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The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is a comedy about two physicists Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper who live and work together in Pasadena, California. They live a comfortable geeky existence until attractive wannabe actress Penny moves in across the hall. CBS 2007-???


Episode 7 - The Panty Pinata Polarization

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Penny touches Sheldon’s onion rings and is soon banished from his apartment. They both refuse to apologise and begin to escalate their petty behaviour. Leonard eventually steps in to bring peace. Meanwhile Howard and Raj learn about America’s Next Top Model and work out where their house is located.

The Good: Howard’s quest to find the model’s house is a funny idea. By being so involved in his geeky world, it is plausible he wouldn’t have heard of the show and his stalker-like behaviour using his technical knowledge makes sense. The story also provides some nice humour along the way (see Comic Highlight) and the final scene where they arrive at the house is a nice if brief payoff. It’s probably all they could plausibly get away with.

The use of Klingon boggle is yet another inventive way to show the geekish world the guys inhabit and make some easy jokes from it. Penny refusing to move from Sheldon’s seat and saying “I’m taking a stand. Metaphorically” was neat.

The Bad: No, no, no. I’m taking a stand. We have now had six out of the seven episodes this season all focussed on Sheldon. It is too much, the producers are stretching my patience with this relentless focus.

This week we get Sheldon’s own grading system of personal injustices. We know he is anal and Penny shouldn’t be so surprised by his behaviour. He is unreasonable and we have no reason to sympathise with him but she gives us little reason to rally behind her. Penny remains relatively undefined, particularly this season and so her battle lacks any bite. She doesn’t make any arguments about friendship or comfort to him which might make us see her as on a righteous endeavour.

Instead we are left wondering why she had to leave the apartment at all and why she cares so much. She can’t speak to Raj, constantly dismisses Howard (including here when his behaviour forces her to miss her television show) and clearly doesn’t get on with Sheldon. The writers have strictly avoided addressing her feelings toward Leonard and so we aren’t presented with any compelling reason as to why she fights Sheldon so hard.

The guys look like cowards for not standing up to Sheldon. It’s plausible that they would have given in after years of having to deal with Sheldon, but to not stand up for Penny makes them unsympathetic. The resolution involving Sheldon’s mother is logical but feels far too simple.

Comic Highlight: Howard is getting increasingly excited by each model that graces the television screen:
H: "Oh look, there's the future Mrs Wolowitz. No, wait! That's the future Mrs Wolowitz. With her head in the lap of, what a coincidence; it's the future Mrs Wolowitz."
L: "Yeah, and they could all move in with you and your mother... the current Mrs Wolowitz."

In Conclusion: Episodes like this speak to you as a viewer. They tell you that the premise of the episode was to have Penny and Sheldon argue. It wasn’t about their respective characters or their relationship, the writers just thought it would be funny. That’s fine on occasion but much of this season has felt like that. “What can we make Sheldon do this week?” It’s frustrating because episodes like this have no real purpose and when they aren’t very funny they irritate. I’m tired of so much Sheldon and I don’t think I am the only one.



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