Episode 2 - The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification
23 February 2012
Synopsis: Sheldon fears he may not survive long enough to transfer his consciousness into a robot and live forever. He attempts to diet but then realises that an accident is the likeliest cause of his demise. So he creates a virtual presence device and stays put in his bedroom. The device travels with Leonard to work and dinner.
The Good: The story is a solid idea. There is so much one can do with the Sheldon character and having him face his mortality, even in his own bizarre way, is one of them. The image of his smug face on a computer screen leering at poor Leonard provides obvious comedy. As did his attempts to diet and exercise which led to some sprout induced wind - the most obvious comedy of all.
It's not difficult to laugh with Sheldon, his hypochondria leads Leonard to wonder if his appendix is about to burst but as I said it was just wind. Sheldon mockingly comments "Appendicitis. What a nervous Nelly!"
I'd be tempted to see Leonard still paying for Penny's dinner as part of their story if I thought anything but Sheldon had crossed the writer's minds. It was still a believable development and gave the others something to talk about.
The Bad: In general though this wasn't a good episode. When the writers ignore the story in favour of just overloading on Sheldon jokes this is usually the result. There are a hundred precedents from other sit coms on how to handle a mortality plot but instead the writers just want to have Sheldon say and do silly things.
All his overbearing behaviour would be funnier and more interesting to watch if it led to some kind of conclusive story. But we never resolve Sheldon's retreat into reclusivity. We can guess why he chooses to return to active living but it would have been better to actually see it. Another problem with these stories is that Leonard, Penny and company just resent him and mock him. There's no attempt to show some kind of entertaining balance between them and him. His behaviour is annoying and that's as far as it goes.
For example does Raj still work with Sheldon (304)? We have to assume he does and therefore wouldn't he have had some kind of reaction to being stuck with Shelbot all day? A little detail work like that could lead to better stories and jokes. Instead Sheldon playing the recorder and making up games is passable entertainment but feels like gimmickry.
Comic Highlight: Sheldon reveals his desire to start jogging as part of his quest to live longer. Raj amusingly suggests that he run with Penny much to her chagrin.
S: "That's an excellent idea! If we chat it will create the illusion of time going faster."
P: "No it won't."
In Conclusion: A typical Sheldon-centric story, your mileage may vary.
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