a closer look

The Most Fascinating Part of The Big Bang Theory Is How Bad Everyone Is at Fake-Eating

Photo: CBS

I don’t dislike The Big Bang Theory. In fact, I’ve found it’s a decent enough sitcom to accompany me in various settings of my life: the elliptical at the gym, in-flight entertainment on long plane journeys, and background sound for sick days. But I’m not here to convince you to add CBS’s crown prince of comedy to your gym or sky travel watch list. In fact, you don’t have to watch the humans at all if you decide to tune in. Just look at the food.

I had an epiphany a few years ago that every actor on The Big Bang Theory is absolutely terrible at fake-eating. And for a sitcom that features at least one prolonged scene per episode of the friend group having a communal meal, it’s a major, and fascinating, phenomenon. It started in the pilot, when Leonard and Sheldon invite Penny over for their very first bonding session. Despite opening their fresh Chinese food containers on camera, all of these containers are nearly empty, and the characters immediately partake in an eating technique that has since defined the series: The “mix around air in the hopes it looks like food” move.

This technique is peppered regularly throughout the subsequent 11 seasons — and no, I’m not going to GIF every single occurrence for reasons of sanity. Some instances are more egregious than others, but they all share that signature flick nothing, nudge nothing style. Here’s Raj going to town on a wrap.

Or Raj “enjoying” the delights of a cafeteria salad.

The cake doesn’t deserve that, Leonard. Eat it, dammit. Eat it!

Look at the synergy. Look at the synchronization.

Somebody give that fork a raise.

Somebody get that fork in SAG-AFRA.

Another personal favorite maneuver of mine: The “inspect food and drop it.”

It’s so refined; so nonchalant.

Am I saying these actors don’t eat at all? Not really. There’s a noodle slurp here; a vegetable bite there. Kaley Cuoco, in fact, was confronted with this faux-eating predicament a few years ago. “People always ask if we eat the food [during scenes]. I must be the only one who really eats the food,” she told CNN. “I save my appetite until we do those scenes — I want to look real, man!” Still, we’re often left with distracting visuals like this.

And whatever this is. (Who cuts into a salad?!)

All together now!

Big Bang Theory: Everyone Is Bad at Fake-Eating