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Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

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Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby Staff » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:59 pm


In the sake of full disclosure, let me be up front about one basic fact: I do not like The Big Bang Theory. I've watched it... in fact, I used to watch it all the time, but it's a show that gets cheap laughs by making fun of nerd culture in a terribly way. Nerd culture is easy to make fun of, and there are a lot of funny things about it... but this show relies instead on absurdity and stereotypes to get the laughs. Basically, it's a show that needs to "punch down" to get laughs, and those types of shows only survive as long as it's acceptable to make fun of those groups (shows that do things like this to a religious view, a minority, or an orientation get criticized into oblivion quickly).


That's kind of a shame, honestly, because there are some legitimately funny moments and writing in the show, things that get honest laughs without stupid (and wrong) stereotypes. Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock comes to mind (and I own that on a shirt)... that is still probably one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV. The show has also done a lot to grow and change characters, and it has a far more balanced cast after adding Amy and Bernadette in later seasons.


And, like the show or not, there are a whole ton of people that do. It's consistently in the top for TV comedies (it's been #2 the past couple of years), so the market makes sense. Given that it's a Warner Brothers show, it's another set that points to a pretty cozy relationship between LEGO and WB (who also owns DC Comics). Since LEGO also has an equally close relationship to Disney/Marvel, I'm starting to wonder if they are our best bet for negotiating world peace. At $60, this is the most expensive ideas set we've gotten thus far. It also comes in at 484 parts, but that is one of the most deceitful part counts ever... maybe in a good way. It carries a whopping seven minifigures, though, so there may be some value here after all...



I somewhat enjoy the Ideas line, even though I've gone on record a few times as just hating the Ideas concept. I think it hurts the MOC community as a whole, and it's made it harder for us to feature things on the site (because we are not a billboard). Yet without it, we would have never gotten things like Ecto-1, the Exo-Suit (which is retiring soon, go buy one), or the Scientists set. Even better... since it's such a set-specific line, it's a lot easier to skip a set that you don't really want.


21302 - Minifigs and a Dog


This set, perhaps more than any other LEGO has ever made, is all about the minifigures. It's a sitcom, after all, and that makes it all about the characters. The bigger challenge is that it's a comedy sitcom that features fairly distinct, unique, and strong characters. Also, maybe someone that's watched the show in the last few seasons can help me understand what the dog is doing in this set...


21302 - Sheldon


Sheldon is one of the more memorable characters to grace TV in recent years. While the show does play on stereotypes a lot, I think most of us know someone that reminds us of Sheldon (and if we all took those parts that remind us of him and combined them, we'd get half a Sheldon). Jim Parsons is pretty awesome, and not just because he was a knight at Medieval times in Garden State. This is an excellent representation of the character, and the star of the show has to be that Flash T-Shirt. The smarmy / serious look fits the character as well... but not as well as the alt-face...


 


21302 - Sheldon Alt-Face


This is one that makes more sense if you've watched the show. Sheldon doesn't smile much, but when he does, it's distrubing and creepy. That seems to be captured quite well here. There's also the bonus of the two-color arms, which came with the Simpsons minifigs and are pretty nifty. This is a pretty strong start for figures to arguably the most important character on the show.


21302 - Leonard


Leonard, on the other hand, feels a bit more phoned-in. Maybe it's because Johnny Galecki is only like three-feet tall. The torso is again the strongest part, and I like the touch of the recycled logo on the shirt (though it would have been nifty to see another DC thing like Green Lantern). The open shirt / sweatshirt also fits the character. The face is unique, but the hair is probably the laziest part here.


21302 - Leonard Alt-Face


The alt-face fits him a lot more than the smile does, since this is a character that spends most of his life as the butt of other characters (however, on the show, most of the time the characters deserve everything that happens to them, and often deserve a lot more).


21302 - Howard


Howard is probably the character that underwent the most changes over the years, and they were all mostly for the best. He was an absolute creep early in the show, but eventually got a girlfriend (and then wife) and it lessened. The real star of this character is on the belt printing, and it absolutely fits the character (who is known for crazy belt buckles). The little video game buckle is just fantastic here.


