Episode 10 - The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition
18 November 2011
Synopsis: Stuart checks with Sheldon before asking Amy out. Sheldon says he doesn't mind but clearly does. It bothers him so much that he interrupts their second date and asks her out. Meanwhile the guys all get hooked on a new edition of their fantasy card game.
The Good: The slow escalation of Sheldon and Amy's relationship takes another step forward. There was good and bad to this development. On the good side it was a believable acknowledgement of the status of their relationship. They spend enough time together that I can believe it would bother Sheldon to lose her attention.
The way Sheldon handled the situation was entirely appropriate for who he is as well. The "Relationship Agreement" felt like a natural development and his disinterest in the physical is consistent. I thought Amy's reactions were appropriate too. She clearly wants more from him but will settle for now in an acknowledgement of her status as his girlfriend. In a broad sense it was a big step and should lead to some more fun moments.
The Bad: I think the downside to all this is that nothing ever feels like a big deal. The Big Bang Theory has always been weak in terms of delivering emotional stories. I would have liked to see the writers make more of a fuss over Sheldon asking Amy to be his girlfriend. I don't think it would have ruined his character to have him show a tiny bit more emotion and perhaps address her place in his life in a more meaningful way. Perhaps this episode could have been part one of two with Amy and Stuart getting more serious as Sheldon gets more upset. Then in part two we could have had a scene where he was forced to admit that she means more to him than he can rationally explain. I think that would have had far more comic and emotional resonance.
Instead this just felt like another development that happened. I hope their first proper kiss or sexual experience isn't treated as flippantly. Surely we are tuning in each week to build up to big moments like that?
I'm certainly not watching just to see Penny get drunk or the guys be geeky. The rest of the episode felt like an afterthought with those basic character sketches getting an airing. I didn't like Sheldon believing that Penny must be attracted to him. That felt more like a cheap joke than the result of his "logical" thinking. I'm not a big fan of Stuart's uber-pathetic routine either. He is scripted to be less self confident than is really plausible and when put alongside the guys getting sucked into buying expensive card games it just felt like everyone was being laughed at a bit too much.
Comic Highlight: I did smile at Penny shouting "Who do we love?" in between each of Sheldon's knocks at her door. However the funniest moment was probably poor Stuart stuck in the cinema trying to interrupt as Sheldon asked Amy to be his girlfriend.
In Conclusion: If the writers aren't going to make a big deal out of Sheldon's first girlfriend then what will it take? The Big Bang Theory can be so monochrome that it would be nice to have an episode that felt different from time to time.
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