Category Archives: The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory finally brings nerds into the spotlight, and not in a negative light! A young blonde woman trying to make it in Los Angeles, Penny moves across the hall from incredibly nerdy and socially awkward Leonard Hofstadter and emotionless and clueless Sheldon Cooper. She teaches them and their two best friends, the incredibly Jewish Howard Wolowitz and selectively mute Rajesh Koothrappali what it’s like outside of the laboratory.
Every day between the hours of 2:45 and 3:05, Sheldon seems to disappear. He has nothing scheduled on his calendar and he just vanishes. The Hardy Boys, Howard and Raj, are on the case! When Sheldon tries to keep it a secret, Howard and Raj follow him to a sketchy storage room. After hours, the boys return to the lab to investigate the room. After an argument about whether they are ninjas or cat burglars, Howard picks the lock to the room. When they enter, they find a very basic room with the number 43 scrawled on the chalkboard. The two spend a great deal of time trying to understand the mysterious number, and their best guess (and what my guess was, as well) was that it had to do with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s number 42: the answer to life the universe and everything.
When they can’t come up with a reasonable explanation, Howard hooks up a camera (the spare for the Mars rover) to spy on him. They are aghast when they see Sheldon’s experiment. He was creating wormholes (which look exactly like the portals from Valve’s Portal games) and trying to find intelligent life in other universes. The number 43 indicated which test number he was on. Just as a monster leaps at Sheldon’s face and tries to eat him alive, Sheldon appears behind Howard and Raj and scares them nearly to death. He saw the camera and wanted to get revenge for their attempts to breach his privacy. He says that he spends some time there trying to unwind, he doesn’t understand what most people do (like sarcasm) and he needs some time to himself. But he won’t tell them exactly what he does because they don’t need or deserve to know. It turns out that Sheldon spends twenty minutes every day practicing with a hacky sack, and his record is 43 kicks.
Leonard is worried about his relationship with Penny once again when he finds out that she is working with a British guy from her class on an oral report. He is sure that he will hit on her and try to steal her, but what he doesn’t realize is that Penny doesn’t want to be stolen from him. When Leonard tries to go to Sheldon about his problem, he obviously makes it worse, tells him how statistically probably it is that Penny will find a better guy than him and dump him. And if that isn’t bad enough, he suggests that Cole might be a hypnotist and is making her sleep with him, and she would have no recollection. Next, Leonard gets some comfort from Sheldon’s assistant Alex. She promises him that no girl would leave a guy like him, and that he’s actually much more loveable than he thinks he is. She believes that more women flirt with him than he could possibly know. Alex, quite infatuated with him, is rejected by his laughter. Poor, clueless Leonard.
When Leonard hears Cole leaving Penny’s apartment, he follows him down to have a little chat. He suggests that he keep away from the cute blonde on the fourth floor because her boyfriend is a real scary guy. When Cole knows that Penny’s boyfriend is a scientist, Leonard insists that The Scientists is the name of his gang. He will try just about anything to try to protect his place with Penny. But Penny followed them down and overheard everything. Penny told Cole all about Leonard, she didn’t even hesitate. Leonard defends his actions by showing his vulnerability, guys will always flirt with Penny, even when he’s around, and it makes him feel terribly uncomfortable. But she doesn’t want to be with any of those other guys. She has Leonard and she’s really happy with him. And for the first time ever, she tells him that she loves him. She didn’t even realize that she said it, it just slipped out. Both of them are near tears, so Penny runs off to work. Penny didn’t realize her true feelings for Leonard until she thought that she might lose him. His insecurities were what made her weary of actually being in love with him, but they’re what brought out her love, as well.
I might be a bit biased due to my love of Wil Wheaton, but I truly loved this episode of The Big Bang Theory. It had a nice mix of Sheldon and Howard’s growth, humor, and flags.
