The Big Bang Theory Expands


SPOILER WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers for CBS’ Big Bang Theory. If you’re not caught up on season 7, you might not want to read. Then again maybe you’re okay with it. It’s up to you. What I’m saying here is you’ve been warned!


One of my all-time favorite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory, has been picked up for not just one, but three additional seasons. Yesterday CBS announced the multi-season deal to the delight of geeks everywhere. It’s really not surprising considering “Big Bang” has been ranked as the No. 1 sitcom since the 2010-11 season, and continues to hold the top spot in key demographics for the second straight year. Drawing that many key viewers each week is a huge deal for Big Bang and I wish the show continued success, although I do have some reservations.

Writing a weekly sitcom is a massive challenge but none more so than keeping the plot lines fresh and interesting. Ten seasons is a *ton* of stories to tell and even though the cast expanded to seven actors a few years back, there’s only so many character dynamics they can introduce. This year’s stories between Penny and Leonard have sometimes seemed forced and even mean-spirited. Leonard’s wavering support of Penny’s career in The Hesitation Ramification really didn’t bode well for their relationship and was rough to watch. Then we have Sheldon and Amy. Their relationship has moved forward a great deal this season including their very first kiss in The Locomotion Manipulation, but if the show is to survive they need to grow even further. The trick for the writers is not to jump the Shamy shark too soon. We’re all waiting for the episode where Amy and Sheldon finally have “coitus” as Sheldon would say, but once it happens where do they go from there? Will the so-called “Big Bang” be anti-climatic once it finally happens? And what about Howard and Bernadette? Their stories seem to have been put on the back burner lately, hopefully with 3 new seasons we’ll see more of them and maybe even a glimpse at Howard’s mom. And don’t get me started on Raj, that poor boy.

As a fan I’m delighted that my favorite comedy will be around for years to come. I especially enjoy this year’s guest stars like Bill Nye and Bob Newhart, I hope we see more of them. If anyone can continue to give us stories that make us laugh, squee with geeky delight and tear up week after week, it’s the Big Bang team. I know a lot of people don’t like the show and it’s over-the-top style, studio audience howling and nerd-centric jokes. But for those of us who tune in each week, The Big Bang Theory brightens our day, eases our stress and let’s us see a little bit of our geeky selves in the lives of Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Lenoard Hofstadter. It’s like a comforting, warm beverage served up by a close, funny friend and who doesn’t like that?

The Talking (Badly) Dead

SPOILER WARNING: If you’ve not seen all three seasons of The Walking Dead, this video may contain some minor spoilers for you. Watch at your own risk.

I’ve enjoyed the Bad Lip Reading parody videos for some time, but this new one based on AMC’s The Walking Dead is by far the best yet. It’s amazingly well done, especially the voice acting which makes it even funnier. If you love The Walking Dead, you’re in for a treat. The Governor’s finale alone is worth the price of admission.

Rooting for Shamy

My favorite television comedy, The Big Bang Theory, returns to TV on Thursday, Sept 27th on CBS. To get ready, I’ve been going back and re-watching many of the season 4 and 5 episodes that I love the most. The Alien Parasite Hypothesis (the one where Amy gets the hots for Penny’s friend Zach) and The Shiny Trinket Maneuver in which Sheldon buys Amy a tiara as a transparent attempt to sooth her relationship anger (the ep earned her an Emmy nomination) are two stand-outs. As the series has progressed, my favorite part of the show has morphed from watching the male leads interact to the relationship that has developed between the three female leads – Penny, Amy and Bernadette. The way Penny and Bernadette adopted the socially awkward Amy into their group is adorable, as is the crush Amy has on Kaley Cuoco’s character, Penny.

Of all the relationships Big Bang has featured, I think the Sheldon / Amy duo has to be the best. They are two wallflowers who are brilliant in their respective fields but who are children when it comes to their emotions. This has changed over the course of the show as the writers took definite steps to move Sheldon & Amy’s (Shamy for short) relationship forward. Over time, Sheldon has elevated Amy from a “Girl who happens to be his friend” to his actual girlfriend. In the season 5 finale, Sheldon incredibly took Amy’s hand as they watched their friend Howard boldy travel into space. If you are a fan of Big Bang, this moment probably gave you goose bumps as it did me.

I love The Big Bang Theory because I can often relate to the geeky jokes and situations the writers create for the characters. The show is ripe with Star Trek, comics and video game references, but it is the characters and their relationships that give the show the deep, emotional satisfaction I love so much. Like many fans, I’ve been rooting for Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Folwer to get together, and I believe that one day they will.

In a wonderful season 4 interview between Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik, they reveal their working relationship, how they prepare to film a script and that they too are rooting for their characters to make it. Often times we as fans forget that an actor ultimately doesn’t have the final say in what happens to the characters they portray, the writers and producers do. If any of the show’s writers are reading this, all I can say is keep up the great work. We love how Amy & Sheldon have grown closer towards each other and we want more. Just not too fast, getting there is more than half the fun! Tune in to the season 6 premiere of The Big Bang Theory on CBS on Thursday, Sept 27th. Go Team #Shamy!

Wel-l-l-l-l-l-l! Dick Orkin’s ‘Chickenman’ on iTunes

A hundred years or so ago when I was attending RIT, my friend and college professor Steve Loar, introduced my classmates and I to one of his personal loves, an old radio show named Chickenman. Created by broadcast hall of fame inductee Dick Orkin in 1966 for Chicago’s WCFL, Chickenman was inspired by the popular TV series “Batman”. Originally scheduled to run just two weeks, the show’s popularity took flight and eventually became nationally syndicated, ensuring its success. Today Chickenman remains the longest running radio show in history and can be heard on XM Radio’s Channel 151 and American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS).

