“The Big Bang Theory” Season Two Review


As season two wrapped up, television’s four most popular physicists were off to the North Pole for three months to study String Theory, while Leonard and Penny danced around their feelings for one another, although nothing between them was resolved.  This episode set up the characters to come back to a potentially interesting new dynamic next year, and capped off an excellent sophomore year for the comedy.

This season built on the foundations set up in season one.  As I said when I reviewed the beginning of the season, the actors were all more comfortable in their roles this year, and their comedic skills were all the better.  The producers smartly realized the comedic chemistry Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) have, and paired them up for some very funny scenes.  Raj (Kunal Nayyar) also had some really good moments, and the laughs that come from his subtlety and expressiveness were even better than season one.  Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Howard (Simon Helberg) should not be ignored, either, since they also had a lot of well-deserved time in the spotlight.

The characters all showed a bit of growth, too, with Penny unconsciously throwing “Star Trek” references into everyday conversation, and the guys becoming more well-rounded individuals thanks to Penny’s influence.  Even Sheldon, the one character who cares least about being like other people, grew a bit, thanks to Penny.

The bit players the show introduced were also fun to watch, particularly Stuart the comic store owner and Kripke, the obnoxious scientist the guys work with.  I hope those two are able to return to the show soon, since they added a bit of depth to the show’s world.

The geek references were still in abundance this year, and what amazed me was not only that the references were accurate, but they were timely.  If someone was reading a “Flash” comic, for example, it was the most recent issue on the shelves.  Even the shipping boxes at the comic book store were actual Diamond boxes.  It’s that attention to detail that shows the producers care about what they’re doing.  And while the geekery was definitely a source of humor, it wasn’t done in a mean-spirited, derogatory way.

The stories this season were all good, and expanded the show’s world, whether they were character relationships, scientific achievements the guys discovered, or even new locales.  Not only did we finally get to see the oft-mentioned comic book store, but the guys got out of Pasadena a few times, traveling to Las Vegas for a vacation or by train to a scientific conference, where they met Dr. George Smoot, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose work in physics helped solidify – yep, you guessed it – the Big Bang Theory.  Oh yeah, they also met Summer Glau on the train ride up. Wackiness ensued.

This season did have a couple of minor flaws, but there were dealt with by the time the season wrapped up.  One thing I said in my earlier review was I hoped the producers didn’t focus on Sheldon’s growing popularity at the expense of the other characters.  Well, for a little while at the beginning of the season, they did.  So much so that Howard and Raj were reduced to showing up for maybe five minutes an episode for a little while.  Fortunately, they fixed the balance by the end of the season.

Also, I wondered what Sara Gilbert’s character Leslie would add to the show or how she would change the dynamic.  As it turned out, not much.  So much so that she disappeared quietly after only a few episodes, appearing one more time about three quarters of the way through the year. But honestly, I didn’t think it was a good idea to add her to the regular cast in the first place, so her departure was not all that great a loss.

Finally, while the comic book store scenes were, for the most part, very well done, at one point the show did fall into the very tired cliché of having all the customers at the store stare in shock when Penny walked in.  Yes, there’s a girl in the comic store.  It’s not unusual, and hasn’t been for a long time.  Can we please put that tired dog down now?  I was pleased to see, though, that the scene wasn’t nearly as insulting as the one in “Heroes.”  It also gave Leonard a chance to explain that comic readers were all pretty normal people (except for Captain Sweatpants), and led into a subplot where Penny actually went out with Stuart, the store owner, a few times.

I definitely enjoyed this season of “The Big Bang Theory,” and it’s clear I’m not the only one.  Not only did the show maintain high ratings throughout the year, but the network has expressed so much confidence in it that it was renewed for two full seasons, well before any other announcements were made for next year. Anyone with a love for nerd humor, or just comedy in general, should definitely check this show out.

Number of stars out of five:  Four

Number of dry slaps:  Zero

Reviewed by:  Luke

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