One of my and my husband's all-time favourite sitcoms is The Big Bang Theory and I've already written about it previously, which you can find here. In times of change or when I just need to occupy my mind, I enjoy returning to the nerdy sitcom. Recently, I have started re-watching the first season, which I haven't watched in a long time, as I feel the series really only gained momentum from season 4 on, with Amy and Bernadette in the mix.
When watching beloved TV shows from the start, I sometimes encounter there are some incongruencies and inconsistencies that don't make sense later anymore, or were changed. I've already written such a post of illogical changes about Gilmore Girls, but let's delve into the world of The Big Bang Theory.
1. The Knock-Knock-Knock Inconsistency
Sheldon's knock is one of the main quirks we love (and hate) about the TV main character. It is often also the basis of a joke, for example when Amy mentions how annoying a knock-knock joke is starting with knock-knock-knock-Amy, knock-knock-knock-Amy, knock-knock-knock-Amy. She also says she doesn't mind his OCD concerning the knocking as "she will put his love for repetition into good use some time."
However, in the first episodes of The Big Bang Theory, there are various scenes where Sheldon knocks on Penny's door like a normal person. Only halfway into the series does the iconic three-times knock start. Now, some may consider he only started this kind of behaviour during that time, but in a much later season, he says he started doing it from the age of 13 when he caught his father being infidel to his mother. Now he knocks three times, "the first is just conventional , but two and three are for people to get their clothes back on." So, quite ironically, one of the main character quirks of Sheldon Cooper only developed during the first season.
2. The Asthma Difference
We all know Leonard Hofstaedter is lactose-intolerant, short-sighted and has asthma. His asthma recurs regularly in the series, sometimes as a source of hilarity, for example when he curls up on the floor after going to the office's gym for the first time. However, in episode three, The Fuzzy Boots Corollary, Leonard is upset about seeing Penny with a man and then being rejected by Leslie Winkle, so he wants to buy a cat. When he brings the equipment to the apartment, he informs Sheldon he'll get a hypoallergenic breed because of Sheldon's asthma. It is, however, later on clearly indicated that Sheldon doesn't have asthma, only Leonard does, so there you go.
3. The Wolowitz Parental Disconnection
Howard Wolowitz's relationship to his mother is one of the main tropes of the TV show and, yet again, serves as one of the main bases of mockery and ridicule. A Jewish man still living with his overbearing mother - a classic cliché. We also know that Howard's father left the family when he was a child, never to return, and Howard never forgiving him. In episode 8, The Grasshopper Experiment, Raj is set up with an Indian girl, Lalita Gupta. However, he wonders how they can go out or be married if he can never talk to her, "We'll spend our entire lives in total silence." To this, Howard responds, "It worked for my parents."
Raj then realises he can talk to women when he's had alcohol and when Leonard points out he can't be drunk throughout all his marriage, Howard, again, says, "it worked for my parents."
Howard's statement makes it sound as if his parents are still together, trapped in an unhappy marriage, when we know his father left when he was still very young - too young to probably notice how unhappy his parents were together, if they were. It seems to family relations were not yet fully fleshed out.
4. The Penny-Sister-Disappearance
We all know of Penny's meth-cooking brother, but in the early episodes, she also mentions a sister. Admittedly, her sister is mentioned again later, but she doesn't come to Penny's wedding and they also don't talk about her. This is rather a minor issue than an inconsistency, but it still bothers me.
5. The Sheldon Swear Anomaly
Mary Cooper certainly didn't let her children swear, and we know Sheldon refrains from swearing throughout the series. When Leonard once says, "we can either bitch and whine...", Sheldon says, "I take the b-word." He also later points out to Stuart that he doesn't need swear words to hurt people because, "it turns out you can hurt them just as good without them."
However, when Penny asks Leonard and Sheldon to put some furniture into her apartment while she's at work and the two struggle to pull it up, Sheldon says "Oh, gravity, why are you such a bitch". In the episode of the Physic's Super Bowl when Leonard kicks Sheldon out of the team, Sheldon informs him he'll form his own team and then says, "It's on, bitch."
Sheldon saying the b-word is out of character for the Sheldon we know from later episodes, as is his heightened sex drive in the early episodes. While not slobbering over Penny like the others, he still seems far more interested in sexual interrelations compared to later episodes. He also uses the word "sex" over coitus or intercourse, which is rather un-Sheldon-y.
6. The Talking Mutation
Raj cannot talk to women. It's his main joke of the first seasons, and apart from some slipups when he thinks Penny's not listening, he pulls it through.
However, in the episode of the Physic's Super Bowl, Leslie Winkle is on their four-man team and Raj sits exactly next to her, answering the questions with ease. Why doesn't he have a problem talking in front of Leslie Winkle? It cannot be because he's not sexually attracted to her because he points out she's hot when Leonard has a tete-a-tete with her. He should, at least, not sit directly next to her to give it more credibility.