Each episode checks in around 2 minutes long and tells the tale of Midland City’s Fantastic Feathered Fowl, an anti-hero who roams Midland City seeking criminals in his yellow crime-fighting car, the Chicken Coupe. He has a secret headquarters, the Chicken Cave, accessible through a trap door in his bedroom closet and when his duties as shoe store manager keeps him busy, his mother Mildred fills in as the “Maternal Marauder“.

Back when Steve introduced us to Chickenman in 1990, there were only a handful of episodes were released on vinyl, but every one of them managed to bring a smile to my face. I used to love listening to the White Winged Warrior hang out in the mayor’s office, generally annoying the almost-unflappable Miss Helfinger, performed to acerbic perfection by Jane Roberts.

I recently discovered that all 273 episodes of Chickenman are available via iTunes for download and I’ve been in poultry heaven ever since. If you love snarky, quick-paced humor, comics or just want to have a good laugh, wing your way over to iTunes and check out Dick Orkin’s Chickenman. Just remember evil doers, he’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!

Nimoy Beams Up to ‘Big Bang’

If you’re a fan of Star Trek and CBS’s geeky comedy The Big Bang Theory, then this is the stardate you’ve waited for. Sources at TVLine.com report the March 29th episode of Big Bang will include a long-sought guest appearance by none other than Star Trek’s own Leonard Nimoy.

Fans of Big Bang well know just how obsessed Jim Parson’s character, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, is with both Spock and the actor who plays him. Other Trek vets such as Wil Weaton, LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner have all made appearances on the hit comedy, but Nimoy is the vulcan we’ve all been waiting for.

Even though Nimoy will only be heard and not seen, this has to be a huge coup for Bill Prady and the rest of the cast of The Big Bang Theory. I can’t wait to see how they work Nimoy into the story and hope it will eventually lead to more guest appearances. After all, it’s only logical.

Favorite Film Funnies

I’ve been seeing quite a few of these “Best Movie Lines” videos on YouTube and so I thought I would take a shot at making my own. It took some work to grab all of the clips, but the result was worth it. Editing this short ode to silver screen silliness was really fun. Next up, my favorite dramatic lines. Enjoy!

Biff’s Question Song

To be fair to actor Tom Wilson, who played the infamous bully Biff from the Back to the Future films, I’d probably ask him all of these questions too. That’s why I’m so glad I discovered this gem of a clip where Tom puts all of the answers to song. The result is something that should somehow be worked into the next season of Big Bang Theory. Enjoy!

Hat tip to IO9 for this post

Intel Rockstar

The new Tonight Show with Conan O’Brian has been hit or miss since its debut, but this wonderfully geeky bit is right on the money. Conan Interviews the co-creator of the USB port, Ajay Bhatt with hilarious results. Check it out, the end alone is worth the price of admission.

Hat tip to Mashable for this post.

Andy Richter Gets Tweaked for DVD

Back in January I wrote about the release of one of my all-time favorite TV shows on DVD. After almost 7 years, Andy Richter Controls the Universe was released on March 24th and thanks to Amazon.com I had my copy on the 25th.

All in all, CBS has done a pretty good job with the transfer of the show to DVD. The box set is formatted for 16:9 televisions and the decisions about where to crop the image for widescreen make it seem like the show was originally shot in HD, which it wasn’t evidently was (my bad). The picture is clear and selected episodes even come with audio commentary from Richter himself. If you’re a fan of the show, don’t miss these as well as the making-of features that are at the end of the third disk.

While it’s indeed awesome to finally have ARCTU on DVD, there are a few upsetting things that Andy fans will immediately notice. The first problem relates to the order of the episodes. While the DVD appears to list the show’s episodes in broadcast order, it would have made much more sense to list them in the order they were produced. It’s never made sense that the show’s 2nd episode (aptly entitled “Second Episode”) was aired 4th, especially since it immediately follows the events in the pilot. New viewers will inevitably be confused.

Perhaps worse are the numerous changes in the show’s soundtrack that have been made. It’s impossible to tell if these edits were done because CBS couldn’t or simply didn’t want to secure the rights for the original music, but either way they’re disappointing. Here are just four examples from two episodes of the changes that have been made.

Some of the changes I can deal with, but others are just bad. The “pseudo Sting” cover when Andy meets Wendy in his office is one of the worst, but the loss of the clip from The Sound of Music in “Grief Counselor” just plain makes me sad. I always got a chuckle out of Andy & Wendy kissing to the cooing sounds of Austria’s heartland and now it’s gone. I imagine this change was made because 20th Century Fox owns The Sound of Music and they didn’t feel like negotiating proper rights. Still, I’m a firm believer in the credo “If you’re going to do something, do it right”.

Overall this is a welcome, and long overdue release of one of the most underrated TV shows ever. If you’re a fan of Andy Richter, this set is definitely worth picking up. The image quality and formatting, as well as the DVD extras help make up for the sub-par treatment the soundtrack received. Check it out!

I Miss MST3K

Although Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is best known for the lampooning of various B-rated sci-fi movies and horror flicks, I always enjoyed their roasts of public service short films best. These self-righteous reels from the 40′s and 50′s, always did take themselves too seriously and made perfect fodder for Crow, Tom Servo and Joel’s witty zingers. The clip below is classic MST3K as the trio firings on all cylinders. I’ve tried to get into Michael J. Nelson’s new take on MST3K, called RiffTrax, but it just isn’t the same. Thank goodness for YouTube so we can sit back, relax and enjoy “A Date with Your Family”. Just don’t enjoy it too much, after all, the dinner table is no place for emotion!