‘Big Bang The­ory’ ex­its with emo­tional episode

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - By Jonathan Landrum Jr.

“The Big Bang The­ory” closed out its run as tele­vi­sion’s top-rated com­edy with an emo­tional fi­nal episode that saw some big changes for the show’s group of geeky mis­fits.

The long-run­ning se­ries on CBS con­cluded with two fi­nal episodes, “The Change Con­stant” and “The Stock­holm Syn­drome,” in an hour-long fi­nale Thurs­day evening. The se­ries ex­ited the TV air­waves with the most episodes for a multi-cam­era se­ries ever with 279 episodes. It edged past NBC’s “Cheers,” which aired for 11 sea­sons and 275 episodes.

“The Big Bang The­ory” de­buted in 2007 and over­came early doubts to be­come a cult clas­sic af­ter some ques­tioned the show’s chances of sur­vival. The show was led by a crew of nerdy mis­fits star­ring Jim Par­sons, Ka­ley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bia­lik, Si­mon Hel­berg, Ku­nal Nay­yar and Melissa Rauch.

Thurs­day’s fi­nale was fol­lowed by a be­hind-the-scenes look at the show in “Un­rav­el­ing the Mys­tery: A Big Bang Farewell” with Galecki and Cuoco as hosts.

The se­ries be­gan about geeky physi­cist room­mates por­trayed by Par­sons and Galecki and ex­panded to in­clude their friends, girl­friends and then wives. It in­evitably made be­ing nerds and comic book lovers a cool phe­nom­e­non in pop cul­ture.

Dur­ing its ten­ure, “Big Bang The­ory” won 10 Emmy Awards. Par­sons took home four of those tro­phies, in­clud­ing lead ac­tor in a com­edy se­ries in 2014.

The fi­nal episodes were filled with a few sur­prises, a preg­nancy, cameos and a speech about the im­por­tance of friend­ship in the se­ries’ emo­tional con­clu­sion.

Par­son’s char­ac­ter Shel­don and Bia­lik’s Amy anx­iously awaited the de­ci­sion on whether the mar­ried cou­ple would win the No­bel Prize. The fi­nal episode also high­lighted the fate of the bro­ken el­e­va­tor, which has been non­func­tional for much of the se­ries.

It in­cluded a scene in which Bia­lik, who is a neu­ro­sci­en­tist in real life, urges young girls to pur­sue ca­reers in science. “Lit­tle girls who dream about science” should pur­sue it as a ca­reer and ig­nore naysay­ers, she said.

The com­edy leaves on a high as one of tele­vi­sion’s most pop­u­lar shows. Last week’s episode was the most­watched pro­gram on broad­cast or cable TV with 12.5 mil­lion view­ers, beat­ing out HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which ends its se­ries on Sun­day af­ter an eight-year run.

Par­sons had said the end of the se­ries feels like a “real rite of pas­sage mo­ment,” which was full of mem­o­ries and some tears. Galecki said the show has touched “so many hearts.”

A fed­eral judge will let a jury de­cide whether con­spir­acy the­o­rist Alex Jones’ In­fowars web­site had a le­gal right to sell a poster fea­tur­ing the im­age of Pepe the Frog, a car­toon char­ac­ter that be­came hi­jacked by far­right ex­trem­ists.

U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzger­ald re­fused Thurs­day to throw out a copyright infringeme­nt law­suit that Pepe’s cre­ator, California-based artist Matt Furie, filed against In­fowars over its poster sales.

Lawyers for Furie and In­fowars both said they were pleased by the rul­ing, which clears a path for a jury trial to be­gin July 16 in Los An­ge­les.

Louis Tom­pros, one Furie’s lawyers, said his client looks for­ward to ask­ing jurors to hold In­fowars ac­count­able for mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing Pepe, the an­thro­po­mor­phic frog he cre­ated in the early 2000s.

“This is a case about mak­ing sure no­body (else) is mak­ing money off Pepe the Frog,” Tom­pros said Fri­day.

In­fowars’ at­tor­ney, Marc Ran­dazza, said the de­ci­sion pre­serves his client’s key free speech de­fenses against Furie’s claims and lim­its any pos­si­ble award to a max­i­mum of roughly $13,000.

“We are fight­ing this case be­cause we think it’s a free speech is­sue,” Ran­dazza said. “(Jones) is do­ing it as an act in the pub­lic in­ter­est in­stead of his own in­ter­est.”

Jones faces other costly lit­i­ga­tion. Rel­a­tives of chil­dren killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook El­e­men­tary School mas­sacre filed defama­tion suits against Jones af­ter he ques­tioned whether the shoot­ing ram­page was a hoax.

Jones livestream­s his show on In­fowars’ web­site, but he has lost ac­cess to other plat­forms. Twit­ter and Face­book have per­ma­nently banned him.

Jones also uses his web­site to sell a di­verse range of prod­ucts. Furie’s law­suit says he didn’t au­tho­rize the site to sell a “MAGA” poster that de­picts Pepe along­side im­ages of Jones, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, far-right ag­i­ta­tor Milo Yiannopou­los and other right-wing fig­ures.

In­fowars’ lawyers ar­gued the poster’s de­pic­tion of Pepe is “fair use.” Fitzger­ald ruled the jury must de­cide that ques­tion.

In­fowars was sell­ing the Pepe-adorned poster for $29.95. Gross rev­enues from sales of the poster to­taled more than $31,000, the judge’s rul­ing says.

Jim Par­sons won an Emmy for Out­stand­ing Lead Ac­tor in a Com­edy Se­ries in both 2010 and 2011 for his por­trayal of Shel­don Cooper in “The Big Bang The­ory.”

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