The Big Bang Theory is back for its third season on Monday and judging from the four critics preview clips I got to see for the first episode, it's back in perfect form. How so much comedy can come from Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) angst is amazing, but that’s only a catalyst for the show. The real success comes from a great ensemble cast with huge chemistry that can turn any line or awkward situation into laugh out loud funny. That and nerds are in. Just look at Chuck.
In last season’s finale, the four scientists, Sheldon, Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Raj (Kunal Nyyar), were settling in for their summer in the frozen wasteland of the North Pole. This was especially hard on Leonard, since he and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) were still embroiled in the difficulty surrounding their feelings for one another. In the end he goes, much to her dismay, but was seen at the North Pole breaking out her cherished gift of an ugly blue Snugli. The final scene was the guys at the North Pole in the same spots, playing games like always, eating freeze-dried Chinese food.
The season three premiere, titled “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation,” picks up three months later when the guys return, complete with Grizzly Adams facial hair and all. They are weary from their time in that “frozen hell” except for Sheldon (sporting only a goatee), who sees a Nobel Prize coming from the expedition. That is until he finds out the research was fudged by his anxious to return home team. Sheldon doesn’t take the news well and goes home to Texas in disgrace.
Sheldon going home opens up an inspired comedic premise because it results in plenty of good stuff from his mother, played by Laurie Metcalf in a return appearance. There’s some great Jesus humor involved, especially when Leonard, Raj, and Howard arrive to get Sheldon. Leonard and Penny also have a barrier-breaking moment that will kick-start their relationship, which has been a much publicized story arc for season three. Heck, even Penny tries to comfort Sheldon in a very funny scene. Most of all, the snappy lines and perfectly timed humor, a trademark for this show, are back in true form.