Revenge of the nerds in big- brained sitcom
CAN you recall Mr Spock’s dying words or do you have any interest in how the Star Trek legend was conceived? Do you fondly remember the Kryptonian villain Zod or spit at the memory of the Superman comics he appeared in? Does quantum physics rock your world?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you will love the new offering from Chuck Lorre, creator of Two and Half Men and Dharma & Greg. The show is a celebration of geekiness.
It is about four young self-confessed nerds who work at the California Institute of Technology, a private research university commonly known as Caltech. Two are roommates and the program’s focal point.
The pair lives across the hall from Penny ( Kaley Cuoco), a blonde waitress who wants to be an actor: how unusual for someone living near Los Angeles. She keeps them grounded and acts as an interpreter when life confuses them.
Leonard Hofstadter, played by Johnny Galecki, is a theoretical physicist and his roommate is experimental physicist Sheldon Cooper. They live in a geek’s paradise where the thought of winning a Physics Bowl — the university physics trivia competition — is nirvana.
This episode centres on the Physics Bowl and attempts by Leonard and his pals to lure Sheldon, whose portrayal by Jim Parsons comes close to stealing the show, into their team. Sheldon has zero social skills but an astounding knowledge of science. In the end, he takes over and the rest of the team boots him out.
His spot is taken by semi-regular character Leslie Winkle, who provides a nostalgic trip down memory lane. She is played by Sara Gilbert, best known as the sour Darlene in
Geek street: The cast of Roseanne , in which Galecki was her long-term boyfriend David. The pair has great chemistry and it’s fantastic to have them back on screen together.
Sheldon forms a rival team with cleaning staff, who are under strict orders not to talk so he can answer all the questions. Let the battle of the nerds begin. The producers hired a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California-Los Angeles to check scripts and help with dialogue and any equations or diagrams used in the program. So the science is correct, which this geek appreciated.
Even though it can be a little cliched, the show has some great jokes and lets you laugh with rather than at the characters. The strong ensemble cast gives first-rate performances. Little wonder, then, that it has been the most successful new sitcom launch in the US in more than two years.
You don’t have to be a geek to appreciate it, but a working knowledge of Star Trek wouldn’t hurt.
The Big Bang Theory
Chef, writer, culinary explorer and professional bald guy Andrew Zimmern, pictured, thinks roasted grasshoppers are delicious. Raw duck embryo encased in its own juices, anyone? Or how about tiny whole shrimp rolled into a pancake? It’s like cornflakes with little eyes,’’ says the bald one. Watch him traipse across the globe, eating bugs, strange animal parts and other grotesque dishes. Summer does very odd things to network programming departments. Add the remarkable oddness of to that equation and you have a recipe for disorientation. And that goes triple for Nine’s new habit of running episodes out of order. So apologies to fans of the show trying to work out what is going on. We have it on excellent authority that this episode will be , the seventh of the debut season. It’s the one you may have read about in television schedules weeks ago where they open a guy up and find a gigantic parasite wrapped around his heart. Aaarggh. You sure know a show is in trouble when it turns up at 11pm on a Monday night during the summer non-ratings period. Anyone might have guessed that the Australianisms, the irony, the sarcasm and the sheer cruelty of the original would be lost on our friends across the Pacific. Without them, what would be? This, most likely.