The Big Bang Theory: Season 4

The Big Bang Season 4 dvd
The Big Bang season 4 DVD

This was one of my most anticipated releases on DVD. (I do not watch “live” television, all the series I watch are on DVD.) So when it was released, I bought it as soon as possible. I watched it as soon as possible. And was disappointed. . . .

I absolutely love seasons 1 – 3, I have watched each over 5 times apiece.  I can practically quote each episode.  But a lot of the elements that make The Big Bang Theory a great show were absent in season four.  Okay, and I am guessing that this is the end of the series. All good things come to an end, I suppose. I am just sad that this show deteriorated much sooner than other series. The difference in goodness between season three and season four is downright remarkable. I don’t know the reasons – did the writers lose their head? did the actors screw it up?

A lot of critics and TV watchers relegated The Big Bang Theory to some substandard of TV.  It was dubbed “geeky” and therefore did not interest those fans of shows like Mad Men, Dexter, and Supernatural.  It was a light-hearted comedy full of science fiction references and puns that are lost on much of society. Comics? Gaming? What?! However, to the segments of society that are in tune with that pulse, this show was tremendous. It was a fun, silly comedy that worked because it did not take itself too seriously and also appealed to those people who were bored with typical domestic-setting comedies.

Season 4 has problems, some of which I have managed to isolate. In previous seasons, the bantering and bickering between characters was generally good-natured and charming.  During much of this season, the sniping seems almost vindictive or cruel.  It’s difficult to watch characters that I know and love be treated so miserably.  The characters have moved from being a gang of friends to disparate, snarky, self-absorbed jerks.

Another problem is the amount of sex.  Each and every episode seems to truly revolve around sex, sexual innuendos, sex-humor, sexual issues, etc.  What made The Big Bang Theory a great series is that it did not dip into the sex-laden humor that most comedies seem to consist in.  Sex humor can be funny, used properly – in other words: well-timed, witty, and between particular characters.  Sex as a driving force for a whole series becomes tedious, foolish, and slutty.

Yet another issue that I had with season four was the lack of science. Part of what made The Big Bang Theory so flabbergastingly fantastic was that it contained science. Goofy, intelligent, witty science. I am not saying that it was a boring physics class – but the characters had zany projects, they were depicted using their science-skills in every day life in a variety of interesting and madcap ways.  This season is almost devoid of any of that.  It was replaced by sour-sounding language and the appearance of people who are not geeky, but just droll.

Again, the addition of so many new characters at once (I say “new” to mean new regular characters), may have had something to do with the misery that is season four.  The series moved away from just the two apartments and the university, and started to focus on other characters.  Frankly, the goodness of The Big Bang Theory was in the original cast and the newer cast members aren’t the reason fans loved the show.  The new characters are novel to a certain point, but they quickly become irritating and I would count the minutes until one of my favorite characters would come on screen.

All in all, I am disappointed. Season four just isn’t very good. There are some episodes, dare I say it, that are actually bad. Some that I did not laugh at, some I actually disliked. I maintain my hope for season five, but I fear (deep in my heart) that the greatness has left the science room.

3 stars

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