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'Big Bang Theory' recap: Bernadette's Foxy ex-boyfriend

January 20, 2011 | 10:15 pm

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Sometimes, "Bang" seems like a top-10 sitcom almost by default. Hardly the glory days of the genre, though shows like “Modern Family” have raised the bar. The most recent episode, featuring a too-short cameo by former Laker heartthrob Rick Fox, is an example of the close-but-no-cigar quality the show often suffers from. And, no, that is not some sort of veiled penis joke.

There were plenty of those this week as the show slid back to the sort of crude humor it often leans on. There were good moments too, as the geek squad heads off to a conference in Big Sur. I don’t much like when multi-camera shows leave the set, but this road trip worked well enough. The quick scenes between cars worked and kept things popping along, and Fox did a decent job in his walk-on as Bernadette’s former boyfriend, Glenn. This development sends Howard spinning out and results in a lot of musical beds at the Big Sur hotel where they’re staying. The best, as often is the case, are the scenes between  Penny and Leonard. His lightning response to her offer of intimacy – jumping into her bed instantly – was a true laugh-out-loud moment.

Where does this leave the shows's golden couple? When we last saw Leonard, he was speeding back to L.A. after Penny had hitched a ride with Fox. The ex-Laker could have a nice run as a recurring character on the show, similar to Tom Selleck’s stint on “Friends.” There’s always something a little intriguing about the gang’s assumptions about good-looking people.

Meanwhile, funny enough episode. No depth. No pathos. None of the things that turn good shows into great ones. But "Bang" seems content with that. And as long as the ratings remain good, nothing much is going to change.

--Chris Erskine

Photo: Rick Fox, left, appears on "The Big Bang Theory," with Melissa Rauch as Bernadette and Simon Helberg's Howard. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

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