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TV Series Review

Since its inception in 2007, the magnetic polar opposites of sexy and geeky have kept CBS' The Big Bang Theory in a relatively simple and consistent orbit around Leonard's lust for young and pretty neighbor Penny. Leonard, the less nerdy of the two physicists living in apartment 4A, longed for the coital contact he and his friends feverishly spoke of in private. And he does eventually come up with the right equation to make that happen. Sex and other such shenanigans finally lead the two into marriage.

Leonard's apartment-mate Sheldon, meanwhile, has found "solace" in the arms and brainwaves of Amy Farrah Fowler, his wife, and somewhat dour neuroscientist who appreciates Sheldon's mind almost as much as Sheldon does. But we sometimes suspect that Klingon Boggle, Halo tournaments and Mordor texts written in elvish script are more his true objects of desire.

As the years have passed, friend Howard Wolowitz also found—and actually married—Bernadette Rostenkowski, which means that most of the show's initial main characters have a main squeeze now. The only exception is astrophysicist Raj, a guy who, until Season 6, wasn't even able to talk with women unless he was drunk.

"I'm not sure what Chuck Lorre [the show's creator] has against smart people," Chicago Tribune blogger Maureen Ryan wrote early on in the show's run, "but with the foul sitcom The Big Bang Theory, he tries to have his revenge against anyone with an IQ above room temperature. … Even if the jokes on this show weren't tired and mean-spirited, it would be hard to care about any comedy that hates its own lead characters so much."

The show has grown, in some ways, more respectful since then. And with half the characters married off, it's become—nearly miraculously for a Chuck Lorre show—less salacious. These characters clearly care for one another and have, to some degree, become livable if not truly lovable. Indeed, some brainiacs have heartily embraced the show.

But while The Big Bang Theory may be relatively better than it used to be, Nielsen's Law of Lorre is still in effect: Even as it features characters of high intellect and offers some midrange sweetness, the series is still predicated on low humor—sex, swearing, bodily functions and sometimes squalid stereotyping (racially, religiously). Which makes the whole thing about as funny as a chemistry lecture delivered by a guy dressed in high-water pants.

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Episode Reviews

Dec. 6, 2018: "The VCR Illumination"
The Big Bang Theory - Dec. 10, 2015 "The Earworm Reverberation"
BigBangTheory: 11-13-2014
BigBangTheory: 1282011
BigBangTheory: 9302010



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Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter; Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper; Kaley Cuoco as Penny; Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz; Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali; Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler; Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski






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