Super Smart 'Big Bang Theory' Jokes You Totally Missed
The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, and it's actually very witty and can be genuinely heartwarming. Since its 2007 premiere, the show - co-created by Two and a Half Men's Chuck Lorre - has amassed a viewership of millions all around the world. The show has yet to take home an Emmy for Best Comedy Series, but the stars and crew have acquired 10 Emmys throughout the show's run.
Though the program might not satisfy everyone, some Big Bang Theory quotes are as smart as its Caltech nerd herd. These witty jabs prove that a lot of time, thought, and research goes into ensuring that what comes out of Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, and even Penny's mouths not only entertains viewers, but also challenges them.
A Physics Twist On An Old Classic
Physicists in the audience likely groaned at this line from Sheldon in Season 3's "The Pants Alternative," which puts a nerdy spin on a classic joke: "A neutron walks into a bar and asks how much for a drink. The bartender replies, ‘For you, no charge."
For those rusty on their subatomic particles, neutrons, along with protons, make up the nucleus of an atom. Whereas protons have an electric charge, neutrons don't.
The Chicken Never Crosses The Road
This joke is one of many Sheldon inflicts on an unamused audience during his drunken acceptance speech in Season 3's "The Pants Alternative." "Why did the chicken cross the mobius strip? To get to the same side. BAZINGA!" Though there were crickets in the stunned room, the line deserved at least a few chuckles.
It plays on the classic "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke we've all heard time and time again. In this version, the poor chicken never crosses anything at all. A mobius strip is actually just a cylindrical loop with only one side. You can create one yourself by bending a strip of paper in the middle and connecting the two ends.
What Being Saved By The Man Of Steel Would Actually Be Like
The physics of superhero powers have caused watercooler discussions among workplace nerds for decades. The Big Bang Theory is naturally no exception. Sheldon's observation about the Man of Steel comes from Season 1's "The Big Bran Hypothesis":
Lois Lane is falling, accelerating at an initial rate of 32 feet per second, per second. Superman swoops down to save her by reaching out two arms of steel. Ms. Lane, who is now traveling at approximately 120 miles per hour, hits them, and is immediately sliced into three equal pieces.
Considering we learn in this episode that Sheldon's roommate owns over 2,600 comics, this level of over-analysis shouldn't come as a surprise. If only Sheldon had been around to warn Spider-Man about the dangers of whiplash in 1973.
A Historically Funny Joke
When Sheldon and Leonard have a falling out over whether or not to present their joint research paper at a conference in Season 1's "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization," Penny tries to get to the bottom of their squabbling: "So Sheldon! You and Leonard - a little misunderstanding, huh?" Sheldon then accuses her - in his own way - of trivializing the issue, saying, "A little misunderstanding?! Galileo and the pope had a little misunderstanding!"
This is a casual reference to a big historical moment in 1633, when the astronomer Galileo refused to back down about his theory that the Earth orbits the Sun. This concept went against the Catholic church's beliefs and, after facing a trial, Galilio was convicted of heresy and spent the rest of his life imprisoned in his own home. The church eventually cleared him of the charge - 300 years later.
A Chemical Reaction Between Sheldon And Amy
In Season 4's "The Robotic Manipulation," Penny teases Sheldon about his fledging relationship with Amy, a woman who is definitely not his girlfriend - according to him. This begins with Sheldon reading a text message Amy sent him: "Excuse me. Oh. Amy’s at the dry cleaners, and she’s made a very amusing pun. 'I don’t care for perchloroethylene, and I don’t like glycol ether.'"
Fortunately for anyone who didn't quite catch the chemistry pun the first time around, he follows the joke up with an immediate explanation: "Get it? She doesn’t like glycol ether. Sounds like either."
Caffeine Vs. Colliculus
Season 3's "The Einstein Approximation" features the rare sight of Sheldon struggling to find an answer to a physics question. Penny walks in on the desperate and sleep-deprived doctor and notices he's making some strange rapid head movements. When she asks what he's doing, he tells her, "I'm attempting to view my work as a fleeting peripheral image so as to engage the superior colliculus of my brain."
"Interesting," Penny replies. "I usually just have coffee."
To massively oversimplify, the superior colliculus is the part of the brain that causes you to respond to something your eyes are seeing. If you see something moving in front of you, for instance, the superior colliculus would cause you to respond by following it with both your head and eyes. Sheldon is trying to make this part of his brain respond to the scribbles on the whiteboard in front of him by any means necessary.