21302 - Howard Alt-Face


I'd also like to suggest that all male heads should include sideburns printed on the head like this, that's just great. The hair is more interesting than Leonards, and the torso fits. Plus, this makes it so I'm one step closer to being able to make a Moist minifigure. Now I just need an official Neil Patrick Harris minifigure and we are in business.


21302 - Raj


Raj is the character who's gimmick wore thin the quickest, which is probably why they didn't address it before I stopped watching in season 6, his inability to talk to women unless he's drunk. I'd like to say that it's a stereotype (well, it is), but you mix Raj and Howard and you have a good portion of the people I've seen on Reddit (not all, just the loud ones). His torso is probably my favorite of the bunch... something about the sweater and the purple makes me want more of them.


21302 - Raj Alt-Face


His primary face, with the smile, is what fits the character the most. The alt-face doesn't look quite as nice, unless they're going for a shy look. I do like that the printing extends around the back on the torso, and that we have another person of color minifig to add into the mix.


21302 - Penny


Penny is the character that probably annoys me the most on the show. Mostly because she's as bad on the non-nerd stereotypes as our nerdy guys were, but also because they portray her as being from Nebraska. They made all sorts of farm jokes (to contrast all the terrible godzilla jokes), even though they said a few times she is from Omaha, a city of half-a-million (and a fairly nice place). There are a whole ton of reasons to make fun of people from Nebraska (I mean a ton), but they didn't use any of them.


21302 - Penny Alt-Face


The hair also doesn't fit her more recent look, and the face is probably the most generic of the characters. The torso isn't bad, but it's again somewhat generic. That being said, the alt-face is again one of the best representations of the character. Yet she's the character that's probably better as parts than as a figure.


21302 - Bernadette


Bernadette, on the other hand, immediately reminds you of the character. The printed pattern on the legs, the glasses, and the necklace all fit her very well The knock I have is the off-color of the printing on the collar... it seems like LEGO can only over- or under- do the printing on these. I opted for that angry-face as the primary since she's married to Howard, and angry just fits.


21302 - Bernadette Alt-Face


Her legs aren't just printed, they're also two color tone, which is pretty cool on its own. It would have been nice for the printing to go all the way around, since they even got it on the sides, but LEGO doesn't seem to be there yet. The alt-face is nice and smiley, which also fits her character well.


21302 - Amy


Amy is the most recent addition to the group, the love interest for Sheldon (which leads to some of the more memorable jokes... like watching two idiot robots fall in love). If you're old like me, you can't help but think of her as Blossom, but this is a pretty good representation of the Big Bang Character.


21302 - Amy Alt-Face


The two-tone legs fit her as well, and it's interesting to see those show up in a lot of the figures. The alt-face doesn't fit quite as well here, though the character does smile on the show. I really like that sweater pattern as well... honestly, all of the minifigures strike me as well done. It's nice that all of them, save Bernadette, can be swapped to other figures as well, yellow or fleshie, and even with Bernadette, you can make a lot of innocent bystanders for Superman to kill the next time he's out for a stroll.


21302 - The Living Room Details


At first, I was thinking that this representation of the movie set was Simpson's house-level inaccurate, but I went and looked up what the set actually looks like...


Living Room Set


You know, that's a pretty solid representation in LEGO form. Obviously a bit smaller, and the table isn't large enough, but otherwise a pretty solid showing here. A few things are weird, like it not being a bay window, but otherwise quite nice.


21302 - The Living Room


There are some nice things to the apartment, which is second in Easter Egg count (the Kwik-E-Mart still wins for crazy number of references). The Chinese food containers are great, and hopefully they show up in Brick n' Pieces or something like that so I can get a ton more for that bin of food parts I always want to use but never get around to. We also get little statues, the DNA helix, and lots of little features tucked in.


21302 - The Living Room Window Area


The window solution is pretty interesting, even though it's kind of weird how the curtains are off-center from the window itself. The little desk is nice (when did they move the desk back there instead of by the front door), and you could arguably call this thing a brick-pattern brick booster box. One of the few stickers shows up here, what I believe is a CD rack, and it could have probably been skipped without affecting the set.


