Creator(s): Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady
Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar
Premieres: Monday, September 24th at 8:30 p.m. on CBS
The Big Bang Theory centers on two nerd roommates, Leonard (Galecki) and Sheldon (Parsons), who have no idea how to interact with women. They make up for their lack of social skills with their monstrous IQ’s. In the pilot episode, a blonde hottie named Penny (Cuoco) moves into the apartment across the hall and, having just gotten out of a relationship, which ended with a bad breakup, is eager to befriend nice guys whom she most likely has no intention of sleeping with. That last part wasn’t actually stated, nor implied in the pilot episode but based on her hotness added to Leonard and Sheldon’s ineptness at carrying on a conversation that doesn’t involve spouting scientific theorems or references to the various experiments they’ve conducted, its pretty much assumed.
The above description will probably sum up the entire first season of this new show. The humor relies almost entirely on how nerdy Leonard, Sheldon and their two even nerdier friends, Howard and Rajesh are. Fortunately for these guys, Penny’s a nice girl who, so far, seems willing to put up with not understanding a word they’re saying. Whether or not jokes about how smart they are or how not-laid these guys have been getting since forever, will pass as funny, only time will tell.
My biggest criticism with this show is that it is very sit-commy. Like old-school sitcom. The pilot episode felt like a series of one-liner jokes broken up with laugh tracks. Even the reference to Battlestar Galactica felt way too staged to get me to chuckle. With series like The Office, Earl and 30 Rock revolutionizing the comedy genre for television, The Big Bang Theory feels like it may have arrived about five years too late. How I Met Your Mother is probably the only comedy series I watch that has a laugh-track and a stage set but that show makes up for its old-school feel with great writing, acting and those quirky flashback episodes.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate nerd humor. The problem is that the jokes are pretty much the only thing that made the episode worth watching. In terms of the acting, it was all fine but considering the talent they have, I felt like it was wasted. Cuoco balanced charm with occasional vapidity with her character on 8 Simple Rules beautifully, but in Big Bang, she seems like just your run-of-the-mill semi-ditzy, friendly blonde. And while Galecki and Parson’s ability to play the role of the sweet but dorky nerds is convincing, I can’t say that I find them all that interesting. The other two nerds, played by Helberg and Nayyar are also funny but it just feels like something is missing on this show. Maybe they need one more “normal” person in the group, or perhaps a dopey Joey Tribbiani-type character to balance out the IQ average when they’re all in the same room together.
So while I wasn’t overly impressed with the pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory, I do think with the talent in the show, there is potential for it to be a worth-watching series. The humor is there but the story is weak and the characters are borderline dull. So it will all depend on how the story develops as the first season progresses. If it continues to rely entirely on the contrast between the nerds and the hot-girl, I don’t know if people will feel compelled to tune in week after week. Then again, if there’s one series that has benefited from this kind of predictability, its Two and a Half Men, so who knows?
If you don’t want to wait until Monday to check out the first episode of The Big Bang Theory, it’s available to view in its entirety on Yahoo TV.