TV Series Trades Plot for Pure Comedy

Rachel Jin, Lifestyle Editor

Warning: contains spoilers.

CBS’s beloved comedy The Big Bang Theory is midway through its 9th and penultimate season, and show creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady have added plot twists and surprises including major leaps in both plot and character development.

Penny and Leonard are now married, and their relationship serves a similar role as that of their friends’ (Howard and Bernadette). Penny and Leonard’s relationship is lacking in plot, but that is not necessarily a bad thing; the only real drama happening in their relationship is a 2-episode-long spat over a kiss, and though it’s resolved rather abruptly, it’s far better than a drawn-out, exhausting feud between the two.

Their relationship may be lacking in substance, but plot elements are swapped out in favor of pure comedy. For example, after accidentally confessing to reading Penny’s secret diary, Leonard tries to make things right by dressing in orange lingerie and holding a sign proclaiming himself to be a “naughty carrot.” He seems to forget the presence of other people in his life and soon finds himself face-to-face with his horrified friends as they walk in on him grinding on his wife in a bright-orange babydoll dress.

Season 9 is proving to be an incredibly Shamy-centric season, focusing much of its energies on the relationship between Sheldon Cooper and Amy Fowler (“Shamy”). The season 8 finale, which aired back in May, revealed Sheldon’s true feelings towards his longtime girlfriend Amy. In the span of their relationship, Sheldon constantly neglects his romantically inclined girlfriend, leaving audiences to question whether Sheldon truly loves Amy enough. However, the season 8 finale ends with Amy, tired and lacking patience for their slow-moving relationship, breaking up with Sheldon, and reveals Sheldon’s intentions to propose.

Throughout season 9, Sheldon’s adjustment to the single life prompts his emotional self discovery. He consciously realizes that he truly does love Amy and has difficulty handling life without her.

Though Sheldon’s emotional consciousness chips away at some of the selfish, uncaring aspects of his character, which were sources of hilarity in previous seasons, his new romantic perception causes Shamy to take major unexpected leaps – which is really for the better. And while he does develop a sense of emotional sensitivity, much of this sensitivity is directed at Amy, and Sheldon continues to humorously berate, insult, and mistreat his friends and supporting characters.

What is disappointing, however, is the disappearance of running gags and jokes that were pervasive in past seasons. There are few demonstrations of Sheldon’s characteristic obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and running jokes such as “Fun with Flags” have all but vanished. On the bright side, Sheldon’s late childhood hero Professor Proton makes a reappearance as a Jedi-robe-wearing, advice dealing ghost in dream-sequences, and tries unsuccessfully to stab himself with his lightsaber (which was enjoyable).

Though the many, many leaps and bounds made by Shamy have been exciting, the ability of the rest of the season to live up to these standards is questionable. With already 2 plotless relationships floating around in the background, on top of the existence of Raj Koothrapali, who never seems to have much going on, we can only hope that the writers of the show are tactful enough to prevent Sheldon and Amy’s from being a 3rd.

But as a longtime fan of the show, I don’t think that lack of plot will cause the show’s demise, and I would much rather enjoy season after season of nothing but salty remarks and witty banter over Chinese food than humorless, plot-fueled episodes, any day. Still, The Big Bang Theory has and continues to strike a good balance between comedy and drama, and I hope it’s able to keep this balance throughout its 10th and final year.