Critical Review #1: EMF 140 – Koontz

The-Big-Bang-Theory-1-ppcornThe Big Bang Theory is a sitcom about young adults who live in Pasadena, California and know each other primarily through working together at California Institute of Technology. There are seven primary characters on the show but the main character in which the show is primarily focused around is Sheldon Cooper.  Sheldon is a physicist who has difficulty expressing normal social skills and judging how to act in situations. The other main characters on the show are Leonard Hofstadter, who is Sheldon’s roommate and also a physicist, Penny, a waitress who is Leonard’s primary love interest, Howard Wolowitz, an aerospace engineer and Raj Koothrappali, an astrophysicist. Later in the series, two supporting characters are introduced: Bernadette Rostenkowski, a microbiologist who is Howard’s primary love interest and Amy Farrah Fowler, a neuroscientist who is Sheldon’s primary love interest. The show is a comedy and the writers of Sheldon’s role do a fabulous job.

This episode is about Christmas. Sheldon is uncomfortable with gift giving. He feels that he has to provide a gift of the same value for the perceived gift he will receive. This is too hard to him to deal with, so he declares that he will give no gifts. But even this solution is fraught with anxiety, so he decides to get his girlfriend a gift so she will be uncomfortable because she will not have a reciprocating gift. He spends agonizing time finding something to reinforce the notion that gift-giving is not a productive exercise. At the ensuing Christmas party, he joyfully gives his girlfriend his gift so she will be uncomfortable. However, she unknowingly has baked him cookies from his grandmother’s recipe and he is overwhelmed with the spirit of Christmas after all.

The aesthetic qualities of the show are good considering it premiered in 2007. Colors are vivid and framing is comparable to the type of cinematography used today. The show does not overuse sound effects such as laughter after jokes. When music is played, it is not contrastingly high as compared to the dialogue. The sets reinforce the idea that the characters are nerds and have a love of science and all that it entails–especially Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment. On the walls, they have many comic books and figurines which depict immaturity. The writing of the show is clearly the main focus of the show, and the sets emphasize the importance of the dialogue and the characters’ actions. Camera angles are good for the most part. There have only been one or two episodes where the angles were odd and it was usually at a secondary set. Overall, the production value would be considered good.

The story is told through humor. Often the character comments to each other seem cruel. The key for making the show so successful is how well the actors were cast. Sheldon plays his role so believably and his body language complements all the quirky things that he says. As the love interests enter the show in later seasons, there is more angst created with each individual couple’s storyline. The most humorous of course are Sheldon and Amy. Their main angst is created with Sheldon not understanding communication and how to interact with others. Each of their apartment sets help create the background for the character who lives there and helps display their personalities through the furnishings. When there is conflict, the characters help make their anger obvious with body language in addition to the dialogue.


The show is clearly written primarily for comedy and values of the characters are typical of modern day society. Accomplishment is certainly emphasized on the show as they are constantly competing with each other and comparing their successful careers. As mentioned above, some of the character comments to each other seem cruel and offensive. Their friendships are not without conflict, but when they do have an argument, they overcome it. They also look out for each other’s best interests and try to guide each other, especially Sheldon, through emotional situations. They are loyal to each other. They respect each other’s wishes such as Sheldon’s claimed seat on the couch. Sheldon is constantly holding Leonard accountable for breaking their roommate agreement which is drafted like a legal document with signatures.

Overall, The Big Bang Theory is a great and also educational show. It is intelligently written, satirical, vivid, interesting, enjoyable and comical. It is one that can be watched many times and still cause viewers to laugh.


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