The Big Bang Theory 1I can’t remember exactly when I first became aware of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, except that it was at some point during spring semester my junior year. (That is to say, last year) I also don’t remember exactly what I saw first, except that I know I saw a lot of short clips on youtube long before I ever saw a full episode. In fact, I still haven’t seen many full episodes beyond the first season. I enjoy The Big Bang Theory for two reasons: the characters and the nerdiness. The main characters are all unrealistic enough to be ridiculous while still being realistic enough to be relatable, which is a combination that maximizes the humor. Sheldon Cooper, for example, is more socially inept and more obsessive than anyone in real life could possibly be, but there are at least a couple moments in nearly every episode where he says or does something that is exactly the kind of thing that I would say or do, or where he seems exactly like certain people I know. That fact actually has to do with both of my reasons for liking The Big Bang Theory; the fact that I find Sheldon relatable just goes to show that I’m a nerd and that the nerdiness is the real reason that I like the show.

The Big Bang Theory 3The problem with The Big Bang Theory, though, is that it’s kind of inappropriate. Not only is there often some obscene humor, but the plotlines themselves are often pretty raunchy. It’s annoying enough when you’re watching something that contains a lot of sexual innuendos, but it’s pretty hard to ignore when the story itself revolves around the characters’ promiscuity. I know that The Big Bang Theory isn’t exactly X-rated and that it might sound a bit prudish to find it offensive, but I think it’s pretty sad that our culture is so accepting of obscenity that it can be considered prudish to be disturbed by it.

My point here is that, even though I enjoy The Big Bang Theory, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.  However, I don’t regret the fact that I’ve watched a good deal of it. I would here like to offer a list of random nerdy trivia that I have picked up from The Big Bang Theory. This list comes entirely from season one and only contains facts that I didn’t already know. (For example, I felt no need to include the fact that tomatoes are technically a fruit.) It also omits all of the physics stuff that admittedly went over my head. Most of the items on this list are direct quotations; those that are paraphrased are the ones that I didn’t put in quotation marks. Also, it is worth noting that I was too lazy to look up any of these facts yet (even though that had been my intention when I started making this list) so it’s possible that some of them were fabricated by the scriptwriters.

1. “If the height of a single step is off by as little as two millimeters, most people will trip.”- Sheldon

2. “Curry is a natural laxative.” –Leonard

3. “Thailand has had the fork since the latter half of the 19th century. Interestingly, they don’t actually put the fork in their mouths; they use it to put the food on a spoon, which then goes into their mouth.” –Sheldon

4. “Evolution has made women sensitive to high-pitched noises as they sleep so that they’ll be roused by a crying baby. If you want to avoid waking her, speak in a lower register.” (Note: I kind of cheated by putting this one on the list, because I’d actually heard it before)

5. The development of the atomic bomb was in part due to someone named Oppenheimer, who regretted his involvement in the creation of such a weapon.  –Leonard

6. “You can’t prove string theory. At best, you can say, ‘Hey look! My idea has an inherent logical consistency!’ “- Leonard (Note: I kind of cheated on this one, too, because technically it’s not really a fact. It’s just a quotation I like that happens to be about a specific scientific theory.)

7. There are only eight consonants in the Hawaiian language. –Sheldon

8. “A serape is open at the sides; a poncho is closed.” –Sheldon (Note: Actually, I knew this one, too.)

9. “When you start a party at seven, no one actually shows up at seven.” –Penny (Note: It’s really sad that I picked up a fact of commonly accepted social conventions from a TV show that is largely defined by the fact that the characters have a poor understanding of commonly accepted social conventions.)

10. “A bed is oriented with the headboard away from the door. It serves the ancient imperative of protecting oneself against marauders.”- Sheldon (Note: I have always instinctively followed this rule whenever possible, and now, thanks to TV, I know why.)

11. The phrase sleep tight “refers to the early construction of beds, which featured a mattress suspended on interlocking ropes which would occasionally…” –Leonard (Note: It disappoints me that Leonard doesn’t actually finish the sentence, because I was genuinely curious. I presume that the following words would have something to do with the ropes either breaking or stretching.)

12. “Indian parents continue to have a greater than average involvement in their children’s love lives.” –Sheldon

13. The brain chemistry of white mice is actually more similar to that of humans than is the brain chemistry of guinea pigs. –Sheldon

14. Dentists have an extremely high suicide rate. –Raj

15. “Gram for gram, no animal exceeds the relative fighting strength of the army ant.” –Shldon

16. “In a proper sandwich, the cheese is adjacent to the bread in order to create a moisture barrier against the lettuce.” –Sheldon

17. Bertram Forer, in 1948, conducted research to debunk astrology. –Sheldon

18. “Starch absorbs fluid, which reduces the amount of vomit available for violent expulsion.” -Sheldon

The Big Bang Theory 2

Bonus Interesting Metaphors:

1.When Penny said that she both hated and loved her ex-boyfriend, Leonard equated this with the paradox that light acts both as a wave and a particle.

2. When both Penny and Leonard ask Sheldon for advice about whether or not they should go through with their date, Sheldon compares their uncertainty about the future of their relationship with the uncertainty described in the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment. (Here is a link to a blog post I wrote a few months ago that described Schrodinger’s Cat)

This concludes my list. Just for the fun of it, I might make similar lists for later seasons, if I find the time to watch them.