At first glance it’s easy to dismiss The Big Bang Theory. Some might have no time for what appears to be clichéd aspects of geekdom. Indeed, there’s lots of video game playing, comic book collecting and Star Trek references to be had here. Additionally, a comedy about scientists might leave some people feeling, uh, not so smart. However, what the show’s creators, Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre, and their writers have done is simply use these elements to develop characters that drive the laughs.
Lots of them. Lorre has developed several successful comedies, most notably Two and a Half Men. His partnership with Prady has produced a show that retains some of Two’s crudeness, while ramping up the wit. Somewhat oddly, it’s the most extreme character, Sheldon (Jim Parsons), who has drawn the most fan adoration. Fastidious, condescending and some would say asexual, Sheldon has struck a chord with viewers who apparently see a little bit of themselves or people they know in the character. It’s almost as if Sheldon is the sitcom version of his hero, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. Fascinating. Season two continues the “will they or won’t they” dynamic of Sheldon’s roommate Leonard (Johnny Galeki) and their cute neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco), as well as deeper insights into supporting characters Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and wannabe ladies man Howard (Simon Helberg). In a very dim television universe, The Big Bang Theory shines brightly. (P.F. Wilson) Grade: A