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The Big Bang Theory making a bigger bang

The Big Bang Theory poster

Written by : published Saturday 12th January 2013

CBS's The Big Bang Theory, six seasons in, is having the best year of its run. Constantly setting viewing records, it is one of the most-watched shows on television. With episodes as funny and original as recent installments have been, it's no wonder, and it's gratifying that more and more people are discovering a sitcom I've found hilarious since the beginning.

This week's entry, "The Bakersfield Expedition," finds the guys heading to a Comic Con in Bakersfield. Along the way, they stop at a desert locale where many Star Trek landing party missions were filmed, and decide to engage in a photo shoot - in full costume.

Things go horrible wrong when Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) car is stolen. Stranded, dressed as sci-fi characters, wandering the hot highway with no water, it just doesn't get much worse. It isn't long before spirits are down, and even Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is ready to go home, with only Raj (Kunal Nayyar) keeping his enthusiasm alive.

It's a fun tale, with some great laughs. The visual gag of the guys sweating, their (at first) brilliant makeup becoming less and less convincing with each passing minute, is fantastic, even if one does feel bad for them. But before that, the way they bond, listening to Sheldon's hack of Leonard's GPS, and the poses and looks they all put on, are awesome. It's a total geek fest, one sure to appreciated by any Star Trek fan.

Also, the fact that Howard (Simon Helberg) calls his mom for help, even though three of the four guys have ladies in the lives, not only plays into a stereotype, but is revealed in the perfect moment.

Even better, though, is the girls' plot in "The Bakersfield Expedition." Trying to figure out why their men are into geeky stuff so much, Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and Amy (Mayim Bialik) head for the comic book store. After getting some advice from Stuart (Kevin Sussman), and having him defend their honor from leering nerds, they return home to peruse the literature.

At first, the women are clueless as to why their guys like such dumb stories. Yet, they spend the entire day arguing the rules of the worlds they are reading about, devouring more books, and making reasoned debates, such as how one might lift Thor's hammer. It's a thrilling head-spin, as even though Amy and Bernadette aren't really the "cool" kids, it's still strange to see them immersed in comics. Hopefully, this experience will have them finding a little more understanding for their boys' passions and hobbies, and maybe even partaking in them a little bit more. Though, not too much, as that would ruin the show, the differences separating the characters part of why the chemistries work so well.

The way that The Big Bang Theory satisfies convention AND turns it on its head, often at the same time, might explain the show's success. "The Bakersfield Experdition" is a simple, small-scale story, with no notable guest stars, and it still manages to deliver a number of memorable moments and jokes. The show doesn't try to be something that it's not, embracing its identity, and only expanding its world where it makes sense to do so. Six years in, the structure has changed and grown a bit, but it's still the same show it always has been, albeit with a little more estrogen.

Watch The Big Bang Theory Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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