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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // September 15, 2009
List Price: $44.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted September 21, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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The Second Season

The Big Bang Theory is a situational comedy (sitcom) television series created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. It first aired on CBS in 2007. The show had a successful first season and did even better with its second season. The show is not a typical sitcom, as it gives itself an edge with a unique and goofy premise. It highlights a group of overly intelligent geeks and their awkward perspectives on common, everyday situations. They are balanced out by a "normal" girl who lives across the hall. The Big Bang Theory can be summed up as the following: silly, witty, and downright fun. For more details about the show, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one and season two.

In season two, the laughs continue as the goofy cast gets into many hilarious situations, as the combined brain power of The Big Bang Theory is no match for normal life. This season continues to build upon the romance between Leonard and Penny, which has its ups and downs. Leonard also dates a couple girls and Howard has his eye on both. Sheldon's neurotic and weird portrayal of life continues to be the butt of almost every joke, as he is far from normal. Raj has his fifteen minutes of fame, which go to his head. Overall, it is a strong season.

The season premiere episode is "The Bad Fish Paradigm". Leonard and Penny have their first date. Unfortunately, it is their only date. At first, Leonard thinks the date went well. However, his odd friends convince him that things did not go as he thought. Penny confides in Sheldon. She does not feel smart enough for Leonard and fears he will get bored with her. She forces him to keep it a secret, which causes Sheldon to move out of the apartment, staying with Raj and Howard. Eventually Leonard learns about Penny's fear and only makes it worse. The episode is fun way to start the season with Sheldon's neurotic behavior stealing the spotlight.

In the next episode "The Codpiece Topology", Leonard is jealous of Penny who is dating again. He considers his options, which are slim. Oddly enough, Leslie Winkle (Sara Gilbert) has her eyes on him. They had a brief romance in the past, but Leslie was only looking for short-term fun. Now, she wants to settle down and thinks Leonard might be Mr. Right. The new relationship causes complications for Sheldon and Penny. The episode is really fun. Gilbert and Galecki have great chemistry together, which is a rehash from their time together on Roseanne. Gilbert shows up in additional episodes this season and has a romance with Howard.

"The Griffin Equivalency" is a fun episode where Raj gets put in the spotlight. He is listed by People magazine on their '30 Under 30 to Watch' for his contributions to science. When Raj tells his friends about it, they do not give supportive reactions. Sheldon attacks him for getting lucky. Leonard and Howard decide to take him out to dinner to celebrate his accomplishment. However, the tables turn when Raj is given special treatment by the university, which causes jealous amongst his friends. He invites them to a party and they refuse. Penny agrees to go with him and it turns out to be a little more than she bargained for... Penny meets Raj's parents and it does not go well for anyone.

In "The Barbarian Sublimation", Penny is feeling down about not accomplishing any substantial with her life and turns to Sheldon for comfort. He gets her hooked on online gaming, which is a real fun sight to see. Penny takes on an odd persona and even scares Leonard. It is a classic and geeky episode. In "The Euclid Alternative", everyone is tired of Sheldon leeching off of them for rides and force him to get his driver's license, which he is apparently incapable of. Sheldon, again, steals the spotlight with his neurotic physical comedy and turns this very common situation into a bunch of laughs.

"The Lizard-Spock Expansion" introduces a multi-episode story arc and Stephanie Barnett (Sara Rue), a new love interest for Leonard and Howard. Howard uses his access to the Mars Rover to pick up Stephanie, but when he crashes it, he calls on his friends for help. Leonard and Stephanie hit it off and start dating, behind Sheldon's back. Oddly enough, Howard thinks they're together. The Leonard-Stephanie-Howard threesome produces a lot of laughs. Stephanie also appears in "The White Asparagus Triangulation", Sheldon tries to help Leonard's relationship, but only dampens his style, and "The Vartabedian Conundrum", Leonard realizes Stephanie is living with him.

As for the rest of the season, there are many more fun episodes, such as "The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem", Sheldon gets a girlfriend (sort of) and no one understands what is happening, "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis", Penny dates Dr. David Underhill (Michael Trucco), Leonard's better looking counterpart, "The Friendship Algorithm", Sheldon befriends someone at work to everyone's amazement, "The Maternal Capacitance", Leonard's mother visits and her personality is identical to Sheldon, " The Terminator Decoupling", the guys run into Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) on a train, and "The Hofstadter Isotope", Penny goes with the guys to the comic book store and exchanges phone numbers with someone, and it eats away at Leonard.

Overall, The Big Bang Theory's second season continues to be very strong. The cast has a great dynamic together. The leading males' geeky views of life provide neurotic and hilarious situations. Cuoco is a good balance to them, and also provides her own silliness. However, Parsons repeatedly steals the spotlight with physical comedy and excellent delivery of dialogue. He manages to turn many common situations, as he interacts with the other cast members, into a riot. The show's writing is also topnotch. It provides witty dialogue that leaves you laughing. The plotlines can be simplistic, but they work and never fail to draw in your attention. In the end, The Big Bang Theory is a major success with its second season.

