For a mainstream network comedy The Big Bang Theory started off pretty well, celebrating geek culture and avoiding some of the worst cliches of what it’s like to be science (and sci-fi) obsessed, even though it occasionally made me cringe. But as with nearly all long running shows it ran out of steam after a while and by it’s seventh season I gave up on it, the show had become far too soapy (another thing that a lot of show’s suffer from when they go on for too many episodes) and the jokes became predictable and dull. Plus though Howard was annoying from the get go he became almost unbearable by that point, and I was never too happy with some of the things they did with Raj around that time.
But I’ve dropped in for the occasional episode since just to see if it was worth catching (the Sheldon finally having sex one being the only episode which actually turned out to be decent) and when I heard it had finally ended felt the need to see how it all came to a close. As series finales go it’s not too horrendous either, sometimes such things can be absolutely painful as characters have pat, convenient endings and it’s so saccharine and forced it can make you feel oddly angry, that or they screw the pooch so badly you can’t believe what you’re seeing, though that tends to apply to dramas like Lost, Dexter (and probably Game Of Thrones) rather than comedies.
Going out with a double episode The Big Bang Theory’s finale is a bit on the nose at times it could have been an episode from any point in the show’s run over the last few years, which is definitely not a bad thing. Sure, the plot’s a little more out there than most as Amy and Sheldon learn that they’ve won the Nobel Prize but after an initial burst of glee Sheldon struggles to cope with their success, but it doesn’t do anything that you wouldn’t expect and the jokes are mostly okay, there’s nothing here that’s egregiously bad and given how long it’s been on air for it’s probably worth being thankful for that.
Then in the second part it’s revealed that after the events of the previous episode Penny is pregnant (though sadly not by Sheldon, a joke which the writers have brief fun with) but because she drunkenly had sex with Leonard without protection the night she helped Sheldon out. Meanwhile everyone’s off to Sweden for Sheldon and Amy’s Nobel Prize award ceremony, Howard and Bernice are hoping their kid Michael will say his first word before they go off for the weekend, and Raj has got Brian Posehn to walk his dog, because jesus, they just refuse to give him a decent plotline it seems.
The rest of it until the final few minutes is standard sitcom fare as on the plane Sheldon finds out that Penny’s pregnant but doesn’t care, causing Leonard to be annoyed. Upon arriving in Sweden Amy forces an apology out of him, and there’s also a lot of bad jokes about Penny craving strange food due to being pregnant. Then because these things have to be slightly dramatic Howard and Bernice consider leaving as they’re worried about their kids and given how frustrated he is with Sheldon Leonard decides to go too. But this was never going to end on an unhappy note and everyone decides to stay about thirty seconds later, Amy gives Sheldon a bollocking for being selfish and inconsiderate, and in his speech at the ceremony he finally makes up for his behaviour.
So okay, it’s not exactly stellar stuff, the “Sheldon annoys people, makes up for it” plot line has been almost as overused as the “Oh no! Homer and Marge’s marriage is in trouble!” storyline has been in The Simpsons, but most of the time it doesn’t really centre around the more serious side of events and just trots out some reasonably amusing jokes, along with one genuinely great one which involves a cameo from Sarah Michelle Gellar. There’s no tedious gags about what crazy nerds they are either, and at least until the ending it doesn’t feel overly sentimental. The only real downside is how little they give Raj to do yet again, if I were Kunal Nayyar I’d feel bloody annoyed as his character is sidelined and only gets about five lines, but eh, perhaps he’ll be the one to get his own spin-off while everyone goes off to make movies, fail (bar perhaps Jim Parsons) and then start rumours that they’re going to bring the show back again.
At least they did finally comment on how shit a character Howard is, with Bernice commenting “Sometimes you’re just ‘ick'” at one point, no one acted ridiculously out of character, and Sheldon’s big speech was fairly brief and actually touching right at the end. I’ve admittedly made a lot of caveats during this review but I’m so used to season finales disappointing that it’s a pleasant relief for once that even though I’m no longer particularly a fan of the show this was mildly enjoyable, and if it does eventually return, be it for a full series or just a one off reunion, perhaps it won’t be such a terrible idea.