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Archive for the ‘jim parsons’ Category

I normally look upon stunt casting with a wary eye. When done right ( Paul Rudd’s sweet Mike on the final two seasons of Friends, Leslie Jordan’s wickedly fey Beverley on Will and Grace), it’s magical. When done just because ( Britney on anything), it’s cloy and distracting. It’s best if the stunt casting makes sense. It’s better when the guest star gets smashing lines. TBBT had been doing the stunt casting thing well. Till this week.

Summer Glau, star of The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox ( but produced by WB- hence the crossover), is actually quite dynamic on her show ( she’s honestly the best thing about it). But she was wasted on this episode with mostly monosyllabic answers to the constant attention of Howard and Raj. When the guest star gets no real funny lines on a sitcom guest spot, you have to wonder.

Fortunately, the Penny-Sheldon dynamic was fabulous despite the fact they were barely on screen together. Kaley Cuoco is truly turning into a charming and funny lead as the show goes on, because even without the guys to play off of, she was great, nonchalantly painting her nails as Jim Parson’s Sheldon gives wackadoodle directions to get his flash drive out of his locked desk drawer. ( The show is getting better with it’s callbacks recently, with mentioning of Howard’s new “relationship” with Leslie Winkle and the come back of “wackadoodle”). Jim Parsons, gifted physical comedian, spent nearly the entire episode sitting down, but still managed to be utterly delightful every second he was on screen. Johnny Galecki’s Leonard was also great this week, as he is having a ” I hate Sheldon” week and needles him more than usual ( but still plays peacemaker between Sheldon and a nosy Penny).

Things we learn this week:

  • Given enough time, Howard can actually come up with a clever pick up line.
  • Given the opportunity, Raj will steal that pick up line.
  • Penny has a job playing Anne Frank in a small 99 seat theater above a bowling alley. Hey, it’s an acting job, folks.
  • Sheldon keeps his flash drive locked in his desk, but the key for the desk in in his room, and nobody is allowed in his room.
  • Sheldon is way obsessed about trains.
  • Raj is susceptible to the placebo effect, and apparently cannot read labels on beer bottles.
  • Howard, though in a relationship, has a flawless reason to try and sleep with Summer Glau- ” It’s Summer Glau!”
  • The guys go to the Apple Store and mock the people at the Genius Bar.
  • Sheldon has a new packing system involving RDF tags, a scanner wand, and a complex cross referencing system.
  • Sheldon takes all the fun out of sarcasm, according to Leonard.
  • Sheldon’s vote outweighs the other three.
  • Sheldon is wary of voiding warranties, but is more obsessed with keeping season 1 of BSG on TiVo. Leading me to ask- don’t they have the DVDs?
  • Sheldon’s MeeMaw calls him ” Moonpie” because he is so ” nummy, nummy”. And only MeeMaw can call him that. For the first time, Sheldon shows a streak of sentimentality.
  • Leonard is reading Noble Laureate George Smoot’s ” Wrinkles in Time”.
  • Are you meaning to tell me Penny doesn’t know a USB port from a power button?

Overall, there were funny moments, but the use of Summer Glau was limited, and the real story got lost to the B story, simply because Jim and Kaley shine as the adversarial friends.

Penny line of the week: ” What up, Moonpie?”

Sheldon line of the week:’ It’s like talking to a chimp.”

Howard line of the week: ” One beer and it’s like he’s M. Knight Charmalamalan.”

Raj line of the week: ” You got me. Now, what are you gonna do with me?”

Leonard line of the week : ” Looks like you’re between a rock and a crazy place.”

