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09 March 2012 @ 10:13 am
Gender stereotypes on the Big Bang Theory  
I usually like The Big Bang Theory, but sometimes they rely too heavily on gender stereotypes to get laughs. Did anyone see last night's episode, "The Weekend Vortex"? The whole idea of the episode was how girlfriends get in the way of an all-guys gaming weekend. This premise is borderline offensive to start with, but I didn't find the main storyline so bad because it centered around Amy and Sheldon, and Amy was portrayed with dignity as she tried to get Sheldon to honor his prior time committment. The part I disliked was when one of the girlfriends, Bernadette, joins the gamer's weekend and makes embarrassingly childish noises like "pyu-pyu-pyu" while playing an online game, then insists her bf dress up in a matching costume in the game instead of using his armor. Ew. Not the show's best writing I'm afraid.  I can't see educated women who like games and other nerdy things, like Bernadette's character is supposed to be, acting like that, so it seemed like a cheap shot against women.
 
 
( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
fille_dombre: Save the worldfille_dombre on March 9th, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
I just watched that episode. I thought it was funny but I see what you mean. I was a little annoyed with the noises to. I felt like they were saying all girl gamer's are annoying.
23 blue butterfliesbblue23 on March 9th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, that seemed to be the message of that scene. I agree it was a funny episode apart from that. I generally like the show.
somniumdraconaesomniumdraconae on March 9th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
Bernadette wasn't really a "girl gamer" though... Howard bought her the laptop and game specifically so she could join in that night.

While it is kind of an ugly stereotype, I could see girls with the relationship style she and Howard have acting that way when joining in their first game session.

In a previous episode, they had Penny play Halo with the boys and she kicked butt and had no annoying habits like this - so it is definitely not a problem the writers have overall - I think they were just trying to keep to Bernadette's "cutesy" character and the way she acts around Howard.
fille_dombre: Star warsfille_dombre on March 9th, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
But before didn't she play World of Warcraft with Howard? Well I love Bernadette. I just hated the little noises she was making
Jenn: kitty!jeymien on March 9th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think Bernadette played WoW with Howard.. I seem to remember him mentioning her getting annoyed because he was online all the time?

Edit: Yeah, just checked. She got mad at Howard for having cyber-sex with a hot troll on WoW.

Edited at 2012-03-09 05:20 pm (UTC)
somniumdraconaesomniumdraconae on March 9th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
Correct - she wasn't playing, she was in the next room doing something else while he played (and did nasty stuff lol)
fille_dombrefille_dombre on March 9th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
oh i thought when she said in the next room i thought she meant in the game....oh lol my mistake
Captain Awesomecalipunkmonkey on March 9th, 2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Penny played world of war craft with Sheldon.
fille_dombrefille_dombre on March 9th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
no she plays Age of Conan with sheldon
Captain Awesomecalipunkmonkey on March 10th, 2012 12:38 am (UTC)
I thought it was WoW...my bad.
23 blue butterfliesbblue23 on March 9th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
That's a good point. They had previously made Penny unexpectedly good at video games and I liked that, so I was surprised by Bernadette's behavior. I guess I expected her to turn out to be more of a nerd even though she is girly too.
Who fears lunacy?: Princess Leialunarkissed on March 9th, 2012 04:24 pm (UTC)
I liked watching season one of the show, but after that I started losing interest until giving up completely on the third season.
23 blue butterfliesbblue23 on March 9th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
What made you lose interest?
Who fears lunacy?: Princess Leialunarkissed on March 9th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
It might sound strange, but all the focus on the relationships just wasn't hooking me anymore. I wanted more fun things like the Time Machine with Sheldon's flesh-eating Morlocks dream and less about who's dating or having sex.
23 blue butterfliesbblue23 on March 9th, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, understandable.
Nutmeg_44nutmeg_44 on March 9th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
I saw the episode and I agree with your point about Amy, I thought that was cool how they made her dignified but I don't agree about Bernadette. Just because she's brainy doesn't mean she's into all the other things they are into. She didn't ever strike me as the gamer type. She's just a girly scientist. I didn't think it was so far-fetched for her to make the funny noises especially since she wasn't actually even pressing the correct buttons. I like that the writers put in different types of brainy. If anything, I'm bothered by the other stereotypes they keep putting in. I'm still bothered by the fact that they were able to find (make) a girlfriend for Sheldon but somehow Raj is still single, when there has to be a woman out there who doesn't mind a man who won't talk back.
23 blue butterfliesbblue23 on March 9th, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, I noticed that about Raj too at the end of the episode when he pointed out that he was the only one without a girlfriend. It's a shame, since he's good looking and he seems like better boyfriend material than some of the others. They don't have many episodes centering around Raj and this may be related to the fact that he is from another country (and therefore the writers may think the audience would have more trouble identifying with him) more than his problem talking with women. It tends to be more difficult for Asian actors to get good roles on TV. If they gave him a girlfriend they would need to write more episodes with him at the center of the plot. Maybe the fact that they mentioned it in this episode means that they are planning something though. I hope so.
Nutmeg_44nutmeg_44 on March 9th, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
Me too! He's the best of the boyfriend potentials. Leonard annoys me sometimes, Sheldon has too many neuroses and Howard is a chauvinist. Hopefully he gets more screen time. They even game Leonard some time with his Asian sister so why not him?
GeekyChick: gamerharuhiflying_girl73 on March 13th, 2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I like Raj the best too.

