The Big Bang Theory: Season 4
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153 of 194 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2011
** WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS **

Season 4 of 'The Big Bang Theory' had just one thing that separated it from every other show about a group of friends in their late 20's/early 30's: Sheldon Cooper.
When the show first began, it was about a stereotypical Midwestern blonde girl who moves to California to make it big, and she happens to move across the hall from two Caltech geniuses who severely lack the social skills of the average human being. At the beginning of the series, Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj were absorbed by science. The humor was a product of their "experiments" and their inability to fit into the social environment. Here we are four seasons later, and that concept has become scarce as the story has progressed. Sheldon was the only facet of the show that gave it originality this season. I love the show, but it pains me to say that S4 of 'The Big Bang Theory' started to get away from what made it so great.

It baffles me why the show would decide to introduce so many new cast members in such a short period of time. As a guy, when I first watched the show, I didn't take to the 4:1 guys to girls ratio. However, that's one of the things made it unique (see: Seinfeld). Penny was able to hold up a level of femininity that most actresses couldn't. She was the perfect solo female star. Not only does evening the gender ratio make this show like every other comedy on television, but it reduces Penny's role on the show. She didn't need a "posse." The show spent much of Season 4 trying to balance seven main characters (eight once Priya became a regular) when the only ones who really are essential to its continued excellence are Sheldon and Penny.

My synopsis of our "new" characters:
*I'm sorry to say this, but Amy Farrah Fowler is a mess of a character. First, she was introduced as the lady Sheldon, someone who only communicated with Dr. Cooper through webcam and text message and had no interest in developing any real social relationships. Then the show decides that Amy should try to befriend Penny and Bernadette and the three of them would become their own girl group. Since that time, Amy has become a complete one-eighty of her former self, awkward and clueless but trying desperately to fit into the social scene. And I hate to say it, but it's nowhere near as funny as it should be. The strangest thing is that her relationship with Sheldon is essentially very little more than circumstantial now. Sheldon constantly asks, "what happened to you?", and here I'm wondering the same exact thing.

*Bernadette, I will admit I do like as a complimentary girl in the show. The only downfall with her is in dating Howard; I always liked the way Howard thought he was so much more suave and debonair with women than he actually was, and putting him in a relationship takes that element of his character away. Bernadette can stand on her own. She's a sweet, cute, sometimes airheaded but lovable character (and to be quite honest, I could listen to her voice all day). She didn't need to be one of the boys' love interests to find a role on the show. Either way, I think she'd work best in a recurring role, something akin to that of Leslie Winkle in the first couple seasons.

*It's kind of a paradox that I liked the idea of Leonard dating Raj's sister, but I don't like Raj's sister. The idea was good because of the dynamic it created between Leonard and Raj, Raj and Priya, Penny and Priya, so on and so forth. The problem is I didn't find that her character brought much of anything to the show. The fact that she was attractive and that threatened Penny was a clever twist because it made Penny re-think her decision to end things with Leonard (and ultimately, we find out that it's a decision she regretted). So I thought the situation they created by having Leonard date Priya was good, but Priya just doesn't seem to fit on the show. Now from what we learned in the season finale, her role on the show may be hanging in the balance. I'm not aching for her to leave the show, but I wouldn't miss her too much if she went that route.

The show suffered a minor slump when Kaley Cuoco broke her leg and had to be absent for two full episodes. Those episodes perfectly showcased how vital the character of Penny is to the show's success. In "The Desperation Emanation" (ep. 4.05), Leonard is set up by Bernadette with a girl named Joy. Her character was not only unfunny, she was downright repulsive. In a season with peaks and valleys, it didn't get any lower than Joy.

By no means am I saying this show has jumped the shark. It had many redeeming moments and a few classic episodes:

*"The Robotic Manipulation" (ep. 4.01) so perfectly personifies Howard Wolowitz.
*"The Love Car Displacement" (ep. 4.13) was a great episode top to bottom. Including a guest appearance from former NBA player Rick Fox, it is the best the writers got out of their extended cast. There was great balance, funny storylines and laugh out loud moments.
*"The Justice League Recombination" (ep. 4.11) re-introduces us to Zack, a hilariously dumb ex-boyfriend of Penny's. The New Year's Eve costume contest is classic 'Big Bang.'
*"The Herb Garden Germination" (4.20) is the high school rumor mill, 'Big Bang' style. I loved it (and it's probably Amy's best episode).
*When the group starts hanging out at Raj's apartment, Sheldon decides he'd rather just replace them with new friends in "The Toast Derivation." (ep. 4.17) Clever episode and very well executed.
*"The Zarnecki Incursion" (4.19) is a brilliant depiction of the gang looking to settle the score when Sheldon's World of Warcraft account gets hacked.
*"The Zazzy Substitution" (ep. 4.03) is the first time we see any sort of fallout from Sheldon's lack of social connection, and it results in a pretty hilarious new gig. I'm also a big fan of whenever Mrs. Cooper or Mrs. Hofstadter make an appearance.
*"The 21-Second Excitation" (ep. 4.08) proves that any episode can be made epic with an appearance from Sheldon's nemesis, Will Wheaton. ^Side note: (This episode is also the perfect example of why I don't like Amy; the humor associated with her character for most of the season is perfectly on display in this episode)

