The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom by three exclusive creators Steven Molaro, Bill Prady, and Chuck Loree. It is called a sitcom because they shot it in live spectators setting; the series has a total of two hundred and seventy-nine episodes all in twelve seasons.. The last episode of the series was released in May this year. It has five key actors and actresses and other supporting characters. The primary focus in the series will be on one key actor Raj Koothrapali. Race and gender discrimination is still very rampant despite the many efforts to suppress it. Some media artefacts such as The Big Bang Theory indirectly portrays these kinds of biases and discrimination throughout the series, and it is highly uncouth.
Well, it is sad but true the TV series popularised some of society’s prejudgment, and anyone keen enough would note. One of the significant discriminations is racism, and the punch line comes in when it is brought to limelight by the series. This discrimination is portrayed in almost every episode in the seasons. Racism is a belief that a particular race is superior to others (Balibar & Etienne 163-72). In the whole series, there is only one character of colour that is Raj compared to the over more than five actors and actresses who are white. Raj made only 80% of what his other white male colleagues made per episode. This occurrence brings out the highest level of racism in the film.
Another occurrence is that right through the series, Raj has been receiving bad gags about his race. He has an Indian accent they depict him as a character who is shy to approach and speak to the female gender. He also has bossy parents that have an arranged marriage for him which he is trying to escape. There is a lot of destructive traditions that are brought out from his race. All these occurrences bring out the racist nature of the tv series about Raj’s race. In one of the episodes, Raj hooks up with one of the female characters and tells her that as friends they did not have sex in a predictable sense to which she responds by asking him if he pulled out one of his weird Indian crap on her. The woman doesn’t have to include the weird Indian phrase in the statement she made. This was put in writing just to bring out the humour and an outburst from the listeners.
Also, racism is put to limelight when Raj becomes a standard personality for all Indian men. One Indian actor narrates an experience whereby he met a white person who told him he reminds him of someone. Later, the person remembered the name of the character he reminded him of and said it is Raj from The Big Bang Theory. The statement agitated him because it is like Raj has become a stereotype of how the whites imagine all Indian men. The agitation was because the series brought out Raj as a humourless, unpleasant and retrograde character. He said Raj represents nothing from his community because they are now advanced and not as rearward as in the previous centuries portrayed by Raj in The Big Bang Theory.
Apart from racism, the series also portrays gender biasness. The woman is brought out as an inferior gender because of the occupations she possesses. The men are seen to be intellectuals and are physicists while the woman’s job is a mere waitress. It also highlights that she would like to be an actress. All the occupations given to the female gender have no reputable recognition in the society. A woman can be anything she wants either a Professor, a lawyer, doctor but the tv series just saw it wise for her to be a waitress and an aspiring actress. The writer of the series must have overlooked that niche during scripting or may even be a male chauvinist, and it did not matter what kind of occupation the woman had as long as she has a job.
The series also puts these nerdy guys in a position to seem less intimidating while they downgrade the ladies. Since they are viewed to be knowledgeable, it rules out their bullying nature when they are gender-biased. They get away with a lot of downright behaviours such as not minding if they obtain consent or not from the women, stalking, upskirting and other sexists acts just because they are portrayed to be kind, geeks and non-harmful due to their intellectual ability (Bednarek & Monika 199-229). In one of the episodes, they point out that all women care about is lip gloss and salads. They even go ahead to ask if the women are menstruating which is a sensitive topic for the female gender. This is the highest form of male chauvinism in this series. It brings out the superiority of the male gender and the inferiority of the women as they are viewed to concentrate on non-issues according to men.
We also see the men asking the women throughout the series to do “female jobs” that is cooking, cleaning and washing. Sadly, this brings an outburst from the live viewers showing how the woman is looked at by society. Apart from the writing, it is also absurd that the female earns almost ten times less than their male colleagues in the series and this is in real life. The big bang theory has undermined and discriminated the female gender not only in their scripts but also in real life. In season twelve episode twenty, the woman freaks out when she learns her husband may quit his job and thus it will lead to a change in lifestyle. It shows the high level of financial dependence by the women on their husbands which is not usually the case. Most women today are financially independent, and there are even some who are the breadwinners in their families taking care of their husbands and everyone else.
Despite the series being on air for entertainment, it is a plague in the society because it brings out some of the vices in the world such as race and gender discrimination. The Big Bang Theory will still live on generation after generation because it is still available for viewing and thus the vices risk being passed down to the youngsters. Racism and gender biasness is evil and should done away within the whole world. Sadly, the entertainment industry tends to continue producing and releasing content that downgrades women and makes other gender appear inferior. Due to increased awareness of the negativity of this biasness, there are a number of organizations and forums that have been established to bring about gender equality and scrap off racism. It is also crucial for parents, teachers and all those who associate with the young generation to instil the goodness of gender equality and cast out racism mentality. When they grow up, it will be hard for them to view their differences negatively and this will lead to a better society, and thus a better and peaceful world at large will be created.
- Balibar, Etienne. ‘Racism and nationalism.’ Nations and nationalism: A reader (1991): 163-72.
- Bednarek, Monika. ‘Constructing ‘nerdiness’: Characterisation in The Big Bang Theory.’ (2012): 199-229.