Although they have made him a goofier character as time has gone on, but you get that a LOT with American sitcoms. Weirdly unavoidable.
fille_dombre: Star warsfille_dombre on March 9th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
Your right I was thinking because she was brainy she would like games to. I also thought because she already played WOW with Howard she would know and like this game. I guess just like in real life some people stop playing certain games.

I wish they would find a girlfriend for Raj
Nutmeg_44: Annienutmeg_44 on March 9th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
Some brainy chicks just aren't gamers. Penny is goo at the games they tend to play but isn't brainy, geeky or a scientist. Bernadette and Amy are brainy scientists but aren't geeky or gamers. Just the combos.

I want Raj to get a girl too. Especially since he's hot, rich and won't talk back (lol). Plus he's a doctor and women tend to want that.
somniumdraconaesomniumdraconae on March 9th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
See above - she didn't actually play WoW with him, WoW was just the center of their fight in the episode.
Captain Awesomecalipunkmonkey on March 9th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
Penny played WoW in an episode with Sheldon.
somniumdraconaesomniumdraconae on March 9th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
The game she plays with him is actually Age of Conan - but still in the MMO category, and she still plays it well (although she gets a little too addicted).
Captain Awesomecalipunkmonkey on March 10th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
My bad, I don't play either. Some reason I thought it was WoW
stone biscuit productionsarseaboutface on March 9th, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
The only episode of BBT I've ever seen involved most of the male characters riffing on one of their friends because his wife/fiance had a higher degree than he did. I believe the "pussy whipped" whipcracking sound was made, at which point I checked out.
23 blue butterfliesbblue23 on March 9th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, that sound was made in last night's episode too. I don't like it either--it's not absurd or deserving of ridicule when a guy wants to stay on good terms with his girlfriend/wife. However, sometimes I laugh too depending on the context.

fille_dombre: Star warsfille_dombre on March 9th, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
I actually thought the whip sound was funny and every time Sheldon did it he made that funny laugh that made me laugh every time.
23 blue butterfliesbblue23 on March 9th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
True, I was thinking it was funny when Sheldon did it:)
lavinia_ficslavinia_fics on March 9th, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Big Bang Theory because it seems to me that it relies heavily on perpetuating harmful and inaccurate stereotypes of all sorts - of geeks/nerds in general, not just women.