- Sheldon and Penny's back and forth at the Cheesecake Factory bar in "The Apology Insufficiency" (ep. 4.07) is incredible. It's astounding how funny those two actors can make simple conversation. Throughout the series, it's been most evident when they walk together up the three flights of stairs to their apartments.
- "Shelbot" was an inevitable story for a science fiction show to tell. "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" (ep. 4.02)
- Raj's infatuation with Bernadette throughout the season makes for some great love triangle moments.

I didn't particularly love the season finale, but the way the stories all came together at the end was fantastic and should send the show into Season 5 with a head of steam. I loved the idea of having Penny get caught in a scandalous mistake. With Priya seemingly leaving the picture (at least for now), the possibilities are endless. Also worth asking: Will Howard be OK with Bernadette "wearing the pants" in the relationship, or will he finally pursue his PHD in Season 5? The questions are plentiful.

It was an uneven season. It was a season that did a lot of things but didn't really go anywhere definitive with it. I thought the emphasis was too much on developing social relationships and not enough on the science of the show.
- If you asked me what Leonard did in Season 4 other than date Priya, off the top of my head I couldn't tell you.
- Penny spent the entire season in denial over the fact that she wanted Leonard back. As a result, other than a brief stint with Zack and her drunken night with Raj, Penny was involved with no one in S4. Rather, the writers decided to develop her "posse", a decision you already know I wasn't a big fan of.
- Once Howard started dating Bernadette again, Howard stories became "Howard and Bernadette" stories. I'm kind of torn on this, because I think Howard is a better character when he's single, but I do like Bernadette for him. Either way, the writers need to find a way to channel vintage Wolowitz again.
- Sheldon Cooper is the anit-Fonz, and I think when all is said and done, he'll go down as one of the better characters in television history. He is a comedy pioneer for nerds, and he is THE redeeming quality when anything isn't working. Jim Parsons is well deserving of the Emmy he won in Season 3, and once again he demonstrates why he was the perfect choice for Sheldon.

A slight decline from its predecessors, but still as good a comedy as you'll find on television.

Grade: B+
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36 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
I came into this show late and I had a lot of catching up to do, so I bought seasons 1 and 2 and watched season 3 on television. Then I went on and purchased season 3. I really think this is a great show, at one time it was the most original show on television and now I am noticing that it is steadily changing into a clone of everything else on television. This is a real tragedy because now-a-days with everything being reality shows and boy/girl hook-ups and relationship dramas on television, The Big Bang Theory gave us something new. This show was a breath of fresh air and a necessary escape from the same old teen dramas, and sitcoms that were just teen dramas with laughter in the background. With Leonard, Sheldon, Rajesh (prob.spelled that wrong, sorry folks)Howard and Penny -the show was perfect. When they started adding the girlfriends -Bernadette, Amy, and now Pria, the show began to lose its originality and just became another show about a bunch dudes and thier chicks. However, I love Bernadette, she turned out to be a great character and I now think the show would suffer without her. I have said in other reviews that Amy is the worst, but I will admit her character has gotten a lot better in this season. I think her lines are great, BUT!!! She needs to be separated from Sheldon. These two characters are far too much alike to interact the way they do. Sheldon and Penny work off of each other much better and while at first I really disliked Amy's character I think that they could work with her in other ways, because (again) she did have some great lines this season. Specifically when she called herself setting up boundaries for her and Penny's friendship and then shouted: "DONT TOUCH MY BREASTS", LMFAO!!! that was hilarious. Lately her calling Penny "BFF" is pretty funny too. Perhaps Penny and Amy can work off of each other and have the same success that Penny and Sheldon have. That just might work. PRIA HAS GOT TO GO! Her character serves no purpose. I really do not like this new thing with Leonard being the new hot ticket in town. Leonard got Penny as a fluke and a twist of fate. Sheer luck and unlikely circumstance brought those two together and when he and Penny broke up, Leonard should have gone back to the nerd that no woman would look at twice. That would have been funny. I am also noticing that the friendships are disolving. It seems like they spend more time criticizing eachother and putting eachother down than hanging out and having Halo night. I am noticing that while Leonard is hanging with Pria and Howard is with Bernadette, Radjesh and Sheldon are always alone. Whats up with that? I will buy this, because although it is steadily being destroyed, it is still a good show with the possibility to return to the greatness it once was. They need to separate Amy and Sheldon, cancel out Pria and glue the geeks back together.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
The Big Bang Theory remains one of the funniest shows on TV, and perhaps the only comedy I watch regularly. Despite that, though, it's slipped a bit from the initial seasons in a key way. Those first seasons really made the characters seem like real scientists in that they talked about real science. Scientific references in the dialog weren't just technobabble: they were real physics. The equations on the whiteboard were correct.

