Friday, March 09, 2012

the big bang theory

It's been on seemingly forever, but I have just recently been catching up with The Big Bang Theory in syndication. It's the typical wacky friends set-up so familiar to sitcoms: a group of people are in and out of each other's lives and apartments. Viewers are familiar with the formula from I Love Lucy to The Golden Girls to Seinfeld. But The Big Bang Theory is also a sex comedy, with dialogue at times a little raunchy for the early hours it now airs in syndication.

The Big Bang Theory has the prerequisite breakout character, in the tradition of Fonzie, Urkel, and Kramer — Sheldon. Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, isn't just good with a punchline (although he is very good with those), but he manages to imbue the uptight scientist with maybe not humanity, but at least vulnerability. Sheldon, for all of his posturing and claims to genius, is also at times just a little boy who misses his "Meemaw."

Sheldon loves cats
Although Sheldon is definitely the reason why The Big Bang Theory is as successful as it is and has so many people tuning in, the show isn't only about funny Sheldon. The writers are smart enough to create characters that don't just become straight men for his jokes, like what happened to Happy Days star Ron Howard and the rest of the cast, but have made each character funny and quirky in their own right. The show may have started out with Kaley Cuoco's Penny as the straight person to a bunch of geeky guys, but it has evolved since its early seasons. Penny has been a lust object, girlfriend, friend, and even den mother. Sheldon's roommate Leonard, played by Johnny Galecki, can be the viewer stand-in, but can also be as geeky and silly as his buddies.

Leonard, Howard and Raj with Big Gulps
Galecki may also be responsible for the semi-recurring roles and welcome appearances of some of his former Roseanne cast mates — Sarah Gilbert as scientist and some-time girlfriend Leslie Winkle and Laurie Metcalf as Leonard's mom. Howard (Simon Helberg) may have started out just being the requisite sex-obsessed nerd of the show, but his relationship with his overbearing mother and his girlfriend Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) have added another dimension to his character — and his completely consistent sense of fashion, although not always attractive, is impressive. Kunal Nuyyar plays Raj, at first shy to being almost catatonic around women, to later feeling comfortable enough around Penny to consider her a friend. One of the best characters on the show is Sheldon's "contractual" girlfriend, Amy Farrah Fowler, played by Mayim Bialik.

Amy Farrah Fowler and Sheldon
Like most situation comedies, The Big Bang Theory isn't really about anything. It's just a half hour spent with some pretty amusing people. Watching it in syndication proves that the overall arc of a season, usually determined by whether Penny and Leonard are an item or not, doesn't really matter. As long as Sheldon seeks out Penny by rapping on her door three times, or asking her to sing "Soft Kitty," it will still be fun to watch.
Enhanced by Zemanta


Post a Comment