The Sexy Science of The Big Bang Theory

Essays on Gender in the Series

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About the Book

The Big Bang Theory’s mix of humor, nerdy protagonists, sexy female leads and quirky characters have made the series one of CBS’s most successful shows and have brought it international acclaim. Like Friends before it, The Big Bang Theory is touted as the show for the new millennium, bringing together aspects of classic humor applied to modern predicaments, usually sexual in nature. This collection of new essays explores sexual themes in The Big Bang Theory, interpreted through various critical lenses. Focusing on gender issues, the contributors explore how the series deals with sexuality and the ideals of masculinity, femininity and heterosexuality.

About the Author(s)

Nadine Farghaly has a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Salzburg. She lives in Siegsdorf, Germany.
Eden Leone earned her Ph.D. in rhetoric and writing from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She lives in Minnesota.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Nadine Farghaly and Eden Leone
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7641-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1948-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vi

Introduction (Nadine Farghaly and Eden Leone) 1

Penny and the Politics of Plausibility (Raewyn Campbell) 5

Science in Stilettos: Shaping Perceptions of Women in Science (Lauren R. Archer) 26

The Big Theory on the (Not So) Bangin’ Jewish Mother (Julia Spiegel) 51

The Adolescent Quest (Janice Shaw) 72

Disciplining Heterosexuality: Interrogating the Heterosexual Ideal (Andrea McClanahan) 88

The Mutual Exclusivity Proposition: Female Intellectualism and Sexuality (Alissa Burger) 112

Failed Genders and Fragile Intimacies: Living in and After the Big Bang (Benjamin Bateman) 132

Sexualizing Two Cultures: C. P. Snow, F. R. Leavis and The Big Bang Theory (Brian McAllister) 146

The American Female Dichotomy: Smart or Sexy (Abigail G. Scheg) 159

The Androgyny of Rajesh Koothrappali (Ann-Gee Lee) 174

About the Contributors 189

Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

“intriguing”—Midwest Book Review; “Farghaly and Leone create a well-rounded work that not only helps the audience understand the themes addressed in this show, but also engages them in an intellectual and meaningful conversation about something they might not have taken seriously before”—SirReadaLot.org.