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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 19 - The Closet Reconfiguration

21 March 2013

Credit CBS

Synopsis: Bernadette and Howard are hosting a dinner party and Howard tosses his things in their already cluttered closet. He suggests that Sheldon will organise it for them if they let him. They do and Sheldon reads a letter from Howard’s Dad which arrived on his eighteenth birthday. Howard burns the letter without reading it but Sheldon reveals the contents to everyone. Howard still doesn’t know and Sheldon concocts a way to let him know while still retaining doubt.

The Good: I’ve often complained that The Big Bang Theory doesn’t really tell stories. Instead they just present a scenario and have Sheldon make jokes about them. This was no exception as there was no real story beyond the basic fact of Howard’s absentee father. However the writers came up with one of the most inventive, appropriate and as far as I know original scenarios for a conclusion. The whole gang except Howard know what was in his father’s letter – an exasperating situation for him. So Sheldon uses the example of Quantum Superposition to explain how he can both know what was in the letter and remain forever in doubt. The scientific explanation for the idea that they would each present a possible contents for the letter fit the tone of the show (and character of Sheldon) perfectly. It created a very sweet ending where the group protected Howard while also communally apologising for snooping in his business. A terrific piece of writing. 

Sheldon has always been terrible at keeping secrets and so I didn’t mind the way he revealed all to everyone. I was slightly sceptical of the idea that he would organise people’s closet for them but then again I suppose as an alternative to socialising it makes sense.

The Bad: There was nothing particularly bad about this. It’s just that most of the episode before the final scenes was just setup with no memorable content.

Comic Highlight: Raj begins the revelations by claiming there was a birthday card in the envelope. A plausible suggestion. Then we move to Sheldon who destroys his own scenario by claiming “It was a map leading to the lost treasure of famous pirate One Eyed Willie.”

In Conclusion: Because the ending is all anyone will remember it’s tempting to think of this as a great episode. But it’s really an average episode with a great ending.



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  • "An average episode with a great ending." So very true - and a "science-y" ending appropriate for the show. I believe there's a quantum physics proposition that suggests the anything that can happen does happen. Somewhere.

    Here though it's not happening. This season has mostly bored me. The humor's rare and momentary. While the story-telling's more ambitious and less-contrived (stuff doesn't just happen so Sheldon can react to it), it's not all that funny.

    I prefer the humor to be more upfront and the ending to have some "meaning" - a look of understanding, a moment of empathy, a revealing insight would suffice. However, preceding that there better be funny stuff.

    I don't see the funny as much anymore. I am glad TBBT's characters have somewhat more dignity now; but if I had just started watching the show, I probably wouldn't bother watching much.

    Viewer score: 45 / 100

    Posted by JStrange, 21/03/2013 3:21pm (7 years ago)

  • One of the best facets of this episode was that Sheldon was the catalyst of this episode as usual but it did not focus on his annoying traits. All the characters did what they were supposed to do in the situations presented to them. So you had Sheldon’s hilarious Goonies reference, Raj bitter at not being allowed to arrange the party, Leonard counting till ten before talking to Sheldon after an irritating reply to his concerned question and Amy finally getting irritated by one of Sheldon’s lovable quirks.

    Howard and Bernadette have been the focus couple of this season and Howard is being transformed from ‘the guy who makes tasteless sex jokes’ to the person he really is – a hurt son whose experience with his father’s absence may have led to his bizarre personality (he seems to have a lot in common with Barney of HIMYM – love of magic and chasing women) until Bernadette came to his rescue. I really like the direction the writers have taken with Howard since his engagement to her last season. If only they did the same with Raj. Sign.

    Unlike most of the episodes, I was irritated by Sheldon-Penny interactions. The first one in which Sheldon outsmarted himself on a simple statement from Penny was well executed, but her taking a random word from Sheldon’s explanation at the close was just plain jarring. I thought she had grown past that.

    But the ending is probably among the best, definitely the best for Howard fans like me, of the entire show. Using something I have learnt in books using symbols and words, and applying it to a real life scenario so beautifully was just something else.

    Viewer score: 78 / 100

    Posted by Avishek, 15/03/2013 2:23pm (7 years ago)

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