Re­venge of the nerds in big- brained sit­com

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

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.

Ge­orgina Wind­sor

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.

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