Though Howard promised to move in with Bernadette when he returned from his mission in space, he still spends half of his time at his mom’s place and most of his stuff is still there. When he tries to delay the move again, Penny insists that it will never happen, he’s too attached. Howard appears to toughen up when he stands up for himself to Penny, telling her that he is a grown man, has a successful job, and is married. He will move out when he thinks that he needs to and no sooner. But as soon as she’s out of earshot, Howard begs for Bernadette’s forgiveness, it was just a show for Penny. The next day, Howard reminisces about the nice (and not-so-nice) time he had in his old room as he, Leonard, and Raj pack up his things and move him into Bernadette’s apartment. When he is finally moved into Bernadette’s place, he explains why he had such a tough time moving out. He was always there for his mom, she was really lonely and sad and he was the only one who could cheer her up. After his story of taking up magic to brighten his mom’s life, Bernadette breaks. She tells Howard that he has to go back, he can’t leave her when she’s so vulnerable. But is she really that vulnerable anymore? We know she has/had a boyfriend in Howard’s dentist a few weeks ago!
Sheldon decides to have a special guest star on his newest episode of Fun with Flags. And since he is trying to understand Star Trek’s many flags, he invites Wil Wheaton, the actor who played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. And since this is the first time Amy is directing a show, she wants it to be perfect. Though Sheldon is the one being completely wooden, she takes it out on Wil. Wil would love to help his friend Sheldon out, but not if Amy was going to be such “a pain in the ass.” Sheldon completely misreads Amy’s cues, and takes her threat to leave as an invitation for him to hang out with Wil. Leonard is (surprisingly) baffled that Sheldon didn’t take Amy’s side in the argument and forces her to apologize. But when he gives her a call, he insists that he shouldn’t be in trouble because he didn’t do anything. To try to make up for his mistake, Sheldon brings Amy the entire boxed set of ST:TNG: if she understands how amazing Wil Wheaton is, maybe she will understand her fault. When she refuses to take the oh-so-generous gift, Sheldon begins to recite the entire series, starting with episode one. She grabs the boxed set and slams the door in his face.
Sheldon reaches a new low in his relationship, he has to resort to asking Penny for relationship advice. She tricks him into drinking a Long Island Ice Tea, and then a few more, while he has no idea that it’s alcoholic. Sheldon finally realizes that Amy is a great girl and tells Penny that, though he knows she would never leave him, because he’s just so great. Sheldon goes to see Wil to defend Amy’s honor, he expects to duel over her. Wil apologizes, something that Sheldon definitely wasn’t expecting. And before he throws up in one of Wil’s shrubs in his front yard, he realizes that he only knocked twice on Wil’s door and makes up for it a few minutes late. He wasso drunk that he messed up knocking, something that happens incredibly rarely.
To replace Wil (But let’s face it, he’s irreplaceable), he nabs LeVar Burton as his new guest celebrity for Fun with Flags. Amy is quick to judge him, too, and considers him even worse than Wil. But LeVar understands and accepts her rudeness when Sheldon explains that she is his girlfriend and he just has to agree with her. That’s good enough for him, and he continues to participate in the show.
Sheldon hits the highest point in his life when Stephen Hawking becomes his friend. Well, he agrees to his request to playing Words with Friends, and that clearly means that they are friends. When Amy tries to help him by giving him the word ‘extract,’ Sheldon faces a moral dilemma: should he use her word and cheat or should he lose a massive amount of points? He decides to use the word ‘extract’ and it isn’t cheating. One definition is a noun (such as vanilla extract) and one is a verb, to extract information from something or someone. Only Sheldon would consider this a real solution. When Hawking doesn’t play back after a few days, Howard informs Sheldon that Hawking is a huge baby, and he probably doesn’t want to get creamed. Sheldon, now afraid that he will lose the perfect friend, a genius who sounds like a robot, decides to throw the game. After he wins, Professor Hawking calls Sheldon and makes fun of him for losing, and uses one of Sheldon’s favorite phrases, “neener neener.” I wonder if it was worth corrupting his moral compass by throwing the game for that.
Penny started taking a history course at the Pasadena Community College for fun and a boost in her intellect. But she is scared to tell Leonard because she knows he will make a huge deal out of it, and she is right. Leonard insists on helping her with her essay, even though she wants to pass the class by herself. While Penny is sleeping, Leonard sneaks a peek at her essay and discovers his worst fear: it’s terrible. Leonard is distraught, he wants to help her write a better essay, but he can’t tell her that he read it. When Sheldon tries to discuss his problem, Leonard resorts to using a chess clock to give them a fair share of the time to discuss their problems. Sheldon, deeming his own problem superior, ignores this.
