Oct 29, 2015

[TV] The Big Bang Theory: Season 8

I have to admit that when you deal with very long-running shows like The Big Bang Theory, it's hard to keep all your reviews for various seasons totally distinct from one another. I can always start these things talking about my continued appreciation (but not outright love) for the show despite the geek backlash over the years. But I'll just dive into the review proper with a bit of an effort to distinguish this season from the ones prior.

The Big Bang Theory is still a comedy and one that has gone on long enough for more people to grow to like it and for more people to get tired with it. I think we continue watching since we need a certain amount of sitcoms in our TV viewing to help deal with work stress, and this isn't to bad a venture.

But yeah, in the beginning of the series it was mostly funny individual situations the boys would get into and thus a lot of the complaints about making fun of geek culture. But in these later seasons it's more about the relationships themselves and most characters have seen a lot of development over the years. And that's where the stories continue to find inspiration.

Synopsis: The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. The show is well into its ninth season as of the time of this blog post review.

The last season ended with Sheldon's (Jim Parsons) surprising decision to pretty much go on trains instead of dealing with more personal issues at home. But his hopes of somehow finding himself after all that had changed during the last season resulted in a pantless Sheldon in need of support to go home. And the fact that Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and not his girlfriend Amy (Mayim Bialk) becomes an issue in itself.

Then there's the fact that Leonard and Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) are officially engaged after years of on-again, off-again...whatever that was. At least it's over now - but even that's not all that rue since Leonard and Penny still have a lot of doubt that continues to eat away at their relationship. But beyond the relationship, this season has Penny exploring a new career in pharmaceutical sales thanks to a referral from Bernadette (Melissa Rauch).

If anything, I think this season was colored by the death of Carol Ann Susi, who was the voice of Mrs. Wolowitz - Howard's mother. Her real-life death eventually translated into the death of her character later in the season, which probably represented some of the best character development for Howard (Simon Helberg) compared to prior seasons. And while she was only a voice in terms of how she was depicted, she's certainly going to be missed.

On a side note in what felt a little left field, this season also included the announcement that Raj's (Kunal Nayyar) parents were going to get divorced after 40 years. As much as they were never exactly the most loving couple on-screen, the big news still felt a little weird to me. It would only come in occasionally as a minor plot device, so on the whole it felt like a weird direction to go into.

And that's what a lot of this season felt like - some interesting ideas but not necessarily things that came together to feel like a bigger plan or something. There were a lot of episodes that felt more at home in seasons 1 or 2 since they felt very isolated and literally episodic, which was a waste given the rich character stories are present in the show. I can understand how such episodes might help sell the show to new viewers, but it might have not have been that necessary had they avoided moving the show's schedule around so much.

The Big Bang Theory: Season 8 is still a good continuation of the show but you can also tell that the production is beginning to feel its age. I don't immediately think the show is "dying" but the stories are feeling a little strained. So I can still rate the season as 3.5 weird relationship moments between Amy and Sheldon out of a possible 5.

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