21302 - The Living Room Exterior Window


The outside of that window is mostly just filler... with that little windscreen part being an odd addition. Mostly it's just the outside and instructions of what corner to put against the edge of your shelf. Still, you get a ton of those bricks, and some tiles, along with plenty of tan.


21302 - The Living Room Back Wall


I'd suggest never looking at the back of this set. I think this picture makes it pretty obvious why. Maybe it's something like one of those magic eye pictures, where you can stare at it long enough that it turns into some other shade of tan. And a dragon riding a sailboat!


21302 - Board and Chair


There are a couple of little extra tossed in, including a white board with some pictograms for us to guess. I'll let the comments answer the questions (mostly because they're not my thing). The chair is the oddest little build, with a lot of parts for seemingly little effect. Not that it's bad, it's just kind of ugly. I really do like the use of the Friend's lipstick parts are dry-erase markers. That's some fantastic parts usage.


21302 - Holy Extra Parts Batman


 


Speaking of parts... this set sets a record for the number of "extra" parts that are included. You get a full pack of Friend's accessories (because we needed forks), extra lipsticks, extra of each of the statues, and really, just a whole mess of stuff. This probably shoves the part count well above 500, adding that little bit of extra value.


Big Bang Theory Original


This set was only a small step away from the original design. The biggest difference is the color choice, but a lot of little features showed up, like the rug and the wall design. I think I like the telescope design in the original, and wish that the smaller legs would have been used. But the upgrades for the faces and the hair, along with the mini-statues, are all awesome upgrades. The DNA one in the original looked cool with the hot dogs, but the version in the final set seems a lot closer.


Despite my feelings of the show, this is an absolutely solid set. It's a display set through-and-through, but there's outstanding value for minifigs and some nice little extras mixed in. Seven minifigures that each feature some unique stuff, and complex printing on legs and arms all make for great value. There are a whole ton of extra parts as well, so you likely get some extras of everything little. It's only that $60 price that holds it back ever so slightly, because if it was $50 I'd be more inclined to buy extras just to break down. That puts this thing solidly in the four out of five range.


What I liked



  • All of the characters are identifiable, and most of them have value as the character and for parts

  • Lots of little parts and features add to the value

  • A pretty accurate build, even if it's an incomplete room


What I didn't like



  • Printing was off a bit on Bernadette, and Penny was the most generic of the minifigs

  • The set only looks good if you're looking at it from the front

  • There's a bit of tedium in the build, especially with all of the bookshelves. I would have loved to see some comic books or similar things put into the mix there


Verdict: 4 out of 5. You can buy 21302 The Big Bang Theory right now on LEGO [email protected]!


21302_box2_in_web


 



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Re: Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby ToyBoxGeek » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:27 pm

The whiteboard reads Higgs Boson Particle

Hydrogen Atom + (pigs - peas) = Higgs
Bow + Zone (General Zod trapped in the Phantom Zone) = BoZone
Pear + Tickle = Pear-Tickle


As for the dog, that is Cinnamon. She is Raj's dog and pretty much his only steady relationship.
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Re: Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby banthafodder » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:01 pm

PurpleDave answered this in a different thread. Taken directly from the show.

Um... three little kittens?
Three little pigs?
God, I don't know.

Star Wars?
Did we win? Can we go to bed?
Good Lord, I could not have made this easier.

Hydrogen atom, H,
plus pigs minus pea-- Higgs.

Bow, General Zod trapped in the Phantom Zone.
Built this set about a week ago. It is tedious in parts as you say but overall well worth it. On display in my office.

Bow-zone.

Pear. Tickle.

Pear-tickle.

Higgs Boson Particle.

