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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-???

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/100

Episode 2 - The Jiminy Conjecture

27 March 2012

Synopsis: Penny and Leonard turn to alcohol to solve their awkward romantic issues. Meanwhile Howard bets Sheldon that he can identify a cricket which has found its way into their apartment.

The Good: This is an enjoyable simple episode. Penny and Leonard struggle to find their sexual chemistry. They consider giving up on their relationship but they like one another too much to let that happen. The story is not told as well as it could have been but at least the writers had their hearts in the right place.

Entirely in keeping with her character, Penny suggests alcohol as the solution to their awkwardness. Both play drunk pretty well and squeeze in a few fun moments. In the end Sheldon’s cold analysis of the situation helps bring out the passion that they had been failing to express. In a better sit com Sheldon’s analysis would have cut to the heart of the issue, leading Penny to have some personal realisation about what Leonard meant to her. It wasn’t quite that good but the formula makes perfect sense: Sheldon manages to help Penny and Leonard become closer. Their budding romance should provide the arc plot for the season and help give the show a sense of direction.

Meanwhile the equally simple plot on the other side of the door involves Howard finally calling Sheldon’s bluff. It was an interesting idea for the story. Sheldon over thought the identity of a common cricket, summoning his vast knowledge to try and make himself seem more intelligent. But Howard is having none of it and in the end Sheldon is forced to admit he was wrong. A tiny sign of growth perhaps. It was interesting to learn that Sheldon has an older brother too, doubtless that could make an interesting episode down the road.

Along the way some lines work better than others. Leonard makes a funny noise to try and indicate that Sheldon needs to shut up. To which Sheldon responds “If that’s Morse code that’s terrible.” Another fun Sheldonism was when he followed Howard’s taunting by reading the Latin name for a Snowy Tree Cricket and claiming it was Latin for “I’ll suck nothing.” But he couldn’t dare leave that hanging and immediately pointed out what the correct Latin phrase is for that. Raj spent the whole episode quipping and occasionally one stuck. He only had himself to blame as he suggested they begin searching for the cricket. Looking forlornly he asks “I  wonder what the non-pathetic people are doing tonight?” Then Howard tickled him while in the insect lab leading to a predictable but fun yelp.

The Bad: In general though Raj and others were trying too hard to get laughs all episode long. Nothing epitomised this more than the visit to Dr Crawley in his lab. Amusing cameos can really make a sit com episode take off but this didn’t. Every single line he had poured more misery into his personal story. He was being fired, he had to move in with his daughter, his wife cheated on him, he has no money and so on. With a little more subtlety this could have been a fun scene but it just screamed too hard for viewers to find it funny.

Of course that is the constant problem with The Big Bang Theory. We don’t really know much about Penny or Leonards hopes and dreams because the writers use up so much time searching for a punch line. I remain of the opinion that laughter flows easier when you really care about characters. Right now Leonard and Penny could use some work on developing real onscreen chemistry.

Comic Highlight: The only line with some bite came from Sheldon after he mispronounced Shiksa Goddess as Skiksy. He of course needs to excuse his mistake so says to Howard “Forgive me Yiddish was not spoken in East Texas. Or if it was it wasn’t spoken for long.

In Conclusion: A decent episode. At least decent from the perspective of what the show generally produces, not what it is capable of.

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  • I think "looking forlornly" should read "looking forlorn".

    Posted by Faheem Mitha, 31/01/2012 7:47pm (7 years ago)

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