The Big Bang Theory (CBS, USA), “A Time-Share Time Machine”

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The Video

The Big Bang Theory is an internationally popular American sitcom based around five nerds sharing a flat. In this clip, Leonard gets exited about a sci-fi film prop he sees on an online auction site and places a bid without really considering the full implications of his actions. When he is the successful winning bidder and the item is shipped to the boys’ apartment, they get a big shock, with “big” being the operative word!

A fun and inoffensive comedy series, The Big Bang Theory is perfect for most teenage and adult classrooms.

Level and Language Focus

Any learner with a level lower than strong upper intermediate will certainly struggle with the video. Pre advanced and advanced learners will definitely get something out of the video too.

The worksheet below introduces the grammar of should have and third conditional; both connected to the regret the boys feel when the time machine eventually turns up.

Worksheet

thumb A free worksheet is available here: The Big Bang Theory turnitonenglish (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

Watch the video over at YouTube.

 

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Miranda (BBC) – Teacher (Series 1, Episode 2)

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The Series

Miranda is a British sitcom by BBC which centres around the life of the title character, a 30-something unlucky in life and in love. Its main themes are relationships, friendships and embarrassing social situations. The age-rating for the series is 15 and although fairly inoffensive, it is suitable for more mature audiences due to it preoccupation with sex and frequent use of sexual innuendo. In my experience the series works well in the ESL classroom as it draws heavily on slapstick comedy rather than complicated word-play.

The Episode

In this episode Miranda and her sidekick decide to attend a French class in order to improve their romantic prospects. The French teacher ends up being one of Miranda’s old school teachers so she joins a salsa dancing class instead. Miranda’s friend then starts a relationship with the teacher and Miranda must confront head-on her hang ups about sex and her former teacher.

Students respond well to the episode as it centres around the idea of attending a language class. The episode also features many different national stereotypes which can be developed into a class discussion which works especially well in a mixed nationality class.

Level and Language Focus

I would recommend this episode, depending on its presentation, for  high-intermediate to advanced classes.

The themes in the episode lead quite nicely into a discussion about national stereotypes.

Passive constructions (It is said that…, X are said to be…) can be used very effectively to discuss stereotypes. These type of constructions are usually introduced at level B2 (Upper Intermediate) although a good intermediate class should have no problems with their construction.

Worksheet

You can download a free worksheet related to this episode featuring vocabulary and grammar activities here.

Miranda Worksheet (Right click, Save As…)

Availability

You can find the episode most easily on Netflix (UK). It is also usually available on sites such as Vimeo, Daily Motion and YouTube.

If you have access to Netflix, you may also find this episode is available through the service in certain countries.