Penny wakes up to breakfast in bed and a story about elves who helped a shoemaker during the night in secret. When she finds out that he is the little elf in the story, she is pissed. This course was something that she really wanted to do by herself and Leonard wouldn’t allow it. She assumes Leonard invaded her space because he couldn’t bear being in a relationship with “just a waitress,” which we all know is untrue. Just like in his four years of college and five years of graduate school, he isn’t going to be sleeping with a college girl. Amy and Bernadette helped her modify her essay and Penny shows off her B- to Leonard in the snottiest way she possibly can. But Penny’s ego drops again when she realizes that her friends got her a B- because they knew anything higher would have looked shady.
This episode showed how both Leonard and Sheldon could be corrupted if they thought it would end in their favor. Sheldon wanted to show Stephen Hawking that he was a genius, so he cheated during the game. But when he realized he might lose him as a friend, he tossed his ideals out and threw the game. This definitely didn’t work out for him. He did have another chance to talk to him, but Hawking was definitely not acting as a friend. Leonard’s curiosity got the best of him when he read Penny’s paper, but his niceness was what really got him in trouble. He couldn’t bear to see Penny get a bad grade, so he knew he had to help. His idea of helping was definitely not what Penny was expecting and just got him into more trouble.
Everybody knows that Howard went to space, but he can’t stop reminding them of this fact. Howard bring Stuart a gift, a signed picture of him in his space suit. He can relate literally any topic to the fact that he went to space, and won’t hesitate to do so. This constant reminder started to drive all of his friends crazy, it’s hard to have a conversation with him if it’s always about space. Though it seems that he does this to make everybody else feel inferior, he does it because he thinks that he is inferior. Going to space is the only amazing thing he ever did and will probably ever do, and he doesn’t want people to forget it. Bernadette comforts him and quells his angst by telling him that she married him “on purpose”, she loves the plain old Howard Wolowitz. And this point is driven in by a video that Raj sent about Buzz Aldrin handing out space-related candy (Mars Bars, Milky Ways, Moon Pies) on Halloween and explaining their significance to the children. And since it’s Halloween, they dressed up as Smurfs, which is incredibly creepy. But I have to say, Bernadette has a much better way with words than Tobias Funkë from Arrested Development does when she says, “I just spent three hours coloring myself blue” instead of “I blue myself.”
Raj is trying to help Stuart pick up chicks by throwing on amazing Halloween party, or as he calls it, a “Koothra-party.” He shows up to the party as Indian Jones, Indiana Jones’ dark-skinned love child, which is actually quite clever! Raj is incredibly proud of the menu he is designed, it is comprised of normal foods with Halloween sounding names such as Draculoni and Cheese. And when Stuart takes credit for the amazing party, Raj gets surprisingly upset. He thinks that he deserves the credit for the party, even though he promised Stuart to let him take the credit.
Sheldon agree surprisingly quickly to Amy’s request to wear a couple’s costume, but it’s not exactly what she had hoped for. He requests going as C-3PO and R2D2, but agrees to make a concession and pick something she would agree to. After hours of trying to decide on a costume, they decide to go as something that typically isn’t considered a “couple’s costume.” Amy is dressed as Raggedy Ann and Sheldon is Raggedy C-3PO. The fans have constantly said that Sheldon looks and acts like C-3PO, and I think it was quite a nice gesture from the writers to include this.
After some whining about attending the comic book shop’s Halloween party, Penny realizes that she hasn’t been an ideal girlfriend. She stops by Leonard’s work to try and understand what he actually does for living. She is completely lost, until Leonard shows her something a bit more her speed, a holographic device. He shows her a holographic image of the world and zooms out to show her the entire galaxy, making an observation that maybe they’re just images on a painting, not even real. All of a sudden, Penny is turned on by Leonard’s intellect, something that hasn’t really happened before. And for the first time in his life, Leonard gets to fool around in his lab. When they get to the party, Penny is dressed as a cop and Leonard is Albert Einstein (sans accent upon Penny’s request). And they quickly head to a back room to spend the evening together again. It looks like the doubt Penny had about the relationship might have finally disappeared.
