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'Big Bang Theory' recap: Too much Red Bull?

February 3, 2011 |  8:40 pm


            “The Big Bang Theory” has become a CBS version of the Lakers – so good one night, so bad another. This remarkably successful, silly little show must be driving the network crazy right now. In search of something steady to possibly replace the very unsteady “Two and a Half Men,” it gets this bipolar product. Is Bang fresh and smart, or goofy and over the top? The answer is ... duh.

            Thursday was another example of how Bang can have laugh-out-loud moments followed by messes of excess. The episode revolves around Sheldon bombing in front of a college class, and then taking steps to improve his teaching performance. He enlists Penny to give him acting lessons, a very funny premise. This highly verbal show has some of the trickiest set-ups and punchlines on television, but we see again that it really soars with the quick one-liners.

            Her: “You’d like an acting class?”

            Him: “Perhaps two. I’d like to master the craft.”

             Their improv session’s “I’d like a frozen yogurt, please” is the funniest line of the night, a wonderful, surprising right-turn no one sees coming.

             Unfortunately, Sheldon and Penny have a second, too-long acting class. It features “Star Trek” references meshed with biographical stuff on Sheldon, and though there are a couple of laughs, it’s not as good as the first acting class.  It might’ve been much funnier to put Sheldon back in the classroom to see how he’d do after his acting lessons with Penny. At least there would’ve been some build up to the story.

             The B-story is another Raj-needs-a-girlfriend riff that ends with a jump-the-shark Bollywood dance number. That scene reminded me of the dangers of too much Red Bull. I’ve been meaning to cut back, and now I will. So maybe I should be more grateful.

        Meanwhile, Melissa Rauch’s sweet Bernadette becomes more likable with every appearance, but when she and Raj are each getting more lines than Leonard, it’s a sign that the world of Big Bang has begun to wobble off its axis.

--Chris Erskine

Photo: Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) have a jump-the-shark moment in the Feb. 3 episode. Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS