DVDs in Review: #98: The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season

Category: , , , By Rev/Views

Last year I caught a couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory and I was interested enough to pick up the first season in August and watch/review it. Suffice to say it was a show I felt started well and then improved massively after what turned out to be the hiatus from the writer's strike. The show moved away from insulting the characters in the show and became more about laughing with them. It also began to give Penny some serious growth as a character. Something I hoped that the second season would build upon.

Well recently I picked up the second season as I find twenty minute American sitcoms to be my ideal bedtime viewing, and I was not disappointed. Not at all. The show has grown and really found it's stride in the second season. A huge part of this is the acceptance of Sheldon's odd quirks and embracing the strengths of his character's weaknesses, but the largest part of the growth in the show has come with Penny. She's fleshed out from her starting state of 'the pretty girl from over the hallway' into a strong and funny character in her own right. Good news as she's the only female regular and she needs to be more than just a pretty board for the guys to bounce their strange behaviours off.

Also both Raj and Howard are given considerable development in this season, which is a most welcome occurrence - Howard in particular I found quite distasteful at times in the first season. Sure he's supposed to be a creep as he's more or less an unsuccessful nerdy Barney Stinson, but he lacked any other sort of character dimensions beyond being a nerdy engineer with a massive libido and the lack of social awareness to use it correctly. The second season has taken steps towards rounding him out a little more, both blunting the worst of his excesses and giving him more depth.

So yes, the second season of The Big Bang theory is enjoyable - more importantly it is an improvement on the first season. That's the most important thing in my book, why bother having another season if you're not going to improve on what came before?

However, the show doesn't have all sunshine, rainbows and butterflies flying out of it's figurative backside, there are still a few gripes I do have with it. Most of them I can live with, but the one which irritates me more than anything else is an artifact it shares with Two and a Half Men - that is the old, dated sitcom format of ignoring continuity and just abandoning the past whenever convenient. I'm sorry but that model, well I'm just not buying it in this day and age, especially not since I saw Arrested Development and was awakened to the simple fact that a sitcom is funnier if it builds on it's own mythos and keeps storylines rolling.

This quirk is most noticeable with regards to Leonard's relationships - one of which just disappears from the show so quickly that I can't help but wonder if I had a bout of narcolepsy and missed out on several episodes. It was quite literally - at one point they're dating, then things are a little rocky but seem to be working out then woosh - she's gone from the show and never mentioned again. Exiled perhaps to another dimension, one populated by characters like Carrie's sister from King of Queens - another victim to the black hole like Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.

And finally, I can't let the annoyance of the guys misplaying "Talisman" the board game a second time in this season (I noticed it in the first season and mentioned it in the DVD review a while back). I can't help but wonder if it's laziness from the writers or if it's some kind of joke on geeks, because this is a show which can use very sophisticated physics humour on par with some of the Easter eggs in Futurama but it completely fails to get even close to the proper rules for a single board game - not just once but twice! I mean - to paraphrase one magician - COME ON!

Stupid writers, take a couple of minutes to read the rules of a game if you plan to feature it in your show...

[I wonder if I'll be whinging about that when I watch the third season.]

Special features:
Physicist to the Stars
Testing the Infinite Hilarity Hypothesis in Relation to the Big Bang Theory
[Talk about a pretentious title]
Gag Reel

Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Full Frame
Languages: English, Castilian Spanish, French
Rating: 15
Region: 2
Run Time: 7 hours 41 mins
Subtitles: Castilian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Swedish


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