Ridge Report Writing and Photography Contest

This year, you can submit a short story, poetry piece, and/or photography connecting to one of three possible themes. Your options are "Hush", "Bang", and "Click". Be as creative as you want!

Entries will be accepted starting Monday May 1st 2017

The deadline for entering is Friday May 20th 2017

First place winners in each category (short story, photography, and poetry) will have their entry published on the Ridge Report website and will be awarded a prize.

Click on each category to submit and know about the rules and requirements.

Short Story

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What the Big Bang Theory Has To Do To Improve

The Big Bang Theory is one of the most successful TV shows of all time. This beloved sitcom revolving around 4 nerds and their female friends scores the highest ratings each week and that's not without good reason. The show's unique premise, excellent cast, and hilarious writing appeal to many. However, lately, the show's not been holding up to its usual standards and as season 8 is coming to a close, more and more people are being disappointed by it's latest offerings. With at least 2 more seasons to go, the Big Bang Theory needs to get it's act together if it wants to continue to enjoy it's success and remind fans why they loved it in the first place.
Each of the characters has a unique personality and the group dynamic is excellent. From the socially impaired genius, Sheldon, to the street smart community college drop out Penny, each character brings something new to the table and with a cast as talented as the one playing the rich characters, the Big Bang Theory has a lot to work with. However, rather than repeating what are beginning to tire character beats, the Big Bang Theory needs to try something new and fresh, as that is what made it so appealing in the first place.

The first course of action would be to evolve Sheldon's character. Sheldon is the breakout star of the Big Bang Theory and his lovable quirks and oddities became the life of the show. However, like his character, Sheldon's appeal is getting very repetitive. So far in the season, the show seems to think that toning down Sheldon's bizarre traits is the answer. But stripping Sheldon of his most popular characteristics just makes him boring and less enjoyable to watch. The show needs to find the happy medium between developing his character and making him still a joy to watch.

The easiest way to do this is his relationship with Amy. After 5 years of knowing each other, they are still frustratingly too platonic and their relationship infuriating. Season 7 was making great strides in this area by making Sheldon overcome his germaphobia and become more comfortable with physical contact. However, season 8 seems to have completely forgotten these developments. Sure, Amy and Sheldon having their first sleepover may have been an attempt to advance things, but compared to what happened last season, this feels like backtracking back to baby steps. Right now, Sheldon is horribly taking Amy for granted and Amy's being written as pathetic and lonely. She either has to stand up to him, or he has to move their relationship forward on his own terms.

Another character who is mistreated in his relationship is Leonard. When it comes to Leonard and Penny's relationship, Leonard is often the loser. He's grovelling, he's weak, and he's so dominated by Penny, their relationship has been defined by Will Wheaton as her playing him like a violin. This was especially apparent in just last week's episode, the Fortification Implementation, when she revealed how she makes more money then him, manipulated him into agreeing with her, and just establishing her complete superiority. This isn't funny, it's sickening. From day one, Leonard's been the loser we were cheering for to get Penny, but that doesn't mean we want to see him still be the loser when he is in a happy relationship. We want him to stand up for himself and by neglecting that storyline in order to get humor that isn't even funny is poor storytelling and leaves a bitter taste in the audiences mouth.
Penny is also a character who has room to improve. So far, what the Big Bang Theory has done with her character this season has been inspired, but not executed in a wholly satisfying way. Penny has long been a naive girl chasing a far fetched dream of becoming a famous actress. Last season, it was refreshing to watch her grow up and realize that she'd been reckless and unwise in her career choices. What was planned for her character this season sounded great on paper. Have her leave behind what was ultimately a naive dream and make a smart choice by choosing a more financially stable job and thus gaining some real work experience. Even her cutting her hair short, which was widely unpopular, was symbolic of her maturing. However, we haven't been able to see how a new job has ultimately been good for her development as a character, other than the explicit financial reasons. It also hasn't been appealing to hear that Penny, with absolutely no work, landed a job that makes her more successful than Leonard, who has studied at school for years with a lot of effort and struggle. How her new status has been presented wasn't really well done, but it can still be a worthwhile decision in the coming episodes.

However, recently, her interest in acting has been reignited and it looks like she'll be chasing her dream job once more. While I support this decision, as it's important to show the realism of being successful in a career, watching a character achieve their dream is also important story wise to satisfy the audience. Dreams shouldn't die and I'm glad the Big Bang Theory seems to feel that way. However, the way the Big Bang Theory's been following through with this hasn't been well executed. At the slightest rekindling of hope, Penny is ready to make another reckless decision by dropping her current job to try acting once again full time. The show needs to show how her acting hiatus made her grow as a person and why her resuming acting will be successful this time since she is a more mature, smarter person. If she once again throws caution to the winds, her character will have ultimately had no growth at all and this entire acting hiatus storyline will be rendered a dud.

Raj is also a character in severe need of improvement. Last season, he finally got a steady girlfriend in the shape of Emily. She had a few promising quirks, like her fascination with violence, that could make a her a good fit for Raj and a welcome addition to the main cast, with the assumption being that her character would be expanded on in season 8. However, she's barely appeared at all in the show and her rare appearances always seem forced and an obligation the writers are meeting to remind us that she exists. However, since she and Raj are barely seen together, it feels like he still doesn't have a girlfriend. The guy who couldn't talk to girls getting a girlfriend should be a big deal, but it's hardly mentioned and shown to us.

What made the show so appealing just years ago was the dynamic cast, perfect comedic timing, and fresh nature. A show celebrating geek culture is unprecedented and in time where nerds are ruling the world, the show should be thriving. But the jokes are dry, the characters dull, and the complacency of the show sacrifices what could be exciting, interesting story lines to repeat the same tired jokes. If the Big Bang Theory wants to look at how to keep a show funny and fresh at the same time, all they have to do is look back at their own previous work. Season 5 is the gold standard of what the show should be like now, which was unafraid to evolve characters, such as Howard's character arc, while still still offering clever jokes that were laugh out loud hysterical. The Big Bang Theory has a few more seasons to go until season 10, which is said to be the last season, so if this beloved sitcom wants to maintain the goodwill of the audiences, it's gonna have to make some changes fast so that it can go out with a big bang (pun totally intended).


  1. I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. This was a very well written article, however I do not agree with it. I think that you are over thinking things and reading too much into them and making assumptions. I think the show is hilarious and I will continue to watch it, as I believe it does not need this so called "improvement" you keep speaking of.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I too am a huge fan of the show and have loved everything they've done up until now. I feel the latest episodes haven't really made me laugh as much and the episodes feel kind of dry and boring. I'll also watch it until the end, but I feel like any show, there's always room for improvement and the Big Bang Theory has already proven that it has the potential to be so much more than what it is right now. Believe me, no one wants to see the show succeed more than I do and I genuinely believe it is capable of doing just that! :)