STUDIO: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
MSRP: $44.98
RUNNING TIME: 472 minutes

    * Big Bang set tour with Simon and Kunal
    * Take-Out with the Cast of The Big Bang Theory
    * Gag Reel

The Pitch

Super smart nerds have trouble with woman and buy comics.

The Humans

Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, and Kaley Cuoco

The Nutshell

The third season of the geek-centric sitcom is pretty much the same as the first two. Guys with jobs I can’t spell talk about Star Trek and play Rock Band. They have wacky sitcom adventures that usually involve their socially retarded interactions with woman. It’s funny and you can watch it while you play GameBoy.

The Lowdown 

Chuck Lorre has produced a number of successful sitcoms over the last twenty years. And most of them annoy the living shit out of me. Although shows like Dharma & Greg and Two and a Half Men tend to be precious and convenient, I’d put most of the blame on casting. It’s hard to get more one note than John Cryer or Jenna Elfman. The Big Bang Theory fixes this in a big way. The cast is filled with natural comedians who seem comfortable in the their outcast roles. While the writing never really breaks from the confines of the genre, it’s smart enough to rely on the strength of the established characters to carry it.

Since all the guys are playing essentially the same archetype, the character actor ensemble really helps flesh out the roles. Although Leonard is the straight man in the socially awkward group, Johnny Galecki smartly plays down the straight man bit. His nonchalant dismissal of his friends behavior feels real and gives the group a history.  Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar show a gift for comic timing as Howard and Rajesh, a far too attached to each other pair of horny misfits. Rajesh’s inability to speak even in the same room as women could come of as an affectation with a less skilled actor, but here it’s used so subtly it stays funny even after three seasons. Jim Parsons’s Sheldon rounds out the group. Sheldon is Leonard’s roommate, who seemingly has aspergers. Although Parson’s recently won an Emmy, his character sticks close to sitcom conventions and comes off as the most one note. He’s antisocial, obsessive compulsive, and has serious delusions of grandeur. Far too often the show uses Sheldon’s odd behavior as the sole driving force behind the episode’s plot, wearing his traits thin. There’s also the hot girl next door, Penny, played by the super cute Kaley Cuoco. She holds her own against the guys, but she’s definitely underused this season. She’s girl on couch for pretty much the first half of the season.

A rare glimpse of the CHUD crew coming back from Comic-Con.

But, unlike a lot of TV, it’s not the cute girls that are drawing the geeks into this show, it’s the constant pandering to them. Okay, us. We love it. It’s part of the joy of being a geek. Every reference to
Young Sherlock Holmes warms our hearts. Name drop Joss Whedon and some kid in Iowa gets in a boner. Another venue for Stan Lee to make an awkward cameo? Yes, more of that. It even has a montage of people playing Halo. It’s true though, much of this means the little hipster kids did it. The annoying kid in the Zelda parka, he’s the reason this exists. If Eighth Graders weren’t somehow nostalgic for the Super Nintendo, this show couldn’t exist. The things we used to think were our super secret geek obsessions have penetrated the mainstream. It’s awesome when they talk about Firefly lasting forever, but don’t think you’re laughing alone anymore. It’s the Facebook age, your eleven year old niece prefers Angel to Buffy and posted an R.I.P. link when Harvey Pekar died. This show isn’t taking any great risks by having Wil Wheaton play himself when the clerk at the record store is wearing a Wesley Crusher shirt as his ironic statement of the day. But the show isn’t trying to be hip and we, the unwashed masses, will still love the Doodle Jump reference. Because Doodle Jump is fun.

The classic if you don’t have sex with me I’ll cry look. I perfected that.

I guess I’m reviewing a season of a show, not bitching about the kids at Hot Topic. But it’s a season of a sitcom. You don’t really care what happens. It’s passive entertainment. There’s some dating, breaking up, misunderstandings, special holiday episodes, and Sheldon annoying people. Same thing as last season, same thing as the next season. The Leonard and Penny relationship is the only real arc of the season, but it’s really just an afterthought. The clunky sitcom plots do show up a little bit more often this season. A flashback to before we met the characters episode stolen from Friends pops up toward the end of the season. It has the bad hair and dated pop culture references you’d come to expect. But of course that was coming. I can’t really fault the show for being a sitcom. But then again no other show out there has an episode centered around Magic: The Gathering and The Wrath of Kahn. This season also has Judy Greer in her underwear, so I hope you have a copy of Adaptation around. You’ll want to watch that again.

“I swear to God, if you look up to see if I’m the kid in Stand By Me, I will stab you.”

The Big Bang Theory is a rare thing thing these days, a funny multi-camera sitcom. It’s got all the genre’s trappings; the live studio audience, the quirky next door neighbor, and a rotating cast of idiosyncratic guest stars. Following a group of socially awkward geniuses isn’t exactly stretching the sitcom. But by working in the confines of the genre so closely, The Big Bang Theory shows why the sitcom has stuck around for so long. Plus, it’s filled with geek references and crush worthy girls.

I’d just like to point out that he has The Green Lantern and he’s wearing yellow.
Not cool, man. Not cool.

The Package

The show is shot in HD so the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers look fantastic, even in SD. The 5.1 audio is clear and but only really uses the surrounds during the opening credits. Extras are sparse. Takeout with the Cast is a quick Q&A with the cast as they eat Chinese food. The Set Tour with Simon and Kunal is, yeah, a set tour with those guys. They goof around the set for about seven minutes and then you forget you watched it. There’s also a gag reel. So you can laugh because actors are real people too. Or something. I don’t get gag reels.

7.5 out of 10.0