Discovered the concept of the five man band while listening to a podcast by StoryWonk1  an award winning writing community. It's a common character trope in many forms of entertainment. I applied it to a popular TV show- The Big Bang Theory (TBBT)2.

The first role is that of the hero. In TBBT this is Leonard Hofstadter. He occupies the role because he is more socially aware then the rest of the group. He also begins many of the group's adventures. He introduced the group to Penny, who actually completed their band and helped them reach out to the point of being much more socially adept. He is also charming because he’s totally unaware of his geek boy attractiveness3.

The lancer is Sheldon Cooper. He provides a contrast to Leonard by being even nerdier than his best friend and having zero social skills as opposed to Leonard’s marginal ones. In my opinion, he's autistic (despite the fact that the show’s writer’s refuse to confirm this and his mother had him tested). I know many autistic people and the first time I saw him I was thrilled that there was a new person with a disability (PWD) on TV. Fail to understand why the studio is denying the obvious. Perhaps they felt obliged to cower to society’s dismissal of PWD as people who be in charge of their own lives.

The  smart guy in this group of obviously smart guys is Howard Wolowitz. He is  a bit of an amateur magician (indicative of the Trickster role typically associated with his trope). He is also the physically weakest group member when you consider his life threatening peanut allergy and general pallor.

In this case, the big guy is not an actual guy. Penny Hofstadter is the strong man of the group. She actually married Lenard on livestream on the season 9 opener. She deals with the fellows' spiders. She defends them physically when needed, such as when Sheldon’s video game account gets hacked and all of his items are stolen by an evil geek. She also helps the physics department triumph in the inter-departmental paint ball tournament. She enjoys typical tomboy activities that are characteristic of her Nebraska upbringing. 

However, Penny is not always entirely comfortable in the role of the “dumb girl” as evidenced by her insecurities when a pretty girl scientist gets a job at Caltech and develops a crush on Leonard. Even though the idea of Leonard being unfaithful is totally beyond the pale; Penny still needs reassurance because Alex is ”pretty and smart and when you talk about work she doesn't have to go home and look up words in the dictionary to understand what you said.”

The last member of the group is the heart (often referred to as the chick). Some claim that this role must be played by a female or the entire trope doesn't apply.  As a feminist, I disagree. I feel like anyone, regardless of their gender can inhabit the role. The heart of the TBBT gang  is totally Rajesh (aka Raj)  Koothrappali, the Indian astrophysicist. Typical of many new Americans, he frequently makes mistakes when using colloquialisms. His errors often make him appear to be a gay man; although he claims to be a metrosexual4. Indeed, early in the series, many viewers, along with his parents and sister Pria, thought he would come out eventually.

When he dates women he appears to pursue entirely the wrong ones.  In the fifth season, he  actually considers marrying Lakshmi  Choudry, a lesbian who wants him to act as a merkin5

Additionally, he also dates two women named Emily. One briefly in season 5 (who only wants him for his bank account) and since season 7, Emily Sweeney. That Emily appears to be too macabre for sweet, innocent Raj . Perhaps he’s only with her because he enjoys the regular access to sex provided by a romantic relationship. Some fans feel he should have chosen to continue dating Lucy6 ; the cute girl who shared many of his social anxieties. He broke up with her to date Emily. Originally, he wanted to date them both, but Lucy wouldn't agree.

Raj also loves things that are often classified as ‘female targeted’, such as watching romantic comedies. Also, once he learned to talk to the girls without imbibing, he enjoys attending girls’ night.

He overreacts to emotional distress. He stopped going to work, locked himself in his apartment, and answered the door only wearing his briefs after Lucy climbed out the window during their initial coffee date. It’s a good thing that Howard and Bernadette decided to buy him a dog after the Lakshmi incident or he might have married her. Now, to paraphrase  Bernadette, he has the time to find someone who will love him for him.

Sources:

  1. http://storywonk.com/storywonk-daily-261-the-hero-of-the-five-man-band/
  2. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FiveManBand
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1VxtpcpHd0
  4. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrosexual
  5.   https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-lesbian-version-of-a-beard
  6.  https://www.quora.com/Why-wasnt-Lucy-kept-as-The-Big-Bang-Theory-character
  7.  Featured imaged by  xSecondStar 

 

Published by Martina Robinson