The Big Bang Theory is back this week! It’s a stressful time for the geeks with their relationships seemingly on the line: Howard is about to move in with Bernadette, Leonard is still anxiously waiting for a ‘yes’ to his mid-sex proposal, and Amy is growing more and more frustrated with Sheldon’s lack of emotional intimacy.
Except for perhaps Howard and Bernadette, things are looking bleak on the romance front. Sheldon may have managed to patch things up with some last-minute Spiderman wisdom, but it’s clear that Amy hasn’t been happy with the pace of their relationship for a while. Can Sheldon change? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Penny, meanwhile, seems increasingly stifled by Leonard’s neediness. Looks like there’s trouble ahead for this on-again, off-again couple. Is it endgame? Who knows. Even if they do end up together for the final episode (whenever that may be) yet another breakup before the happy event cannot be ruled out. Raj, meanwhile, seems to be seeking solace in the company of another lonely and depressed man.
This strand of fake-gay-related humour is more than a little distasteful, and by now incredibly worn out; sadly, this season shows no sign of letting it go. Purists and long-time fans might lament the change in tone, as it’s something of a departure from the early seasons’ consistency and quality, but the show now seems to be settling into that venerable position of a long-running family favourite – holding onto the tried-and-tested formula of jokes the showrunners know work.
In other words: Sheldon’s still emotionally oblivious; Penny’s still emotionally guarded; Leonard’s still desperate; Raj is still, basically, gay. There seems to be absolutely no plans to change these facts, as pretty much all the humour in the show now stems from these scenarios. There’s still a couple of nice geek references here and there, but it’s a definite shift from previous seasons’ snappy retorts and weird experiments.
It’s a little sad to see that take the backseat, but also inevitable; shows rarely keep the same tone through six years. This new Big Bang Theory is at least mildly entertaining and very watchable – if a little bland and ultimately forgettable.