Sheldon, Leonard, Amy, and Penny decide to partake in a fun double-date game night, but it doesn’t end happily. They play Pictionary in teams of boys vs. girls. Sheldon overthinks every single drawing, he can’t get a chocolate chip cookie that Leonard drew and draws the most complicated images for the simplest of ideas. Penny catches onto this quickly and enjoys the ride, she I’m surprised that she didn’t record it for YouTube. Sheldon insists that he could win in any other game, but is quickly proved wrong. The competitions get incredibly heated, Amy and Penny want to prove that they are better at everything and Leonard and Sheldon are just trying to prove that they are better at one thing.
When Howard returns from outer space, Sheldon thinks there is no reason to keep his replacement, Stuart. But a 30% discount at the comic book store was enough to convince him of Stuart’s usefulness. As Howard’s space capsule is rocketing back down to earth, he says that prayer for bread in Hebrew, well, there isn’t one for returning to Earth. Bernadette tells another man waiting at the airport that she’s waiting from her husband to return to outer space, but the flight is from Houston. She looks crazy, but Howard looks even more ridiculous when everybody is cheering for Howie as he enters the terminal. Right beside him is Howie Mendel, and it takes him a moment to realize his mistake.
When they get back to their place they plan to celebrate their honeymoon, but Bernadette is too sick. Howard then heads home to see his mother, hoping that she will give him a warmer welcome. But even Mrs. Wolowitz isn’t ready to see her son, she was with Howard’s dentist, Dr. Schneider. Even more dejected, Howard heads to see his best friend Raj. But Stuart joins them from a back room, and Howard looks devastated, everyone has replaced him. He sighs and mumbles to himself, “At least my mother made her boyfriend climb out the window.”
Howard enters Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment just as the four are competing in a pie-eating contest. The four of them simultaneously scream “Not now!” These are the first words that they say to Howard after not seeing him for months. Since none of his friends and family want him, Howard spends the evening at a diner by himself. The waitress recognizes him as one of the astronauts and offers him a free slice of cheesecake. The cheesecake is the only source of comfort he has, that and singing Rocket Man to himself. But this isn’t enough, he is practically in tears.
Howard’s long-time dream of traveling to space is starting to seem much less appealing now that he’s been there for a long time. He was right to be scared before he took off, because his usual level of anxiety is exponentially worse. He needs to beg Bernadette to drop a pencil because he misses the way gravity works that much. And when he finds out that his return home is delayed by at least a week, he really hits his breaking point. He’s sure that he’ll die up there and that it was a huge conspiracy. When dropping pencils can’t keep him sane anymore, he begs Bernadette to create her own rocket ship to come save him. He refuses to tell the other astronauts or NASA about his anxiety problems, but it’s not hard for them to figure it out. While he’s on a call with Bernadette, they pin him down and give him a shot to calm him down. Maybe a little too much, because he takes off his pants and starts spinning in circles and floating in his underwear. Howard’s story line was hilarious the first two episodes, but it seems to have gone down in quality. Hopefully he’ll return home soon where he has a much wider variety of antics to pull off. And hopefully he’ll return with the same look–the hat and beard suit him.
When Sheldon was five years old he created experiments that most adults wouldn’t even be able to comprehend. He had to dumb down his tests because the religious Texans began to call him a witch. That still isn’t out of the question… Because the Higgs Boson was finally accredited, 50 years after its discovery, Sheldon is sure that his best work was already done. When Leonard won’t help him read through his old material to find his Nobel Prize winning idea and Penny is too clueless to do so, he decides to hire someone else. After doing an extensive background check–including medical records–he still tests his candidates by offering them marijuana. Alex Jenson refuses the offer and clearly has the credentials needed to work for Sheldon. But what pushes her over the edge is her kind words. Sheldon tells her that “flattery won’t get you the job.” When she insists that “it’s not flattery if it’s true,” he agrees and hires her on the spot.
