For over a decade The Big Bang Theory been a huge part of our lives, and tonight it comes to an end for real here in the UK after fans in the US said goodbye last week.
We’ll just come out and say it. It might shock some of you, so please take a seat, a deep breath, maybe even grab a cup of water.
The Big Bang Theory leaves behind a much greater legacy than Friends ever did.
Provocative, certainly. Outrageous, maybe. But just hear us out.
It’s pointless trying to argue that the real cultural phenomenon that was Friends in the 1990s could ever be repeated. It was a different world back then, a much simpler time before social media and the internet gave us unparalleled access into the lives of the rich and famous. It was a time when one show launched six largely unknown actors into the stratosphere.
We’re not saying Big Bang Theory has ticked the same boxes. We’re saying it’s going to be remembered much more fondly.
The fact we’re even having this conversation – well, monologue – is testament to both shows. Friends remains the measuring stick, but The Big Bang Theory stands tall after 12 series as a genuine contender to the sitcom crown.
First of all, let’s get the facts out of the way. TBBT is literally bigger than Friends, with 279 episodes to 236. 12 seasons to 10.
Longevity isn’t everything, of course, but there’s something to be said for staying power and evolution, which is where the stories of our favourite scientists – and Penny – ring true. Both shows saw genuine growth in their characters and stories, but while Joey, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Monica slowly become almost one-note only, the gang in Big Bang Theory have continually developed, right up until the finale.
Aside from the plots and character, let’s just spend a minute talking about guest stars. Both shows had them, and didn’t shy away from a famous face to pop viewers with a big cheer. There’s a big difference, though, in how they were used. Big Bang Theory managed to fit people we know and love into its universe and create fictional versions of them which worked in-show and in real life. Friends took celebrities and found roles for them within the world as new characters.
It might not sound like a big deal, but it matters. We need look no further than the issue Bruce Willis brought to the world when he appeared as Paul Stevens, the dad of Ross’ girlfriend Elizabeth who ended up dating Rachel.
So far so good, but it’s already been established by that point that Chandler and Joey are huge Die Hard fans so somewhere out there the real Bruce Willis exists in the Friends universe… why wouldn’t two of his biggest fans notice how Rachel’s older man bares more than a passing resemblance to the action hero?
That’s a point to a Big Bang Theory cameo. The stars are themselves, the icons fit within the story and don’t feel like too much of a stretch in sitcom land. It might seem like a little thing but it’s been bugging us for a long time.
Now, we should also tackle the subject of changing audiences. Friends was a show for a whole generation of people who grew up engrossed in the characters and their lives. It was – and still is – absolutely huge. But for every fan clamouring for a reunion, there are more and more millennials picking it apart for poorly aged jokes, frustrating character traits and bad decisions.
Big Bang Theory could face that backlash too, but it’s safe to say most issues have already been raised – so maybe things will go full circle in the future and everyone will realise what a classic it was.
Looking to the future, even spin-offs show that Big Bang Theory could achieve a greater legacy than Friends when all is said and done.
The latter had Joey, the ill-fated sitcom following the trials and tribulations of Mr. Tribiani. It got cut midway through its second season, and seemed to prove that Friends was a sum of its parts.
However, Young Sheldon has managed a tall task and nailed it as a prequel, breathing new life into a character we didn’t realise had so much more to say. And it’s easy to imagine any one of its main characters working just as well with their own standalone shows.
Now, we’re not saying we don’t love Friends. We do, we really do. But as Big Bang Theory comes to an end 12 years on, we’ve just got a hunch its star will continue to rise and it will be remembered as the classic sitcom it has been for over a decade.
The Big Bang Theory concludes tonight at 8pm on E4. Friends never went away and is available to stream on Netflix.
Got a showbiz story?
If you’ve got a story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk Entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.
Source: Read Full Article