This may be a ridiculous question, but did you watch The Big Bang Theory last night? I say that because you or someone you know most likely did, as the hit CBS sitcom scored its highest ever ratings in the history of the show, with 17.4 million viewers tuning in to find out where Sheldon was disappearing to every day for 20 minutes. To make this news more impressive, their previous record was only last week with 16.7 million. This is almost unheard of in today’s TV environment to continue bringing in a larger audience after that long on the air.

Compare this to the shows that also aired in the same timeslot: 7.3 million tuned in to The X Factor, Last Resort had only 5.8 million. And 30 Rock and Up All Night brought in only 3.4 million and 3.1 million viewers, respectively.

But even though over 17 million people watched last night, maybe you’re not one of them. So here are five reasons why you should be watching The Big Bang Theory along with the rest of us:

The Writing

The best dramas and comedies will most always receive praise for their scripts. The writing sets the tone for the entire episode and series. Is there generic and bland dialogue? Are the jokes catering to the lowest common denominator? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then there’s a good chance the quality of the show is diminished.

But The Big Bang Theory doesn’t suffer from that. The writers keep churning out strong and fresh scripts week after week. With a character like Sheldon, his schtick could get old real quick. (For those who aren’t familiar, Sheldon blurts out what he’s thinking without any regard for people’s feelings — he doesn’t realize that others would take offense to things he considers to be true and factual.) Jim Parsons may be the one that portrays this scientist, but without that quick wit provided by the writers, the character of Sheldon could very well have been just another stereotypical “nerd” that we’ve seen time and again in comedies.

The Cast and Characters

Speaking of the characters, let’s talk about the brilliant cast that bring those characters to life. Besides Sheldon, there’s Johnny Galecki as Leonard, Kaley Cuoco as Penny, Simon Helberg as Howard and Kunal Nayyar as Rajesh. Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik (Bernadette and Amy) are also regulars.

At first glance, Penny may seem like the token dumb blonde. But if you watch the show, you start realizing that, no, she’s not like that at all. She’s just like us — not understanding Sheldon and the gang when they talk about quantum physics or some other scientific theory.

But you may be asking yourself, I don’t want to watch a show about nerds. That’s not the way to go about it. We as viewers may think all that science talk is a foreign language. But the writers (see, it all comes back to them) have managed to craft the jokes in a way that make us laugh regardless. 

Science doesn’t cover the whole show. Because when it comes down to it, they’re real human beings who have everyday issues just like us, whether it’s relationship woes or arguments or even trying to get out of doing something you don’t want to do. Not since Friends (or even Everybody Loves Raymond) have I come across a sitcom this relatable or with the strengths this one has.

Multi-Camera vs. Single Camera

When you think of the top classic comedies of all time, more than likely you’re going to name sitcoms that were shot with multiple cameras and in front of a live studio audience. While I might be in the minority here, I haven’t been able to get on board with many of today’s half-hour comedies because of the format (most of which are single camera and have a documentary-like feel to it). While The Big Bang Theory is scripted, you can tell that the cast feed off of the studio audience’s energy. So if you’re like me and prefer the traditional sitcom format, then BBT is the way to go.

Pop Culture and Guest Stars

Some TV shows rely heavily on pop culture references and guest stars. Some that come to mind include Will & Grace and Glee. And The Big Bang Theory follows in that mold, without distracting from why we love the show so much. Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Rajesh are all fans of science fiction, fantasy and comic books. (They frequently visit a comic book store — are those still around?) On any given episode, you might hear them talk about Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Josh Whedon or The Lord of the Rings, among others. And there have been guest star appearances by the likes of Stephen Hawking, Will Wheaton, Steve Wozniak and George Takei.

Speaking of pop culture, the cast and crew are finally getting in on the “Call Me Maybe” craze and did their own flash mob in front of the studio audience:

Vanity Cards

At the end of every Chuck Lorre show, he includes vanity cards after the credits. They’re well worth it to pause and read the entire text. Whether short or long, they could be funny, serious, sarcastic, witty or any of the above. In a recent vanity card, he provided a response to reaction he received after criticizing The Bachelor: “In an earlier vanity card I made a derisive comment about a popular reality show because I thought its premise — a group of single women compete with one another to win the affections of, and ultimately marry, an eligible man — was more threatening to the sanctity of marriage than gay people tying the knot.” Normally, you wouldn’t want to stick around for the credits, but in this case, I suggest that you do.

The Big Bang Theory airs Thursday nights at 8pm on CBS.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.