Grade- B

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First off, look for Craig Ferguson (sexy Scot from The Late Late Show) battle Jimmy Fallon starting on March 2, 2009 in a unique way. Craig is taking to the Prime Time CBS lineup to promote his show on the 2 and 9. Paris Hilton will join him the first Monday, so we care less about that than the following week when- yes- the one, the only comic genius Jim Parsons will be there with Craig- as Sheldon, no less ( Dr. Cooper M.Sc Ph.D Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!) There will be five interstatials over the course of the night, which take place at Craig’s “home” over TV Dinners. Paris is set to be guest on Craig’s actual job on the same night, but there is no confirmation of the same being true for Jim the following week, though I’d bet on it, as Craig has had Jim on his show three times in the last four months and seems quite fond of him ( IMO, Jim is a great talk show guest- charming and witty, with a quick mind to able to keep up. On his first Late Late Show appearance, he told Craig that the show’s official mugs were highly toxic, causing Craig to throw them around the studio.) Best news of the day… or it was until…

It is official, from NBC itself. Conan O’Brien will have a sidekick on The Tonight Show, and that sidekick will be Andy Richter.

I have died and gone to heaven. Thank you, comedy gods. And bring back the staring contest.

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Christine Baranski and Jim Parsons

Christine Baranski and Jim Parsons

Think about Friends and the two primary love stories that happened on that show. Both the Ross and Rachel dynamic and the Monica and Chandler dynamic had the underlying foundation of friendship. Ross and Rachel, though, not being enormously close at the beginning of the series, entered into a romantic relationship fueled by sexual desire, low self esteem, fits of jealousy, and temper tantrums. It was after that original break up and several close calls over the years that you began to see a maturation of the relationship, cemented in the birth of the baby that only happened due to a moment of what I’m sure is self pity on both their part, and the eventual realization that frankly, they had been a couple the entire time, though they tried to deny it. It was an evolution of character, for sure, but it was annoyingly long and painful over ten seasons that the writers literally had to write the ending they did, or else they would have been shot at like wild dogs. The Monica- Chandler relationship, though, was less melodramatic in tone, more real, a natural evolution of an existing friendship that was already pretty close, and as mature as a relationship can get because, after all, it’s Friends.

Why do I bring up a show that is in constant reruns but has been off air for six years? Well, as I was watch this week’s episode of TBBT, I was struck by the balance that Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, and the writing staff are bringing to the Leonard- Penny relationship. They have formed a friendship that appears pretty solid, sweet, caring, and gentle, but the obvious crush Leonard has on Penny hangs over them both. It’s not the total focus of their relationship, but neither ignore it. At the same time, both characters show a surprising impulsive nature. Penny’s is more obvious ( this episode having a prime example), but Leonard’s impulsive behavior is more damaging to his immediate interests. he cannot for the life of him keep his mouth shut, and it interferes in his goals. He cannot shut off his brain, and therefore he ends up spouting of what really should be part of his inner monologue.

Needless to say, this episode ends up giving a lot of food for thought about Leonard as a person. Tie what I just wrote into this weeks Slate article ( and I must say, a pretty good one) about Sheldon having Asperger’s.  I’m not overly familiar with the diagnostics of Asperger’s, just what I’ve read on Wikipedia, but I share some of those traits- active but odd, certain routines, pursuit of narrow interests, disjointed, quick speech patterns. and I know I’m not the most empathetic person in the world, and I am a ginormous klutz. I do not believe I have Asperger’s, as there are many of the characteristics I do not have. I always considered myself a raging misanthrope, a cynic, a pessimist, a fatalist. Chuck and Bill insist Sheldon is not an Aspie, and Jim Parsons ( genius- there is a person I wouldn’t mind having a conversation with) tows the party line pretty well while acknowledging there is no way Sheldon could be anything else but one.( His answers in the Variety series were a tightrope act without a net on this issue.) This plays into this weeks learn about Leonard episode as we finally figure out the reason why Leonard actually puts up with so many of Sheldon’s quirks and is always prepared to knuckle under.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Dr. Beverly Hofstadter. Some may call her an analytical cold fish. I call her Sheldon in a dress. Leonard calls her “mother”.

