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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Big Bang Theory. The Complete First Season. Warner Bros. Entertainment (2009)

A wonderfully funny comedy series that is neither cynical nor sentimental.The essential situation is straightforward, Leonard ( Johnny Galecki) & Sheldon ( Jim Parsons) are flatmates and scientists, they research in particle physics. Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) an attractive waitress and aspiring actress moves into the apartment across the hall and Leonard develops a serious crush on her. With the addition of Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Rajesh Koothrappali ( Kunal Nayyar) friends and colleagues of Leonard and Sheldon the fish-out-of-water situation as Penny and the four nerds interact is in place.
The strength of the series is in the quality of the writing and the acting. Sheldon finds human relationships baffling and repulsive, Howard is verging on being psychotically sexually assertive, Rajesh is pathologically shy around women and Leonard is unsure of his footing in social situations that are outside of his professional life. Penny is a baffled by the science and interests of the for scientists. The possibilities for stupid caricature is clear and the deft and witty way that they are avoided is one of the many, many pleasures of the series. The show has great affection for the characters, none are patronised or belittled for a laugh. Best of all it does not denigrate the idea of cleverness nor does it sentimentalise stupidity.
For any comic or science fiction fan the jokes are spot on and beautifully pointed, each time I have watched an episode I found new jokes I was laughing too hard to notice the previous times. The physical comedy is restrained and a joy to watch in the slight movements and cues that reveal so much. This series is a comedy classic.

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