre necessarily spends 97 hours playing network World of Warcraft (episode 3, season 1), dare to talk to the girls only stuffed (Koothrappali), trippers thoroughly on Summer Glau of the series Sarah Connor Chronicles (no but WTF this crap series ?!) and drags a castrating mother-ball.

The mother of Wolowitz lives with him and rotten his daily life (she remains always out of the field, one hears only his voice of fishmonger). Ostentatious detail: Wolowitz is Jewish for him it is necessarily double ration of mother tared (and re-cliché!); That of Leonard is a neuroscientist incapable of expressing the slightest maternal affection; That of Sheldon is a hysterical Texas bigote and the parents of Koothrappali the martyrize it from India by webcam interposed.

Let’s be frank: these clichés sometimes give rise to dialogues or scenes rather tasty , as in episode 15 of season 2 where Sheldon and Leonard compare their moms:

Sheldon : “You at least your mother does not tapped you on the head with a Bible to compel you to finish your Brussels sprouts”
Leonard : “Yours does not fit you electrodes on the head to measure your brainwaves when you Was on the pot »

They are nevertheless stereotypes all the more annoying that none of the four gogols imagined by the writers has really evolved since the beginning of the series . Sometimes the authors pierce a small gap, no bigger than a pinhead, in the pristine sky of the buffoonery.

Thus, the character of Wolowitz finally reveals a certain fragility in episode 12 of season 2, where we find him totally depressed following a hurtful remark of Penny. When trying to console him, though the latter accused him of always making bodies, it responds with a pathetically touching: ” Look at me: is what I honestly any chance if I do not make a few too much ? “Too bad the series does not dig a little more seriously these flaws, just a little more …

The two most unbearable characters in my eyes are Penny and Leonard. Honor to the puffs. Blonde with protruding eyes and irritating nasal timbre, as subtle in his game that sauerkraut, actress Kaley Cuoco camps with a total cliché Penny average bimbo, almost always shown in lingerie or plunging necklines. In the role of Leonard, Johnny Galecki spends his time flitting eyes, head up, mouth open (its unique register) and holding forth like a twisted crazy. The couple that his character Leonard ends up forming with Penny is probably the least credible and the least endearing seen since a TV lease. No emotion, tension, complicity or surprise in the relationship between these two, as the screenwriters plunge them into situations with mechanics predictable for miles. I totally do not care about their pusillanious babes in season 2 and 3, their “I love you either” and their “it’s weird to sleep together” a thousand times better explored by couples Rachel / Ross and Chandler / Monica in Friends.


Not only does BBT rest a little too much on imposed figures of the sitcom (the episode of Halloween, the geek cracks on a girl too good for him, the visit of the mother etc …) but above all, it exploits a humor of ” Back guard typical of Chuck Lorre, behind the veneer of geek references. At the level of the dramatic stakes, it is heavy. Heavy heavy, even. The specifications of Big Bang Theory is clear: especially not an ounce of intrigue anxiogenic nor of stake a little bit dramatic. I do not ask BBT to make us the Racine, but just a bit, I mean a bit, tension … a tear of discomfort where, even if one is in a sitcom, the authors would have the balls of To make their characters pass through real trials.

I will always remember this episode of Friends’ Season 3 where Rachel and Ross end up breaking up. A jewel of writing: while Joey, Chandler, Monica and Phoebe locked themselves in the room without being able to get out (we laugh), Ross and Rachel rot seriously in the living room, until deciding to break (we cry ). A long scene, with very few laughs recorded and which indeed makes us laugh a lot … before we split our hearts. I do not like Big Bang Theory because at no time in the fifty or so episodes seen so far, I have seen the screenwriters trying to venture elsewhere in the realm of pure and hard buffoonery.

Unable to attach myself to these characters and empathize with them : their life is a permanent potacherie! In Friends, Rachel really made us share her fear of being stuck forever as a waitress at Central Perk. In BBT, it is royally tamed that Penny refurns burgers at the Cheesecake factory until his next layers. Finally, BBT would like a lot Patrick Le Lay and his immortal formula on “brain time available”: no more than two intrigues per episode (must not jostle the housewife who bursts out laughing on the backs of geeks, huh) and Especially no plotting plots or so little. Characters appear and then disappear without explanation, the counters are systematically put back to zero with each new story … We do not follow the life of incarnated individuals, but just the antics of comics snorting in sketches of 26 minutes, scornful circus whose Sheldon and his cataclysmic psychoriginity are the main attraction.

By intellectual honesty, I must admit that some gags and aftershocks have, if not made me laugh, at least well amused:

Episode 1.2: when Sheldon says Superman 1 is not realistic, because when Superman catches Lois Lane in flight at the scene of the hélicopère it should logically with shock, “cut into three pieces.”

Episode 2.4 : when Penny became totally addicted to World of Warcraft. (EDIT: it’s actually Episode 2.3 and not Wow but the Age of Conan game.) Thanks to … uh .. “Anonymous” for taking me in. And sorry for that little mistake. Does not change much, but in fact let’s be precise.)

Episode 2.8 : Wolowitz when asked his buddies to help him after dropping Mars rover in a Martian rift.

Episode 2.15 : the appearance of Beverly, the mother of Leonard. Replica of Raj to Leonard: “You are the Jar Jar Binks of the Hofstadter family”. Okay, I laughed.

Episode 3.8 : camping Wolowitz, Leonard and Koothrappali

– Raj’s chat with her parents on webcam

– the “bazinga” regularly released by Sheldon to make it clear to his interlocutor that he has just fucked his mouth (in the comic kind of rehearsal, I also like his “there there”) …

For the rest I persist and sign: The big bang theory and its success is to me a symptom of regression not only of TV comedy, but also a requirement of the American public standards. It is the return to the comfort of big strings, the ease of the comic rehearsal, reassuring landmarks of recorded laughter and outrageous caricature … A large part of you adopted it, I can not ignore it and I respect him. But for me it is not enough to grim four buffoons in Flash costume and multiply the erudite references to “culture geek” to make a good comic series. I find that much more subtle tribute to the culture that we are passionate about have been rendered in a movie like Galaxy Quest or are regularly featured in 30 Rock. They speak to my heart of geek in a much more noble way than this force-feeding demago goose imposes us BBT.

I promise however that I will continue to follow the series every week to look for possible signs of improvement. Bazinga! I was of course … Next !!!