Episode Guide

1. The Bad Fish Paradigm: After Penny and Leonard's great date, Leonard tries to kiss Penny in the hallway and realizes that the guys have secretly rigged cameras to spy on them. Penny then tells him that they should take things slow.
2. The Codpiece Topology: Leonard and Penny are no longer dating. Leslie Winkle, played by Sarah Gilbert, moves in on Leonard and proposes to revisit their relationship. Leonard kicks Sheldon out of their apartment so he and Leslie can be on their date alone.
3. The Barbarian Sublimation: Penny feels frustrated by her failure at everything in her life. She becomes obsessed with playing an online game called "The Age of Conan," and Sheldon tries to help with her addiction by giving her tips on how to get to the next level.
4. The Griffin Equivalency: Koothrappali is being honored by People Magazine's "30 under 30" for his discovery of a new planet. The guys all try to express their support and happiness for him except for Sheldon who can't understand why he's being honored for discovering something that already exists.
5. The Euclid Alternative: Leonard needs to work nights, leaving Sheldon without a ride to or from work. He asks Penny, then Wolowitz, then Koothrappali, but one way or another, he manages to annoy them to the point they won't drive him.
6. The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem: After speaking at a student seminar, Sheldon finds himself with a groupie named Ramona Nowitzki. She's young and beautiful and prepared to do anything for Sheldon so he can focus entirely on his work.
7. The Panty Pinata Polarization: Penny is now a member of Leonard and Sheldon's group, so she must obey the house rules. After her third strike, Sheldon banishes her. Leonard gets frustrated with Sheldon about this because he and Penny are in a good friendly place with their relationship, but Sheldon is adamant.
8. The Lizard-Spock Expansion: Leonard, Sheldon and Koothrappali are using Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock to decide what to watch on TV when they're interrupted by a phone call from Wolowitz. Wolowitz has picked up a woman, Stephanie, by telling her he can let her drive the Mars Rover; unfortunately, he drives it into a ditch and needs help.
9. The White Asparagus Triangulation: Leonard continues to date Stephanie and things seem to be going well as far as he's concerned. Sheldon, however, is worried that Leonard isn't handling things correctly; Sheldon really likes Stephanie and it's extremely important to him that Leonard's relationship go well.
10. The Vartabedian Conundrum: Penny councils Leonard about his relationship with Stephanie when he realizes that the only reason he is dating her is that she likes him. He tries to break it off, but each time he tries they end up having sex. Finally he breaks up with her by text message.
11. The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis: Leonard meets his intellectual superior in award winning scientist David Underhill. Underhill is the total opposite of Leonard: handsome, charming, and cool.

12. The Killer Robot Instability: The guys are excited about building a "killer" robot named Monte for a regional robot fighting league when Kripke challenges them to a robot duel which Sheldon jumps at.
13. The Friendship Algorithm: Sheldon needs to use a new super computer that has just arrived at the University but when Leonard informs him that Kripke controls who can use the computer and he only allows his friends to use it, Sheldon makes it his mission to befriend Kripke.
14. The Financial Permeability: When Penny runs into financial trouble, Sheldon gladly offers to lend her money. Penny is uncomfortable with taking money from him and begins to act out her frustration which confuses Sheldon entirely.
15. The Maternal Capacitance: Leonard's mother (played by Christine Baranski), a brilliant neuroscientist who has no concept of appropriate human interaction or warmth, comes for a visit. During her stay, she manages to alienate and cause emotional turmoil in everyone's lives except for Sheldon who is taken by her since they are so much alike.
16. The Cushion Saturation: Wolowitz begins to date Leslie (played by Sara Gilbert) with Leonard's blessing. Leslie has access to unrestricted grant money that she is using towards Wolowitz's research while the other guys are having their budgets cut.
17. The Terminator Decoupling: The guys are going to attend a symposium featuring Dr. George Smoot (Nobel Laureate for his work on the Big Bang) in San Francisco.
18. The Work Song Nanocluster: Sheldon helps Penny start her own business making hair clips. Leonard and the rest of the guys pitch in to start a website and manufacture her goods
19. The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition: Penny has become one of the guys around our guys. She dresses in sweats -- hair in a pony tail -- and she is not at all prepared when a new, very hot girl moves into the building.
20. The Hofstadter Isotope: In this episode Penny is hit on by the sales clerk in a comic book store that the guys frequent. Leonard is devastated at this turn of events.
21. The Vegas Renormalization: When Wolowitz is dumped by Leslie Winkle, the guys take him to Vegas. He hides in his room the whole time looking at Leslie's Facebook page.
22. The Classified Materials Turbulance: Stuart, played by Kevin Sussman, the comic book sales clerk goes to Leonard to ask his advice on dating Penny. Leonard advises him to act very shy around Penny.
23. The Monopolar Expedition: Sheldon is approached by the Dean of the University to lead a scientific expedition to the Arctic. He invites the guys to go along with him for the summer and be his team.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.85:1 ratio widescreen format. The presentation is in a matted format, which is indicated to preserve the original aspect ratio of widescreen television exhibition. The picture quality for this transfer is pretty solid. There are some evident compression artifacts, but nothing too apparent

Audio:
The audio is presented in English and Portuguese 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. It sounds good with dialogue easy to hear and no noticeable audio distortions. There are subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, and Thai.

Extras:

  • Physicist to the Stars (10:07): is a featurette about UCLA Physics professor David Saltzberg and his role on the television show. He consults with the creative minds to ensure scientific accuracy. It stars Kelly Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, David Saltzberg, Bill Prady, and Chuck Lorre.
  • Testing the Infinite Hiliarty Hypothesis in Relation to the Big Bang Theory (15:30): is a featurette with Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Bill Prady, Chuck Lorre, and Kaley Cuoco. They discuss the development of the characters and their relationships since the first season.
  • Gag Reel (8:51): is a montage of goofs captured during filming of season two.

Final Thoughts:
The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom and it sets itself apart from other shows with its unique cast and goofy premise. The show is about a group of overly intelligent guys with an odd perspective on life, which is balanced out by their normal female neighbor. This season continues to offer many laughs with superb and comical acting performances, excellent writing, and fun storylines. Fans of the series will definitely want to purchase this season on DVD. Newcomers will not be disappointed with it either, although you might best starting with season one to get the full experience. It is highly recommended.

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