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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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Viewer
58
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Episode 1 - The Date Night Variable

28 February 2013

Credit NBC

Synopsis: Sheldon and Amy are celebrating their anniversary. Sheldon decides to bring Raj along to help handle the conversation. Amy is naturally angry and Raj leaves. He swings by Leonard’s apartment where he and Penny are having an awkward date. Raj ends up at the comic book store and agrees to hang out with Stewart. Meanwhile Howard is in space trying to avoid hurting his mother’s feelings about Bernadette’s desire to move out.

The Good: I’ve written for some time about Raj’s potential homosexuality. In awkwardly asking Stewart to hang out it seems like he is finally moving in that direction. The writers have certainly hammered home his loneliness to such an extent that something has to be done. Perhaps by forming a new male friendship he will finally realise how he truly feels. If that’s the direction the writers are going then it should make Raj the most interesting character on the show because no one else seems to be going anywhere.

The Bad: The other six characters remained in the stasis they were in for much of last season. The most irritating of those stories was Howard not having the guts to choose between his mother and his wife. In a weird way it does reflect the reality of a cowardly guy avoiding the issue. But what really annoyed me was that the producers, who never spend money on locations, finally gave us an interesting visual of Howard in space only to do nothing but rehash a story that has been running for years (check out 416).

I was slightly less annoyed by Leonard and Penny in their never ending merry-go-round. The writers are clearly embracing the awkward dynamic that they’ve established with Penny literally playing the male role and Leonard the female along with revelation that she has never said “I love you” to him. It’s hard to see either character as sympathetic in this situation. Perhaps this was just a reminder of their starting positions and something will actually change soon. I won’t hold my breath.

I was least aggrieved by Sheldon and Amy because their dating phase is the least established. I can buy that she would stick around hoping he will change given how much they have in common. However his use of a Spider-Man speech was all gimmick. It’s not entirely convincing that he would understand why or how to use such a tactic to satisfy her.

Comic Highlight: Raj was carrying the episode in terms of comedy. I wasn’t that happy with him being so unaware as to barge in on everyone’s dates but I will excuse it given his drinking. I smiled at him claiming that American football couldn’t compare to Badminton or Cricket. But the best moment of the episode came as Raj begins analysing Penny and Leonard’s relationship. He is so certain of the strength of their bond and begins ranting when he finds out that Penny has never said “I love you.” There really was something amusing and surprising about him sternly telling her to tell Leonard that she loves him.

In Conclusion: Outside of Raj there was little to enjoy here. The show’s dynamics are so well established that it was boring to hear the same old dialogue again. However it’s only the first episode of the season so let’s see if it goes somewhere.

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  • Finally saw this episode! The writers may take Raj in the direction you predict but I contend that it's not foreshadowing or a slow walk to an epiphany that he's gay; it's a lazy recurring joke that's easy for the writers to turn to in order for Raj to have something to do. He's an afterthought, like much of Howard's plot.

    What little we have seen of Raj's interior life is not homosexual - Raj crushing on Penny, fantasizing about Bernadette, writing poetry about either - and his actions while drunk (which supposedly reduces Raj's inhibitions) has never led to him approaching men, giving them meaningful looks, or anything.

    I do think it might be more interesting for Raj to be gay than to continue being the sad guy but would it be good for the show? It's about screen time. New characters can add to the opportunities for fresh humor but I see more contrived, meaningless stories to involve the cast and justify their presence on the show.

    I like new characters but mostly when they have an independent existence; like Stuart or Leslie Winkle. They do their thing - there's the iimplication that in their story Sheldon and Leonard are the walk-ons - and they don't take screen time away from the original gang. It makes the show feel like a slice of life rather than just some actors trading quips.

    Ultimately, though, it's all about Sheldon. If it's okay with Sheldon - and it probably isn't 'cause he's all about homeostasis - then whatever direction Raj takes is okay with me.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by JStrange, 28/02/2013 5:34pm (6 years ago)

  • I am incredibly busy right now but will get to it asap

    Posted by The TV Critic, 01/10/2012 11:36pm (7 years ago)

  • Why is the review not up yet??

    Viewer score: 50 / 100

    Posted by xyz, 01/10/2012 2:57pm (7 years ago)

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