‘Big Bang’ Theory: Influences And Success Based On Older Shows?

The Big Bang Theory is a highly successful show, but you knew that already. What you might not be aware of is that it uses ideas we’ve seen before and deviates just enough that it’s not too obvious.

For all we know, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady might not have even known they were copying anything with TBBT. It only proves an old theory that there is nothing original in media today. That ship sailed a long time ago.

Back when the creators came up with the idea, they were originally considering two separate sitcoms. One was about a group of four outcasts who work together every day, and the other was about a young woman coming into her own and living by herself for the first time. The Big Bang Theory was born when they decided to just throw the two ideas together, and remains one of the most popular sitcoms since Friends.

Some would say that the show isn’t funny at all, but with so many people watching it almost religiously for nearly seven full seasons (and three more to go), you can’t argue with numbers. Obviously somebody in the audience is laughing and coming back for more.

One of the shows that Chuck and Bill unknowingly copied was the one mentioned above. Friends was a highly successful sitcom about a group of post-college age acquaintances who regularly hung out together. Yes, it’s exactly the same thing, only TBBT is about genius outcasts. Friends is simply the most obvious of the Big Bang Theory influences, even with a lot of parallels among the characters. Oddly enough, this is the only influence that the show has not made a reference to by name.

Other influences seem to be decades older. One of them was alluded to previously in The Inquisitr; Star Trek, the original series. If you look at how Spock and McCoy interact on one the most famous TV shows in history, you might notice it’s the same as the way Sheldon and Leonard act around each other. Spock and Sheldon both show a cool detachment from nearly everything around them, while McCoy and Leonard are more prone to emotional outbursts and insults directed at the other. Sheldon only deviates because he insults pretty much everybody else with a condescending sense of superiority, and Spock was much more subdued.

Another Big Bang Theory influence you might have missed is an odd parallel with a cartoon series from the late 80s. Sheldon, Leonard, Rajesh, Howard, and even Penny are remarkably similar to the characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sheldon is the smart technical one just like Donatello. Leonard is almost obviously (and most likely unintentionally) named after the one he represents (the leader of the group, Leonardo). Rajesh appears to be the modernized Raphael, and Howard is the one always making the jokes like Michelangelo. Penny is a lot like April O’Neill, the hot damsel in distress always being saved by the others. TBBT began to deviate a little when Amy and Bernadette came along, but it’s still the same dynamic.

Chuck Lorre even co-wrote the theme song to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and had the cast sing a snippet on the show.

Are there any other Big Bang Theory influences you’ve noticed?

[image via celebuzz.com]