I … just don’t know.
For many, the post-strike return of CBS’ "The Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother" was long-awaited. For my part, I’ll go as far as to say they were welcomed, even mildly anticipated. I don’t live and die with these shows, but they have had their moments of sweetness and light.
However, even by those less-than-exacting standards, tonight was a disappointment.
I expect the people who really do love "Bang" will be happy with tonight’s airing; it had the show’s typical silliness. My problem was that it was all-too-typical. I stared at the screen blankly for almost the entire half-hour.
Doesn’t it get old after a while that Leonard has bad clothes and things to be embarrassed about, that Sheldon is anal-retentive, that Penny is nonplussed by their behavior? The same behavior is mined, and the situations don’t change all that much. The one twist that tonight’s episode did have going for it – the fact that Penny’s meddling was actually undermining Sheldon and Leonard’s friendship – was barely exploited. Even the fight between Sheldon and Leonard was undercut by stock reactions from Howard. Though there was a good moment when Leonard outlined all his insecurities before insisting Sheldon was worse, I was never really won over.
It’s weird because "Bang" truly is likable – I almost always sit down expecting to enjoy it more than I do. It says something about the show that I’ll watch it even when I’m not laughing, but I don’t know if I’d want to do that indefinitely.
"How I Met Your Mother" usually delivers for me more than "Bang" does, but I was even more mystified by its comeback outing. The A story had Ted repeating the same joke – wow, he’s being a bad guy, but it’s working out great – and the payoff? Hey, being a bad guy doesn’t work out great. Okay. … The B story, involving an apartment with a slanted floor, was even more flimsy.
These episodes just felt very by-the-numbers.
– Jon Weisman