When it comes to The Big Bang Theory, most people I know fall into one of two categories. Either they love the show and watch it week to week, or they despise the show and make it a point to state how “overrated” the show is. What really divides these two groups though is this. The former have most likely seen the show from Season 1, Episode 1 and have grown with the characters, whereas the latter typically sees episodes here and there, then determines they dislike the show. As with basically every television show save for Law and Order and game shows, I recommend everyone watch series from the beginning. You simply get more out of the show and it gives you much more credibility in your opinion.
I bring this up because, since Season 4, The Big Bang Theory has changed quite a bit. Some think for the better, with new characters and more expansive plot lines. Others believe the show sort of copped out from its “nerdy” beginnings to become a standard rom-com sitcom. I, for one, believe that the show has merely evolved as it’s gone along, keeping the same great “nerd culture” humor but adding a much more realistic setting with the introduction of female characters beside Penny.
Truthfully, this is just something I’ve been thinking about since the start of season 7, but it wasn’t until “The Convention Conundrum” that I figured out why. It’s because, at this point in time, The Big Bang Theory has become less standard and repetitive and more over-arching with its story lines. “The Convention Conundrum” starts off with the guys attempting to score Comic-Con tickets online. Sadly, they don’t get the tickets and the rest of the episode is spent with the characters attempting to get to Comic Con.
On one side, we have Raj, Howard and Leonard trying to get scalped tickets from some guy off the internet. Their typical fear and “do good” attitude kick in, making this a fairly lackluster episode for the trio. Sheldon has a far more entertaining story as he formulates his own Comic Book festival, leading to one of The Big Bang Theory’s single best cameos by the great James Earl Jones. I won’t get into the specifics, but Sheldon and Darth Vader’s adventure was far and away my favorite part of the episode. We got to see a very outgoing and social Sheldon, who for once gets to hang out with a celebrity that doesn’t find him annoying. In fact, a nice little twist at the end of the episode brought a funny little human moment to Sheldon that we really hadn’t seen before. It’s hard to explain exactly because it’s subtle, but I think people will notice the nice little shift in the end.
The females, as always, just don’t understand the draw of something like Comic-Con and instead decide to have a grown up day, to no real avail. This story line of trying to be grown up juxtaposed nicely with the guys story of enjoying things they have always loved, even if they are getting a little too old for them. I wouldn’t say this was an episode of huge revelations, but it possessed more than a few small character moments that may be even more appreciated. Particularly Penny, who acts kind of mean throughout the start of the episode until finally revealing a struggle she’s been wrestling with.
It’s these moments that you really couldn’t appreciate unless you know these characters well. This brings me back to my opening point about getting to know a show’s characters and rhythms before giving a resounding “OVERRATED”! This show is just as strong as ever. Even if this episode wasn’t fully amazing.