Big Bang Boob

November 21, 2011

On the same day that the L.A. Times publishes this story about gender inequality in film, John Doyle of The Globe & Mail releases this asinine critique of the latest season of The Big Bang Theory.

At first, I thought he was joking. After reading through it at least twice, it's clear he's not. It's one thing to complain that the writing has gone south. I would have no issue if that were the main thrust of Mr. Doyle's column. But it's not. The main thrust is this: get rid of the women. Not: write better plots for them. No, get rid of them entirely.


"For the longest time, Big Bang Theory ... has been a soothing comic balm, the show to tape and watch for a bit of wit before going to bed. Reliably enjoyable, smart and, although formulaic, filled with blistering wit. Then along came a passel of female characters.

It ain’t the same."


"On last week’s episode there was a seismic shift on the show. ... There were entire scenes that featured only the female characters. And the only funny character in that bunch was Penny."

Or how about:

"I have a sinking feeling that this season will end with a wedding, as sitcoms often do, and the future will bring equal amounts of attention to the female trio of Penny, Bernadette and Amy. Equal to the guys, that is.

Dear heavens, no. Here’s an idea: Let this season end with all four guys alone again, without girlfriends and only Penny across the hall as a foil for their super-weird super-smarts. That and the voice of Howard’s mom is enough female infusion."

The column drips with male privilege. Mr. Doyle is like a little boy, disconcerted that the girls have invaded his sandbox. He might as well have written, "Eww! Girl cooties!"

He implies the characters can't ever be funny, because they're women. Mr. Doyle doesn't ask for better writing for these characters, he simply wants them gone. He also seems to presume that Big Bang Theory is a show only for men, so why would any female characters even be necessary, except as foils for those men?

Well, Mr. Doyle, if you'd been to the same very geeky convention I went to in Reno this summer, and attended the panel on the Big Bang Theory (on which panel sat 4 women and one man), you would know that the audience for Big Bang is not only male.

As a female engineer who loves the show, I'm ecstatic that it's showing other female scientists, acting scientific, geeky, and girlie, all at once. You, sir, should take your male privilege and flush it down a urinal.

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