My Big Bang Theory

I'm surprised to discover that I have a favorite television show again. I've only ever had one favorite show. And I'm talking about a currently running show. Obviously I love reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, but who doesn't? My favorite show is The Big Bang Theory. I never miss the new episodes Thursday nights or any of the gazillion reruns played throughout the week.

It's a great cast of characters to be sure, but there has always been something that felt so familiar about the show. And today, finally, I had an epiphany. I now realize why I love the show. Maybe it was finding myself glued to the TV every Thursday night that finally made things click. The Big Bang Theory is my favorite show because it's a twist on my old favorite show.

From 1982 until 1993, my family and friends knew not to call my house Thursday nights from 8:00 p.m. until 8:30. They knew I wouldn't answer. And why? Because sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. That's right, the only other favorite show I've ever had was Cheers.

That's when it dawned on me. That's why The Big Bang Theory is so popular. It's already a proven formula. Leonard and Penny are Sam and Diane. Leonard has the same laid-back personality and Penny can be a tad demanding and self-centered. The show's creators simply switched the I.Q.s and physical prowess.

They're an unlikely pair who are an item for a while then breakup and try unsuccessfully to find romance in other places, only to end up back with each other. And, after several awkward proposals, they're set to marry. I could be talking about either show here. Let's just hope that Leonard and Penny's marriage plans work out better than Sam and Diane's.

Instead of a bunch of misfits meeting at a bar, these guys meet at Leonard and Sheldon's apartment. They even started with the annoying little know-it-all who lives with his mother. And just like Cliff Clavin, Howard and his mom eventually split too.

And what about Woody, the hapless naïve outsider who's so innocent and gullible you can't help but love him? They thought of him too in the form of Rajesh Koothrappali. Of course Raj is from India, so not quite as weird and foreign a place as Indiana.

Then there was Carla, the short little spitfire with tons of attitude who spoke her mind no matter what. Bernadette filled those feisty shoes nicely.

That's why the show has drawn me in. It's my old gang in new bodies. But this time we have a room full of intelligent people with one simple-minded woman. But the chemistry still works, and works well.

The only thing they did 180 degrees different is the character of Norm. Instead of a lovable, short, fat guy, they gave us a tall, skinny, unbearable Sheldon. Still, though, even these two characters are the only ones on each show who sit in the same place all the time.

It's understandable. There could never, ever be another Norm.

So Cheers to The Big Bang Theory, my new favorite show.