One small step for man, one giant leap for nerd kind!
That is the saying, isn’t it? No? Oh, well, regardless for the fifth season of The Big Bang Theory the restructured saying is fitting. As much as The Big Bang Theory has evolved over the past 4 seasons, the show has remained constant – relying on what made it great in the first place. With new characters clawing their way into the core group, the popular sitcom has more to juggle than ever before. Series creator’s Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady are boldly going where no geek has gone before.
That being said, the shows backbone which is our four geeky best friends have to share their precious time with girls, a species (their words, not mine) they never thought would ever break down the walls of 2311 North Los Robles. As necessary as it is for the shows growth and evolution of the characters, at times, the screen feels overcrowded and more complex. How many stories could we get out of Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Dr. Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Dr. Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and not a Doctor Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) before the show starts to feel uninspired and stagnant. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) can only do too much. It’s been 5 seasons and she’s still has no growth to her career – her acting isn’t panning out and the Cheesecake factory is starting to feel old. How much longer can Penny survive on being the girl next door.
On the opposite side of the spectrum Howard has a major breakthrough in his career. Finally, something to get Sheldon off his back for being a lowly engineer with a just master’s degree. Being an astronaut is a huge accomplishment and for the guys it means something more to them on a deeper level. Howard gets to live out the ultimate fantasy of going to space. How many stories are the guys in love with that take place in space? Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek are just a few and Howard can say he lived it. It just so happens Howard’s space training give some of the funniest scenes of the series while Simon gives some of his best performances on the show.
“No, you’re wrong. See, as you know, a few years ago, I achieved one of my lesser dreams and became a Notary Public. From time to time, I notarized banking documents for Raj. The Koothrappalis aren’t just rich. They are Richie Rich rich.“
The additions of Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) stole the spotlight in season 4. Mayim’s comedic timing and Melissa’s screen presence adds a missing ingredient than what the show previously had. The two also balance things out to where Penny isn’t the only woman around anymore.
Amy and Bernadette aren’t there to even the male to female ratio, their characters are full of development and potential. Amy’s character arc is arguably the best on the show. She was basically a female version of Sheldon, but they gave her a personality and it sticks the landing whenever Mayim is on screen.
While the focus has largely centered around Sheldon and Leonard, Raj and Howard took a back seat. Finally, Raj gets his time to step out of the shadows and is given a worthwhile arc. He still cannot speak to woman unless he’s drunk or they’re Deaf but, there’s progress, finally. He finally gets into a relationship but, each episode shows more peaks behind the curtain that is Raj. His personality breaks through enough to keep him interesting but sooner or later the extreme selective mutism has to end.
“When was the last time you were at Best Buy and you heard someone say, “Ooh, check out this Blu-Ray player, it must be good, it was built in Russia”?“
One of the best aspects of The Big Bang Theory has been the writing. Science wise – it’s easy to follow given the degree of difficulty some of the jargon is to pronounce. When it was just Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj the emphasis was put on the science and the nerd culture but with season 5 the dialogue has become crude and more sexualized. The addition of more women on the show means more toxic masculinity that all nerds care about is getting girls. It’s been Howard’s m.o. since the inception. The writing has put more effort into Howard being a stereotype than actually making him a good person. This type of dialogue isn’t what the show is about – it’s about a celebration of geek culture even if the culture is portrayed in a toxic manner.
If one thing has remained true with The Big Bang Theory it’s the relationship between Leonard and Penny. Like with other sitcoms their love story is bound to pick back up otherwise what’s the purpose? As each of them grow, it’s easy to see that they deserve each other and bring the best out of one another. Same can be said about Sheldon and Amy – they belong together.
It’s all fun and games watching Sheldon and one of his many mortal enemies Barry Kripke (John Ross Bowie) fail at competing in sports on every imaginable level possible, but it comes off as stereotypical that people who are nerds aren’t good at sports and never will be. For all the good that The Big Bang Theory does, it’s not a perfect show whatsoever. There are many stereotypes that are used as tools to poke fun a someone. May it be a persons undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome or a persons heritage and nationality. Yes, the interactions between Howard and his mother (Carol Ann Susi) are hilarious to a point but their only funny because of the acting and timing between the two. The implication is that Jewish men rely too heavily on others for care and the show transitions from Howard’s mother to Bernadette. At least Bernadette stands up to Howard’s nonsense.
Sitcoms take inspiration from past sitcoms – that much is inherently clear. Sheldon and Kripke are Jerry and Newman from Seinfeld reincarnated. Their greeting each other has that same energy.
One of the key character dynamics and relationships from the previous seasons has revolved around Sheldon and Penny’s unique relationship but there is something about Amy and Penny together that is hypnotizing. In fact, Amy with any character is a show stealer. The funniest moments happen to be whenever Amy is on screen, she just takes over.
The Big Bang Theory has been consistent with its characters and their relationships with one another. As much as Nerd culture is at the forefront it’s also used as a tool to nerdsplain the culture. Its borderline disrespectful how many stereotypes are exploited through the series, but the show is still funny even with every line of dialogue having the laugh track behind it. Regardless of the glaring issues, it’s easy to ignore them for the most part, The Big Bang Theory is perfectly cast and still cares about these characters.
The Big Bang Theory season five premiered in 2011 and can be streamed on HBO Max. The Big Bang Theory season three has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%. The Big Bang Theory was created for TV by Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady and stars Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch and Carol Ann Susi. 3.5 out of 5.
So, tell me, have you seen The Big Bang Theory season five and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.