When Amy finds out that Alex is a woman, she becomes incredibly jealous (I mean, who wouldn’t want to date Sheldon? He’s perfect!). She heads down to his office to mark her territory by licking his items and trying to make them work. I don’t know about you, but I would like to think that this doesn’t actually work with humans. But if you want “proof” that this works, right before Amy and Penny became best friends (or so Amy thinks), Amy did this to her apartment. Amy is quickly calmed when she sees that Alex isn’t interested in Sheldon, rather, she is flirting with Leonard. Penny’s face turns red, but pretends that it doesn’t bother her. Amy manages to get her to open up and admit that she is jealous and that Leonard is actually quite desirable. I guess it’s a good thing that she didn’t break up with him again, she would have regretted it.
Even if Alex went into the job having a deep respect for Sheldon that could have grown into something more, after working with him for an hour, I’m sure that would have changed. He doesn’t let her talk to others (including his friends) and she can have no breaks. It took some convincing from Leonard to allow her to sit with them while they ate lunch. And this probably isn’t the job that she thought she was signing up for. She wasn’t just hired to help him look through his old research, but she also has to do ridiculously stupidest tasks for him, like getting his ice cream perfect. I don’t think she’ll survive his company much longer, even if she has Leonard to flirt with.
When the question of marriage is brought up, Amy jumps to share her intentions with Sheldon: their wedding will be in exactly four years. Her loins are on fire every time that she is near Sheldon–but why? When Penny’s attempts to evade the question fail, she is forced to admit that she loves Leonard (though she’s never admitted that to him). However this love isn’t what she’s felt before, it’s much more boring. She is clearly unused to being with a nerdy, non-adventurous, loving guy.
When Sheldon is forced to hold hands with Amy at the movies, he complains that Leonard and Penny aren’t doing the same. Amy is very quick to spill that Penny is thinking about dumping Leonard. When Leonard does Sheldon a favor, he remembers what a nice guy his best friend actually is. Sheldon starts to tell Leonard about the secret, but stops, he wouldn’t want to upset Amy. So he tries to be subtle by using a Transformers analogy. What Leonard got out of this idea was ridiculous, he thought that Sheldon was the emotionless robot and Amy was finally turning him into a man. Come on now, Leonard. That will never happen! Don’t be ridiculous!
Sheldon returns to Leonard’s room in the middle of the night to confess it once again, but decides against it. Instead he goes to the root of the problem: Penny. When she wakes up and starts screaming, he complains that she frightened him. Oh Shelly. At first he tries to prove how great of a guy Leonard is, then tells her flat out that he knows about her plans. Before he leaves he asks her genuinely, “Penny, please don’t hurt my friend.” And because she does love Leonard responds, “That’s the last thing I want to do.” The first thing she does when Sheldon leaves is call Amy to complain about her blabbing. Sheldon tries to reach her first to warn her, but was just a minute too late. At least he tried!
When Penny tried to break up with Leonard, she saw his puppy dog eyes and couldn’t do it. So instead she slept with him. And in the best line of the episode, Amy cleverly responds: “If that’s all it takes, it’s a good thing you don’t have a dog!” And immediately after, Leonard sends Penny a cute text and makes her feel even worse. If he’s such a sweetheart, why is she so insistent on breaking up with him? She just has to help him man up and become more courageous.
Howard is being bullied by the other astronauts, it’s like high school all over again. There’s really nothing he can do about it, he even tried to have his mom complain to NASA (it only made things worse). He says that there’s a video of him on YouTube called “Astronaut Screams for 9 Minutes” after being scared to death by a supposed martian. However, they didn’t actually bother to film it and put it up online. It would have been so easy to do and an incredibly amusing extra piece of footage.
Since Howard is in space, Raj is incredibly lonely, so he finds a friend in Stuart. When Sheldon complains about the introduction of a new member of the group, Stuart becomes Howard’s replacement. He went to art school, which is just as ridiculous as Howard going to MIT, so he thinks it will be a good fit. Sheldon forces him to do everything just like Howard, including eating Raisinets at the theater. When they are playing a card game, he complains that Howard would never play the card that Stuart did. And since he’s so desperate for affection, he plays a different card, allowing Sheldon to win.
Sheldon suggests that Leonard go out with the boys to try to pick up chicks, he might want to find a replacement for Penny. Sheldon is really doing everything that he can to protect Leonard from the breakup without breaking his promise of secrecy to Amy. This is oddly human of him. Leonard, sadly, has no idea that he is even in a rough patch, so he rejects the idea. They can’t just replace a close friend with another random person. Oops, that’s exactly what happened with Stuart. Though he looks incredibly worried that he’ll be kicked out of the group just moments after he joined, I think his place is secured.
