The Big Bang Theory, TV review: Are the punchlines 50 per cent funnier since the cast negotiated their $1m-per-episode salaries?


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The Independent Culture

Ever wondered what $6m worth of human labour looks like? It was there for all to see in the eighth series of The Big Bang Theory, which began on E4 last night.

This is the first episode that's aired since the principal cast negotiated their new $1m-per-episode salaries, so does it show in the 50 per cent funnier punchlines? Are Raj's jumpers now knitted from 24-carat gold thread? Does Leonard travel to Caltech on a private jet? Actually, The Big Bang Theory is just the same as it ever was, which should reassure Sheldon at least.

The fast pace of change at the end of the last series got a little too much for the routine-loving theoretical physicist, causing him to embark on a cross-country trip of self-discovery. This turned out to mostly entail sitting in train carriages, not eating fruit. Meanwhile, Howard was struggling to accept his mother's close relationship with her live-in nurse (Stuart the erstwhile comic book owner), and it fell to newly coupled-up and chilled-out Raj to help him move on.

Every series these characters inch a little closer to emotional maturity, while remaining their socially awkward selves. As stipulated in the actors' contracts, it should take at least 71 more episodes for any real change to occur.