It's not that what they have now is incorrect. It's just that it's very infrequent. We almost never see the whiteboard anymore. And the characters rarely make physics or math references. While this may seem minor to some, I thought it added a layer to the show missing from other sitcoms.
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43 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2010
The writing and acting geniuses are back!

Currently in its fourth season, my attention is still captivated by this group of intellectual geniuses; and Penny! This season seems to be focusing on socially indignant Dr. Sheldon Cooper's (Emmy Award winning Jim Parsons) relationship with equally if not more egotistical, socially indignant Amy (played by Mayim Bialik, real life uber-smart PhD). In Season One and Two we learned the quirks of the show's main characters and their back stories. Season Three was dedicated to the Leonard-Penny paradox, the social awkwardness of Howard Wolowitz having a girlfriend and leaving his BFF/"husband" Raj single. Season Four has yet to disappoint.

I look forward to adding Season Four to my collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2011
`The Big Bang Theory' has become a staple in my television viewing since it first aired and after the past season I was glad to know that the show somewhat redeemed itself from an average second season. This time I am happy to say that season four has added a brand new dimension and that is the addition of more nerdy women!

We only had Penny as a staple female role and she was the polar opposite of our nerdy foursome. When you add the characters of the cute, but not so naive Bernadette and Sheldon in the female form of Amy Fara Fowler, it causes the Big Bang Theory to explode with more hilarity. It is so great to see just how women change these lovable characters in ways you never thought possible. Each episode just made me laugh and it just got better with every new one.

I recommend this show to anyone I know. While it may not be appealing to everyone, it is still one of the most original sitcoms to grace the small screen in a while.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2011
all the characters are evolving in different directions to keep the dynamics interesting. After a dull introduction of the character, Amy too has evolved rather slowly to establish her raison d'etre in the show. The relationship of Sheldon and Amy has developed thanks to Amy's evolution, not Sheldon's. If anything, Sheldon is more pigeon-holed into his miniscule peculiarity, making his character less-lovable and predictable. I so wish to see Beverly, Leonard's mother, again. She has been my favorite character. Raj has some room to expand. Perhaps we will see it happen in season 5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2011
We own all seasons of Big Bang Theory. While we are not huge TV watchers, we regularly watch this show! We do enjoy receiving the box sets and having Big Bang Theory marathons. The show is hilarious and great for teachers to watch to learn more about how to help their students with quirky personalities! Must see!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 26, 2013
One of the reasons for the popularity of The Big Bang Theory, is the program's ability to constantly evolve and introduce new elements and dynamics, while retaining the same quirky sense of humor. The fourth season (2010-11, episodes #64 through 87) features a number of changes, and sees the development of a number of key relationships.

Sheldon (Emmy winner Jim Parsons) and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), become an unconventional couple, complete with a signed agreement, while Leonard (Johnny Galecki) begins torrid affair with Raj's sister Priya (Aarti Mann). Love blooms for Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), as the couple become engaged near the end of the season. Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Bernadette, and Amy become very tight, partially due to them uniting against Priya. While Raj (Kunar Nayyal) has difficulty coming to terms with his sister's romance, and briefly has feelings for Bernadette.

Overall, there's quite a lot happening, and the various new wrinkles generally make for some lively viewing, as Amy, Priya, and Bernadette, assume larger roles. Having a very special chemistry, it seems a bit odd for Penny and Leonard not to be on the best of terms, as Leonard's romance with Priya, does create some significant waves, particularly concerning Leonard's dealings with Raj, Sheldon, and Penny.

The Amy/Sheldon relationship finds its footing, becoming less mechanical and more human, as the initially cold Amy, has her female parts stimulated, heightening her interest in sex. Based on his past history, Howard finding a woman willing to accept him and his substantial baggage, is quite remarkable, as Melissa Rauch proves to be a most talented comedic actress, as things quickly head toward matrimony, and Bernadette becomes an integral character.

"The Boyfriend Complexity" features guest star Keith Carradine, as Penny's father Wyatt. There's some of the old magic between Penny and Leonard on display, as he pretends to be her boyfriend. It's a fun dysfunctional time for all, when the entire gang heads to a conference in Big Sur, in "The Love Car Displacement", which features an appearance by Bernadette's old boyfriend (Rick Fox), and more instances of musical beds. Priya's strong influence on Leonard, is clearly evident as the season closes, putting a different vibe into the Big Band universe, heading into season five.