How could you not get that?
He's right, Penny. It's all there.
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Re: Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby PurpleDave » Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:25 am

In the sake of full disclosure, let me be up front about one basic fact: I do not like The Big Bang Theory. I've watched it... in fact, I used to watch it all the time, but it's a show that gets cheap laughs by making fun of nerd culture in a terribly way. Nerd culture is easy to make fun of, and there are a lot of funny things about it... but this show relies instead on absurdity and stereotypes to get the laughs. Basically, it's a show that needs to "punch down" to get laughs, and those types of shows only survive as long as it's acceptable to make fun of those groups (shows that do things like this to a religious view, a minority, or an orientation get criticized into oblivion quickly).

Do you want some cheese with that whine? I lived in that dorm in college. We had a guy who could actually multitask in his brain (as in composing a paper, solving a math problem, and conversing with someone all at once). We had a guy who for several years was reviewing every new collectible card game to hit the market (and became so well known for doing so, that CCG developers started sending him free cases of their cards just to get their game reviewed). We had a guy who created a site called Slashdot, and his future wife (who was constantly derided by the other art majors because she liked to paint goldfish instead of doing something to represent some angsty mumbo-jumbo or another). We had a guy who seriously tried to buy the rights to the Call of Cthulhu RPG because he thought it needed to be improved. We had a guy who got a PhD in computer graphics and went on to get a job at Dreamworks (in college, he used to make 3D renders that took about 24 hours to spit out a single finished image). We had a guy who thought it would be a good idea to walk out of the campus library with one of the computers before immediately walking back in and setting it down in front of the nearest employee just to prove a point about how pathetic their theft-deterence was (and I once caught him drilling a hole in the pole of my floor lamp because he thought it would be a great idea to mount an outlet box there). We started a haunted house my first year there because we desperately wanted a new TV (the blue was shot, so you could choose between sunburnt or seasick, and it had an autodimming feature that pretty much meant you had to turn the lights off and tape a flashlight to the sensor to get any decent brightness out of it). And the instant the college found out, they just gave is a new TV, so we decided to buy some vending machines for the basement. And they hired a company to hook us up with those for free as well. So we bought a ping-pong table that we never really used instead. And then started planning what to do for the haunted house the next year. We played RPGs, made weekly trips to the comic book store, bought LEGO sets and other toys, made boffer swords and staves, played Assassin, and joked about how our elevator was so slow because it was the literal center of the universe and actually had to shift all of reality in relation to itself in order to move you to a different floor. We got accosted by campus security for playing Lazer Tag, once we figured out that several of us actually had original sets. We had a big viewing party to watch the OT back-to-back-to-back when it finally came out on THX-rated VHS. On Super Bowl Sunday, we watched Star Trek instead. We dressed in costume to go watch Interview With A Vampire and Men In Black. For Interview, they gave us free tickets. For MiB, they kindly asked us to take the Super Soakers and Nerf guns that we'd painted black and silver back out to our cars before they'd let us in to watch the movie. We kidnapped an overstressed friend from the Music Department to take her to a fancy restaurant where we made her enjoy a serving of dessert and relax for a bit. We staged a lightsaber duel to the Imperial March during halftime at a basketball game.

I love this show because it feels like home. And all of the "nerd blackface" whinging just makes me think of this article:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... nd/399356/

As for the set, Bernadette would have been much improved if they had molded the legs in magenta up top instead of white. The pattern could have been adapted to work over the darker color, and then she wouldn't look like she just sat on a freshly painted bench. Leonard should have had the Mutt hair, but the old male hair is new in dark-brown, which means I can swap them and use this hair to make another MiB (just have to figure out what weapon to give him). Howard's sideburns are massively problematic for this minifig because my faces were not printed 180° from each other and one side of one face has double sideburns as a result. The other face just barely avoids having the other sideburn peeking out because there's such a big gap on that side of the head. If the two faces were printed exactly opposite each other, the alt sideburns would always peek out fairly noticeably. The sticker on the pole is indeed a CD rack, which is located in that same spot on the set. It sits empty in the series.
Everything is Batman! Except Adam West.
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Re: Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby dWhisper » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:12 am

PurpleDave wrote:Do you want some cheese with that whine?


