Big Bang Theory Nonverbal Communication Essay

For my popular cultural artifact I’ve chosen is my favorite television series The Big Bang Theory, that is currently airing on TBS (Very Funny) & CBS.  The Big Bang Theory first aired it’s very first season in 2007 and is currently in its seventh successful season.  This amazing show is dealing with five main characters, we have Sheldon and Leonard who are roommates, and their best friends and co-workers Raj & Howard. And also their lovely female friend Penny who lives across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard.  

The two characters I’m focusing on today are Sheldon & Penny.  To give a synopsis of Sheldon and Penny, I’ll begin with Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon is physicist at the California Institute of Technology although he may be a super genius he lacks any kind of social skills and doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, but he is a very sarcastic character in which makes him funny.  Then we have Penny who is an aspiring actress who is a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. She may not be a brainiac like Sheldon, but she has a sense of humor, not easily offended & is a hopeless romantic.  One thing her and Sheldon have in common is that they are both sarcastic. 

So the video I’ve attached above is called “Fun with Flags” starring Sheldon & his guest, Penny.  The clip begins with a stern face Sheldon looking straight at the camera speaking in a serious robotic voice apologizing to his webisode watchers for delaying his video post of “Fun with Flags”. His voice and facial features don’t change as he greets Penny to join his “Fun with Flags” webisode. Penny then joins him smiling & thanking him for having her on his show. Sheldon begins talking to Penny, but in reality he is talking to the camera and not making eye contact with her as they have a conversation. Penny seems to be very relaxed as she attempts to have a conversation with him.  She abruptly interrupts Sheldon asking if he could relax and change the way he is speaking. Telling him to actually face her and have a normal conversation as they would normally do, and also to change his body language. He is hunched over and seems to be shutting her and his audience out. Penny tells him to invite the audience into their conversation.  Sheldon being the smart genius self he is takes everything Penny said to him in a literal manner.  As they go back to recording Sheldon is slouching in the couch with his arms wide open and leaning towards Penny in which makes her very uncomfortable and uneasy. They continue with the awkward interview, Penny asks what he can tell her about her state Flag which is the Nebraska flag.  He then explains to her about the flag by holding it up with his legs wide open to the camera, & then proceeds to mutter to Penny saying, “Spread your legs invite them in”. Once again he took her advice literally by him opening his legs. 

What I’ve learned from this segment of The Big Bang Theory is that Penny and Sheldon both use a lot of different nonverbal communication such facial expressions, gestures, body language, vocalic, proxemics & eye gazing. Each of theses  types  of nonverbal communication is predominantlyseen, we know that Sheldon shuts his audience out & speaks in a robotic tone of voice, but then attempts to invite his audience in by slouching and opening his legs. Then we have Penny who at first is bubbly smiling and is sitting straight up with great confidence, but then is quickly shut out by the way Sheldon takes her advice and makes her uncomfortable the rest of the interview.  I never thought that actually depicting an episode would be enjoyable.  Learning each of these nonverbal communications has helped me with noticing them while watching The Big Bang Theory. 


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