Aside from one obvious flip-flop I’ll get into in a moment, I can’t imagine any former or current Big Bang Theory fan being upset by this finale. It’s nice in a really unfussy way and does a few things we rarely get to see in the cut-throat era of peak TV. It doesn’t create needless drama or focus on characters we don’t care about. It zeroes in on the core four (with Howard, Bernadette and Raj as back-up) and gives them the episodic equivalent of a long, warm hug.
Taken as a whole, no matter its overall failings (a lot of which I’m sure will be discussed in the comments), it’s problematic elements and its ultimate failure to own up to any of it, the fact remains that a lot of people worked really hard on this thing for much longer than most of us stay in a single job. It’s not just the actors or even just the writers, but the hundreds of people that make a massive endeavour like this run week to week.
To them I say kudos. With all the talk of the monoculture disappearing in a post-Game Of Thrones, post-Avengers: Endgame world, we also have to acknowledge that The Big Bang Theory was part of that too. It may not be discussed on the internet in the same way, but 18 million people tuned into this single episode of TV on Thursday night. That just doesn’t happen anymore.
The Big Bang Theory never really cared what nerds thought of it because they had a mainstream audience. That may ensure a future omission from the cultural canon, but I’m not sure it should. The show was born in a landscape where the network was king and streaming not yet a serious competitor, and also at a time when female scientists, ‘quirky’ people like Sheldon and, hell, Indian people outside of The Simpsons‘ Apu, weren’t really on television.
That’s not to say there isn’t plenty to get annoyed about in this finale alone. Penny being pregnant is a massive insult to her character, and doesn’t play at all well considering the current news cycle. It smacks of the writers not agreeing on the story they had told earlier this season, in which she decided for herself that she didn’t want kids. It wasn’t about what Leonard, or her father, wanted. It was about Penny.
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