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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 10 - The Gorilla Experiment

27 March 2012

Synopsis: Bernadette joins the guys for dinner and takes an interest in Leonard’s work. Penny and Howard both feel insecure about this. Penny asks Sheldon to teach her a little physic while Howard confronts Leonard.

The Good: Another typical episode. All the pieces are on the board yet the producers refuse to deploy them correctly. The focus of this episode as ever is Sheldon. The producers just scream “look at him, he’s so funny!” And he is, but that isn’t the point of this story. Penny feels insecure because she can’t talk to Leonard about his work and Howard is insecure about losing his girlfriend. That should be the focus. It’s not that complicated.

Having said that, and I always make this point, Sheldon is funny. As ever he is serviced with good logical jokes. He is not upset that Bernadette is present for dinner; he just doesn’t want to have less food on his plate when he had expected a certain amount. As he points out “the more the merrier” is not an accurate statement. “If there were two thousand people in this apartment right now, would we be celebrating? No, we’d be suffocating.” Then when Raj whispers “Oh snap” after he puts down Leonard’s work he replies “While I appreciate the ‘oh snap’, I’m uncomfortable having your moist breath in my ear.” The writers do a great job of making his ordinary interactions seem hilarious.

Howard’s insecurity is obvious and plays out in childish fashion with the equally childlike Bernadette. It’s understandable that he would show off his girlfriend, now that he has finally got one and that he would feel insecure the second she showed interest in someone else. Leonard played the straight man fine. Just as Penny and Sheldon played their roles fine over in their plot.

The Bad: But once more the issue of Leonard and Penny’s relationship was ignored. Her insecurity and desire to learn some physics is a nice idea. It points to her affection for him but we don’t see it often enough. The story should have concluded with him seeing why she had learnt physics talk and appreciating the sweetness of it. Imagine, the Prom Queen learning science to impress him. It’s a dream come true. But no, ignore that, look how funny Sheldon is!

The entire teaching scene dragged for me. It was yet another attempt to rinse humour from the odd couple dynamic but never went anywhere with it. Yes he is funny, yes she can be funny but when their plots achieve no character development they can feel like a waste of time. In the end she actually learnt some physics talk which put down Leonard’s work. She actually insulted him which was completely counterproductive as it made her look either foolish or mean.

Keep an eye on dialogue which doesn’t suit Sheldon. He comes out with the line “Hell is real” to describe listening to Penny and Bernadette discuss shoes. Not only is it a gross exaggeration but it doesn’t fit his character. Whenever Sheldon talks about things which are normal in society, like shoe shopping, he talks in practical terms about his own needs. He doesn’t just crap on conversation because it doesn’t interest him. He responds selfishly on his one-track mind, he isn’t rude for the sake of it. It did however lead to the best joke of the episode (see Comic Highlight).

Comic Highlight: While Leonard shows Bernadette a simulation on his laptop, Sheldon decides to teach Penny a lesson about that shoes conversation.
S: “Howard.”
H: “Yeah?”
S: “Those shoes are delightful. Where did you get them?”
H: “What?”
S: “Bazinga. I don’t care.” (meaningful look at Penny)

In Conclusion: The right story, the wrong execution.



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  • That's just a shorthand description of her to illustrate the story being told :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 05/02/2012 10:53pm (9 years ago)

  • Nitpick time - when was Penny prom queen?

    Posted by Faheem Mitha, 04/02/2012 8:36am (9 years ago)

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