Yet another season of The Big Bang Theory has concluded. It’s been an eventful year for the show both on and off set. Season 7’s crazy finale left us with numerous cliffhanging questions. We nearly had the show delayed due to contract negotiations that almost costed us two cast members. We had the unfortunate passing of Carol Ann Susi resulting in her character’s death. And most importantly, on top of all of that… Penny cut her hair.
Needless to say, Season 8 had a lot to live up to, a lot to solve, and a lot to remedy. And now that we already know we’ll be with these guys for at least two more years, all we can hope for is that this season lives up to the hype. The result… not bad.
Season 8 as a whole is a very different season from ones past. In a way, it’s refreshing and really shines. There are some of the show’s funniest jokes here, and even some of the funniest episodes. Plus, this is arguably the most story-based season of the show. Considering that sitcoms mainly consists of filler episodes connected by a story-filled pilot and finale, this was a new and interesting direction.
But I would be lying if I said it always worked. Due to its new focus on story, Season 8 often suffers from a lack of consecutive hard-hitting jokes of which the show is known for. As a result, this season feels comedically weaker compared to past seasons. This is a shame because this season has some of the best episode concepts within it. Unfortunately, episodes tend to undershoot when it comes to jokes.
Don’t get me wrong, though. This is still The Big Bang Theory. Even a lack-luster season is entertaining in its own right. Your enjoyment of the season will depend on whether you prefer the story over just jokes. There is no right or wrong direction because the writing is very good. I personally found this season underwhelming comedically; however, the show is getting much better at storytelling.
The season started with a bang (yes I went there) with two back-to-back episodes. These two episodes weren’t just good. They were some of the best of the season. “The Locomotion Interruption” was a great successor to what was a crazy season finale last year. It was so smartly written, even going as far as teasing the audience in the car scene and winking to them in the yoga scene. “The Junior Professor Solution” is probably my favorite episode from the season. It’s one of the few episodes that keep the comedic ball rolling through the end. Of course the classroom scene is a must-see.
As I said, this season was very much a story-based one. This time around, everyone had their own story-arcs that got equal representation. Before I talk about the finale, let’s go over each story arc one-by-one.
Leonard and Penny’s were the more integral of the arcs. A good bulk of the season dealt with their wedding, but not in the way I expected. Unlike Season 5, which focused on Howard and Bernadette’s marriage, the execution of the wedding planning plot was handled more loosely and nonchalantly. You don’t even realize that until the finale when Sheldon brings it up. The season was more about the nature of their future marriage: living arrangements, financial inequity, commitment, and the like. I actually kind of enjoy the way they told it if not just for what it led to in the finale.
Raj and Sheldon had very similar story arcs this season but at different stages. Sheldon, upon returning from his league of absence, spends the season resuming his relationship with Amy, slowly moving towards full intimacy. Raj and Emily are at the beginning of their relationship, going at normal speed despite kinks and idiosyncrasies on both sides.
This season, you begin to notice how far Sheldon has come from the beginning. This is something that has been touched upon in the past season but officially seen here. There’s a slight change in his behavior that is now noticeable. But I love that this change isn’t too dramatic. He’s still Sheldon and always will be. The Season 7 finale was a transition in his willingness to change and nothing more. I hope future seasons will keep this direction going and never stray too far from what makes the character work.
I’ve mentioned it in the past, but I was and still am totally for Raj and Emily. They have a great amount of chemistry together, and I love how they’re relationship is based on how weird the two are. We all know that Raj is unconventional which is why he needs an unconventional girlfriend. Emily fits that bill from what I’ve seen so far. I’ll concede to the fact that her character has some more growing to do, but I will continue to support the idea of their relationship if it lasts.
As for the last arc, I thought the Wolowitz story arc was very entertaining. You see that Stuart became a little more pivotal in Howard and Bernadette’s lives than expected. Since Howard’s mom got along well with Stuart, Howard became replaced as the mama’s boy, which causes a ongoing war between the two up until Mrs. Wolowitz’s death. However, even then Stuart is attached to them until he gets back on his feet.
Consider how he started out as just Mrs. Wolowitz’s maid only to become an unshakable roommate. I love the fact that Stuart has officially become a main character and that his character continues to grow. The rivalry that existed between Howard and Stuart was pure gold, as if watching a spoken word battle. What makes it all the more impressive is that this subplot could’ve easily faltered toward the end due to obvious unfortunate events. However, the writers bounced back miraculously.
And so here we are: the season finale. It should be noted that this was one of the best episodes of the season and probably the best finale of the entire show.
After being confronted with the fact that no progress has been made in terms of wedding arrangements, Leonard and Penny decide to just get married in Vegas that same night. It’s all going well until Leonard, attempting to enter the marriage with no secrets, reveals he kissed another girl while on the expedition sometime between Season 6 and 7.
Sheldon and Amy celebrate their 5 year dating anniversary when Sheldon interrupts making out to discuss the new Flash show. Later that episode, Amy unofficially breaks up with Sheldon before he could ask to marry her.
Howard and Bernadette try to get Stuart to move out of their house until they are guilted into not saying it.
A similar situation happens to Raj who is asked by Emily to have sex at a graveyard. Raj conflicts with the idea of breaking up with her and almost goes through with it before changing his mind.
This was the perfect way to end the season. I loved this finale for all of its teases and questions it addresses on all sides.
I think we can all agree that the biggest shock was Sheldon’s attempt to propose at the end. It’s so out of place for Sheldon to propose to begin with, but for him to be dumped before he could say it was heartbreaking. I also found it pretty smart for Penny and Leonard to not get married this season. Other shows may have just had them at the chapel and answered whether they get married or not then and there, but this is refreshing. And with Stuart not moving out and Emily still being Raj’s girlfriend, this will make great material for Season 9; it’ll provide Stuart time to become independent again and Emily more time to grow as a character.
Overall, this season, while not being the funniest, may be the most important seasons for the show thus far. The new emphasis on story may fare well for a show pushing a near decade. I hope for next season to attempt to hone its comedic edge while providing depth to our favorite characters. This is not to say Season 8 was a bad or unfunny season. This is still one of the funniest shows on television even on its worst day.
What did you guys think of this season of Big Bang Theory? Let me know in the comments so we can discuss it further.
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!
More Big Bang Theory posts:
- Season 8 Predictions: here
- Top 5 episodes: here
- Early thoughts on Season 8: here
- Top 5 Favorite TV shows: here