TV’s number one comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” is back for its seventh season, which premiered last Thursday, Sept. 26. The premiere offered not one, but two episodes for an entire hour of comedy. All of the main cast members returned, including Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Jim Parsons (Sheldon), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Simon Helberg (Howard), Kunal Nayyar (Raj), Melissa Rauch (Bernadette), and Mayim Bialik (Amy).
Show creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady have really developed the characters in the past few seasons by changing their idiosyncrasies and having them overcome personal challenges. By the end of season six, Leonard and Penny’s secure relationship is put to the test as he leaves for a four-month expedition to the North Sea to do research for Stephen Hawking. Johnny Galecki remarked in a CBS promo, “Leonard and Penny are in a great place, probably better than they ever have been. Their insecurities are not on the surface, so they can give each other a hard time; they can tease each other.”
In season six, Sheldon is still socially awkward as ever, and while his quirks persist and his relationship with Amy moves at a glacial pace, he has mentioned to her, Penny, and Leonard that he has not ruled out the possibility of a physical relationship with Amy, a giant step for Sheldon. Raj’s inability to talk to women without alcohol, a behavior present since season one, was finally broken in the finale of season six after his girlfriend, Lucy (played by Kate Micucci), broke up with him.
With these developments in place, the seventh season picks up where season six had left off. Episode one, “The Hofstadter Insufficiency,” begins with Sheldon and Penny missing Leonard while he is away at sea. The two bond over the course of the episode by playing chess and sharing secrets, while Penny worries that because Leonard is having a good time on the ship, he will not miss her.
There are two subplots in this episode. Raj’s unfortunate breakup with Lucy has caused him to see her face everywhere he goes. To cope with this, he tries speaking to women at the university, an action now possible after recently overcoming his selective mutism. Originally intending to attract a woman, he instead has a real conversation with the human resources manager, Mrs. Davis (played by Regina King), who is a recurring character since season six. Lastly, Bernadette and Amy bond at a science convention after men buy them drinks, which they are not particularly proud of because Penny, the usual object of men’s affections, was not with them.
The second episode, “The Deception Verification,” begins with a surprise return from Leonard, who arrives home a few days early to spend time with Penny (without telling Sheldon). When Sheldon suspects that Penny is cheating on Leonard, he and Amy barge into her apartment and find that Leonard has been home. Shocked that Leonard did not tell him, Sheldon decides not to believe anything he says. Meanwhile, Howard accidentally absorbs some of his mother’s estrogen cream, and the side effects are nothing short of hormonal and hilarious. However, his new estrogen-fueled sensitivity manages to mend the friendship between Leonard and Sheldon.
It is safe to say that the first two episodes make season seven a promising one. There will be much for the writers to explore with Raj’s new behavior, and CBS has announced that Lucy, his love interest, may return. Despite Leonard and Penny’s worry about their separation, their relationship stood the test of time, a hopeful tone which suggests it will continue on. The pairing between Bernadette and Amy seems to be a preview for what lies ahead as the next episode features a scavenger hunt with new pairings like Bernadette and Leonard, which should be interesting as the characters get to know each other in different ways. CBS has also mentioned that Leonard’s impassive mother, played by Christine Baranski, will also return. All in all, season seven is shaping up to be a good one with more character development and hilarity along the way.
As for how long the show will run, it is indefinite for the moment. In 2011, the show was renewed for three years up until season seven, but so far, there has been little news of a season eight. However, the cast and crew are so pleased with the show’s success and deeply involved in the characters that they cannot see it ending anytime soon.
“The Big Bang Theory” has had quite a successful run since its first season, accumulating four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Jim Parsons recently won his third Emmy for the role of Sheldon Cooper on September 22nd at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. “Part of me thinks this show could go 11 or 12 years. We seem to be a bit of an anomaly in that we’re holding on to a sizeable audience, and it doesn’t fluctuate,” Parsons told Emmy Magazine.
Multiple guest stars have been recruited for the show including Howie Mandel, Bob Newhart, Margo Harshman, and even world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. With an audience of 20 million (first reached in season six), a dedicated cast and crew, and a plethora of famous guest stars, it is likely that many more seasons will follow.
“The Big Bang Theory” airs every Thursday night at 8 p.m. on CBS, and any missed episodes can be viewed on their website, www.cbs.com.
Elizabeth Thomas is a third-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at ET797801@wcupa.edu.