So I guess what your real problem is, and why you resort to ad hominem instead of actually addressing what I said, is that you don't like it that myself and others don't like the same things that you do. If you read it as a whine, you are incredibly mistaken... it was stating my problem with the show and describing why I think it is an issue. Because you feel something different about it, and that is an opinion and a feeling, does not in any way change

For the sake of the review I was saying how I felt up front because an opinion of that is most certainly going to cloud how I feel about something based on it. And I liked this set in spite of my feelings for the show... thus the rating I gave it.

If you're reminded of that Atlantic piece (which I've read... had a subscription to them for years, a great magazine), I'd suggest going and reading it again. I wasn't calling to censor it, or trying to hide it, I was saying it could be better and still be funny. That piece misses one very important point about the whole problem out there (and that both sides in that battle miss most of the time)... you don't get to pick how other people react to something. If someone is offended, they are offended, right or wrong. If they get upset, that is their right. You can talk about them and what it is, but you can't tell them they were wrong to feel what they felt. At the same time, being offended isn't a right to stop something from being said either.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby PurpleDave » Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:03 am

dWhisper wrote:So I guess what your real problem is, and why you resort to ad hominem instead of actually addressing what I said, is that you don't like it that myself and others don't like the same things that you do. If you read it as a whine, you are incredibly mistaken... it was stating my problem with the show and describing why I think it is an issue.


but it's a show that gets cheap laughs by making fun of nerd culture in a terribly way.



Nerd culture is easy to make fun of, and there are a lot of funny things about it... but this show relies instead on absurdity and stereotypes to get the laughs.



Basically, it's a show that needs to "punch down" to get laughs, and those types of shows only survive as long as it's acceptable to make fun of those groups (shows that do things like this to a religious view, a minority, or an orientation get criticized into oblivion quickly)


First of all, you're comparing personal lifestyle choices to peoples' deepest, most sacred beliefs and their genetics. Do you get offended at shows like Coach because they take cheap shots at jock culture? How about MASH because it does so with military culture? Geek culture is surging in popularity right now, which puts it under the spotlight for the world to see, and with that must needs come the ability to laugh at oneself (a trait that is sadly and sorely missing in geek culture, perhaps due to the fact that a lot of us were easy pickings for bullies in our younger years). If you don't like the show because you think the jokes fall flat, I don't really care. But if you start decrying it for being offensive to people like _me_, that's a problem. I think it's the best comedy on the air right now. I think a lot of the jokes go over the head of people who aren't geeks (I've tried to explain a few to non-geek friends who also watch the show). I accept that the nerdiest of the nerd jokes go way over my head because I don't have a PhD in physics, but I know they have someone on staff who writes science humor into the whiteboard material so I know for a fact that they're getting in there on a regular basis. But the only thing I find truly offensive about this show is how often I run into someone suggesting that people like me should be offended by this show.
Everything is Batman! Except Adam West.
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Re: Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby dWhisper » Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:31 am

I grew up in the region where Coqch was set... that show was basically a documentary. And MASH wasn't a show that made fun of military culture, it was one that made fun of the government and culture that made Vietnam possible (though they were the Korean War). And it does get critiqued for how it portrays the military at times... but usually it was a show sympathetic to the soldiers and not at all to their commanders.

I also said that there are jokes that do work, ones that are obviously crafted by people who understand nerds in general. But a whole mess of others, from "nerds don't do well with girls" to the all costumes and toys to the imbalance do not. It's a sitcom though, so usually at the mercy of writers. And the guy who created it has built his entire career on stuff that was "what you can get away with" at the time.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: Review: 21302 The Big Bang Theory

Postby jonutah » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:49 am

The Big Bang Theory plays to the stereotype for the easy laugh and to appeal to a wider audience. The nerds/geeks that I run with are nothing like those in the show; at least not nearly as outwardly so. Do they collect toys and play table top games? Yes. Do they have great knowledge of STEM areas and debate the advantages/disadvantages of obscure programming constructs? Yes. But do they talk like robots? No. Do they have trouble with women? Not so much. I think a better show/movie could be made about nerd/geek culture, but it wouldn't appeal to nearly the numbers of folks that find TBBT funny.
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