Friday, May 08, 2015

Banged Out

The Big Bang Theory just ended its season with "The Commitment Determination." The show is a phenomenon--still the biggest comedy on television in its eighth season.  But I'm tired.  Even the best shows--a category I don't think it fits in--can only last so long before you've seen most of their tricks.  (The superior Modern Family is also getting tired, and that's after six seasons.)

Of course, shows are aware of this problem.  Even sitcoms, with episodes that tend to be standalone, try to hold on to their audience with an emotional core.  We care about the characters and are intrigued to see how their relationships progress.  Big Bang has done this masterfully.

When it started it was about four nerdy guys who struck out with women (in a TV way, which meant they still got to succeed with the occasional hottie) and the cute girl who lived across the way. Through the years, we've seen the central couple, Leonard and Penny, get together, and then get engaged.  We've seen the randiest character, Howard, settle down with a new character, Bernadette. We've seen Rajesh, who couldn't even speak to women in the beginning, get a steady girlfriend.  And Sheldon, who barely seemed capable of human emotion, got into a long-term relationship with another new character, Amy.

The season eight finale shook up things (expected) and left them hanging (expected and tiresome).  After realizing they were indefinitely putting off their nuptials, we now have a somewhat unsettled Leonard and Penny speeding toward Vegas for a quickie wedding.  (How many sitcoms have tried that?)  We've got Rajesh trying to break up with his new girlfriend, but failing.  We've got Howard and Bernadette trying to kick the sad sack Stuart out of their household, but failing.  And biggest of all, we've got trouble on the Sheldon-Amy front--after a fight, he buys her a ring, but before he can tell her, she wants to step back from the relationship.

And I don't care.  The show is good for some laughs.  But whether or not the character go on to marriage, or break up, or get divorced, or have babies, or whatever else is on the horizon, means nothing to me.  The producers must figure jerking around the audience will keep them watching, and they may be right, but from now on, I don't think I'll go out of my way to keep up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's have Amy give her anti-vaxxer views to kickstart some controversy on the show.

The show might not get any better but the culture wars around it could be fun

3:54 AM, May 08, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I admint, I don't watch consistently anymore. I have most of the episodes on DVR, and when I'm in the mood I try to catch up. I want a Stuart spin-off! (Not really, all Stuart all the time would get old fast).

However, I do find the writing, when I watch, still consistently top caliber. It may be rehashing situations its already done, but they are good rehashes (much like the Simpsons, which I see has been renewed for two more seasons!).

For fresh, surprising material, I now watch (and keep up with) Last Man Standing, which brings up really serious, political and social issues and yet does not feed us the usual resolutions. (Also it's set in Denver metro area, so that's fun).

I also started watching Last Man on Earth, which is definitely fresh and different, but I find I have to be in a certain mood to tune-in (and so I have a stack of these on the DVR as well). And for classic sitcom stuff, it's Brooklyn 99 and Cristella - both well written, if entirely predictable. Nice to see Rosanne back on TV in a recurring minor role.

8:21 AM, May 08, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is something to be said for the comfortable old shoe - of watching a favorite sitcom rehash its hits- (yes it is like having sex with an ex)- I think Big Bang and Modern Family are there now- but there is a tipping point (well past the shark jumping point) when it just gets too hard to enjoy and leaves you with a bad taste like the Office's final season.

I would like to see comedies handle controversial issues only if it was not a stand-in for political debate (which can't help but morph into very special episodes)-just a thing in the background that people hate and yell at each other over I guess (of course that's the original All In The Family recipe). Its a dangerous area to go into as the humor has a very high chance of suffering.

Does anybody else have problems with those verification pictures of food- they are too small and the pasta looks like the sushi which looks like the cake and I keep failing it (Although like public school, they finally let me pass to get rid of me I guess)

8:42 AM, May 08, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I've watched Last Man On Earth. It's different, but it's mostly an extended joke about a guy not getting sex, and I can take only so much of that.

If you had asked me in the late 90s what's the best show ever, I would have said The Simpsons. It's still professionally done, but it's gone on about fifteen years too long, and I don't usually watch it (though I'm not yet tired of Family Guy).

10:11 AM, May 08, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

By the way, Cristela has been canceled.

Also, I'm a big fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and I don't find it particularly predictable.

11:58 PM, May 08, 2015  

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