Pop Culture Detective Investigates TBBT

Pop Culture Detective Jonathan McIntosh believes that the four male protagonists on The Big Bang Theory are the “perfect embodiment” of a writer’s trope, which he refers to “the adorkable misogynist.”

McIntosh argues that the four characters – Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard – are essentially male characters who frame masculinity as comically pathetic but also endearing. He says this allows for their occasional creepiness to be acceptable.

This is perhaps the truest with Howard, before Bernadette…

McIntosh Argues Against TBBT

The Big Bang Theory | Photo Credit CBS

“Adorkable misogynists are male characters whose geeky version of masculinity is framed as both comically pathetic and endearing,” McIntosh argues, “And it’s their status as nerdy nice guys that then lets them off the hook for a wide range of creepy, entitled, and downright sexist behaviors…”

“These types of characters are shown engaging in a variety of harassing, entitled, and sexist behavior where women are concerned. They consistently stalk, spy on, lie to, and try to manipulate the women in their lives.”

“They’re overbearing, they refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer, and they often ignore the basic tenets of consent.”

Famous Nice-Guy-Nerds In Film

The Big Bang Theory | Photo Credit CBS

The argument then follows up with evidence from Revenge of the Nerds, Sixteen Candles, Saved by the Bell, and the infamous Weird Science. He argues that Howard is the “creepy pervert with a heart of gold,” which has been in other films.

Raj, of course, is the “sensitive guy turned inappropriate drunk.” Leonard is the “nice guy enabler” and Sheldon is the “innocent bigot.” He believes that the landscape of the show allows for these things to be presented as comedy.

“Adorkable misogyny is presented as just another socially awkward personality quirk,” McIntosh says, “as something that’s perhaps deserving of an eye roll, or an exasperated look, or maybe some lighthearted chiding, but never as something to be taken seriously, or seriously challenged.”

It seems like the argument skips over the self-deprecating jokes which make up the bulk of the show. Do you think this is over-the-top or spot-on in regards to the show?

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