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'Big Bang Theory' recap: Love is in the lair

February 18, 2011 | 11:27 am

Bang17 

The beds were abuzz this week on Big Bang, with hook-ups happening all around. Losers getting lucky? Only on Valentine's week, I guess.

Raj’s sister Priya was back in town, the silky-haired Indian princess who smashed Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) heart like a champagne glass the last time she was in Pasadena. In a parallel story, Howard finally moved out of his mother’s house and shacked up with Bernadette, who proved not to be so maternal. Once again, the boys prove more adept at quantum physics than quantum emotions. For a bunch of hyper-sensitive guys, life’s nuances are just beyond them.

One thing I've been noticing of late is that Galecki has a Kelsey Grammar quality about him, an endearing sort of hang-doggedness. Of all the characters, he’s the closest to figuring other people out, yet he’s still humbled by the twists and turns they throw at him. Galecki’s skills help humanize Big Bang’s frantic comic-book excesses. In short, he keeps things real.

Bang hasn’t used Galecki very well this season, but he's reemerged in the last two episodes. His world-weary, why-me character had a great game last week with an older widow played by Jessica Walter, in a fine guest appearance.  

“You’re really a broken toy, aren’t you?” Penny noted, as Leonard struggled with how to handle the advances of a beautiful 70-year-old.

This week, it was Raj’s sister throwing him into right-brain turmoil. When she last visited, Priya rejected Leonard’s attempts to make their relationship more serious. Now, they land in bed again, with the boundaries still in debate. But this time, Penny is the one whose heart is shattered at the thought that Leonard, her ex, is smitten with someone else. For Penny, it’s not just that she’s lost her soul mate; it’s that she’s lost him to someone more impressive than she is.

Rather nice episode, all in all. This well-acted show is best when the plot skitters along like this and the characters have plenty to do.

Meanwhile, here’s a very unscientific ranking of my favorite Bang characters, best to least:

CHARACTER INDEX

1. Leonard: The one character you’d actually like to have as a friend. 

2. Penny: Her droll one-liners are usually the best of the week.

3. Bernadette: Sweet, surprising, funny.

4. Sheldon: In many ways, the show’s comic centerpiece, yet Bang works best when he’s not quite so front-and-center. Does that make sense? (Think Kobe Bryant).

5. Howard:  Like him a lot, but wish he were not quite so cartoonish.

6. Raj: The writers give him plenty of chances, but he’s batting about .129.

7. Amy Farrah Fowler: Total buzz kill.

-- Chris Erskine

Photo: Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) set up house in Feb. 17 episode. Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

 

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