Big Bang Theory: Why it Works

In this week’s episode of this delightful and always-improving sitcom, Sheldon decides to apologize to Amy by giving her a gift.

I watched the premiere episode of Big Bang and was not impressed. I thought the characters were too stock, and the pretty blonde, Penny in particular, added nothing to the show, so I never returned until I listened to the TV Guide podcast and the commentors convinced  me to give the show another try. I’m glad they did because it has been a staple ever since. As I seem to find fewer and fewer shows worth spending my time on, I am always glad when Big Bang is on because I can rely on it.

One of the changes I like most about this show is the addition of more female characters: Bernadette, Amy and Priya had joined the gang. Moreover, I like the fact that Penny, Bernadette and Amy have become friends. They are not extensions of the men or plot conveniences but developing characters who are interesting. The women often hang out together, completely separate from the men, something I wish more series books included.

We’ve learned a lot about Penny over the years and seen her grow because of her friendship with the nerdy scientists. It makes complete sense that she would now be friends with intelligent, successful women like Bernadette and Amy. The writers also showed us that Bernadette is not maternal (show don’t tell) and we learned why from her back story about raising her younger brothers and sisters. She does not want to give up everything she’s accomplished in order to care for a child stuffing Cheerios up their nose.

But the writers are also willing to show our humorous weaknesses, hence Amy’s reaction to the tiara. I love Mayim Balik’s weak-kneed, complete body response to the ultimate princess symbol. Brilliant.

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