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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 5 - The Hamburger Postulate

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Leslie Winkle seduces Leonard but only wants a one night stand. Leonard is fixated on what Penny thinks of it all.

The Good: The length of the synopsis should tell you about the focus of this episode. It is excellent and the writers and actors do a great job of exploring Leonard’s mental state. At each stage of his situation with Leslie he cares only what Penny will think of him. His hope at each stage that she likes him is endearing and comes across as very authentic. I think most viewers have been in that position themselves, desperately trying to read into what someone you like says to you. They also plant the seeds through Penny’s reactions that she does like Leonard. Her reactions are subtle enough that I think the writers are doing a good job taking their time with their relationship.

Leslie Winkle plays her role really well. She is a quirky and implausible character in some ways but the writers have already introduced us to her (103), so we know what to expect. Her seduction of Leonard is really funny (see Comic Highlight), mainly because his facial reactions are so good. He communicates each step of his confusion, attraction and fear very clearly.

Sheldon also plays his part well and squeezes all the humour he can out of his awkward reaction to Leonard having sex. The writers do a good job of positioning their big one-liners to maximum effect. So Sheldon’s line “you’re wound awfully tight for a man who just had sexual intercourse” is timed nicely for Penny’s presence. Just as Leslie’s “Oh Leonard you magnificent beast” is.

The Bad: The writers are still pushing the geeky humour a little too hard at times. Wolowitz’ human beat box is probably the most egregious example.

Sheldon also seems too harsh at times. His constant claims that he doesn’t care about Leonard’s love life make him seem like a bad friend. But clearly he and Leonard are good friends and the “I still don’t care” comments are inserted by the writers to try and get a laugh from the end of each scene. I would suggest not doing it, it isn’t that funny.

Comic Highlight: Leslie and Leonard are playing in a string quartet and look very serious. She says to him, in a completely dead pan voice “I admire your fingering.” He says “thank you” and doesn’t react. So she follows up with “maybe some time you could try that on my instrument.” He responds with awkward looks of confusion which are really funny. When the others leave she stays behind to practice some more. She tells him that she is sexually available. He thought she wasn’t interested but she says “that was before I saw you handling that magnificent piece of wood between your legs.” He asks “You mean my cello?” and she replies “No I mean the obvious crude double entendre. I’m seducing you.”

In Conclusion: A very enjoyable episode of comedy and character development. It’s always difficult to put a new spin on sex jokes because we have seen a million of them. But Leslie’s dead pan science seduction is funny and Leonard’s character comes out looking sweet. Good job.



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