April 4, 2020

Review: The Big Bang Theory.

In astronomical circles we’ve all met the guy who has memorized Pi to the nth degree, or can recite the periodic table backwards or knows every star in the Big Dipper by obscure Arabic name. Or perhaps you are that guy, with your atomic Green Lantern watch synchronized to both Universal and Local time and you’re reading this wondering; “so what? Everyone else I know is equally socially handicapped…”

Which leads us to this week’s somewhat off-beat review of what might well be the funniest show in the history of the universe; CBS’s the Big Bang Theory. Now in its 3rd season, the Big Bang Theory has consistently made science nerds laugh at themselves, and as Fat Albert would say, “you might just learn some (science) before we’re done.” The show follows the exploits of Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard as they navigate the worlds of science and science fiction with ease and yet are utterly clueless about relationships and everyday life. Enter Penny, the next door waitress and aspiring actress who serves as our normalized window into this geek’d out world. Think of it as Friends meets Num3ers. Seriously, it is that funny. It has even made us utter a time or two here at Astroguyz; “isn’t it somewhat scary that we know the oath of the Green Lantern and can recite it along with Sheldon?” True, we don’t wear pointy ears to conventions and stalk Star Trek actors, but still…

For the record, Sheldon is a theoretical physicist, Leonard is a research physicist, Raj a planetary astronomer, and Wolowitz is a JPL engineer. This is juxtaposed with Penny’s work at the cheese cake factory and the refreshing fact that she never finished Community College. (Hey, what’s wrong with Community College?) Occasional stand-ins include Leslie Winkle played by Sara Gilbert of Rosanne fame, and watch for cameos by astrophysicist George Smoot and Sheldon’s arch nemesis, Wil Wheaton (Star Trek the Next Generations’ Wesley Crusher).

I’ve heard it said that the show could be perceived as somewhat sexiest because the guys are all portrayed as brainy, but I think their ultimate hubris proves they’re often actually “socially dumb” at times. Leslie Winkle’s occasional appearance also adds to a diversity of female characters; hence the show avoids the token “Smurfette” syndrome.

A very brief rundown of some of the funniest moments of the show are as follows;

Sheldon squares off against the rest of the crew in the Physics Bowl; the janitor he hires as a fill-in ringer turns out to actually be a physicist from old Soviet Russia and actually sweeps the final question, but Sheldon’s vanity forces him to concede.

Sheldon has to drive Penny to the emergency room. (All the funniest episodes focus on Sheldon and his borderline Aspergers-like personality)  Of course, while Sheldon is at home in the world of quantum physics, he cannot perform such a mundane task as driving an automobile. An earlier episode had him even reach the conclusion that he in fact was the first homo novis, or another step on the evolutionary ladder…

Failure is eminent, and Howard must troubleshoot the Wolowitz Waste Disposal System recently installed on the International Space Station in their apartment before it erupts.

Of course, that’s only a very short sampling, as the seasons seem to get exponentially  funnier as the show progresses. Seriously; even the bad shows are pretty good! Season 3 opened with the boys returning from the North Pole, and Sheldon convinced he had data that was incontrovertible proof of string theory. Of course, it just turned out that it was just the other guys flicking the microwave on and off intermittently, just to shut him up! Also, check out the show consultant’s site, The Big Blog Theory as there is some real science behind each episode. Seriously, how often do you hear the terms Casmir Effect, Schrödinger’s Cat, and Kuiper Belt Object uttered in a TV sitcom? It certainly wasn’t on Happy Days…speaking of which, hopefully Big Bang will never jump the shark.

I love how they work in real science without being preachy. Legend has it that the idea for the show started after one of the writers overheard someone talking about their Caltech friends, who could comprehend particle physics but were clueless about everyday life. What I’d love to see is a Big Bang/Numb3rs crossover, like CBS did for Two & a Half Men/CSI a few years back. Hey, Just throw-in’ it out there…

Do catch The Big Bang Theory Monday nights on CBS, or catch up through the back two seasons via Netflix.  Its funnier than being at an astronomy club meeting and hearing everyone’s wrist watch chime at the top of the hour in synchronized unison (true story!) OK, I DO have the astro-cell set to ring like an old style Star Trek communicator…but I’m still waiting for my own personal Phaser.  Probably my only beef with the show is it’s not up for viewing via Hulu…c’mon guys, a show about computer geeks that’s NOT on the Internet? Oh, the irony…

Editors Note: Can’t get enough Big Bang madness? Follow Sheldon, The Raj and Pennyin4B also via Twitter.


  1. D.S. says:

    Hi, Thank you for the terrific review of the show. I just wanted to let you know that the blog you mentioned by me as the “writer’s site” should just the “consultant’s” since I am not a writer. No need to post this comment but if you would be willing to fix your post that would be terrific. Thanks, D.S.

  2. David Dickinson says:

    D.S. Thanks for the correction; the Big Blog Theory Rocks as well…consider it fixed!

  3. Penny is really pretty on the series Big Bang Theory, she is quite perky too..;-


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