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The Big Bang Theory: Season 6 Finale

By Carl Stoffers · May 20, 2013

The Big Bang Theory wrapped its sixth season this week with something of a twist, featuring a significant development for Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and his tormented love life. The episode also features a huge opportunity for Leonard (Johnny Galecki) that requires him to leave Penny (Kaley Cuocco) for four months to work on a research vessel in the North Sea.

The plot is, typically, dominated by the presence of Sheldon (Jim Parsons), whose wisecracks and cruel sarcasm are a hallmark of The Big Bang Theory. The character is almost omnipresent, hovering over the other members of the group with his usual condescending commentary and tired Star Trek references. It is a classic sitcom setup, but one has to wonder why the other personalities are not allowed to further develop. It’s almost as if Sheldon is stunting the rest of the characters on the show.

In the season finale, Sheldon is jealous of Leonard’s opportunity to leave the group for four months to join a research team headed by Stephen Hawking. He mopes and whines to the others, complaining, “I’m not jealous. I’m just very unhappy that things are happening for him and not happening for me.” It’s an understandable and logical plot line, considering Sheldon and Leonard’s relationship and history, but it somehow comes across as obvious and cheap. There feels like very little depth in both the characters and the plot line.

Tension is created as Leonard’s departure grows near, and the viewers are left to wonder if he will really leave Penny and the rest of the group. Leonard’s impending departure works as a parallel plot line and provides a way for the other, more marginal characters (including the underutilized Mayim Bialik) to contribute to the show.

Meanwhile Raj, the most socially awkward member of the group (and that’s saying a lot, considering these characters), has managed to find a woman (Lucy, played by Kate Micucci) who is even more socially paralyzed than him. After setting up a re-do of Lucy meeting the group (the first attempt went horribly awry) at a going-away party for Leonard, Lucy predictably doesn’t show, crushing and humiliating Raj. It’s another obvious and worn sitcom gimmick, and it’s only partially saved by the emotional outpouring and eventual victory Raj has over his inability to speak to women without the aid of alcohol. Suddenly, the women of the group find themselves virtually held hostage by a rambling Raj, now so comfortable with talking to females that he won’t stop. It’s a decent twist for the character, although not entirely unexpected or surprising.

Overall, the writers of The Big Bang Theory have turned in a finale that is simply more of the same, which is apparently good enough, because the show is more popular than ever. There is adequate conflict, drama, and humor (as basic and predictable is it is) to fit solidly into a “standard and basic sitcom writing” box. Nothing new, nothing groundbreaking, it just is what it is: slightly humorous and not unpleasant.