Collective groan in 3, 2…
Even the most avid fans of nerd-friendly sitcom The Big Bang Theory must have felt jaded with CBS’ announcement this week that the show has been renewed for not one, not two, but three more seasons. This renewal takes us all the way through to 2017. That’s a lot more “Shamy” than most of us probably ever wanted.
Don’t get us wrong - we love The Big Bang Theory. The show pulls in amazing ratings, and this seventh season has been considered to be one of its best. But how many shows make us say to ourselves, “man, that eighth/ninth/tenth season was the best season of the show’s entire run!” (Okay, maybe the eighth season of Burn Notice, but there’s a reason why they call these things “exceptions.”)
As Nina Tassler, the chairman of CBS Entertainment put it, TBBT is “the biggest comedy force on television,” which is why it received that history-making three-season renewal. As Buzzfeed pointed out, Tosh.0 was renewed for another three years back in December of 2013, but that is hardly the same thing.
Indeed it isn’t. With Tosh.0, we consistently get funny videos wherein people do idiotic or gross things online, which Daniel Tosh then mocks or straight-up insults while sharing them with us. This is a show that never gets old because there are always jaw-dropping videos to find on the internet, and there are always corresponding jokes to make about them. Plus, Tosh’s weekly redemptions of those who have achieved fame via internet fails are almost as entertaining as the videos themselves.
Though, when it comes to sitcoms, and this goes for pretty much all of them, once you’ve reached your tenth season, you’ve probably overstayed your welcome.
Just to give you an idea of the kind of viewership TBBT pulls in, it has averaged nearly 20 million viewers during this, its seventh season. That number is up four percent since last season. So essentially, TBBT is the comedic equivalent to AMC’s juggernaut zombie-drama, The Walking Dead.
Provided nothing hanky happens and the next three seasons air as intended, TBBT will become one of the longest-running, live-action comedies in the history of broadcast television. While that is an impressive feat, it simultaneously fills us with dread at what we predict will be increasingly lamer jokes, more predictable plot lines, and the writers ultimately running out of steam.
What made TBBT irresistible when it first arrived on the scene was the quirkiness of its characters, nerdy as they may be. We never met someone quite like Sheldon, and yet we all felt like the writers tapped into a previously unearthed aspect of our personalities.
Though, sadly, it seems that shows like TBBT and Glee, which focus on misfits for their main characters, don’t hold up well over time when it comes to keeping our interest. The only way to keep things fresh and stave off stagnancy is to give the characters significant alterations over time. We encourage the evolution, but when they do evolve into something that’s 180 degrees from what they used to be (see: that infamous “Shamy” kiss), we’re annoyed that they’re no longer the characters we fell in love with and who kept us tuning in every week.
What kind of message are we sending to the real-life misfits? Conform, or we won’t love you anymore? And even if you do conform, we still may not love you?
We truly wish The Big Bang Theory all the best, but we can’t imagine the next three seasons being nearly as good as that which came before. Here’s to hoping that the writers prove us wrong.