Even when Howard is hundreds of miles away from Earth, his mother can still reach him. She seems to call him every single day (That must cost a fortune!) over the dumbest things. She tells him how terrible a son he is, with everyone from NASA listening in. How much worse could it get for him up there? They already call him Froot Loops! He sighs as he says, “Well, space is ruined.” And when he definitely thought it couldn’t get worse, he gets a call from his new wife (Aww!) Bernadette, who complains that he didn’t tell his mother that he’s moving out when he gets back to Earth. When making a pen float in the air doesn’t work, he has to tackle the topic head-on, he says that he’ll talk to his mom. And when he does, he gets into even more trouble. He tell his mom that he won’t move out and he tells Bernadette that he will. One of other astronauts flies up to him and points this out, so Howard responds that to deal with this problem, he’ll just never return to Earth! Well, if he’s lucky, he’ll catch a computer virus and never have to return home. If he does return home, he should keep the stubble and the hat, it suits him.
Sheldon, as dictated by the Relationship Agreement, is going to take Amy out for a romantic dinner for their anniversary. Sheldon obviously doesn’t want to go on this date, so he finds a loophole in the agreement. He outsources to an Indian, Raj. Amy is not pleased when she sees the third wheel on their date. When he finds out that this is an anniversary dinner, it looks as though Raj will leave the two to be, but nope. Instead he gets them champagne! Surprisingly enough, Raj doesn’t seem like a terrible date. If you get the right amount of alcohol into him, he might not make the worst boyfriend. Better than Sheldon, that’s for sure! After kicking Raj out of the restaurant, Amy gets up to leave. Sheldon yells, “You can’t leave, I need you!” When Amy grows excited, he adds “You’re my ride!” Well, that’s a slap in the face. She tells him that she’s done with him for good, unless he says something meaningful and heartfelt. He quotes Spider-Man, and when he tells her this, she decides it’s enough. Oh, poor, poor Amy.
To make up for proposing in bed, Leonard decides to have a day devoted completely to Penny. He has her favorite foods and puts on sports. But he can’t contain himself and within a few minutes he already asks her where they are in their relationship. The longer they wait to discuss their situation, the more awkward it will get. And when Raj shows up, Penny is thrilled to have him third-wheel. Raj gets to the point where he becomes a nasty drunk and begins to psychoanalyze Penny and Leonard’s relationship. He tells them to stop complaining, because after everything they’ve been through, they can still say “I love you” at the end of the night. Woops, he hit a sore spot: Penny has never said that she did. Penny refuses to say it, and Raj gets kicked out of a second date.
The only place he has left to turn is to the comic book shop. Stuart is sitting there by himself drinking a “Sad-tini,” and feeling sorry for himself. Finally! Raj found someone who is just as lonely and desperate as him. They bond over Latin jazz music, but when it gets awkward, Raj shows himself out. But before he does, he asks Stuart if he wants to hang out the following day. And finally, Raj is not going to be so alone. His life has been sad enough, but now with Howard gone, it seems so meaningless. And don’t even get me started on Stuart’s loneliness. They are going to be the best of friends! And, we might get to see more of Stuart, which is awesome.
The way the episode contrasted Amy and Sheldon’s and Leonard and Penny’s relationships was very well done. In each relationship there appears to only be one person involved that actually wants to be. Or at the very least is willing to show it. Leonard and Amy are stuck in what appear to be dead-end relationships, but neither are willing to admit it due to their love for the other. I think it was perfect to have Penny call Leonard a girl over his lack of alcohol tolerance, while he was acting like the stereotypical girl in the relationship. And the icing on the cake was having Amy bleach her mustache and Leonard shave his stomach for no reason. Both were looking for the same thing and neither got it.
And I still can’t get over the quality of the one-liners in this show. I wonder how long Leonard has been waiting to say, “I believe God made the world in six days and made you on the seventh to annoy me,” to Sheldon. And I can’t get over Raj comparing Howard to a Greek God, calling him “Zeusowitz.” I don’t know how he will survive losing his best friend for so long. Hopefully Stuart will at least begin to fill that gap!