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Nerds have been a constant ingredient in comedies. They’re naturally funny with their bad haircuts, thick glasses, slide ruler personalities and weak bodies. They’re easily foils for the jocks, mascots for jocks or punching bags for jocks. Their geekish ways and brains full of useful knowledge are mocked. They rarely get the hot girls. Mostly they get their underwear pulled up to their ears. They had their day in Revenge of the Nerds, but only after paying a price at the hands of the evil football jocks. The Big Bang Theory dares to let super-nerds thrive without having the jocks brutalize them all day long.
This sitcom doesn’t rely on the nerds versus the jocks. This is all about the nerds. The comedy comes from four smart guys doing their best to not be the dumbest guy in the room. The focus is Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons). The duo are roommates and workmates at Caltech in the physics department. Leonard is almost normal, but Sheldon is a handful of issues and attitude. He’s the bastard child of Felix from The Odd Couple. Simon (Howard Wolowitz) and Rajnesh (Kunal Nayyar) constantly hang out at the apartment to play the cool toys and ogle the hot girl next door. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is a waitress who makes these brainiacs drool. Leonard’s got it hard for the girl, but has all the pimp moves of Mr. Spock. The 17 episodes on The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season explore the secret life of nerds.
“The Pilot” has Penny moving into the apartment across from Leonard and Sheldon. The episode does a fine job setting up the comedic dynamics between the roommates, their friends and the cute girl next door. She’s not the type of woman that’s completely out of their range, but they just don’t have the skills to seduce. “The Big Bran Hypothesis” probes how anal Sheldon can get. He breaks into Penny’s apartment to clean and organize it while she sleeps. This could be extraordinarily creepy if Sheldon had a sex drive.
Fans of Roseanne will laugh while watching “The Hamburger Postulate.” Leonard gets seduced by Leslie (Sara Gilbert). He thinks his fellow Cal Tech researcher wants to get really serious. What will he tell Penny? The actors played husband and wife on Roseanne. Will they renew their TV vows? The show isn’t devoid of jock and nerd confrontation. “The Middle Earth Paradigm” has Leonard encounter Penny’s ex-boyfriend at a party. It doesn’t help that it’s a Halloween party and Leonard has decided to pick a costume that plays him small compared to the macho ex-boyfriend’s loin cloth. But Leonard learns that he does have a shot with Penny even if it comes with a little price.
With Leonard transforming into the romantic lead, it’s up to Sheldon to pump up the weirdness to maintain the comedy. “The Pancake Batter Anomaly” has Sheldon sick in bed. The healthy trio of nerds stick Penny with nursing duties. Sheldon is not only pathetic while ill, but completely anal to what he needs for comfort and recovery. “The Jerusalem Duality” has Sheldon shellshocked when he meets a boy wonder who has stolen his status as the youngest award winner. The kid also destroys Sheldon’s major theory. Sheldon gives up on science. He figures out how to bring peace to the Middle East by having Jewish people embrace a part of Mexico as the new Israel. The gang must snap Sheldon back into physics geek before he causes an international incident.
Having hung out in college with a group of graduates from a major science and math high school, the nerd characters on The Big Bang Theory are accurate. They have the strange personality quirks that drove each other nuts when they discussed subjects other than their research work. It turned into Spock comprehending these unknown emotions and how to inflict them upon others. It was hard not to laugh as these smart kids interacted. But that would have been an impolite. Thankfully it’s OK to laugh as Sheldon and Leonard do the same things on the TV. The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season proves that smart people can do hilariously illogical things in the hopes of getting it right like normal people do.
“Pilot,” “The Big Bran Hypothesis,” “The Fuzzy Boots Corollary,” “The Luminous Fish Effect,” “The Hamburger Postulate,” “The Middle Earth Paradigm,” “The Dumpling Paradox,” “The Grasshopper Experiment,” “The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization,” “The Loobenfeld Decay,” “The Pancake Batter Anomaly,” “The Jerusalem Duality,” “The Bat Jar Conjecture,” “The Nerdvana Annihilation,” “The Pork Chop Indeterminacy,” “The Peanut Reaction” and “The Tangerine Factor.”
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The series appears to have been shot on High Definition video. It’s a clean transfer that allows you to truly enjoy Simon’s Monkees inspired wardrobe choices. The audio is Dolby Digital Surround Stereo. The subtitles are in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Thai and Chinese. How can there be no Klingon subtitles?
Quantum Mechanics of the Big Bang Theory (17:11) is “a behind-the-scenes Look into Geek to Chic.” We learn the actors behind Leonard and Sheldon aren’t as geeky as their character. Once more, we’re fooled by Hollywood’s tricks.
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season dares to give us nerds in their own environment. It uncovers the comedy in smart people attempting to comprehend the world outside their science labs. This was my favorite new sitcom on a broadcast network.
Warner Home Video presents The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season. Starring: Johnny Galecki , Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg & Kunal Nayyar. Boxset Contents: 17 Episodes on 3 discs. Originally Broadcasted: Sept. 24, 2007 to May 19, 2008. Released on DVD: September 2, 2008. Available at Amazon.com