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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 13 - The Bozeman Reaction

27 March 2012


Synopsis: Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment is broken into and all their valuable electronics get stolen. Sheldon feels increasingly insecure and vulnerable. He gets a new security system installed but when he falls victim to it he decides to move to Bozeman, Montana.

The Good: A strong idea for a plot. Robbery is entirely plausible, it has important consequences for the lives of Sheldon and Leonard and it leaves many comedic avenues open.

Sheldon’s new sense of vulnerability is explored pretty well. Unlike a “normal” person, he can’t accept the random nature of crime and injustice in life. His logical mind forces him to seek out a definite and full proof system to restore his sense of security. It’s all logically written and once more I do marvel at how well Sheldon is written, following a one track mind toward theoretically logical goals but ignoring all the societal logic which he doesn’t appreciate.

As you would expect the episode is packed full of fun lines for Sheldon (see Comic Highlight). His reaction to a changed menu in the opening scene betrays his fear of change in a fun way which sets up his later reaction to being burgled. He reels off a list of stolen games and game consoles in impressive and amusing fashion to a bemused police officer. He blockades his door to feel safe before telling himself out loud “I do not have to urinate.”

The backfiring security system is what you would expect to happen to demonstrate that no system can cure a sense of insecurity. Sheldon’s decision to leave Pasadena makes sense for his logical mind and leads to several fun moments. He crosses out the whole state of Nebraska because of Penny and amusingly thinks a festival about the founder of a North Carolina town “would attract the wrong crowd.” Even Leonard gets a good line in when he explains to Penny that Sheldon will be tele-commuting to work every day: “Everybody’s really excited about it.” Even the revelation that Howard is only an acquaintance compared to Sheldon’s other three friends is understandable (considering he works with Raj and lives with Penny and Leonard).

Once in Montana Sheldon is immediately robbed and returns home. It was a simple way to conclude the story, not the best but it made the point that Sheldon would have to come to terms with not feeling entirely secure.

The Bad: Of course the show could have gone in a less jokey direction and really drawn out the vulnerability that Sheldon felt. Instead of moving to Montana one of his friends could have helped convince him of the need to adapt to his vulnerability. But I’m not sure there was too much wrong with the approach they took. It was entertaining throughout and not a bad story at all.

The only bad part was the continuation of Leonard’s irritation at Sheldon. One of the cheapest sit com ploys to get a laugh is to have one character talk about how irritating another character is. Occasionally it can be fun when built up correctly, but Leonard moans about Sheldon every week and the result is Leonard looks irritable and unlikeable. If he isn’t used to Sheldon by now when will he ever be? It’s also a demonstration of something which has been lost from Leonard’s character. In season one you got the sense that he and Sheldon were friends and that Leonard had aspirations to break free from relentless geekdom and broaden his friendship circles. Now he acts like Sheldon is beneath him and brings him down with his behaviour. Again it’s an unattractive quality and the jokes which result don’t seem real. Real people don’t ask police officers to shoot their friends just for being pedantic.

Comic Highlight: Again the writing is so good at keeping up with pop culture trends and finding ways to make good jokes out of them. Here a classic piece of Sheldon’s anti-mainstream thinking upon playing with his new laptop. “My new computer came with Windows Seven...Windows Seven is much more user friendly than Windows Vista...I don’t like that.”

In Conclusion: A good story with good jokes. It tapped into an interesting emotion in Sheldon which was fun to explore. It could of course have gone even further with that.



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