The new Friends and they’re all Geeks.

After Friends finally rolled out of the Central Perk Coffee shop and began the slow descent into middle age, television needed a new set of young things to watch get into scrapes and the tribulations of life. What they got was three experimental science theorists Leonard, Sheldon and Raj, an engineer, Howard and Penny a pretty aspiring actress. They all live in the city of Pasadena in apartments that are so well manicured that a Property Management Cheltenham company like  would be proud to say they were involved with. One thing they would do is fix the lift which is constantly out of order due to it being utterly destroyed by Howard, Sheldon and Raj years before. We are of course talking about the Big Bang Theory.

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It’s a bit unfair to call it the new Friends as the setup is completely different to that show. The characters, with the exception of Penny are all hyper intelligent science fiction fans who have not a drop of common sense amongst them. They sometimes need the ditzy but generally sharp Penny to steer them through life. For example, in a pop quiz when Penny asks Leonard and Sheldon “What did Tweety Pie ‘tawt he thaw?” after a few seconds deliberation they confidently answer ‘a Romulan’. So whilst they can calculate 5 blackboards worth of equations they are utterly incapable of understanding everyday life.

This is where much of the comedy comes from. They are living in a world that they cannot have and the series seems to be saying that even if you have all the intelligence in the world it doesn’t matter, in fact it can make your life considerably harder. There is a least some redemption for Leonard who eventually gets with Penny and even marries her. The main focus is on Sheldon, perfectly played by the award winning Jim Parsons, and his slow and uncomfortable rise from being a rigidly structured, physically adverse ultra-intelligent man to actually getting a girlfriend and also getting married. The Sheldon character needs to learn social interaction from all the other characters who stick by him with a patience that would be impossible in a normal human. For example his “spot” on the sofa being a perfect view to the tv and giving him the right position to the window so he is kept cool but doesn’t get a draft is guarded with a near violent tenacity. It’s well worth a look certainly for the first four seasons but soon becomes stale.

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Best joke? Personally it is where Leonard is telling Penny about how he and Sheldon moved in together and his signing of the ‘roommate agreement’.  Sheldon says, “You agree that if either one of us develop the ability and technology for time travel we will meet ourselves here at this exact moment and walk through that door”. They both sign and look at the apartment door expectantly for a few seconds only for nothing to happen. “Well that’s disappointing” says Sheldon.

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