Creators: Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady
Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Heldberg, Kunal Nayyar
From CBS’ highly watched Monday night comedy lineup is this little sitcom about four ultra-geeks who are brought back to real life from the beautiful girl across the hall. The creators Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg) are able to create such fresh and hilarious situations from a relatively normal and traditional set-up.
Our lead characters are brain-iacs Leonard (Galecki) and Sheldon (Parsons) who live in an apartment with equations on white boards, posters of planets and UFOs, bookshelves full of research texts, and every scientific toy and gadget invented. The roommates are your cliche nerds: pale-skinned, fragile guys with stunted social skills. This quote sums up perfectly the intentions of the roommates:
Leonard: We need to widen our circle.
Sheldon: I have a very wide circle. I have 212 friends on myspace.
Leonard: Yes, and you’ve never met one of them.
Sheldon: That’s the beauty of it.
Sheldon steals a lot of the scenes with his arrogance of being so brilliant while Leonard is more concerned of being accepted by the rest of society and especially getting to know the girl next door.
Although the leads provide a sufficient amount of comedy to keep the show rolling, the series really picks up when its supporting characters come into the scene. The roommates’ friends, Rajesh (Nayyar) and Howard (Hedberg), add different attributes to the usual geek. Rajesh pathologically cannot speak with women while Howard is the complete opposite who will hit on any female he encounters (and always rejected immediately after). Whether these friends are eating Indian food or playing Halo 3… whenever they’re all together the show excels.
The icing on the cake is the pretty blond who just moved in, Penny (Cuoco). Leonard instantly feels attracted to her but as Sheldon put it, they’re not of the same species. That doesn’t prevent Leonard from keeping his crush for Penny, who knows he likes her and therefore acts the kindest towards him than to the rest of his friends. But let’s face it… Sheldon’s right (isn’t he always?). There’s no way a girl like Penny would go for a guy like Leonard.
That’s the idea of the show, and I know it’s the oldest premise in the sitcom book… but somehow The Big Bang Theory seems unique and witty. Maybe because these friends are such super-nerds is how it’s easy to separate this show from others. Their fast-speaking, quirky sense of humor, and glaring innocence are characteristics that make them outcasts even from the typical smarty pants.
But Penny is the one who keeps them grounded. She is the real force behind this series and my only complaint about her character is that she is underused. When she interacts with the geeks, it always results in a hilarious outcome. Leonard’s always trying to hide his enormous crush for her with awkward and stuttered responses. Howard relentlessly hits on her and receives a wide variety of being turned down. Sheldon never finds it necessary to converse with her since everything he needs to know can be acquired by himself. And Rajesh… well he can’t talk to Penny (unless he’s drunk).
The show moves at a quick pace for such ordinary situations. I’m wondering whether or not the geek-comedy will wear itself out in the second season or not. I mean, how many physics jokes can they throw out at the audience without it being repetitive? And by physics jokes I mean any consecutive words that I have never heard of nor care what they mean because I know the wikipedia entry will only confuse me more. But for the first season, The Big Bang Theory was a fine show. I look forward to the second season and hope the lineup of The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Two and a Half Men continue to air on CBS for years to come.