The changing dynamics in season four, opens new doors, as BBT continues to evolve. It remains a quirky program beloved by millions, but while mostly light and fun, there are bumps along the way, when things do not flow as smoothly.

The two disc Bluray edition may not be as pristine as you would expect, and might not be worth the upgrade over the standard DVD. The various bonus features however, do look fabulous in high definition. Of particular interest is the Bluray exclusive, "The Big Bang Theory Live", an insightful and energetic featurette, showing the taping of an episode before a live audience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2012
As season 4 hits its strides you know that the best things about it are the burgeoning relationships that come from the returning cast members of Mayim Bialik's Amy and Melissa Rauch's Bernadette. Penny, consistently portrayed as the vapid, loose, and drunkish object of Leonard's lost affections, is given a bit more depth finally simply by having her not just accepted as "one of the guys" but as a girlfriend with girlfriend bonds betwixt she, Amy, and Bernadette. They are an extremely odd trio whose pairing somehow feels intuitive and they all get to play off of each other in ways that they can't play off of the guys. Bernadette, the short and sweet and mouse-squeaky confection to Howard's horndog goofy agressive awkwardness, is Penny's sensible and mild mannered friend who doesn't flaunt her intelligence around Penny nor does she put Penny's lack of intelligence down while Amy, Sheldon's superior and unintimidated soulmate, bursts with a socially dysfunctional girl-crush on Penny. Penny gets the opportunity to be a loyal friend to both of them and so finally shows some redeeming qualities to her character, as does the series, whose beauty and geek fish-out-of-water in their respective worlds continues to be mined for awkward comedy gold.

Some of my favorite episodes are "The Zazzy Substitution" when Sheldon and Amy (Shamy!) break up and Sheldon scarily quickly brings a clowder of cats to the apartment. A desperate Leonard calls in Sheldon's mother for help and in a great scene, when Shelly's mother is asking him why he has all of these cats, Leonard loudly sneezes the answer: "Ah-CRAZY!" to which Mrs. Cooper politely responds "God bless you, son."

We get to watch the crew get their geek on in "The Justice League Recombination" where the boys recruit Penny and her boyfriend to join them for a New Year's Eve party at the comic shop dressed as, what else? The Justice League. Penny's dumber than a doorknob boyfriend is the likable goof as he gets bullied by brainy boys.

Always a favorite theme of mine, the befuddling of Sheldon occurs in "The Prestidigitation Approximation" as everyone's in on the proverbial (card) trick that Wolowitz continues to pull off...except for the sanctimonious Sheldon who is starting to lose sleep over not being able to use his gigantor brain to figure out how Wolowitz does it. Watching the sanctimonious Sheldon squirm is an easy delight.

This series remains a laugh-out-loud tickler whose heart is growing and getting sweeter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2012
I have not yet seen season 5 of the show, but I own seasons 1 through 4 on DVD (and have seen them all multiple times) and among these season 4 is my clear favorite. From other reviews here I understand that many viewers had problems with the addition of the new characters Priya, Bernadette, and particularly Amy. I must admit that I cannot agree with this opinion at all. I think all three characters are lovely in their particular way and they serve a good reason in the show. For instance, although most people probably won't root for Priya and Leonard to get married any time soon, the intrdouction of Priya opens Penny's eyes to see what she has lost. Probably, the first step of bringing Leonard and Penny back together eventually - something that would certainly find the applause of most Big Bang Theory fans. Bernadette and Amy, in turn, have together with Penny formed a "girl group" that now exists opposing to the four nerds around Sheldon, and which makes a lot of story lines possible that otherwise could not have been followed on the show. Of course, both characters bring with them the danger to eventually tame Howard and Sheldon - which some seem to perceive as actually happening - but I feel that the story writers have been very careful to avoid this obvious pitfall. For instance, although Sheldon got his "girlfriend" in this season, he is nevertheless the exact same socially inept and sexually uninterested nerd that he was in season 1. Only Howard's character has been limited somewhat by his relationship with Bernadette. However, this relationship created a lot of new funny situations, so that I would conclude that overall the show has actually benefitted from this minor compromise. Both Howard and Sheldon remain to be hilarious characters.

In another review I had read that now only Penny and Sheldon were essential for the show to work. I completely disagree on that - particularly for this season. The show has now seven well-balanced main characters (eight if you include Priya), all of which play key roles. I would not want to miss one of them! And the extended cast will allow a lot of story lines for the future.

I just completed watching this season for the seventh time. And I will surely watch it again. This is one of the best shows ever, and this is - in my view - its best season. There is not a single weak episode. I particularly like "The Herb Garden Germination" - Amy at her best! I highly recommend these DVDs!
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