Friday, June 6, 2014

The Big Bang Theory of Bullshit

In one of the earlier episodes of the show the Big Bang Theory, Howard continues to hit on Penny saying lewd things, and insisting that they would eventually hook up.  Now at this point in the show, Howard (pre-Bernadette) spends all his time focusing on sleeping with women.  Eventually during this tirade, Penny has enough.  She tells Howard that it’s not a compliment to call her “do-able” or to make jokes about her body.

And she’s spot freaking on.

It isn’t a compliment to say these things about women.  It’s disgusting and misogynistic.  And she has every right to call him out for what he says, because after dealing with that for two seasons, I’d be fed up too.

At this point, I was cheering the show on for being so progressive.  Then the show pissed me off big time.

Howard takes her challenge personally and withdraws into himself, not talking to his friends.  They are entered into robot fighting challenge and he is their engineer.  But they obviously can’t fight without him.  So Leonard asks Penny to apologize.  When she refuses, he blackmails her to apologize saying she owes him a favor.

What the actual hell?

Not only does she not need to apologize, but she’s blackmailed into it? That’s bullshit.  She goes over to Howard’s and at first he plays it off like her comment doesn’t mean anything because "whatever"…

Then she talks to him some more and comes to see his history of no success with the ladies, which is why he sees that he needs to “try to hard” with women, which apparently means insulting them by being degrading...huh.  When Penny says that him being honest is actually nice, he takes this to mean he can make a move and he tries to kiss her.  

Here’s where the show had me clapping again: she punches him.

The point is made later that this is what will happen if women aren’t treated with respect…

She leaves the room, and Howard’s first comment is that he’s “halfway to pity sex.”  So he actually learned nothing at all.

The show had the opportunity to not only have character development but also to make a statement about how men treat women.  Unfortunately, they took the opportunity and used it for laughs.  Which is fair to a point because it’s a comedy show.  But since misogyny is a bigger issue than laughs, I’m disappointed in how they wrote it.

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