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Flawed Logic of Mayim Bialik Explanation On Why Big Bang Theory Has No Labels

Mayim Bialik shed light on why the characters in The Big Bang Theory have no labels despite characters having obvious eccentricities

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Mayim Bialik is a learned woman. She has a degree in neuroscience and understands the eccentricities of the show The Big Bang Theory and its characters. Mayim elaborated on why the show creator, Bill Prady avoided labeling the characters. She shed light on the topic with her own knowledge on the subject in a detailed blog post.

Once Upon a Time

Mayim Bialik wrote an elaborate blog post in which she explained why Bill Prady had avoided any labels in The Big Bang Theory. Very much like her character, Mayim is a very educated and intelligent woman. She did not go straight into any explanations. She wrote about the time when labeling was not a big deal. In those times of discretion, anyone with any issue was given their privacy and respect. She said that disorder like depression and autism were mentioned in whispers. Aunts were committed in ‘homes’. ‘Weird’ and ‘crazy’ were used to describe any anomalies.

To Find a Label

Mayim wrote in her blog that many characters on the show exhibit a certain type of psychological persona that can fit a specific diagnostic criteria.

Sheldon Cooper by Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons Sheldon Cooper

The character of Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parson remain one of the most daunting of The Big Bang Theory. Mayim wrote an elaborate profile for Sheldon Cooper,

Sheldon has a propensity for knocking three times on doors–a feature of OCD. He has an extreme distaste for germs—also seen in OCD—as well as a variety of unique and focused hobbies and interests such as trains and flags, which is often seen in a form of autism formerly known as Aspergers. Sheldon also has phobias (fears with no basis in an actual event) and a lot of fears based in experience; he is a delicate and sensitive man who also has an exceptionally high IQ.

John Galecki’s Leonard Hofstader

Johnny Galecki Leonard Hofstader

Leonard is the pivotal role of the series. He is the point of association for all characters. Despite that important role, he has his issue. Mayim wrote about them,

Leonard is an anxious—and highly allergic—fellow with a ton of “mommy issues,” as we used to fondly call them. Any psychologist would have a field day with Leonard.

Kunal Nayyar’s Rajesh Koothrapali

Kunal Nayyar's Rajesh Koothrapali

She elaborated that Rajesh Koothrapali, played by Kunal Nayyar is another prime example of wanting a label. She wrote,

The same could be said of Koothrapali, who previously could not speak to women without alcohol in his system.

Howard Wolowitz by Simon Helberg

Howard Wolowits Simon Helberg

The main four friends are rounded off by Howard who still lives with this mom. Mayim elaborated those in her elaboration of the character,

Wolowitz, who had a Freudian attachment to his mother which even his mother was not entirely comfortable with.

Also mentioned are the women on the show.

Mayim wrote that the ladies on the show also exhibited signs of psychological disorders. Bernadette has a tendency to be mean and she also lies. Meanwhile her own character Amy Farah Fowler is socially awkward and facing repressed sexual urges.

Kelly Cuoco’s Penny

The only one character that Mayim sees as being psychologically sound. Penny was always the beautiful distraction at the beginning of the show and she had remained as such.

Bill Prady’s Logic

She wrote that creator and executive producer Bill Prady explained this issue back 2009 when talking about Sheldon

“We write the character as the character. A lot of people see various things in him and make the connections. Our feeling is that Sheldon’s mother never got a diagnosis, so we don’t have one.”

Two Reasons Mayim Gave

The first reason that Mayim gave for lack of label is that it does not matter what we say to anyone. The condition should be that they are only mentioned for medical and clinical purposes.

Secondly, the characters and story are most important. The show is about a real life situation. It requires problem solving, thought process and living everyday life. They become hostile if they are forced into a label or seeking treatment. Such is the case with both Sheldon and Leonard.

Why I Call Bullshit on Mayim Bialik’s No Label Logic

While Bill Prady has his reasons. Some of which he had explained. Many remain unclear about the whole situation. However, as a student of psychology, I disprove of her logic. While Prady and Bialik are proud for not giving any labels, Mayim Bialik seems to have a little problem. She reminisced about the old time. A time when there were no labels. She believes that giving no labels actually helps the characters.

However, we are in a point in time where psychological disorders are not LABELS. It is about time when they have moved on from the stigma of being labels.

They are conditions and they exist actively. People are encouraged to seek help for them. And if they are successful, lead good lives despite their diagnosis. In a time, when shows and celebrities are pushing to promote mental health. Mayim Bialik is content in living in the past. She prefers previous times in which such conditions went unaddressed.

Why Psychological Well Being is Important

While Prady and Bialik might think that labeling a character might take away from the character. It is not the case in the world of modern psychology. John Galecki’s Leonard Hofstader’s mother is a psychologist. She has made consistent observations about the characters over the course of the show. To say, they have remained un-diagnosed is not entirely true.

The Characters Know Their Flaws

Big Bang Theory Knows They're Flawed

There is a good chance that Leonard knows his psychological disorder. Moreover, we are not sure if Sheldon never got a diagnosis. Young Sheldon has seen Sheldon and his sister Missy, participate in scientific trials. We don’t know if there was a psychological evaluation in the trial. Or that he simply chose to ignore it. Raj has acknowledged his own anxiety around women countless times. In psychological terminology. Howard and Bernadette have been self-aware of their own psychological issues. They talk about it when they go out on their first date. In recent seasons, Penny knows she has depression.

So not spelling out a specific labels on the characters might be an outlook. However, Mayim Bialik might need to binge watch her entire show before making such conclusions.

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1 Comment
  1. Duncan Donuts says

    While assigning labels might seem to be in a person’s best interest, this is not always the case. The entire medical model of diagnosing and treating people such the characters in the show asserts that they are “broken” and must be fixed. Over the last century, the negative results of this model have been horrendous, resulting in segregation, discrimination, and ostracization of people with mental illnesses and disabilities. Rather than assigning labels and assuming that a person needs to be “fixed” to be a part of society, we must examine and “fix” society to embrace differences and build inclusive communities where these individuals can be accepted. The wonderful thing about the show is that it demonstrates all of these people living as successful adults without labels within an accepting social circle. Labels aren’t necessary because none of them need to be “fixed.” They are fine the way they are.

    Look up the field of “disability studies.” Mayim Bialik’s comments are actually not from the “old days” at all. The medical model that you are suggesting is actually outdated. It is only in the last few decades that we have begun to examine mental illnesses and disabilities from a different lens and acknowledged the massive damage that has been caused by assigning labels.

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