Big Bang Theory Addresses Prayer and Evolution, And Other Monday Night Comedy

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CBS on Monday night has been surpassing the once must-see TV of NBC on Thursday nights the last couple of years, with the addition of The Big Bang Theory placing CBS well ahead.  Who would have thought that a show full about jokes about science fiction, comic books, and physics would attract such a mass audience? Of course I would have loved the premise even if it wasn’t such a success.

The nerds on The Big Bang Theory returned from their summer at the North Pole in the season opener last night leading to a milestone for nerds going after girls who are out of their league. Leonard went to tell Penny that they were home leading to a series of scenes such as the above. This was probably the greatest moment for nerds since Jeremy (Joshua Malina) succeeded in dating Natalie (Sabrina Lloyd) on Sports Night. In one of many excellent lines in the episode, Walowitz expressed regret over not going over first. This set up the response from Raj:

Wolowitz: “Damn it, I should have gone over and told her we were back.”
Raj: “Yeah, it was ‘first come, first served.’”

The episode had many great scenes. Some were based upon regular jokes of the show such as Sheldon returning to his beloved side of the couch, a reference back to Soft Kitty,  and somehow the manner in which he knocks on Penny’s door manages to remain funny every time he does it.

The trip to the North Pole was a scientific failure but, primarily motivated by self preservation, Leonard, Wolowitz, and Raj provided Sheldon with some fake data. (I won’t even get into what happened the night the heat went out and they slept together in the nude.) After feeling humiliated by finding out he was tricked after telling everyone about the inevitability of winning the Nobel Prize, Sheldon returned home to his mother in Texas.  Leonard was reluctant to go after him because he wanted to get into bed with Penny and Wolowitz had his own argument against going:

Leonard: I don’t want to go to Texas
Wolowitz: Alright and I do? My people already crossed the desert once. We’re done

Not that I’ve ever needed an excuse to include a post about shows such as The Big Bang Theory, but the events in Texas do fit in well with the usual topics of this blog. In Texas we saw Sheldon’s response to prayer and when the other guys arrived to try to take him home, Sheldon said he planned to stay in Texas to “teach evolution to creationists.”

As seen in the above clip, Sheldon’s mother responded to this by saying, “You watch your mouth Sheldon. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”  Sheldon explained, “Evolution isn’t an opinion. It’s fact.” His mother responded, “And that is your opinion.” Sheldon then saw the folly of remaining in Texas and agreed to return home–which his mother saw as proof that prayer does work.

Returning home, there is no longer anything keeping Leonard and Penny from going to bed but afterward they both felt weird. I suspect that the writers felt the need to resolve this matter from last season by having them hook up but realized that having them remain together would not feel right for this show. If this is the case, rather than having them feel weird about friends sleeping together I would have preferred to have one, if not both, realize in a subsequent episode that they really do not have anything in common. Of course this might still be coming.

I didn’t make it beyond CBS last night. I’ll definitely watch Heroes tonight, but I doubt if I’ll watch House. The same formula has been repeated too many times on that show to keep my interest. I’m sure others are thinking the same applies to Heroes, but I do tend to be harder on medical shows. (Gray’s Anatomy didn’t last a single episode in my house).

How I Met Your Mother was good but not at its greatest last night. Do people really sit down and define their relationship as opposed to winging it and seeing where it goes? It was rather contrived to find that Ted was in the wrong class room without finding out for several minutes but this does alter the knowledge that the eventual mother was in the class room. Rather than being one of his students she can now be virtually anyone on campus. There were some new Barnyisms as we learned how the same rules apply to girls as apply to Gremlins, and the Indiana Jones stuff was, well, legendary.

I’ll give Accidentally On Purpose another chance due to staring Jenna Elfman but the pilot was a disappointment, having already seen the much funnier Knocked Up. The set up of having Zach getting Elfman’s character pregnant and then wind up living with her in a platonic relationship felt unrealistic but it will be more important to see what they do with the situation that has been established.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    House is the medical equivalent of a cop show, the plots are always fairly formulaic and the entertaining parts of the show are character driven. I admit that I felt the past season was the best one yet in the character department, and equally admit that if the characterization were not so good I’d have stopped watching long ago because the formula for the main ‘case’ of each episode really has worn into such a groove. Of course, I’m a huge fan of Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard’s acting and chemistry on the show, and also of Lisa Edelstein and Olivia Wilde (admittedly for very different reasons then the gentlemen list prior), so I keep watching despite the formulaisms.
     
    As for Heroes, I suppose I am outside the norm. I thought the ‘Villains’ chapter that everyone supposedly hated so much was much better fare than the cheesy X-Men-and-the-government riff of ‘Fugitives.’ I thought the deeper exposition of Sylar’s character in ‘Villains’ was the first time in the show that he’d ever been interesting, and though a lot of it was undone he is at least no longer an annoying, robotic menace I just want off the screen. I did like ‘Fugitives’ and certainly am not surprised they did it, on a show that owes so much to the X-Men on so many levels it’s impossible not to see such a blatant riff at least once, but found it inferior.
     
     

  2. 2
    Emptysuit says:

    I like the “Big Bang Theory”.  House is more like Sherlock Holmes

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    House is the medical equivalent of a cop show…”

    I also tend not to watch cop shows. The only cop shows I’ve watched recently have involved themes not really part of cop shows (Life on Mars and Dexter). As I said, I also tend to be harder on medical shows. The many ways in which House is unrealistic creates a bigger distraction for me. Ultimately it comes down to time and needing to limit the number of shows I watch. Often House has been among the shows that I record every week, and has also wound up being the show which we frequently never got to.

    For now I’m checking out the new shows of the season, along with several old shows which I will definitely watch. If it turns out that there are not many new shows that I decide to follow then it is possible I’ll start recording and watching House again.

  4. 4
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘Ultimately it comes down to time and needing to limit the number of shows I watch.’
     
    I understand that. I recently watched Veronica Mars from the beginning during the summer break, because I had never had the chance to see the whole show in the proper context while it was on the air. I started Lost, but then the regular season started again. So I am trying to balance the nearly-caught-up-Lost with the new stuff coming out now and the Leverage, Burn Notice, and Dark Blue I already fell behind on watching VM and Lost.

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