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The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is a comedy about two physicists Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper who live and work together in Pasadena, California. They live a comfortable geeky existence until attractive wannabe actress Penny moves in across the hall. CBS 2007-???

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Episode 7 - The Guitarist Amplification

27 March 2012

Synopsis: Penny announces that her friend Justin will be sleeping on her couch for the next few weeks. Leonard is upset and they argue so much that Sheldon gets upset. When Howard and Raj argue too Sheldon reveals that it reminds him of his parents arguing. He tries to force Penny and Leonard to make up but when they argue again he runs away to the comic book store.

The Good: This is a brisk episode. The constant fighting keeps each scene moving and the writers find a way to pack some decent humour into the yelling. Though as usual Sheldon is furnished with all the best moments (see Comic Highlight). Sheldon’s self absorption comes to the fore once more “When that woman moved in three years ago I told you not to talk to her and now look – we’re going to be late for the movies!” Sheldon simulates his parents arguing with great skill as you would expect. Penny trying to turn off a transformer was a fun visual gag as was her snapping at a customer “Yeah yeah I see you’re making a little check sign in the air!” That was one of those rare moments in the show where real life was allowed to interfere with the carefully scripted arguments.

The writing seems to understand the psychological underpinning of the main characters though without fully expressing them. Leonard is understandably jealous and possessive of Penny. The idea that a more attractive man will come and steal her from him is clearly something he is insecure about. Similarly she keeps bringing up the idea that he must think she is stupid. Being surrounded by “genius scientists” has obviously brought out her insecurity too. Finally Sheldon’s behaviour comes more clearly into focus with the revelations about his parents’ arguments. Now we can see why he would retreat into solitude and fantasy so easily and behave childishly and selfishly all the time. He has never dealt with his parents’ conflicts and continues to retreat in adulthood from any arguments which might make him sad.

The Bad: Despite all that good characterisation it never comes out in a way which is pleasing to watch. Instead of their real issues being addressed Penny and Leonard just yell and yell. When Howard, Raj and Howard’s mother begin shouting it becomes somewhat unpleasant to watch. In general the jokes squeezed out of yelling are going to feel a bit forced anyway and this suffers from that at times. Sheldon too doesn’t actually face the root cause of his issues but just avoids them instead. I don’t have too much of a problem with this as long as they are addressed one day. For now it just establishes another piece of the Sheldon puzzle.

I was sad to see Stuart reduced to being another geek worshipping at Penny’s feet. He had been established (220) as a nice guy who owned his own business and had no fear in asking Penny out. Since then he has always been portrayed as a nice port of sanity in the sea of geekdom. But here they rob him of his dignity both at home and in his shop which is sad to see. For me it’s writers mistakenly thinking that they need to cram a laugh into every line and doing real damage in the process.

Comic Highlight: Sheldon tells Leonard “Oh good you’re home, I need you to do me a favour...go apologise to Penny...Right now would be good. (Penny storms in) although a few moments ago would have been better.”

In Conclusion: The show remains tantalisingly close to producing really good TV but forever sell themselves short at the altar of the lame punch line.

('DiggThis)

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