First off, my kids want Rock Band ( I admit, I do as well, but the price tag is enough to make you pause). This weeks cold open has the guys playing the zeitgeist consuming game. It was funny, but not as funny as last week’s episode of Sheldon abandonment. Leonard’s phone call to his mother wasn’t as funny as say- Sheldon’s phone call with his mother in episode 2-7 The Panty Piñata Polarization. But when Penny runs into Beverly at the broken elevator, we get an idea of why Sheldon doesn’t faze Leonard, as Dr. H launches into a theory of the passivity of the tenants due to the dust on the sign and tape blocking the door ( and I must say that in theory, she is absolutely correct, but in practice, fixing it means no more stairway walk and talks). Penny asks an innocuous question about Leonard when he was little ( ” I think you meant young, he’s always been little.”) that turns into a therapy session with a neuroscientist as Penny blubbers on about no longer being ” Slugger” to her dad. Sobbing Penny leaves Dr. H by Leonard’s door, and his mother informs him that all he needs to do to get Penny into bed is find out the brand of cologne her father wears. Who knew it’d be that easy?

This leads to a scene similar to one we’ve seen played out by Sheldon and Leonard a couple of times dealing with sustenance. Leonard tries desperately to please his mother with tea, but the oolong, loose tea, steeped three minutes, milk warmed separately, a teaspoon of raw sugar cup is cold, like mom. Sheldon is clearly taken with Dr. H, whom he sees as an ideal mother- analytical, smart, emotionally efficient, not prone to hitting you with a bible because you don’t eat brussel sprouts. Although a particularly disturbing side of Sheldon comes out when he gets excited by the prospect of viewing the Power Point presentation of her paper on her sex life with Leonard’s father ( and poor Leonard for having to deal with that issue, because he’s clearly been forced to observe it).

Leonard ends up taking Mom to work, where Howard and Raj have way too much fun at Leonard’s expense. Apparently, Leonard is the black sheep of his family, a lowly physicist, while his younger brother is a tenured law professor at Harvard, and his sister is on her way to curing diabetes. Leonard gets them back by telling his mother that Raj can’t speak to women unless he’s drunk and that Howard still lives with his mother. Raj’s case piques her interest a bit, but Howard’s amuses her more than anything- ” An adult Jewish male living with his mother is so common as to be sociological cliché.”, then deduces that they both have a pathological fear of women that they hide by developing an ersatz homosexual marriage ( leading Leonard to crow ” You brought your husband to work!”) This sets up a classic old married couple style fight between Raj and Howard involving Howard always having to speak for Raj around women,  an incident at the comic book store, and the fact Raj says that Howard never wants to talk about what’s really the issue at hand. What does Sheldon get out of this exchange? ” You went to the comic book store without me?”

Leonard, having decided that alcoholism is a valid career move, goes to Penny, and the two of them get wasted on white wine while Sheldon goes to the hospital for a brain scan with Dr. H. The two clearly Vulcanesque people have drawn the conclusion that they are exceedingly comfortable together, and are shocked that someone ” as workaday” as Leonard is their link. This leads to a scene where  Sheldon and Dr. H have a discussion about doing… something, needless to say, it’s filled with sexual innuendo, which is disturbing coming from Sheldon.

Leonard and Penny have moved on from white wine to tequila shots. Drunk, Penny allows Leonard to lick salt of her neck ( he gets very into it, I must say), and after his shot, discovers his lime in Penny’s mouth. Make out session begins ( he spits that lime out and it got some major air, dudes), and it moves into the bedroom, where those impulsive behavior issues come into play. Penny impulsively decides to sleep with Leonard. Leonard impulsively tells Penny that sleeping together is a Freudian nightmare that he’s frankly okay with. That gets him kicked out of bed, out of the apartment, and he returns across the hall to find his mother and Sheldon singing along to Rock Band. That’s what he was trying to convince her to do.

The closer was a bit of a downer considering how funny the show was in the middle. Dr. H goes to leave, giving an obligatory hug to her son ( if you can call it a hug at all). Penny and Leonard have no bad feelings about the night before ( and  they never, ever have to talk about it). On the way down the stairs, Penny again falls into the trap and ends up sobbing about her parents, prompting Dr. H. to ask her to fly to New Jersey and have a brain scan. Penny sniffs ” Will it help?”.  ” Well, it would certainly help me,” Dr. H intones.

