The Big Bang Theory is one of those rarities on TV these days -- a funny sitcom with heart. Penny (Kaley Cuoco), a waitress / actress, moves into the apartment across the hall from Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) -- who are both scientists and geeks. Leonard is immediately smitten, as are his two friends, Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) -- likewise scientists and geeks. All three go to great lengths to spend time with Penny. Raj and Howard have two completely opposite approaches to this endevour, as Raj can't speak to women unless he's intoxicated, and Howard uses every possible smarmy, bad line in the book. Sheldon, Leonard's roommate, is an analytical, obsessive compulsive who doesn't fall prey to Penny's charms, but who more often than not is dragged along on Leonard's quest. The four of them are a geek squad that unabashedly enjoy their non-mainstream interests, while pursuing decidedly mainstream interests, like relationships. IOW, not that much different than Penny, who drifts into one shallow relationship after another, while pursuing an acting career. But as they each interact more and more, they find the best relationship is their developing, odd friendship.
I had avoided the show for years because the premise of sounded full of ugly stereotypes. But appropriately enough, I caught an episode at my local comic book shop (Kingdom Comics) and laughed myself silly. Yes, all the characters exhibit some typical traits of their respective roles, but the actors make them real people, not stereotypes. Yes, much of the humor is a result of the culture clash between the geeks and the actress, but both sides reveal their foibles and learn from each other. And there are a lot of foibles, especially with Sheldon.
Each episode is about 21 minutes long, and self contained, so it's easy to fit them into a busy schedule or zip through an entire disc if you are looking for an evening of entertainment. You don't have to be a geek to enjoy the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, you just have to enjoy stories about friendship ... and dealing with difficult people.
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