Jul 7, 2011

[TV] The Big Bang Theory: Season 4

And now the reviews have finally caught up with the current season - at least for this particular show. I still have a lot of ground to cover with other shows that have finished their runs for now as part of my writing queue, but I'll get there in time for sure.

The continued success of this particular show has a lot to do with the willingness of the writers to develop the characters. I mean come on, we've seen many sitcoms that have challenges with juggling an ensemble cast like this and typically the resort to killing all reasonable progress in their fictional lives in exchange for the safety of the status quo. But here the writers were willing to push the characters forward and for the most part they've all gotten to a new level of character development over the years.

Except maybe for Raj - he's kind of stuck. But then that works for him.

I continue to enjoy the show, although this season started not quite as strong as I had hoped. Then again, they found their way in time and by the end of the run it was pretty clear they were rocking things.

The Big Bang Theory is a CBS sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. The show continues to follow the lives of four geeks who work at Caltech and their not so brilliant blonde next-door-neighbor.

At the end of the last season, a prank by Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) led to Sheldon (Jim Parsons) meeting Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) through an online dating site. She appears to be equally brilliant as Sheldon, but in a different field of study - this being neurobiology. She's pretty much a female clone of Sheldon with a different set of personality quirks. She becomes a series regular in the course of this season and playfully decides that she's Penny's (Kaley Cuoco) "bestie". Comedy naturally ensues from this particular relationship.

This season also has Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) coming back as Howard's girlfriend after a minor debackle that somehow involves World of WarCraft - I will not reveal more. This season also hails the return of Raj's sister, Priya (Aarti Mann) and a rekindling of her relationship with Leonard (Johnny Galecki), with Penny being pushed aside since even just being a friend seems threatening to Priya. And with her only female support coming from the odd pair of Amy and Bernadette, Penny is in for a very interesting season of coping with Leonard's social ventures.

Zac Levi, Rebecca Romijn, Johnny Galecki & Jim...Image via WikipediaThe season seemed a bit too obsessed with the interpersonal relationships angle. While I appreciate the growth of the characters in this area and the fact that they've defied traditional geek stereotypes by making sure the cast hooks up with people, but this was a bit much. Then again, the introduction of Amy and Bernadette as more regular members of the cast has made for a much more entertaining cast. More often than night, the conversations that happen between the three girls prove a heck of a lot more entertaining than the guys.

I have to admit that at first I thought Amy was going to be some passing fad - a comical plot device that would drop off over time. But clearly the character grew on all of us and resulted in the writers giving her more stories and building up her character more. The quirky social interactions she has with everyone wither in person or via Facetime chat make for interesting situations. She is, after all, the more sociable Sheldon - but not by much.

The season ender was...interesting, to say the least. It didn't quite have that sense of finality / cliffhanger-ness that we've seen in previous seasons and at first I wasn't sure that it was in fact the season ender. Then again, the season had mixed degrees of writing all throughout with Amy Farrah Fowler being the most interesting part of the season, at least for me. Her character just grew into this well-oiled part of the show's machine given her relationship with Sheldon, being Penny's Bestie, dragging Bernadette along in her girls-only schemes and pretty much just coasting through all the other guys. If anything, this season managed to launch her BIG TIME, and I'm glad for it.

And by the end of the season, Bernadette was so totally kick-ass!

But I do wish they had given Raj more development opportunities. And no, that little twist in the season finale wasn't quite enough to justify a lot of the neglect over the course of the season.

This fourth season of The Big Bang Theory continues to thrive thanks to good writing and interesting character interactions, although I felt prior seasons were still better. Thus it gets 3.5 dozen cats that find themselves under Sheldon's care.

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