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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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Episode 14 - The Cooper/Kripke Inversion

12 February 2013

Synopsis: Sheldon and Kripke are forced to work together on the same project and Sheldon is shocked to find that he is lagging behind. Kripke’s theory is that it must be due to all the sex Sheldon and Amy are having. Meanwhile Raj and Howard order expensive action figures which are meant to resemble them. When they don’t look good they buy an even more expensive 3D printer and make their own.

The Good: The discussion over Sheldon’s sexuality was handled pretty well. It came up organically in the conversation and I really liked the way everyone reacted to it. Initially both Leonard and Sheldon looked shocked that Penny was bringing it up and yet Sheldon was open to sharing his feelings. The use of his recent vapour rubbing (610) as an example of how he is slowly becoming more comfortable with physical contact (in an episode where Amy gave him comforting hugs) made sense and his admission that future intimate relations were a “possibility” seemed about as far as it was wise to push things at this stage. Penny’s ecstatic reaction to these revelations was excellent and I loved the touch that she then thanks him for opening up.

There were a couple of nice roommate moments too (see Comic Highlight) as Leonard demonstrates his knowledge of Sheldon’s beverage needs and then later tells him off in a parental manner and exclaims “I gotta remember how I did that.”

A few jokes landed like Sheldon hiding his equations from Kripke only to reveal his “drawing of a really cool train.” I also smiled at the logic of Howard thinking through whether his 3D printer could actually create plastic lady parts and Sheldon claiming he was giving Amy’s parts “A proper jostling.”

The Bad: I guess on some level I wanted there to be more depth to Sheldon’s disinterest in sexual intercourse. But I don’t actually think that would benefit the show much so this seemed like a pleasant development in his growth.

There wasn’t much of a story surrounding Kripke. The episode built up like a classic Sheldon versus someone story and then veered off into an exploration of his sexual identity. It left a very flat ending where Kripke tries to do some locker room talk to Sheldon’s bemusement.

The Howard story did conclude but was merely an excuse to bring out a 3D printer. The producers love to latch onto new technology and feature it but they don’t usually do anything interesting with them. The action figures were a cute idea but it lead into pretty dull sit com territory as Bernadette clamped down on Howard’s spending.

Comic Highlight: I smiled at Leonard working out which drink fitted Sheldon’s outraged mood. But I actually laughed when Sheldon (talking about Kripke) asked “Do you have any idea what it’s like to be paired with someone who is so incredibly annoying?” and Leonard responded eagerly (with hand raised) “Oh teacher, me! Me!”

In Conclusion: The sex discussion was a major milestone for the show but it came amidst a dull run-of-the-mill episode.

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  • JStrange, Yes, I think Howard's salary is being used as a plot point here. I got the impression from early episodes (can't remember whether it was ever stated explicitly), that Howard works at NASA's JPL, which is located on the CalTech campus. This does fit with the Mars Rover incident. Also consistent with the astronaut thing I suppose. I think he would be paid quite reasonably. Maybe upwards of $80,000 if not more. He could easily make as much or more as his scientist friends. I suppose a industrial pharma job could pay more, depending on what it was. But I guess this is just another way to emasculate Howard, and create some gender comedy.

    Posted by Faheem, 06/02/2013 3:15pm (6 years ago)

  • Truthfully, while I recognized Sheldon’s character has taken another step - a milestone, as you aptly put it – I thought the episode was dull. I feel guilty saying that as this was an episode that told a story that mattered (to the characters) and finished it, something TBBT doesn’t often do. Still, it just wasn’t especially funny. Although, as you’ve noted, Sheldon had a good line or two. So there’s that.

    (BTW, like Howard, my two brothers and I are engineers, with Master’s Degrees, and we don’t do too badly at all with regards to salaries. I’m a year or two younger than Howard (he’s about 30 or so, right?) and although he seems to be working for the University, rather than in private industry, he should be earning more than enough to be considered a good earner. I always assumed it wasn’t for financial reasons he lived with his mother and while I have no idea what Bernadette is paid, Howard’s pay (he’s not an entry-level, newly minted engineer) can’t really be a pittance as she suggested.

    But, like Leonard, Howard cannot catch a break. )

    Viewer score: 40 / 100

    Posted by JStrange, 04/02/2013 4:44pm (6 years ago)

  • I review the Thursday comedies as soon as I can. But they are a lower priority than my other work and this weekend I'm particularly busy. I will get to it asap.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 02/02/2013 11:36am (6 years ago)

  • I don't see why Bernadette was so worked up about the acquisition of the 3D printer. It is actually a rather useful tool for an engineer to have, I'd have thought. Does she complain when Howard buys expensive computer equipment too? I'm surprised that Howard doesn't have access to one already. Also, you don't need to spend $5000 on a used printer. The net shows they are available for as little as $2000. Though, really, $5000 is a pretty small amount of money for lab equipment. And does Howard really make a small salary? I thought engineers were paid pretty well.

    I also thought both Penny and Kripke seems rather over-excited at the idea of Sheldon having sex. I'm not sure where the writers were going with that. Leonard seemed to think so too...

    Posted by Faheem, 01/02/2013 8:56pm (6 years ago)

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