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'Big Bang' recap: Poor, lonely Leonard

October 21, 2010 |  9:42 pm


Love makes misfits of us all, which I guess is one of the underlying messages of "The Big Bang Theory." It's even tougher when you're a misfit to begin with.

Of all the oddball males in the Caltech-based sitcom, Leonard always seems the most normal. That may not mean much. Howard is delusional and lives with Mom, Raj is freakishly afraid of the opposite sex, and Sheldon -- weirdo among weirdos -- might, in fact, be an alien. I'm betting that's where this show goes on its final episode -- in, what, maybe 2015? Sheldon turns out to be an alien. And none of the budding rocket scientists he's palled around with for so long even had a clue.

A series finale for "Bang" seems a long way off, however. The show is doing very well in its new Thursday slot. CBS had to wonder if it was thinning the soup too much in breaking up its Monday comedy lineup. In fact, there is just more good soup.

Thursday's smarter-than-usual episode found Leonard to be the only one of the four friends not to have a girlfriend. He's set up on a date with Joy, played by newcomer Charlotte Newhouse in a very funny turn. "The first thing you have to know about me -- I'm hilarious." And she is, of course, inadventently. There are now girlfriends galore on "Bang," and she is by far the most comical and fun to watch.

The B story has Sheldon worried that his relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler is getting too serious after Amy insists he meet her mother. It eventually becomes clear that Amy has no interest in becoming more serious; she only wants her mother to think she finally has a serious boyfriend. Relieved, Sheldon says: "Would you like to join me for Chinese food?" Amy replies: "Sheldon, you're suffocating me."

OK, maybe you had to be there, but it was a good exchange. And with this week's episode, "Bang" seems to have regained its rhythm after a couple of weak shows. Johnny Galecki continues to shine as the understated Leonard. He might have the most droll delivery since Dwayne Hickman's Dobie Gillis. How's that for historical perspective? I was 3 at the time, but even then I had an appreciation for comic timing.

Anyway, this was the funniest episode of the season -- "Big Bang" at its best.

 --Chris Erskine

Photo: Charlotte Newhouse, left, guestswith Johnny Galecki, in the Oct. 21 episode. Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS