The stars of The Big Bang Theory have gotten a major pay cut during the last season. Many don’t know why this has happened or what it will mean for the show’s future. Don’t despair, we have all the answers for you right here.
A Hit Show
Since it first aired in 2007, The Big Bang Theory has been a gigantic hit, airing for more than ten seasons and winning over 50 awards in the process. The stars of the show have since benefitted greatly from this success.
Evolving Over The Years
The show was based upon the exploits of Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard during the original season and eventually expanded its focus to include Penny, a waitress and love interest of Leonard’s. Over the years, the group has grown to include Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayam Bialik) and Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz (Melissa Rauch) as part of the gang.
The New Girls
At first, Amy and Bernadette were small parts of The Big Bang Theory, but the fans loved them, the producers also did, and it was clear that they added a new element to the show. Therefore, their presence has grown. In fact, Mayim Bialik has won the Critics’ Choice Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award twice for her performance.
Not Being Valued
Although Bialik and Rauch were quite popular on the show, when it came time for the actors and actresses to cash in on the show’s great success, it seemed that their contributions were undervalued. However, as fans would soon learn, the rest of the cast supported the efforts of their two newer co-stars.
A Little Controversy
It may be surprising that a show such as The Big Bang Theory, which is based on pretty nerdy subject matter much of the time, has its share of scandals. However, this always seems to be the case with long-running shows, and even a show like The Big Bang Theory is definitely no exception to the trend.
In one situation during 2017, Bialik wrote a well-meaning opinion piece in The New York Times following the well-publicized Harvey Weinstein scandal. Though Bialik was merely sharing her experiences in an industry that often treats women like objects, some took her words to mean that victims of sexual assault should have acted differently to prevent incidents. Bialik didn’t mean that at all, but apologized anyway.
Bit Of A Cliche
What was more troubling was when she went full-blown Jenny McCarthy in 2009 and announced she had not vaccinated her children. It’s a bit of a cliche at this point to be a Hollywood actress that thinks she knows more about vaccines than doctors, but here we are. “We based our [decision] on research and discussions with our pediatrician, and we’ve been happy with that decision,” Bialik said in an interview.
What A Relief
However, Mayam Bialik is a smart woman and eventually, she seemed to have reversed her position on vaccines. That’s a big win for those of us who don’t want polio to come back, but her reputation had still suffered. Meanwhile, fellow Big Bang Theory co-star Kaley Cuoco also courted some controversy.
Speaking Her Mind
Kaley Cuoco decided to speak her mind during an interview with Redbook. As with Bialik, the topic was feminism, but Cuoco had different views. She was asked if she was a feminist and actually said no. She said she was comfortable with traditional femininity and actually loved to “serve” her man. For some reason, her personal thoughts riled people up.
The Rage Machine
When the internet decided to be mad about Kaley’s personal thoughts, she tried to apologize and clarify herself. She said her words were taken out of context and she was “grateful that strong women have paved the way” for her success. But once the internet rage machine is angry about something, it’s hard to get them to back off.
At one point, Chuck Lorre, one of the creators of The Big Bang Theory, said that the show had been plagiarized by a Belarusian show called The Theorists. The show featured extremely similar characters, situations, and plots to its U.S. counterpart. However, it seemed that no legal action was taken, perhaps out of concern for causing an international incident.
The Truth Wins Out
In this case, however, no courtroom battles were needed. The cast and crew of The Theorists heard about the controversy and decided to quit the show, and production soon concluded. Of course, there would be other controversies in the future for Lorre and the cast of The Big Bang Theory.
Were The Laughs Real?
As many fans of the show know, The Big Bang Theory is filmed in front of a live studio audience. However, many have believed for some time that not all of the laughter that is heard is coming from the crowd and that canned laughter has been used, too. This is something that Johnny Galecki and other members of the show have denied.
Does The Show Really Love Geeks?
Although The Big Bang Theory focuses around a geeky group of guys, many self-proclaimed nerds don’t really enjoy the show, as they believe that it actually mocks nerd culture while pretending to celebrate it. They say that the characters aren’t realistic and represent stereotypes about what “regular” people tend to think about nerds.
Unfortunately for the cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory, the allegations don’t end there. Other viewers have stated that the show includes racial stereotypes and at times has been anti-Semitic and mocked those with disabilities. Most of all, viewers and critics have taken issue of how the show has chosen to portray women.
Is Penny Mistreated?
Journalist Bobby Palmer voiced the concerns of many in a scathing critique of how the show’s main female character, Penny, is portrayed. Penny has been written as “a blonde airhead whose main purpose in the show is to be belittled and patronized by the male characters before she eventually falls in love with one of them,” Palmer wrote. Ouch.
That’s A Reach
Of course, some of the criticism seems like it really comes out of left field. One person on Reddit, for example, criticized the show by saying that The Big Bang Theory “lightheartedly condones rape.” That seems like a bit of a reach, however, and you have to wonder how you could even write a sitcom right now that wouldn’t somehow offend someone.
Gender Pay Gap
The show’s core cast of Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, Raj, and Penny have always earned the lion’s share of the pay, as the actors and actress who play them earned about $900,000 (or more) per episode! However, Bialik and Rauch reportedly made just $200,000 per episode. The fact that they played female characters on the show really made the pay discrepancy a big issue.
When it came time to ensure that everyone on the cast felt they were being treated fairly, the cast of The Big Bang Theory really showed some solidarity. Indeed, the original five stars decided they would sacrifice 10% of their own earnings to help bump up their newer co-stars’ pay.
The Show Goes On
It seems that thanks to the support of their colleagues, the show will go on! Seasons 11 and 12 of The Big Bang Theory are on the way and Bialik and Rauch have agreed to earn $500,000 per episode, which is a very nice sum indeed. When asked about behind the scenes controversy, Bialik said, “I think in general, don’t believe everything you read.”