Premiered on CBS on September 24, 2007, The Big Bang Theory [Chuck
Lorre, Bill Prady, 2007-2012] has enjoyed great popularity around the
world in recent years. And it is also one of my favorite sitcoms.
Although the four main characters in The Big Bang Theory are all male,
we can still find something very interesting about gender in this
It is quite obvious that in The Big Bang Theory, gender is closely associated with intelligence, social position and occupation. Here “gender” not only refers to the biological gender, but also the “gender as an effect of actions and performances”. All of the four main characters are male scientists who are highly intelligent and have decent jobs. However, the only female main protagonist, Penny, is portrayed as a good-looking but not-so-well educated and vulgar waitress who only has passion for shopping and always fails on her dream of becoming an actress. Other female characters in the Big Bang who seem to be also intelligent as the male are somehow lack of feminine characteristics both in the way they look and the way they act. For example, Leslie and Amy, they are also scientists themselves, but they are always dressed in dull clothes which totally cover their female figures and they seldom have any social activities or romance relationship. For the viewers, these clever female scientists seem more masculine rather than feminine.
There are also apparent ethnicity and family background differences between the 4 protagonists in Big Bang. Raj is from India. Howard is a Jewish. Sheldon is from a Christian family in Texas, while Leonerd was brought up in Princeton, whose family members are all extraordinary scholars. These differences also make this sitcom more multicultural and more appealing to me. In spite of the different ethnicities and family backgrounds, these four clever guys are really good friends. This is kind of anthem for American spirit, to some extents. It implies that no matter where you are from, you can have a place in America as long as you have the ability. In such a multicultural country like the USA, “racial/ethnic subjects are treated as equals by the white majority and immigrants are capable of ascending the ladder of social and economic success.” However, stereotypes about these racial or ethnic groups still can be seen in Big Bang. The most obvious example is Raj. His exotic Indian accent and shyness to talk to a woman are very funny in this sitcom, but this maybe reflexes the typical impression of Indians in American WASP society. And Howard’s mother, though never shows up on the screen, is remembered by the audiences as a fat, aggressive Jewish woman with a loud voice and who always takes her son like a 5-year-old boy.
wns9778.com，It is quite mean to make fun of the stereotypical characteristics of these ethnic groups. But I think why most of the audiences, including myself, don't take it as a big problem of The Big Bang Theory is because that it almost makes fun of every group. The Indian Americans, the Jewish Americans and the white majority, male or female, they are all laughed at. Perhaps it is a characteristic of the consumerism culture that everything is consumed and entertained. Here I am not going to further discuss this topic, as sitcom itself is an entertainment product of the consumerism culture.
Romance is definitely an indispensable element for any sitcom, and Big Bang is not an exception. But unlike other American sitcoms, Big Bang not only describes romance between men and women. It hints at the ambiguous homosexual relationship from time to time, especially between Raj and Howard. And Sheldon, the most intelligent but socially-awkward scientist, are even portrayed to be cut off from any romance relationship. Many audiences have been wondering what kind of person will Sheldon fall in love with, and there seems to be no answer. Though since season 3, Amy, Sheldon’s blind date, has come onto the screen, Sheldon always emphasizes Amy is “a friend who is a girl, not a girl friend.” Actually, the actor of Sheldon, Jim Parsons, is a gay himself. Just right after he got the Emmy Awards in 2010, he engaged with his boyfriend Todd Spiewak. Only by then did a lot of audiences know that he is a gay. But his sexual orientation does not affect audiences’ view about Sheldon in a bad way. Conversely, many people think that the gay identity enables Jim Parsons to be the most suitable actor for Sheldon, for he is not interested in women at all, which is exactly Sheldon’s image.
Hi, I am Strongart, I am a young mathematician in China. I study maths by myself and make some videos to teach commutative algebra, functional analysis and other topics at the internet just like the Khan Academy and MIT open courses. In fact, you can treat me as the Sheldon in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory which I will thank for because it help me out of some contact trouble.
Chinese often ask me such a question: what do you do? Tant is my trouble. It is hard for me to answer it, if I say I am a mathematician and also a philosopher, they will be amazing. Some of them will say are you joking, the others maybe treat me as a teacher and ask me where you are teaching. Because of some Chinese reason, I only study mathematics and philosophy at home even I can defeat most of Chinese professors.