As a nerdy, geeky, gaming woman, well, the whole show rubs me the wrong way.
Onyx Obsidianonyx_obsidian on March 9th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. I started off liking the show when it was more science jokes, but it's gone downhill and I've noticed especially this season a huge reliance on racist and sexist humour, as well as turning the characters almost into jokes themselves because of their geekiness. It's gotten to the point where I think I should stop watching it because although there are some episodes that are good, I just get pissed off at it most of the time.
LadyCyndraladycyndra on March 9th, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
I admit I was annoyed at the noises she was making and I did roll my eyes. It was cool that she was a Inquisitor healer like I am in SWTOR. At least, I think that's what she was playing.

Everyone else here has made really good points too.
Sarahalexiamorana on March 9th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
I've watched a few episodes of that show and I feel like the whole POINT of the show is to play off of stereotypes.. Not to have stupid nerdy 'offensive' stereotypes would just make it a different show..
brooke.: ᴘᴏᴋéᴍᴏɴ ★ sǫᴜɪʀᴛʟᴇ ★ ᴛᴇᴇᴛʜbrooke on March 10th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC)
This is a perfect comment. And given that they made Penny good at games earlier on, why wouldn't they make Bernadette bad at them? I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Besides, Bernadette is extremely girly, perhaps even more so than Penny, even though she's a scientist. ^^ I think it's okay.
pockycrusader: Butterfliespockycrusader on March 10th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
I didn't like how The Big Bang Theory characterizes geeks anyway. It feels like they just decided to perpetuate geek stereotypes rather than go and do research with actual geeks.
Nicholaxcarcinogenicx on March 10th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC)
I agree! Bernadette is my favourite character and I was really disappointed to see her treated that way by the writers.
zombiestarzombiestar on March 10th, 2012 11:07 am (UTC)
I make my own sound effects when I game...Just most of the time I do it when I am alone...I LOVE AMY!
Paris Almasyparisalmasy on March 15th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
I totally make sound effects and trash talk to NPCs while I game. My husband thinks it's hilarious. :)
Amandadeclawed_gecko on March 10th, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC)
While I'll admit this episode wasn't the best out of the bunch (the current season is really going downhill, actually), I never saw Bernadette as a gamer girl, so I didn't find her behaviour offensive. Annoying and a little immature, yes, but not offensive to gamer girls as she's never been portrayed as a gamer girl or anything like that. I remember hers and Howard's first date and how they had nothing in common except for the fact that they worked in the science field, and even then that connection was tenuous at best, what with Howard being an engineer and Bernadette getting her PhD in microbiology.

I really don't like how they're changing the characters in the series - Bernadette is turning into Howard's mom (terrifying in its own right) and Sheldon's obliviousness is becoming more and more assholish and no one's really calling him on it.

I will admit, though, that Raj needs to get a little more action.
solanyxe: Touch of hands - Fenris/mage Hawke - DA2solanyxe on March 11th, 2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
I didn't mind the "pew pew" sounds (it was cute in a way), but it looked like bad stereotyping that Bernadette was shown as someone who can't grasp some very simple and basic rules in gaming, even if she is otherwise an intelligent woman.
It's bad stereotyping again when they put her as the healer of the group.
Stereotyping again at the end of the episode when the show implied that gaming is a male thing, and that girls will want or simply should be in the next room brushing their hair or doing some other girly thing.

But BBT lives off stereotypes, so it didn't bother me that much, although I think the show is slowly losing its track.

Edited at 2012-03-11 08:54 pm (UTC)
GeekyChick: gamerharuhiflying_girl73 on March 13th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
Well, there was also an episode where Penny was super good at Halo (I think it was). But then there was also the episode where she got addicted to an online game.

But a lot of the humour in Big Bang Theory is based around stereotypes, for better or for worse.

It would be cool if they had a positive girl gamer in an episode though.
Ginatoadsavatar on March 13th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah it was Halo, I recently saw that one again. It was hilarious because she kept blowing up Sheldon.
Ginatoadsavatar on March 13th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
I was finally able to watch it. I just laughed at Bernadette. It really isn't her thing, so her acting like that fit. Honestly though, while they were playing I kept thinking I would kick all of their butts in the game. I may have not gotten any of my characters up to 50 yet. But I have been able to get far with just my companion. While those boys rely on each other. Then they went republic, bah.
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