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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 14 - The Nerdvana Annihilation

29 March 2012

Synopsis: Leonard accidentally buys a full size prop of the time machine from the movie The Time Machine. As the guys attempt to bring it up to their apartment they block the stairs and Penny ends up missing work. She scolds Leonard for having all these toys and so he tries to get rid of them all. But Sheldon points out Penny’s hypocrisy and she apologises.

The Good: Well congratulations to the show, who after all my criticism present a strong character based story which makes full use of the three main characters. Rather similar to a story in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Leonard decides to sell off all his collectables because he wants to become the kind of man who could be with Penny. Sheldon comes to the defence of their nerdy existence by pointing out that Penny has her own toys (teddy bears etc). She admits that Leonard is a great guy and that the things he loves help make him who he is.

It’s such a good story because it shows us Leonard’s conflicting desires. Although Sheldon is a unique creation, it is really Leonard who is the main character. He represents the average person in life, struggling to reach the seemingly unattainable goal. The moral of the story is a really nice one, which is that it is not his nerdy hobbies that define Leonard, but what a good person he is. The plot also makes Penny and Sheldon look good too which is valuable. For once Sheldon actually comes to Leonard’s defence and even listens to his problems when he needs a friend. While Penny looks like a good person for admitting she was wrong and being kind to Leonard.

Once more the show finds a very clever way of using a science fiction reference to build the plot around. The time machine is a great source of visual jokes (see Comic Highlight) and the guys have a really amusing discussion where they almost presuppose that the machine really works.

Leonard’s dream sequence of taking Penny down the elevator shaft is both fun and good characterisation. Sheldon’s Morlock fantasy is much weaker but serves to let us know why the time machine will be gone by next episode. Penny has a good line when she says “it looks like something Elton John would drive through the Everglades”, which it kind of does.

The Bad: There just aren’t enough good jokes to make this really funny.

Comic Highlight: Leonard sets the time machine dial for 2328 and pushes the lever forward. The other three guys spontaneously start moving very fast around the apartment and performing actions similarly quickly. Leonard then pulls back on the lever and they go back to normal. “That was fun” he says and they all laugh. A very clever and unexpected joke.

In Conclusion: An excellent story which showcases the three main characters and their dichotomy perfectly. It also advances the overall story of Leonard trying to become the right man for Penny. With the time machine providing some laughs this is an excellent episode overall.



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