Customer Reviews: The Big Bang Theory: Season 4
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on May 24, 2011

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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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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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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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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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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on June 25, 2012
Our whole family loves this hilarious ensemble comedy show.

Sheldon is an eccentric physicist with Nobel Prize potential and limited social skills. His roommate, Leonard, is a run-of-the-mill genius by comparison; also brilliant, but self-aware enough to know there is more to life than physics research. Their social group is rounded out by Raj, another physicist who is to shy to talk when women are present (unless he has had a few drinks) and Howard, the mere engineer of the group. These four friends are fairly content to watch science fiction films, collect action figures, and chase girls unsuccessfully . . . until they meet the girl next door (literally), Penny, the aspiring actress and "dumb blonde" who can teach these four brilliant scientists a thing or two about enjoying life.

The characters are all likeable and relatable in their own ways and mostly nice to one another.

You might think these characters are over the top, but I have met enough geeks to know that people like this really do exist . . . and really are entertaining.

Fun for the whole family; we haven't yet seen an episode that didn't make us laugh out loud!
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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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on June 15, 2014
My husband and I only recently started watching the show after I got seasons 1 and 3 for a total steal at Target ($14.99 each!). I had never seen the show before but knew it was popular, and for that price it was easy to take a gamble. My husband initially scoffed but let's just say we watched a couple of episodes together - and ended up doing a total marathon and ordering seasons 2 and 4 from Amazon!!!

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!
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on January 18, 2015
We have never been fans of sitcoms. This was recommended to us by a friend and to appease her, we watched an episode a couple years ago. After that, we became hooked and looked forward to watching it each night since several episodes run back-to-back each evening. We decided that we needed to own each of the seasons as they came out so we could see them in their intended order. The individual characters are lovable in their own way and I love the fact that they included a character with selective mutism. Our favorites are Sheldon and Bernadette (she is introduced in a later season), though the series would not be the same if any one of them was phased out of the series. The storyline continues to develop nicely and it hasn't reached the point of becoming stale any time soon. The series is geared toward a mature audience. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a well-developed group of quirky characters.
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on April 21, 2015
If you are following the seasons of this show...I believe this is the season that the writer's introduce us to Amy who becomes a girl "friend" of Sheldon. Who points out "she is NOT my girlfriend!" "she is my girl and she's my friend!" OK Sheldon. The writers did a good job of adding these likable female characters to already the quirkiest group of people that have ever formed on this planet! I never have pointed out in these reviews how the writers did a good job of portraying Howard's mother...I mean all you hear is this crazy woman's voice! As far as the problem. Although I decided to go with the regular version DVD and not the Blu-Ray version.
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