Big Bang Theory, The – Season 4
The Big Bang Theory has now become one of the most viewed TV comedy shows in the USA, just barely edging out Two and a Half Men.
In Season 4 Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is dating Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) thanks to Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) setting him up through an online dating site during The Lunar Excitation (Season 3 finale). To everyone’s surprise, Amy and Sheldon actually get along, but not as most couples would. Amy is basically a female Sheldon in mannerisms, but she’s different from him because she’s a bit more open to trying new things, bonding socially — hanging out with the guys and getting along well with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Berandette (Melissa Rauch) in particular — and doesn’t like Star Trek.
It’s not just about the typical geekiness that we always see in Big Bang Theory, as there are also relationships happening. There’s Amy and Sheldon as a friendship, while Howard and Bernadette restore their relationship again after a falling out from last year. Raj doesn’t do much with women until this finale, but earlier during The Desperation Emanation he tells Leonard (Johnny Galecki) that he has a girlfriend that is deaf. It suits Raj’s inability to speak with women perfectly. But the worst relationship easily belongs to Leonard and Raj’s sister, Priya (Aarti Mann).
Not only does Priya and Leonard’s relationship feel very forced, but she is insanely boring, humorless, unlikable and doesn’t blend with the characters, even with Raj. You may compare the Penny-Leonard-Priya triangle to Rachel, Ross and Emily from Friends — with Priya written to make the audience care and hope for Penny and Leonard to get back together while they’re being split apart. But nearly anything involving her sucked the entertainment out of watching the show, especially during the last third.
Despite that, The Big Bang Theory still has some great things going. The cast is keeps up acting-wise for the most part. The writers improved on Bernadette and tweaked Amy so she didn’t feel like a complete Sheldon ripoff. Both Bialik and Rauch blended well with the main cast. Simon Helberg made Howard into a more likable character and seem less one-dimensional.
“I am aware of the way humans usually reproduce which is messy, unsanitary and based on living next to you for three years, involves loud and unnecessary appeals to a deity.”
Jim Parsons still remains the best actor. He continues to be hilarious and entertaining as his socially challenged character, who has become a bit more neurotic. Despite Sheldon often interacting with Amy, Parsons avoids breaking character by putting Sheldon in a relationship, which could have been something fans feared. Though he has better chemistry with Kaley Cuoco than Johnny Galecki does.
Speaking of Galecki, he surprisingly earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series along with Parsons. And the voters will get to watch both men twice, which could either work in their favor (Parsons being the strongest candidate for victory) or have them cancel each other out.
Notable guest stars include Buffy The Vampire Slayer alumni Eliza Dushku, George Takei (Star Trek) in a brief appearance, Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) and Keith Carradine playing Penny’s father.
The Big Bang Theory can be entertaining to watch thanks to its cast, but this didn’t feel as fresh as the first three seasons. The geeky appeal is toned down at times, having the show be sex-ridden [see: jokes, storylines] and some of the characters — eg. Penny, Leonard, Priya and (to a certain extent) Raj — getting screwed over by the writing and direction. I still like it, but the cliffhanger used to enter the fifth season feels pretty cheap and makes me feel afraid of the direction the show may go with certain key characters.