Today is a sad day. It’s the day of the last episode in the present series of the best sitcom currently on television, the awesome The Big Bang Theory. Happily it’s been renewed for not one but two more series. It seems television people in America recognise a hit when they see it. It’s extremely well-written – with that holy grail of comedy, new jokes about now - it doesn’t sentimentalise or patronise, and it features five extremely vivid, here’s-a-brand-new-archetype characters. The greatest of which has to be Sheldon, the socially-awkward Maths genius and inarguably the most note-perfect sitcom performance since Niles Crane. You must watch it. You must buy the DVD. It’s hilarious, and I don’t praise easily.
It’s a pity there’s nothing like it on British TV. Prime-time sitcom seems to mean domestic sitcom; middle-aged couple exchanging insults while their kids chip in with wisecracks. Nothing wrong with that, except they’re all rather generic and interchangeable and could’ve been made at any point in the last forty years. The problem, apparently, is that it’s terribly difficult to launch a mainstream sitcom, because any show put on against Coronation Street is doomed to flop. Though I’d suggest that if you’re looking for a good ‘nursery slope’ to try out a new sitcom, putting it against an ITV soap would seem ideal, so long as you’re not going to deem it a failure if it doesn’t set the world of viewing figures alight. Anyway.
And there’s The IT Crowd, which bears some superficial similarities but is more of a live-action cartoon. It’s about working in IT about as much as Father Ted was about priests; it’s a starting-point for surreal comic adventures, but it’s not the source of the comedy.
Anyway, here are some of my favourite TB-BT moments. Enjoy.
Sheldon is the Sword Master:
Sheldon drinks coffee:
Sheldon tests the acoustics:
Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock: