‘The Big Bang Theory’ embraces nothingness

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Photo courtesy of imdb.com

Is he looking at the script?

Ulises Duenas

Watching “The Big Bang Theory” is the visual equivalent of eating a rice cake. It’s not good, but you don’t feel sick either. This is a show that plays it so safe even soccer moms would find it excessively bland. Actually, I have it on good authority that soccer moms love this show to bits.

I usually put a trailer here but, nah.

The show’s season 12 premiere Monday wasn’t anything different. Leave it to this show to bring in Teller from Penn and Teller and take all the humor out of him. A man that’s made a career off being able to be funny and perform without ever saying a word. Naturally, the writers thought it would be a good idea to have him talk. Neil Degrasse Tyson also showed up to literally phone-in his performance. I started to feel bad for these guest characters, but that went away when I considered how much money they must have made for their brief appearances.

That’s one of the weirdest things about the whole show. For years, I would hear about how much money the stars of the show make and how popular the show is. The popularity I can understand – if Transformers can get seven movies then this show can get 12 seasons. What’s not understandable is that if these stars are worth so much then why aren’t they starring in big-time comedies? None of them need the money, but it’s doubtful that they could want the height of their careers defined by “The Big Bang Theory.”

The constant dependence on laugh tracks isn’t doing the show any favors either. The thing about sitcoms is they’re so much better in front of a live audience because it allows the actors to let jokes breathe. Live audiences let the stars live in the moment and really feed off the crowd when a joke kills. A show like this creates an artificial rhythm of humor that feels like it came off of an assembly line. Jokes are just fired off one after another with no regard for timing or tone. A director in front of a live audience can tell their actors, to try a joke in different ways and the reactions the joke gets can shape the final cut and improve the show. That doesn’t exist here.

Assigning a star rating to this show would be like rating breathing in air or reading a fast food menu. It’s not engaging enough on any level to merit that level of thought. Elie Wiesel once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference,” and after watching this season premiere I’ll go back to never caring about this show.

Ulises Duenas can be reached at [email protected] or @OrionUlisesD on Twitter.