Episode 24 - The Bon Voyage Reaction
18 May 2013
Synopsis: Raj pushes Lucy to meet his friends. Dinner with Amy doesn't go well because Raj keeps pushing for more intimacy. He invites her to Leonard's bon voyage party but she doesn't come and breaks up with him. Leonard is off to the North Sea to work on a research team that Stephen Hawking has put together.
The Good: It's felt like a season of tiny steps forward for the gang. Leonard and Penny have slowly become a happy couple. Raj has gone from needing Stuart for company to finally being able to talk to girls without alcohol. Howard has loosened the apron strings a little. Sheldon is comfortable contemplating a life with Amy in it. This is the slow paced world of The Big Bang Theory. So far there's no sign of the breakups which I assume will have to come somewhere down the line. Nor any sign of career changes or apartment swaps or other characteristics of sit coms going into their seventh season. The show is what it is, it's hugely successful and largely its character development is logical and straightforward.
This was more of that. Sheldon is jealous of Leonard's new opportunity. Simple. Penny and Leonard are sad to say goodbye for a few months but ultimately handle it very maturely. Lucy breaks up with Raj but it leads to a major breakthrough. Good for him.
The Bad: It just wasn't very funny and hasn't been especially funny for most of the season. Statistically it doesn't seem to be any worse than the previous two seasons. I think familiarity has just set in at the point where Sheldon's flippant remarks just aren't enough anymore. In this episode we got the particularly lame suggestion that he thinks of his friends as Star Trek characters. It's an idea that doesn't make much sense and relies entirely on the "you will understand this reference" school of comedy.
Comic Highlight: I did smile at Howard's need to point out that he had been to space and that that trumped Leonard's exciting boat expedition. It's been a while since he brought it up but you knew it was in there.
In Conclusion: I've been warning that there's a chance I will stop reviewing most of the comedies I currently cover episodically. I don't know what to think about The Big Bang Theory. There really has been enough tiny developments over the years to give me a grudging admiration for the show runners ability to sneak change into a formula that is otherwise pretty flat. On the other hand what am I adding by endlessly dolling out 50s to the show ever week. I've never seen the show strive to be funny. I've never seen the writers put a story they wanted to tell over the needs to tick all the boxes they do every week (geek reference, Sheldon put down, status quo maintained). This isn't a show I should be covering in depth, it just happens to exist in an era when comedies that I value are at an all time low. I probably will be back next season but reserve the right not to be. I wish the show well but it doesn't need my help and could be here for another decade churning out essentially the same story week after week.
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