TV Show Review

TV Review: THE BIG BANG THEORY: Season 8, Episode 15: The Comic Book Store Regeneration [CBS]

Johnny Galecki Kunal Nayyar Nathan Fillion The Big Bang Theory The Comic Book Store Regeneration

CBS The Big Bang Theory The Comic Book Store Regeneration TV Show Review. The Big Bang Theory, Season 8, Episode 15: The Comic Book Store Regeneration was a noble attempt to say goodbye to character actress Carol Ann Susi, who had played the off-screen voice of the mother of Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg). The show however became muddled combining pathos-sadness and comedy, and also a guest appearance by Nathan Fillion of the TV detective show Castle that seemed somehow strangely detached from the storyline, and ineffective.

Susi died in Los Angeles on Nov. 11.

Producers of the show said they decided to refer to the death of Howard’s mother in the show rather than attempt to have another actress imitate what had become Susi’s renowned (off-screen) wail at her son—“How-Waaard!”

What resulted on the screen, attempting a fitting tribute to a very talented lady, was an episode that in some ways was far more bizarre than others, jumbled, as if the writers had lost their theme and balance, as if they stumbled trying to tie it all together.

As in most airings, the story followed parallel separate story lines by dividing up the cast.

I don’t want to seem insensitive because this was the Carol Ann Susi memorial show of The Big Bang Theory.

But look at all the competing story lines that interfered with that goal.

First we have the story of how Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) anger Penny (Kaley Cuoco) when Amy as a scientist attempts to judge the effectiveness of intelligence tests for chimpanzees by secretly testing Penny. Then we have Howard’s frustration with a resurgent comic book store the characters often visit run by a nerdy Stuart Bloom (Kevin Sussman), who talks like the cartoon character Elmer Fudd, and who also lives with and cares for Howard’s mother. Howard is angry his mother provided furniture for the comic book store and supposedly favored Bloom over him.

Then we have a chance encounter where Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) see the celebrity Fillion eating in a deli and want to pose for a cell phone photo with him. Fillion denies he is himself to drive the star-struck smucks off, and finally under their accusations, to counter their accusations he is not who he is, Fillion admits he is who he is. This bit, tacked onto the story as though you would nail a third arm to a scarecrow, gave Fillion little chance for comic maneuvering other than a bored look.

Then you have Amy angry at Sheldon because Sheldon is angry at Amy for helping a scientific competitor with his “String Theory” hypothesis.

Then once again you have the death of Howard’s mother.

There are some clever lines. Sheldon complains to Amy that the String Theory competitor told him to “suck eggs.”

“It should have been something more pleasant,” Sheldon says.

I don’t know where this saying (suck eggs) originated. Personally, I’ve always found eggs very pleasant to suck.

There is also a rather amusing bit where Penny advises Sheldon to hold in his hand an imaginary pen to lessen his frustration and by saying, “Just let it go,” to which the always elitist Sheldon haughtily responds in a prissy way he can’t because his fancy imaginary pen is personally monogrammed.

There were two redeeming moments of the show.

Howard’s reaction to his mother’s death was portrayed by Helberg realistically, not with over-dramatics, or sobbing, but with the disbelieving shock most people would actually show.

The other is that Sheldon, the series wisecracker, instead of sarcasm, offers a statement to Howard of profound sorrow, saying, “When I lost my father I didn’t have friends. You do.”

All the competing story lines tended to diffuse the script. There’s an old Russian proverb, when you try to chase three rabbits at the same time, you don’t catch any. Or, too many hands in it spoil the soup.

They should have focused strictly on the passing of Susi and involved the entire cast in pursuing the comedy and sadness and remembrance that could have been developed around this single theme. In the limited 30 minutes of time they had.

I could of told them how to fix it, then again, I’m only the reviewer.

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About the author

John Sammon

John Sammon is a writer whose experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine writing, personality profiles, interviews, celebrity interviews (Clint Eastwood), historical pieces, investigative and crime. He was selected “Most Valuable Reporter” for California’s oldest continually operating newspaper, and covered the weekend crime beat for a daily newspaper in Nevada. If you beat your wife on Friday, he wrote about it and got you in deep trouble on Saturday.

He covered the Nevada brothel beat and did stories on wild horses. The publication of his investigative pieces led to a dishonest political candidate withdrawing from a statewide elective campaign, while another politician unsuccessfully sued him because he didn’t like an article Mr. Sammon produced. His articles led to government reforms, including a school district performing its first-ever financial audit, and a Nevada State Law rolling back home heating oil prices for fixed-income seniors who depended on it.

Mr. Sammon is also a humor writer of the website Sammonsays, a professional script writer, an actor and member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, a film narrator for the California State Parks system, a standup comedian, and the author of three novels and one nonfiction book.

He worked in his spare time with sick and wounded animals at the SPCA.

Mr. Sammon's latest book, "Sammon Says: Exposing American Empire," a compilation of over 100 political opinion columns written over several years and recounting America's involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, was released in October 2013 by Dictus Publishing of Germany.

He is working on a new historical romance novel.

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