The Big Bang Theory: Season 4
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This season the Big Bang gang’s romantic universe expands. On the rebound from Penny, Leonard falls into the arms of Raj’s sister Priya. Sheldon gets a girlfriend, or rather a friend who is a girl: Amy, a dour neurobiologist who declares herself besties with Penny. Howard and Bernadette heat up. And so do Raj and Bernadette (at least in Raj’s Bollywood daydream). All in the furtherance of award-winning genius comedy.
The superb sitcom The Big Bang Theory launches into its fourth season with an expanded cast and a whole new set of social dynamics to go with it. It's a little unsteady at first: Sheldon (the ever-inspired Jim Parsons) denies having a girlfriend in the similarly intellectual Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik, a long way away from Blossom), which leads to several Sheldon-dominated episodes--and as marvelous a character as Sheldon is, he can be too much of a good thing. Fortunately, things soon take a clever turn: Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Howard's girlfriend Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and Amy become, ever so awkwardly, friends, providing an ingenious counterpoint to the socially hapless quartet of Sheldon, Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar). Amy's emotional disconnection but fervent curiosity provides a delicious variation on Sheldon (without in any way replacing him) that gooses the show up to a new level. But episodes without her are still enjoyable--this is one of the best-written and -acted comedies on television. Though there is an odd increase in bodily function humor (perhaps the writers are trying to counter the jokes about comic books and theoretical physics), inventive stories abound: Sheldon becoming obsessed with cats; Amy's complete bafflement at becoming aroused by one of Penny's ex-boyfriends; grappling with Wil Wheaton over 21 extra seconds of Raiders of the Lost Ark; the plundering of Sheldon's World of Warcraft account; Leonard getting involved with Raj's sister Priya (Aarti Mann), much to Raj's discomfort; and much, much more. The balance of the ensemble grows increasingly skillful over the episode, giving everyone a chance to shine. --Bret Fetzer
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The show is, in one word, AMAZING. I've read a lot of different comments from people, some who thought it was too geeky, or too sexist etc - personally, I think that the first four seasons are absolutely ground-breaking in the same way that Friends was in the 90s. The characters all have their quirks but I firmly believe just about anyone with a sense of humor will find themselves laughing hard and often! The puns and jokes in the first four seasons, along with new characters in later seasons to support the main cast, are absolutely hilarious - and I was beyond delighted to find Mayim Bialik back on screen with fervor!
My only qualm for the first few seasons is that I really wish they'd given more screen time and a more substantial role to Sara Gilbert. Reuniting her with Johnny Galecki after the two were an on-screen couple in the 80s in Roseanne, Sara Gilbert still brought the same biting snarkasm to all her TBBT cameos, and I still think she would've made a perfect complement for the main cast.
Either way, the actors all do a fantastic job - although even for a "newbie" fan like myself, it's clear from the get-go why Jim Parsons' portrayal of the neurotic, hypochondriac and egocentric Dr. Sheldon Cooper is considered the breakaway character of the show. The first few season are a lot cleaner than the later seasons, although I will admit that the running theme of what seems to be implied bisexuality on the part of several characters is a bit weird and confusing at time. All the same, the show is absolutely fantastic and I would urge anyone to at least give it a try!
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!