Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season, The (DVD Review)7 Sep, 2009 By: John Latchem
$44.98 four-DVD set
Stars Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar.
As my mother used to say, “The smarter you are, the dumber you are.” This seems to be the central thesis of “The Big Bang Theory,” which focuses on four men who understand the vast intricacies of the physical universe while the finer concepts of social grace constantly elude them.
At the center of the story are Leonard and Sheldon, two physicists working at Cal Tech. While Leonard (Johnny Galecki) seems capable of functional human interaction, Sheldon (Emmy nominee Jim Parsons) is basically an android, literalizing everything around him to a point where he even deconstructs the underlying roots of friendship. The character of Sheldon is a revelation — arrogant to the point of annoyance yet naïve enough to engender sympathy. His is a lost soul, rejecting a worldly life for the comforts of escapist entertainment.
By contrast we get Leonard and Sheldon’s neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco), who show the boys there’s more to life than computers and complex calculations. The occasional odd-couple teaming of Penny and Sheldon is comedy gold.
Adding to the fun are Leonard and Sheldon’s pals Howard (Simon Helberg), a delusional “ladies’ man,” and Rajesh (Kunal Nayyar), who’s so neurotic he can’t talk to pretty girls (unless he’s drunk).
The show plays with traditional sitcom conventions but remains firmly rooted in them, especially in the odd romantic tension that exists between Penny and Leonard. In the second season especially, Penny’s normalistic sensibilities and the gang’s nerdiness begin to rub off on each other.
This is comedy for the Comic-Con crowd, loaded with pop-culture jokes that emphasize sci-fi, fantasy, comic books and video games. It’s as if the Trio from the sixth season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Lt. Cmdr. Data from “Star Trek” were transplanted into a Kevin Smith movie. Those who understood that sentence will love “The Big Bang Theory.”
But there’s plenty for everyone else to enjoy, too. The second-season DVD comes out just in time for the Sept. 21 premiere of the third season on CBS.