My husband and I watched last week's episode last night. The phone rang 3 times while the show was on. It was a relief to pause the show and answer. Even if it was from my mother.
The series started out quite good, but the characters have evolved into such absolute and complete total losers, that it's become painful to watch. The series started laughing with the characters not at them, and now it's giving them wedgies.
Anybody who's only on the first or second season of this show may not want to read this. Or maybe you should, it will save you a lot of wasted time.
I don't know exactly when the decay started, but it traces back to the end of Season 3. The first two seasons, Scott and I would go on for hours about how terrific and nuanced the writing was. He didn't like Sheldon very much because he was an arrogant jerk (Sheldon, not Scott) and I didn't like Leonard because he was always lying to Penny. I was hoping that the show would put Penny and Sheldon together as an unlikely but hilarious couple, which was the way it seemed to be going. Kayley Cuoco and Jim Parsons had a terrific chemistry.
Then something went horribly wrong. It was either Kayley breaking her leg in a horseback riding accident, or Chuck Lorre getting all pissed off over Charlie Sheen's antics on "Two and a Half Men", or just the decision to let Leonard and Penny have sex and then putting Amy Fowler into the cast to try to replace Penny's interactions with Sheldon--or possibly all three--but the show's dynamic broke at that point and has been going downhill and picking up speed ever since.
Originally, the character of Penny was supposed to be an alcoholic train wreck of a woman who is "rescued" by the two innocent nerds-next-door. But Kayley portrayed Penny as a much sweeter, nicer, sunnier person, a sort of Wendy to the Lost Boys, and the show portrayed the nerds as overgrown children, mis-adjusted but not really freakish.
Then I guess Chuck Lorre came back into the office, with Charlie Sheen's blood fresh on his shirt, said, "Whoa! Where did the alcoholic slut I ordered go?" and now Penny drinks so much that she seems half in the bag the whole time. I've never seen so much booze being slung in a show since "Cheers" went off the air. Raj needs a drink to be able to talk when a woman is in the room, a gag that has gotten VERY stale over the last six years. Penny always has a bottle in her hand. Leonard gets drunk and hits on Penny. Even teatotalling Sheldon is tricked into getting drunk and acts like an even bigger ass than usual.
Now they're dancing toward a gay relationship between Raj and Stewart, the comic-book-shop guy. And I don't know WHAT the hell is going on with Amy. When she first appeared, I had high hopes that she would be a good depiction of a highly intelligent woman, mostly because Mayim Bialik actually has got a PhD in neuroscience. But they've made her an uber-creepy, sexually frustrated bisexual weirdo prone to saying inappropriate things in public, and she just ISN'T FUNNY. She makes my skin crawl, and her interaction with Sheldon has gotten even more disturbing ever since Jim Parsons admitted he's gay.
The only character who seems bearable is Bernardette, and I'm holding my breath for how long it takes for the writers to make her jump into bed with Raj (who has a crush on her) while her new husband Howard is up on the ISS getting picked on by his two astronaut companions. And I never would have guessed that it would be the sleazy Howard who ended up as the charming character--his relationship with Bernie is the one spot of sweetness left in this disaster.
This show, which used to enthrall me with its clever wit and charm, now disgusts me, and that makes me sad. The references to science and geekery that used to run through each episode are reduced to a few tossed-off lines of gibberish and stereotypical "Geeks Are Creeps" type stuff.
And the saddest part of all? This show is now high in the ratings.
I feel betrayed. Is there a Washington lobby group for hate crimes against geeks? Because this show has become offensive to nerds.