By addictive Emmet
The test of a truly successful television show, to me at least, is the very willing suspension of disbelief. I believed passionately That Tony Soprano and his family lived in New Jersey and that he drove the Jersey Pike every morning. If I huddled outside Sopranos driveway (with the FBI) I would certainly see Tony almost dressed in a robe, waddle down the driveway for his morning paper.
It is the same situation now for those loveable nerds on “The Big Bang Theory.” I believe if I flew (not bloody likely) to California and drove to Caltech for lunch, I would find Howard, Leonard, Sheldon and Rajesh eating their surprisingly appealing lunches in the cafeteria. I have spent so much time watching them that I would expect them to recognize me and invite me to sit down at their table.
There are points in the day when they show three rerun episodes of “Bang,” back to back. I watch them all. If the new episode is on that night I watch four shows in a single day. Please don’t tell anyone. I must have seen every episode by now. But still I watch, and laugh. Every show.
Imagine trying to “pitch” the idea of the show to some “suit” at a network meeting room. Yes the story is about four nerds working at Caltech and their problems with life, and of course women. Yes, they are relentlessly out of touch despite (or because of) their rampart intelligence, but there is dazzling, half-dressed blonde named Penny in the next apartment always willing to lend a hand, and in several episodes her smoking hot body to several of the nerds.
I have had several apartments across this globe, but never has a neighbor like Penny.
The center of the show, of course is Sheldon (Jim Parsons) who is almost as brilliant as he thinks. He likes to remind his less gifted genius friends that he has an “eidetic, not photographic” memory and is always the smartest man in every room. He began college at age 11 and graduate school at 14 and got his Ph.D. at 16. His imperious manner rules the life of roommate Leonard (Johnny Galecki), who we immediately identify with and defend. Leonard’s pain is our pain. He sort of enjoys a sputtering relationship with the dazzling waitress-actress-neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco), which gives her the opportunity to invade the apartment (and mooch free meals) at will. We recognize Galecki from the “Roseanne” show.)
I am in love with Penny and I am not alone.
The “Bang” gang also includes the very Jewish Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), who still lives with his (unseen) loud-mouth mother. Yes, Howard has a Master’s Degree from MIT, but lacks the Ph.D. that all his pals celebrate. He is joined by the hilarious Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) as the very Indian scientist who cannot utter a word to women unless he is half bombed. The funniest scene to date is when Raj accidentally eats a few marijuana-loaded brownies, drops his heavy Indian accent and starts imitating his pal’s American accents. The running joke, which never gets old even after seven years of shows, is whether Raj really likes women, after all.
The casting in the show is absolutely brilliant with the “Bang Gang” totally believable in their brilliant,
Scientific discussions of the origins of the universe followed by their feeble attempts at understanding and coping with the opposite sex. With the exception of Sheldon, we would like to know them and hang around with them at the Cheesecake Factory. I would have to push Sheldon down the apartment stairs. All three flights.
My “Bang Gang” is doing well, thankfully. For the first three seasons, Galecki, Parsons and Cuoco, the three main stars of the show, received at most $60,000 per episode. The salary for the three went up to $200,000 per episode for the fourth season. According to their contracts, their per-episode pay will go up an additional $50,000 in each of the following three seasons, culminating in $350,000 per episode in the seventh season. You would think they might share.
God help me. I think they are real people. What will I do if “Bang” ever goes off the air? Watch “Gator Men” and “Swamp People?”