DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Johnny Galecki as LEONARD HOFSTADTER
    Jim Parsons as SHELDON COOPER
    Simon Helberg as HOWARD WOLOWITZ
    Kaley Cuoco as PENNY

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD September 15
    Studio: Warner Bros.

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I’m going to be lazy here and just quote the cover box of this DVD set because it says it all for this season: “The science of funny is back! At work, physicists Leonard and Sheldon and their geek pals conquer the cosmos. At home, real life – from dating to driving – conquers them. This season, Leonard gets a girl. So does Sheldon. (Sheldon?!) Howard drives the Mars Rover into a ditch. Raj woos a terminator. Gorgeous girl-next-door Penny falls under the spell of Age of Conan. And super-smart, uberconfident Leslie Winkler reduces mere men to spineless jellyfish.”

I never watched this show in its first season, and I will be kicking myself for the rest of my television-watching life for this. “The Big Bang Theory” is easily one of the funniest traditional sit-coms I’ve seen in years. It reminds me of the freshness and irreverent humor that was found in the first seasons of “Third Rock from the Sun.”

As a self-proclaimed geek who has been to Comic-Con four times in my adult life, I can definitely relate to the characters in this show. While they’re hyperrealistic, they also embody the personalities and aspects of different people I have known throughout my life. Series co-creator Chuck Lorre (who is responsible for “Two and a Half Men,” one of the funniest shows on network television) really taps into the geek chic (as Kaley Cuoco calls it in the special features). As long as he’s not working on a show about a mouthy, acerbic trailer-trash housewife, I seem to love his stuff.

“The Big Bang Theory” works so well because of how it applies the basic sit com formula that made shows like “Three’s Company” such a monster hit. Put together some wacky characters, make sure they live in close proximity of a beautiful woman, and let the hilarity ensue.

Usually it takes a sit com several years to grow into itself, and the characters have to become caricatures before things get really funny. However, it seems that “The Big Bang Theory” has taken sit com standards and made them work for all the characters (e.g., Leonard is Ross from “Friends,” Sheldon is Kramer from “Seinfeld,” Wollowitz is Kirk from “Dear John” and Koothrappali is Fez from “That 70s Show”).

But at its core, beyond all the geek references and silliness, “The Big Bang Theory” has a lot of heart. And kudos goes to Kaley Cuoco for playing such an approachable character of Penny to make us geeks here in flyover country actually believe that we could have a shot with her if she lived next door to us.

I really had a hard time finding anything I truly disliked about this series. I’ve heard some people complain that the characters are too geeky and don’t have enough backbone, but that works in this series from my point of view. Yes, Leonard is a tool, but he’s a realistic tool. And Sheldon (who is my favorite, as he is for most since he’s the Curly of the show) is a pain to deal with. But I know people as rigid and bizarre as him, so I find the funny in his neuroses.

The only downside to this DVD set is that there aren’t many special features to get excited about. There’s a gag reel (which includes a hilarious moment when Jim Parsons tries to get through the explanation of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock) and two featurettes.

“Physicist to the Stars” spotlights real-life UCLA physicist David Saltzberg as the show’s science consultant. “Testing the Infinite Hilarity Hypothesis in Relation to the Big Bang Theory” is a basic behind-the-scenes featurette with cast and crew interviews.

Fans of sit coms and anyone who has been to Comic-Con more than once.

Watch this clip from "The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season"

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