Five years ago, the funniest sitcom I’ve ever seen debuted on CBS. It’s not the Friends model (Whitney, How I Met Your Mother) or the The Office model (Men at Work, 30 Rock, Parks & Rec). Instead, it’s a witty blend of both that combines the work and home lives of four nerdy friends and the women who improve and complicate their lives. Now, Warner Bros. has released the first two seasons in high definition on a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack with an added bonus: you can watch these on any portable device thanks to Ultraviolet! Fans of nerd humor everywhere, rejoice!
When we meet Sheldon Cooper (Jim Carsons) and his roommate Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) in the pilot of the first season, they’re soon embroiled in the romantic life of wannabe actress Penny (Kaley Cuoco). The two roommates are joined in their adventures, like the episode where they dress up (”The Middle Earth Paradigm”), by two other co-workers, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Howard (Simon Helberg). The foursome blend their geeky knowledge of comics, science fiction, movies, and role-playing games into their witty banter, and the results are hilarious.
I remember (I was approximately age 12) coming to the realization that I could devote my love and money to dating a girl or getting all of the comic books I wanted. I chose girls. [Years later, I collect comic books and am happily married.] But The Big Bang Theory is actually about guys who chose comics, and still wished they had met that girl. It takes each of them awhile, but the BBT finally brings them closer to achieving that, too.
Each episode is full of amazingly witty repartee that will make you think of your own childhood, your physics class from high school, and all of the things you did to try and get the attention of a member of the opposite sex. Whether it’s the “bazinga” you’re looking for or you’re really hoping for the romance to blossom, it’s well worth the entertainment value for men and women, geeks and jocks, science lovers… and those who failed every science class they ever took.
The first season, which you can now take on the go thanks to the Ultraviolet(!), is about Leonard’s courtship of Penny. She’s everything he wants in a girl but his pursuit of her is the awesome part. Over the years, we’ll revisit Leonard’s mistaken relationship with Leslie Winkle (Sara Gilbert), the guys’ relationships with their mothers (Laurie Metcalf and the voice of Carol Ann Susi debut in the first season), and the various work-related issues that these guys find themselves in. [The special features of the first season are “Quantum Mechanics of The Big Bang Theory and the gag reel.]
The second season is just as funny but it keeps moving after the Leonard-Penny formula proves to be flawed. The boys will meet Summer Glau, discover new lovers (Sara Rue as Dr. Stephanie Barnett), and revisit the mother conundrum (Christine Baranski as Leonard’s mom). Yes, the guys will get dressed up again, and yes, they will continually try to figure out how Penny fits into their geek kingdom. [Special features on the second season are “Physicist to the Stars,” which examines UCLA prof David Saltzberg’s impact on the show, and “Testing the Infinite Hilarity Hypothesis in Relation to The Big Bang Theory” which looks as the characters. And yes, there’s another gag reel.]
The Big Bang Theory is the one sitcom I’d keep if every other one disappeared off the planet. I know humor has its own vibe in different people, but I’ve never seen anything funnier. Allowing for the work lives, home lives, and romantic lives of its characters, BBT gives us the impression that real people deal with these issues, clashing and laughing, and ultimately, working it out. It’s what we want for our lives: to be clever, to be useful, to be loved.
And I’m loving some Big Bang Theory… just waiting for next season to air in September!