LOS ANGELES — In 2006, TV critics swooned over “30 Rock,” part of a new breed of comedy that dared to fly without a laugh track and whose ranks included “Arrested Development,” “The Office” and “Everybody Hates Chris.”
Then a misfit nerd crashed the party. “The Big Bang Theory” was crafted in the style of 1950s groundbreaker “I Love Lucy,” with the requisite studio-audience tapings and recorded guffaws intact. Even some of those making the CBS comedy that debuted in 2007 questioned its chances, said Jim Parsons, who stars as Sheldon Cooper, one of the show’s brilliant and socially inept scientists.
“‘We’re making the last great buggy wagon in the age of the Model T, but the Model T is here. So how long does this go?'” was how one writer framed the contrast between old-school and 21st-century TV comedies, Parsons recalled in a recent interview.