×

‘The Big Bang Theory’ Rings In Its New Season (SPOILERS)

The long history of sitcoms says that series frequently take their lives – or at least, their laughs – in their hands when they begin pairing up and marrying off characters. Still, when entering your ninth season, as “The Big Bang Theory” did on Monday, there’s a temptation to take such chances, in part because there are few new frontiers left to explore. Having already cashed in fabulously on every conceivable level, no one associated with the show has anything to lose. Viewers, however, might come up on the short end if the direction augured by the premiere is any guide.

After several on-again, off-again permutations (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched), the wedding of Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) finally happened, although in a slightly novel twist, it was treated almost as an afterthought. That’s because a fight between the two — over a kiss he exchanged with a co-worker — sent them home from the Las Vegas mill where they tied the knot barely speaking to each other, retreating to their respective apartments.

At the same time, Leonard’s self-centered roommate Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is avidly if boorishly pursuing his sort-of girlfriend Amy (Mayim Bialik), who finally woke up to the fact in last season’s finale that he didn’t treat her particularly well. Sheldon’s tone-deafness and lack of social graces has always been part of his charm, but the writers (six of whom, including co-creator Chuck Lorre, were credited with collaborating on the script and story) risk turning him into even more of a lout than usual should this arc persist along these lines much longer.

In a sense, the episode sort of belonged to Stuart (Kevin Sussman), who has emerged as the neediest if not the nerdiest of the bunch – hitting on Amy in the midst of her breakup, before turning his attention to the newly wed but estranged Penny. With Howard (Simon Helberg) married off, Stuart has the potential to take his place as the suitor with all the wrong moves.

The Big Bang Theory” remains the least of CBS’ problems, and indeed the linchpin of its entire comedy-development apparatus. That said, the clock is ticking on how much longer the network will be able to keep the gang together, ratcheting up the pressure to help cultivate another hit before the show leaves behind a great big black hole in its schedule.

Even in what was, for this series, a relatively clunky episode there were still some funny lines, such as Penny ad-libbing the “Toy Story” theme for her vows, or Sheldon cluelessly telling Penny that another woman is brilliant and attractive enough to “do way better than Leonard.” That role of the woman Leonard kissed, played by Melissa Tang, is scheduled to turn up next week.

Nevertheless, when Penny said near the outset, “We’ve put this off long enough,” it was hard to argue. The question now – for those who remain invested in these characters, but skeptical about these latest wrinkles – is how much longer they intend to drag it out.

More TV

  • T-Pain, Faheem Rashad Najm. T-Pain performs

    TV News Roundup: 'T-Pain's School of Business' Sets August Premiere

    In today’s roundup, “T-Pain’s School of Business” sets an August 6 premiere on Fuse, and OWN greenlights a new talks series. EXECUTIVE NEWS Matt Brodlie is leaving his role as director of original film at Netflix to join the Disney+ content marketing team as senior vice president of international content development. In his new role, [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs For Screens: Labrinth on Scoring HBO’s Drake-Produced Drama 'Euphoria'

    British singer-songwriter Labrinth (née Timothy Lee McKenzie) has been having one of the biggest years of his nearly decade-long career, from the April release of his collaborative album with L.S.D. (a.k.a. Labrinth Sia & Diplo) to his starring role in the latest campaign for MINI, where he reinterprets Cole Porter’s cowboy classic “Don’t Fence Me [...]

  • The Office

    'The Office' to Stream Exclusively on NBCUniversal Service Beginning in 2021

    NBCUniversal announced Tuesday that it will begin streaming “The Office” exclusively on its standalone streaming service beginning in 2021. The popular comedy series will leave Netflix once the current deal with NBCU expires at the end of 2020, the same year that NBCU plans to launch its ad-supported streaming service. All nine seasons of the [...]

  • 'Lincoln Lawyer' Series in Development at

    'Lincoln Lawyer' Series in Development at CBS from David E. Kelley

    David E. Kelley is returning once more to the court of legal dramas. CBS has issued a series production commitment for “The Lincoln Lawyer,” with Kelley in position to pen and executive produce. Based on the series of bestselling novels by Michael Connelly, the show hails from A+E Studios in association with CBS TV Studios. [...]

  • Patrick Somerville'Maniac' TV Show premiere, London,

    'Maniac' Creator to Helm 'Made for Love,' 'Station Eleven' for WarnerMedia

    “Maniac” creator Patrick Somerville has signed on to helm two new series, “Made for Love” and “Station Eleven,” for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service. “Made for Love,” which will be executive produced and directed by S.J. Clarkson, is a 10-episode, straight-to-series adaptation based on the novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting. The half-hour comedy [...]

  • Naomi Watts and Gretchen Carlson'The Loudest

    ‘The Loudest Voice’ Stars Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe Talk Roger Ailes

    Roger Ailes may have been the force behind the creation of Fox News, but the late newsman’s legacy will forever be his atrocious sexual harassment of several of the network’s female anchors and producers. Showtime premiered its new limited series “The Loudest Voice,” which chronicles Ailes’ rise and fall, on Monday night at the Paris [...]

  • Steve McQueen VSS

    Amazon to Launch Steve McQueen's Anthology Series ‘Small Axe’ in the U.S.

    Amazon has boarded “Small Axe,” the upcoming anthology series from “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen, and will launch the series in the U.S. It will bow on the BBC in the U.K. and BBC Studios is selling it internationally. Amazon’s European content chief Georgia Brown revealed its involvement in the series, Tuesday, at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content