The Big Bang Theory: the Champagne Reflection — review

Screenplay by Jim ReynoldsSteve Holland and Dave Goetsch.

There are two sides to comedy: jokes and bittersweet. The Champagne Reflection was on the bittersweet side, with characters basking in the present to think about what their lives will amount to. And the answer is: nothing. The Big Bang Theory itself states that eventually, the Universe will implode, leaving nothing. Entropy will consume all in time. That’s the basis of cosmology, and as a theoretical physicist, Sheldon Cooper only knows that too well. So it’s fitting that this episode should take the time to show us that all our efforts are truly meaningless by dividing the story into each character’s place, and linking them through meaning.

Firstly, there’s Cooper himself. We begin with him recording the final episode of Sheldon Cooper Presents “Fun With Flags”, and reminiscing on what it’s like to end something. So many sitcoms have famous last episodes, Friends: the Last One‘s final moments being testament to this. Eventually, he decides to bring Sheldon Cooper Presents “Fun With Flags” back, which I found to be a nice jab at the kind of producers that can’t leave something alone. Basically, Peter Jackson. The Big Bang Theory‘s characters are almost defined by their pop culture interests, so for one of them to unironically channel the kind of George Lucas milking is an interesting point made by Reynolds, Holland and Goetsch.

Then we have our title reference with Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh Koothrappali clearing out a deceased professor’s office and finding an unopened champagne bottle, which was said to be reserved for when the professor achieved something important, which hadn’t been opened. There, the three of them make a pact: they were all take ownership of the champagne bottle, until one of them achieved something significant.

Of course, with anything like this, there’s always the oblivious ruining of something heartfelt by another character. In this case, it was Cooper opening the bottle to celebrate the final episode of his show receiving a positive comment, prompting him to bring it back. But this was also extremely clever of the writers’: it was both in-character, while also promoting a good life philosophy- if you enjoy something, and people like it, that’s all that matters. The moment is what’s important, and life is a pile of them. Not one single great thing.

The big Bang Theory: the Champagne Reflection – bittersweet plot device, meaningful episode. 6/10

The Big Bang Theory: the Septum Deviation — review

Written by Eric KaplanSteve HollandTara Hernandez. (Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady.)

Given The Big Bang Theory is an example of the formula used by some sitcoms of comprising one episode of two half-lengths episode occurring simultaneously, the best half of The Septum Deviation is Rajesh Koothrappali’s subplot in-which it’s revealed his parents have divorced. The last time we saw his parents, there were clear tensions between them, and it’s nice to see that this sitcom is aware of its continuity. That’s what can make a sitcom so successful – to not just be popular for its humour, but also for its narrative, and to combine so as to still provide a story in-which the audience can invest, as well as allowing for character development. Eventually, all sitcoms become more dramatic than comedic, and that’s not a bad thing. The Big Bang Theory is beginning to do that, half-way through its eighth season. That’s what made Friends such the cultural behemoth that it went-on to become, even if that ended after its tenth season.

The best thing about the show on a whole is the ensemble cast, with no single character, which provides a good sandbox for the writers by allowing them to focus on multiple aspects each week. That’s why sitcoms run for so long, and The Big Bang Theory has done so because of the unlikely cohesion between the four original leads. This week’s main focus was arguably Leonard Hofstadter’s nose operation, and Sheldon Cooper’s reaction to it, though this was done for comedy to balance against Koothrappali’s drama. Which is exactly the right way of doing it. If one character’s going through a heavy situation, another character needs a light situation. Sitcoms are more comedy dramas, they just tend to stay in one place. And trust me, as someone’s who’s tried and failed miserably to write a sitcom pilot, having a funny plot, dramatic subplot, while staying in generally the place isn’t easy.

But the writers of this episode pulled it off, proving once again that Wolowitz is an underrated character, having more depth than the other four simply because he shows it more.

This isn’t such a review, more of an observation about the episode and its relationship to the sitcom genre. Really, for the midseason premiere (at least in the UK), it’s nice that The Big Bang Theory eases us back in by not focusing too much on current plotlines, and instead just reintroducing us to the characters, while also creating scenes that can bring us up-to-date on where each character suddenly stands in relation to each-other.

The Big Bang Theory: the Septum Deviation – easy storylines nicely re-familiarises characters 6/10