Friday, January 24, 2014

The Big Bang Theory (2007-2012) (TV-14) ****

Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) are physicists at the prestigious California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) in Pasadena, CA. Besides being colleagues, they are roommates and best friends, although their friendship is continually tested by Sheldon's inflexible and eccentric approach to life, his unwillingness to adapt to change, his lack of social skills, and his inability to appreciate sarcasm, all the result of his being mildly afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome. Leonard and Sheldon have two other friends and Cal Tech colleagues: astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and mechanical engineer Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg).

When this foursome is not working, eating in the Cal Tech cafeteria or visiting their local comic book store, they hang out in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment eating take-out food, watching science fiction movies and playing video games. All four are complete nerds, meaning they are awkward and uncomfortable in social situations involving the opposite sex. In fact, Rajesh exhibits selective mutism - he cannot talk to women unless he is drunk. Howard, on the other hand, will hit on any woman on the off-chance he might get lucky. Sheldon has no interest at all in the opposite sex, while Leonard yearns for a fulfilling relationship. So, when Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a lovely young blonde, moves into the apartment across the hall, Leonard falls for her immediately. Penny is an aspiring actress who recently moved to Pasadena from Omaha, but who is soon forced to take a job as a waitress at the local Cheesecake Factory, where the four scientists naturally begin to eat.

In addition to the five main characters there are a number of supporting characters who provide tension as well as comic relief. The major supporting characters are: Mayim Bialik as Sheldon's platonic female friend Amy Farrah Fowler; Melissa Rauch as Howard's girlfriend and later fiancĂ©e Bernadette; Kevin Sussman as comic bookstore owner Stuart; Aarti Mann as Rajesh's exotic sister Priya; and Sara Gilbert as Cal Tech physicist Leslie Winkle.

The series is frankly hilarious, and the writing by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady (creators of Two and a Half Men) is fresh and innovative. Now in its fifth season, The Big Bang Theory has been nominated for several awards including Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards. New episodes air Thursday evenings on CBS, and previous episodes are available on TBS, for rent on DVD and by streaming video from other sources. 

Label: comedy    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 57/100    
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Episodes on CBS
Episodes on TBS

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