TBBT had it’s cast on fire this episode- everyone got a good line in, it was balanced evenly between the three leads, the two supports, and the guest star. Johnny Galecki, who had been reduced to being the reactionary to Penny and Sheldon the past season finally got a half hour to shine. Sure there were outdated pop culture references that weren’t funny a decade ago ( JarJar Binks? Really? Although Simon Helberg’s impression was spot on. His gift for mimicry surprises me every single time), but I don’t care that much. I love this show.

Sheldon quote of the night: ” I’d like to do the math.” How exceedingly perfect.

Grade- A-

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ATTENTION: ALL BIG BANG THEORY FANS
Please remember that the show tonight, a fresh, brand spanking new episode that has Leonard’s mom visiting is on tonight AFTER Two and A Half Men, due to the Presidential News Conference. On the West Coast, they will be airing a Christine repeat, followed by HIMYM, then the two Chuck Lorre sitcoms. Please
remember to tune in and watch CBS comedies tonight. Thank you.

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Jim Parsons for Funny Or Die

I laughed, but then again, I’m weird and I’d adore Jim if he stood there reading the telephone book.

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After years of being crushed by no noms for The Gilmore Girls and Buffy, the Emmy decided to boost my spirits ( and Jim Parsons and The Big Bang Theory’ s chances) by expanding major categories like acting and best series to six nominee slots instead of five. This rule has been broken so many times in the last decade it really doesn’t matter, but it will make things interesting- like will those close ones now expand to seven picks? Will it shake up the acting races? Will 30 Rock cease to win everything ( I doubt it, but you gotta wonder)?

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You just knew Leonard wanted to have three seconds to himself every once in a while. We get a half hour of Sheldon a week. Imagine living with the guy…

Leonard, you see, needs to use a specific laser for an experiment, but it’s only available after hours, so he’s pulling the night shift at the lab. He told Sheldon he would be unavailable to drive him to work and that Sheldon would need to make other plans, but Sheldon ignored that advice and still expects to be chauffeured by Leonard. There’s also a bit with stimulating Star Wars sheets ( which leads to the question- Stimulating how, Sheldon?) and a snarky remark about the stagnant state of Leonard’s career.  Leonard proceeds to tell Sheldon to take the bus, but Sheldon refuses since buses have no seat belts and they won’t allow him to lash himself to the seats with bungee cords. When that proves fruitless, Sheldon knocks on Penny’s door, and invokes the favor clause built into friendships. Penny agrees to drive Sheldon, who nitpicks about her check engine light ( it’s been on for a month), Penny’s drinking coffee while driving, her route up Euclid Avenue, her not slowing down for speed bumps, and decides to pepper her with arcane trivia and science games.  Penny shows remarkable restraint until Sheldon starts up about the engine again, and she pulls over and kicks him out of the car.

After work, Sheldon runs into Leonard in the cafeteria, where he expects a ride home. Howard agrees with Sheldon’s opinion that Leonard said that he wasn’t able to get a ride to work. Leonard said nothing about the ride home. Howard regrets this decision when Sheldon is denied and expects a ride home with Howard, which involves Howard’s scooter and Euclid avenue’s speed bumps. Convinced Howard is trying to kill him, Sheldon is again abandoned and calls Raj. When that appears to no longer be an option, Sheldon returns to Penny for a ride to Pottery Barn to return the star Wars sheets. Penny slams the door.

The gang decides to proceed with an intervention, and set up an appointment for Sheldon at the DMV. He proves to be a giant ass there as well, and the DMV lady stamps a learner’s permit just to get rid of him. At home, Howard sets up an elaborate simulator ( Sheldon’s desire to drive the batmobile is denied). It proves to be a disaster, and later, while still trying to learn how to drive, Sheldon ends up on the second floor of the Glendale Galleria and crashes into the pet store. Sheldon decides he is ” transcending the situation” and quitting, as he is a Homo novus, and simply too evolved for the plebian task.  He then moves into his office at the university. Leonard conveniently decides to forget to tell him the experimient is over, just for some peace and quiet. After all, when Sheldon comes back, Leonard is the permanent chauffeur again.

A moderately successful outing, as it’s all A story and a lot of Sheldon. The drving simulator stuff is pretty hilarious.  There are great lines for Jim Parsons, but the rest of the cast aren’t given enough to do.

Grade- B-

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