Currently in its sixth season, “The Big Bang Theory” is a sitcom that revolves around the lives four nerdy scientists and their friendships with Penny, an aspiring actress and waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. Roommates Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Leonard Hofstader (Johnny Galecki), both physicists, live in an apartment across the hall from the beautiful and blonde Penny (Kaley Cuoco). The group of four scientists, completed by aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) could not possibly fit in less with Penny’s fast-dating, shoe-addicted personality, as the majority of their conversations revolve around “Star Trek” or string theory and their most strenuous exercise routines are achieved through Wii Bowling. When Penny moves in across the hall from them and subsequently enters into their social circle, therefore, hilarity ensues. This dynamic is one of the greatest plot catalysts of the show throughout its six seasons.
The show, which is filmed in front of a live audience, has achieved great success thus far: in 2010, it won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy. Parsons won Emmy’s two years in a row (2010 and 2011) for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series/Best Actor in a Comedy Series, and, in 2011, was also awarded a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series. Much of the show’s success has been attributed to Parson’s portrayal of Sheldon, who is perhaps one of the most unique characters on television today.
Although Sheldon is a brilliant theoretical physicist who specializes in the study of string theory, it is frequently brought up on the show that he grew up in Texas with a fiercely Christian mother who never fails to remind him that his belief in evolution is just his opinion. Despite his brilliance, he has an incredible lack of social skills, his mental stability is completely dependent on a strict adherence to routine, he finds irony and sarcasm almost impossible to comprehend and he seems to have no humility at all (he is constantly voicing his disbelief and incredulity at still not having won a Nobel Prize). The social situations that ensue within the group of friends as a result of Sheldon’s many quirks are the show’s strongest comedic point, with situations such as Leonard having to deal constantly with the repercussions of violating Sheldon’s “roommate contract.”
The show, already funny enough from the very beginning with its simple premise of the friendships between four nerds and a beautiful and sweet but often ditsy waitress, is able to blossom greatly and develop further with the addition of romantic relationships into the plotline. Penny’s on-again, off-again relationship with Leonard becomes a fan favorite from the start, and eventually even the bumbling, wanna-be ladies man Howard meets his match in the microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski, played by Melissa Rauch. Through what started off as a joke, even Sheldon, much to the shock of readers, eventually finds himself with a girlfriend (although he draws up a “relationship contract” which he forces her to sign and keeps all physical touching to an absolute minimum).
The romantic relationships on the show have become a major focus of the sixth and latest season, which premiered on Sept. 27. Most of each episode so far has revolved around problems in Penny and Leonard’s relationship after Leonard proposed to her during sex, as well as problems in Howard and Bernadette’s relationship due to the fact that it is currently long-distance (Howard is on a NASA space expedition). Although these problems are, of course, coated with comedy, it can often cause the show to veer a bit off course by becoming more dramatic than comedic at times. This is constantly repaired, however, by the romantic problems between Sheldon and his girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), which are pure comedy because of the nature of their relationship. Sheldon and Amy’s relationship epitomizes everything that the show is meant to be: quirky, incredibly nerdy and out of the norm to the point of being unbelievable in the best way. Although the other romantic relationships that are present this season are fun to follow, it is important that the writers of the show remember to always revert back to the dorky quirkiness that made “The Big Bang Theory” what it is today. As long as this is done, the sixth season has a bright future ahead of it.
Each of the characters on “The Big Bang Theory” are beautifully structured with their own hilarious and endearing quirks, and it is a delight to watch them all come together on the show. Core themes that reach out to a vast array of audiences, such as love, friendship, loyalty and insecurity are explored in each episode in a truly engaging and hilarious manner that makes “The Big Bang Theory” one of the most successful shows on television today. With every episode, viewers are left with tons of laughs as well as the reassurance that even if many of us don’t understand the inner workings of string theory, the appeal behind “Star Trek” or even the value of a good shoe shopping spree, there is still hope for us all to connect on deeper levels as people. If Sheldon Cooper can make friends, anyone can.