For a show that prides itself on its scientific merit, the science itself has become more of a secondary priority in the past few seasons. The result is just a generic sitcom that has found its way to include way more cheap jokes about crude sex and mockery towards others that are extremely insensitive yet with canned laughter behind it appears comical. Somewhere, something has been lost in the translation – The Big Bang Theory has peaked where the quality in writing has plummeted at an alarming rate. Never mind the fact that the show stereotypes people who the writers think what nerds are – never fully grasping the damage they are doing by exploiting some personality traits that just don’t exist the way they are portrayed by the main cast of characters.
But with all that, the show has remained popular among viewers due to the longevity of the series. 10 seasons have come – the core group of 4 “nerds” and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) have expanded to 8. And while the group has grown, not much of their environment has changed – aside from Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) remodeling Howard’s childhood home and welcoming a baby (that sounds suspiciously like Carol Ann Susi reincarnated). They also took in the loveable loser Stuart (Kevin Sussman) who cannot just catch a break.
Is there a reason the writers like to pick on Stuart and never give the character a chance for growth? It’s as if creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady like having a character that is written as a doormat – he always has a black cloud following him. At some point is enough bad luck enough?
Between 24 episodes a season not much else has changed environmentally for a decade. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) still live together though with Leonard and Penny getting married finally the living situation becomes more normal. Sheldon and his girlfriend Amy (Mayim Bialik) move into Penny’s apartment while Penny moves in with her husband. The elevator that has been broken since season 1 is still broken, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) is just as lonely as ever and still clinging on to any of the couples like a parasite – overstaying his welcome and making things extremely uncomfortable. And why is it that Raj still sits on the floor on a pillow when the group has take-out, it seems a bit odd that the group doesn’t care whether he’s comfortable or not.
I assume it’s been determined that Penny just doesn’t have a maiden name? her family which includes her mother Susan (Katy Sagal), her father Wyatt (Keith Carradine) and her brother Randall (Jack McBrayer) as the meth cook who just served hard time make their way out to California from Nebraska for the wedding. To me (and I can’t be the only one who feels this way) Jack McBrayer feels like a fish out of water as a meth dealer. It’s poor casting for a show desperate for laughs and relevancy with quality going in a direction that isn’t favorable. It doesn’t make any sense.
It’s not all bad, there are genuine moments and laughs (when they aren’t uncomfortable) throughout the season when one character isn’t mocking the intelligence of another or playing off some un-treated mental health issues. Some moments are sweet, some are hard to swallow, and some are completely unexpected that don’t fit into the mold that the show created. The moments that do work are rare that calm the self-destruction the show seems to be on. Raj finally accepting that he needs to grow up and not be a leech of his parents is the good compared to him gathering all his exes – Lucy (Kate Micucci), Emily (Katie Leclerc) & Claire (Alessandra Torresani) to find out whats wrong with him is plain weird but tracks to his characters personality.
It’s not unusual for a season to end on a cliffhanger – season 10 is no different. As a character Sheldon has made strides in development in growth since we as viewers were first introduced to him. And the fact that he’s in a long-term committed relationship with someone who have been intimate with each other is welcome. It’s about time they move to the next step – though some of it feels unnatural. I half expect Sheldon to throw it all away and regress back to his old habits.
Season 10 of The Big Bang Theory is overall a mixed bag. Writers still don’t understand nerd culture and what that means. The reason to keep coming back to the series is for the characters and their relationships with one another. Development for some have been slow but progress is still progress. The old-fashioned sitcom is no longer ideal with shows like Modern Family, Parks & Recreation & The Office creating a mocumentary stylistic sensation that brings the genre into a new era. Too much canned laughter, forced jokes to shy away from dense moments or distract from actual feelings hold back the series from reaching any momentum. The science is still solid, if it ever changes, the show may never be looked at the same.
Created By: Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady
Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, Mayim Bialik, Kevin Sussman
Where to Watch: HBO Max
Release Date: September 19, 2016
Rotten Tomatoes Score:
My Score: 2 out of 5