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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 12 - The Egg Salad Equivalency

11 January 2013

Credit CBS

Synopsis: Alex asks Leonard out and he tells the guys how great it feels. Naturally Sheldon worries about himself and gathers Penny, Bernadette and Amy to ask their opinion. Penny is mad at Leonard while Sheldon decides to confront Alex directly. She is offended by his sexist comments and complains to the HR department. Sheldon is nonplussed by the complaint and points out all the inappropriate things that Howard, Raj and Leonard have done at the university.

The Good: There was plenty to enjoy here as the subject of sex allowed Sheldon to offend everyone in sight while Leonard and Penny grew closer. Alex has been well established this season to set the plot up and I didn’t mind where things went. 

I did like that Penny and Leonard were able to resolve their conflict in a loving way. It’s only natural that he would revel in feeling attractive and superior for once. She didn’t overreact and he apologised in a cute way (I also laughed at his reaction when she told him that she knew the truth – “Whaaat?”). They even got to cuddle at the end.

The Bad: Although sadly that was a reminder of their complete lack of physical chemistry.

This was a fun episode and I suspect the average viewer really enjoyed it and moved on with their lives. A number of things bothered me though. The first is just that despite instigating the story Alex didn’t really get any closure. She clearly did ask Leonard out and yet never had to answer for the inappropriateness of that. Nor did she and Leonard have any more interaction which would have clarified where they now stand. You would think she would want to clear the air considering he clearly told all his friends that she had asked him out.

Then there was Sheldon. I will ignore the obvious flaw that this episode became about him to the exclusion of other characters. Instead it was his comments about women which became monotonous and borderline offensive. I don’t think viewers will actually have been offended but Sheldon was spouting ignorant statements in a way which was designed to get a shocked reaction. It didn’t chime with my understanding of the character who would have stuck to biological facts and then misunderstood the practical realities. It just felt like he was a mouthpiece for a style of comedy rather than Sheldon, at least a few of the lines went in that direction.

Comic Highlight: To be fair some of it was funny. Sheldon’s meeting with the African-American Mrs Davis was an edgy scene with him calling her a slave (to her body) but the sight of him nodding sagely as his own offensive remarks were read back to him had me smiling.

In Conclusion: In general this was a strong episode with lots of easy jokes flying around. But it could have been a lot better and I felt Sheldon’s character was slightly compromised to sneak in some Two and a Half Men style gender gags.

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  • Sheldon has been shown in the past describing people from an evolutionary point of view, so that made sense, but why have it be just women? All human beings have evolutionary based reactions and I think Sheldon would have acknowledged that (in fact he did so in the pilot episode back before the writers decided he didn't have sexual urges). They could have still had the slave to your urges punch line.

    Isn't Alex a student? And the guys are teachers, is that why it's inappropriate? I don't think what she did was worth a talking to but she and Leonard definitely should have had a conversation about it.

    Again 'Amy is creepy' is supposed to be funny. Yawn. I used to really like her...

    About Leonard and Penny, their first hug did look uncomfortable but I thought that was deliberate, as in she's still a bit annoyed with him over Alex.

    Still, I liked it much better than I think any episodes last season. It has been picking up recently, and it's a relief to know the writers of BBT know there is such a thing as sexism. Sometimes they make me wonder about that.

    Viewer score: 65 / 100

    Posted by Claire, 11/01/2013 12:48am (7 years ago)

  • Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco used to be a real life couple. Maybe there's some lingering discomfort there?

    Oh, well, the series early on fastened onto Sheldon and his antics and anything else is a sort of extra.

    Posted by JonathanStrange, 07/01/2013 7:23pm (7 years ago)

  • When Penny leans on Leonard here it doesn't look comfortable. It doesn't look intimate like real couples who cuddle.

    On almost any other show couples look more natural than Penny and Leonard. Look at Friends, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, Parks and Recreation and so on. The romantic pairings have people staring into one another's eyes, holding hands or putting their arms around each other.

    This is not me saying something controversial - Penny and Leonard look far less comfortable than most TV couples.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 07/01/2013 11:02am (7 years ago)

  • I though Leonard and Penny scenes were excellent. I did not find any lack of chemistry and from what I have seen in the show before their kisses seemed very natural and some of them pretty hot

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by Critic, 07/01/2013 2:51am (7 years ago)

  • Amusing but slight episode; slightly amusing then?

    I'm already forgetting the details but I recall having the impression that Sheldon's comments to the Human Resources woman weren't the sort of oblivious statements our science nerd would say.

    But I think Sheldon, who's dismissive of his friends, non-physicists, non-nerds, basically everyone not him, would be dismissive of women too. Just not in the manner shown.

    I liked the Leonard and Penny interactions but I might not be watching TBBT as closely as The TV Critic: I can't say whether Leonard and Penny have or don't have chemistry. Maybe that's the point? One can't tell? But is that the actors' faults or the writers? I’ve always thought Cuoco and Galecki were capable of more than they’re asked to deliver.

    BTW, that Alex is a cute woman. Don’t report me to HR..

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by JonathanStrange, 06/01/2013 8:37pm (7 years ago)

  • To elaborate: I didn't have a major problem with Sheldon's behaviour but the jokes about women built up to the point where I felt it was no longer the Sheldon character anymore and simply the writers trying to hit their punch lines.

    The egg salad comment was an example of it. We know Sheldon picked up certain expressions and ideas from his family but it's such a dismissive concept of women, allied to men's desire for them, that it didn't seem entirely natural that he would adopt it as his own.

    He was then cut off before he could talk about his knowledge of the menstrual cycle which is more what I would imagine him basing his opinions on.

    One of the hardest things to express in a review is the extent to which something does or doesn't affect you. I thought most of this was fine, hence the adequate score but there was just an edge that felt less like Sheldon and more like gender-baiting.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 05/01/2013 1:06pm (7 years ago)

  • No typos today, but I shall ramble a bit. I don't see how Alex was "hitting on" Leonard. What a dreadful expression, and so American. She basically said "perhaps over dinner", which is not much of an advance, sexual or otherwise. Also, I don't see why it was inappropriate. Adults are not allowed to spend time with each other? Sure, Leonard has a girlfriend, but that is hardly the business of third parties.

    I thought this episode was pretty silly (though amusing) even by sitcom standards. The whole thing was cooked up over nothing. I think the only person behaving inappropriately was Sheldon, but that is hardly news. His behavior (at least the things he says) are by normal standards often outrageous and offensive. I think we are meant to infer that the sexism is something he has inherited from his family (maybe his father) and has never really bothered to examine. In many ways he is portrayed as rather immature and intellectually stunted, so I don't think his behavior is really so implausible.

    I think it is a shame they are using Margo Harshman so little. She is really rather cute, though her idea of acting seems to be little more than widening her eyes. Of course, she hasn't been given much of a chance to show what she can do. Maybe she needs more practice.

    Posted by Faheem, 05/01/2013 8:00am (7 years ago)

  • Could you please explain what you mean by "t didn’t chime with my understanding of the character who would have stuck to biological facts and then misunderstood the practical realities"

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by Critic, 04/01/2013 5:46pm (7 years ago)

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