Eight years ago, CBS introduced America to two roommates who ended up with their pants pulled down in a failed attempt to retrieve a TV for a pretty lady that just moved into an apartment down the hall from them. If you were to ask one of those roommates if he would go through that humiliation again, he wouldn’t have to think twice before responding, “hell yeah”. Pose the same question to the other roommate and you might have to hire a professional cleaner after he soils himself while reliving his traumatic experience in his head.
I was pretty impressed with that pilot episode and had high hopes after watching it (it was a free episode that the iTunes store had available for download at the time). I expected the show to be popular, because most shows created by Chuck Lorre end up being so, regardless of their quality (yes, I’m referring to Two and Half Men). I didn’t expect the show to be the mega hit it has become. It’s so popular, that anywhere I go in China, a person 30 years old or younger will come up to me and say I look like Howard Wolowitz. While briefly describing the careers in psychology to my Ap Psychology students, I asked them which character is a neuroscientist on the show. More than 30 students responded correctly with “Amy Farrah Fowler”.
What’s the secret to this show’s success? I’d have to say that it’s the unique group dynamic that has been created and developed over the course of 8 years. The ability to write a character like Sheldon Cooper, a stubborn, ignorant egotistical, antisocial, and asexual person, yet still make him lovable and appealing is an incredibly impressive accomplishment for this show. Also, the ability to bring in characters that are able to blend in to the stories with core characters is great. Amy and Bernadette have truly made episodes more interesting, meaningful, and hilarious. From all the seasons to date, I do feel that the most recent one (Season 8) was the most interesting.
If I had to give a theme to describe or label season 8, i would go with, “growing up”. All of the characters had to deal with major life events during the season. From Leonard and Penny finally setting a wedding date, to Howard coping with the sudden death of Mrs. Wolowitz, the writers definitely delivered some episodes that dealt with the milestones events that almost all of us eventually have to face. I’ll say that I was a bit surprised on how fast Howard seemed to recover after his Mother’s death. It’s not to say he was is still in the denial phase, but it seems like the following episodes either didn’t have the time to deal with Howard’s emotions, or they wanted to close that chapter in the story asap (the event was written into the show due to the death of the actress who voiced Mrs. Wolowitz). Even the side plots during the season had an impact on the character. Raj finally got involved in a real relationship with a woman, yet still had issues as to whether his dog or his girlfriend should be considered more important. I’m not a fan of his girlfriend, nor the actress. I really wish the writers could have kept Raj with his inability to speak to women while sober, and had him meet a woman with a similar social abnormality. That would be some great TV. And even when it comes to guest appearances, specifically Sheldon’s Mom and Leonard’s Mom, the show is fantastic. The episode where they finally met was hilarious, and both Moms give clear examples to the viewers on why Sheldon and Leonard act certain ways.
Like most shows, the season finale had the biggest moment of the entire season. Even after Sheldon finally expressed his feelings towards Amy and they had their first kiss, he wasn’t able to get the hint that their relationship was going nowhere. The last scene in the season finale has Amy having a video conference with Sheldon, informing him that she needs time to take a step back and look at where their relationship is going. I wouldn’t say she officially broke up with him, but it was sad to see Sheldon’s reaction and the reveal that sheldon bought a ring to propose to Amy. My prediction is that it will take about 6 episodes for Sheldon and Amy to finally get back together, and I see Sheldon proposing before the mid season break. I can already see the season finale being Sheldon and Amy’s wedding.
As for the wedding we already know is going to happen (in the season 9 premiere), I really would have liked Leonard and Penny to have a more meaningful wedding. Going off to vegas to one of those drive thru chapels seems like something the old Penny would do. I’m really not sure what the writers have planned for these characters. Also, the way Leonard revealed that he kissed another girl during his research trip, was very undramatic. It would have made for better TV if he revealed that as they were walking down the aisle. Also, I find it pretty hypocritical of Leonard to think Penny would understand. Leonard is by far the most suspecting, paranoid, and non confident person in their relationship. If Penny admitted to kissing someone on a trip, I think Leonard would have had a more dramatic reaction.
I’m predicting that Howard and Bernadette end up getting divorced this season. Their relationship is more mother/son, than it is husband/wife. I think the combination of Howard’s immaturity and his friend living in their home will finally be too much for Bernadette. If the writers choose a different direction, than I’d say Bernadette will get pregnant and they will have the whole parent dynamic for the next season.
Finally, as stated above, I expect Sheldon and Amy to get married, but their relationship on TV is great to watch already, I fear that marriage and Sheldon turning changing his mindset and behavior will make the show less funny. The Season premiere airs on September 21st. I’ll look forward to reviewing the upcoming season and interacting with all TBBT fans!