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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 18 - The Contractual Obligation Implementation

9 March 2013

Credit CBS

Synopsis: Howard, Leonard and Sheldon are obliged to work on a committee at the university. Leonard is interested in getting more women into science and so they head to Howard's old middle school to talk to a class. Meanwhile Raj sets up a text date in a library with Lucy and Bernadette, Amy and Penny head to Disneyland.

The Good: The conception of these stories was solid but the execution was basic. We don't often hear much about the actual work the guys do at the university so I welcome any exploration of that. Similarly I enjoyed the way the idea to go to Disneyland grew organically out of a discussion of where Raj should take Lucy on their date.

If we are going to see Raj build a relationship from the ground up then I liked this as a start. The choice of a text date in the library was sweet and suited their social anxieties.

The Bad: However only Raj's story was an actual story. The rest of the episode was just the result of a group of writers making lists of jokes. There was no narrative purpose to either trip and I continue to argue that it's far more engaging to be taken on a journey than just presented with a collection of gags.

To see Howard, Leonard and Sheldon back at school and talking to girls was a fertile comedy setting and yet delivered little. With no story to guide them we got jokes about the guys being nerds, Howard not really being an astronaut, Sheldon not seeing the potential sexual context of "exciting" young girls etc. The same collection of punch lines went on with the girls with Penny's colourful past and Amy's lack of one being mined once more. I did appreciate the irony of Bernadette and Amy, dressed as princesses, telling the class (over the phone) to aspire to be more than pretty. However with no actual conclusion to either story it was just a nice idea rather than any kind of punch line. I was also slightly confused by the idea that Howard and Leonard were turned on by the sight of their girlfriends dressed as princesses. That's not really a stereotype that I'm aware of and again felt like a joke coming before a story.

I didn't need Bernadette calling her friends bitches or Raj telling a fellow socially awkward man to go crawl up a beanstalk. Did either situation require the character to be mean to be funny?

Comic Highlight: I couldn't help but laugh at Leonard attempting a hype-man style intro to his talk and elongating the word "science" in rapper style. However the bit was quickly overdone with Leonard oblivious to how pathetic his routine seemed.

In Conclusion: A typical Big Bang Theory episode: nice ideas, no ambition.



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  • Yawn. A dull episode all 'round. I agree the idea for the stories was sound but the actual scenes and dialogue were hollow; hardly any flash and no bang.

    Too answer your question: On TBBT you don't have to be mean to be funny - but it helps.
    Sheldon makes it look oh so easy. In the cases you mentioned - Bernie and Raj - unfortunately, they weren't really either.

    I feel awkward saying this - especially as the show seems to be trying to tell stories and give the cast members their "moment" - but TBBT may be funnier when that skinny guy who looks kinda like a giant praying mantis has the episode focused somewhat on him.

    Just saying, either the writers find Sheldon easier to write for or Jim Parsons' performances are carrying this show much more than I care to think about. 'Cause I'm more of an ensemble enthusiast and, frankly, find Sheldon a touch too mean. Funny guy though.

    Viewer score: 45 / 100

    Posted by jstrange, 09/03/2013 5:54am (7 years ago)

  • Not very subtle episode in my opinion.

    Waiting for review

    Viewer score: 50 / 100

    Posted by Pot, 08/03/2013 10:43am (7 years ago)

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