The Big Bang Theory, a new sitcom that debuts on CBS on September 24, is unassuming and occasionally quite amusing (though not nearly as funny as the annoying laugh track tries to make you think it is.) They’re not trying to reinvent the sitcom wheel with this show, it’s an old-fashioned comedy show with characters rattling off one-liners in a way that nobody talks in real life but the easy chemistry between the two leads helps makes it work…to an extent.
Leonard (a perky…in a geeky but endearing way…Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (a droll Jim Parsons) are socially inept geniuses who share an apartment (complete with big white boards covered with arcane equations and hair products in bottles shaped like Star Wars characters) whose world is changed when an attractive blonde moves into the apartment across the hall from them. That’s the plot…nothing more, nothing less.
As Penny, the new neighbor, a waitress just out of a bad relationship with a brutish lout that she still has feelings for, Kaley Cuoco is not asked to do much besides be pretty and affably sweet and she does that quite well. Though surrounded by eager beaver nerds (besides the roommates, we also have Simon Helberg as Wolowitz, a clueless would-be Casanova and Kunal Nayyar as Koothrappal whose fear of women is so great that he is unable to utter a single word to Penny) who act like they have never talked to a pretty girl before, Cuoco’s Penny doesn’t seem to look down on her new neighbors. Instead she is at turns patiently amused and guilelessly amazed (and completely unthreatened) by them.
But it is Galecki and Parsons who give this show what juice it has. Galecki’s wide-eyed enthusiasm is leavened by Parson’s mordant dry wit. They make a good team.
Judging by the pilot (available as a free download on iTunes as of this writing) The Big Bang Theory will be mildly diverting while it’s on and quickly forgotten once the episode is over. Though, that said, it could blossom into something more if the writing is strong...time will tell.