Few sitcoms manage to ellipse the ten season mark, but even fewer do so while continuing to create fresh and entertaining content. Television is a medium focused on the characters rather than the stories they are situated in so at some point sitcoms have to become somewhat serialized to maintain not only interest, but show that these people’s lives aren’t just running in place.
Some sitcoms of late have attempted to do so in their final seasons and completely miss their mark (See: How I Met Your Mother), but The Big Bang Theory hopes to continue forward by pushing these characters to boldly go where no nerd has gone before.
The main story of season eleven revolves around Sheldon and Amy’s impending engagement as they constantly butt heads on decisions before the big day. Howard and Bernadette learn she is pregnant again and have their second child while adjusting to parenthood. Raj and Stuart continue to assert themselves into Howard and Bernadette’s marriage while tirelessly dating in an attempt to find someone for themselves. Sheldon has to come to terms with the dead-ends in his research and not being the center of attention in everyone’s lives as their wedding day finally arrives.
The aspect about The Big Bang Theory that always interesting was the original premise. Watching a group of socially awkward intellectuals and pop culture nerds try to fit in with their normal neighbor and her friends had a unique twist to it. This premise allowed for an unlimited amount of guest stars that would top any comic convention wishlist paired with the best part of this show: the science. In seasons past, the characters were consistently doing fun little science experiments or discussing big scientific ideas and through the last few years that idea has faded.
As the series introduced more female characters they diverted away from the unique science aspect of the show and focused more on the relationships between the characters. While this is a very important piece of sustaining a series for so long, it should not have come at the almost complete cost of the show’s original premise. The female characters have in turn become less three-dimensional than initially shown and become nothing without their nerdy counterparts. This is seen through the lack of exploration in Bernadette’s storyline as a mother or scientist without being the butt of jokes from her husband or nannies.
Meanwhile, Penny had almost no character growth this season as she just sits around drinking wine and taking jabs at the inability for these nerds to comprehend basic social skills. She isn’t the only one who has little to no storyline this season as Leonard does almost nothing other than criticize others and complain every chance he can get. It would have been smart to explore the marital problems storyline that was introduced for these two as creating tension between them, and by extension the group, would have allowed for a lot more dramatic build-up to the season finale while creating more organic comedic moments along the way.
The funny thing is that this show is shot in front of a studio audience and yet the laughter feels more forced than a dubbed over laugh track. The jokes tend to veer towards Sheldon’s selfishness, Leonard’s pessimism, Howard’s racism and Raj’s sexism which has essentially made these characters caricatures of their former selves. It has become tiresome to watch the same situations play themselves out with most of these characters never learning from these experiences. The show’s redeeming qualities ends up being those few character moments where they realize something and actually learn from it and the surprising amount of guest stars that continue to frequent this show.
This season of The Big Bang Theory was a slow, meandering journey that shows the inner workings of Sheldon’s brain when dealing with his biggest problem yet: wedding planning. As the stories lead up to the big day, there is a severe lack of interesting scientific storylines or genuine humor causing many of the characters to feel as if they are just cardboard cutouts used when needed to help fill a narrative on the show. While some shows reinvent themselves to keep things fresh after ten seasons, this group of friends and their stories have seemed to run their course. From its humor-less, tiresome situations to its shift from its scientific premise, this show has fallen from grace as one of the best original sitcoms so it’s unfortunately not worth the watch.
Here’s our video review:
What did you think of The Big Bang Theory? Was the finale everything you hoped for? Let me know in the comments!
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