The Big Bang Theory is in uncharted territory. After three seasons of strong ratings on Monday night following the leads of more established shows, How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men, CBS is betting on The Big Bang Theory to start a new comedy block on Thursday where drama generally lives (except on NBC). CBS is also betting on Jim Parsons, the 2010 Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in A Comedy Series, who plays the brilliant but socially inept physicist, Sheldon Cooper.
Season four of The Big Bang Theory starts by going to its strength: Sheldon, or more specifically, the interaction between Sheldon and Penny (Kaley Cuoco), his neighbor. Penny encourages Sheldon to go on a date with Amy Fowler after she learns that the two scientists have discussed procreating. Mayim Bialik (she’ll always be Blossom to me and millions of others) reprises her role as neurobiologist Amy Fowler, essentially a female version of Sheldon. Somehow, Penny winds up chaperoning the date and her social life and dating history become the primary topic of conversation. Hopefully, The Big Bang Theory will continue to keep Bialik on the show since the interaction between her and Parsons is really enjoyable.
The other story line focuses on Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and the robotic arm he created for NASA. Howard brings the arm home for his own personal use to perform duties such as serving Chinese food, giving himself a massage and, to paraphrase Seinfeld, mastering his own domain. Naturally, this last function doesn’t go very well and leads to an awkward, yet funny, scene featuring Howard, Leonard (Johnny Galecki), and Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) at the hospital. With that written, for a show airing at 8:00 PM on network television, the show certainly doesn’t shy away from using the word “penis” in regular dialogue. It seemed like the writers wanted the characters to say “penis” just because they could.
As good as the other characters are written and performed, including Koothrappali with the line of the night — “Where does Aqua Man poop?” — The Big Bang Theory is doing the right thing by focusing on Sheldon. He truly is the reason to watch the show and is acted wonderfully by Parsons.