Episode 12 - The Shiny Trinket Maneuver
13 January 2012
Synopsis: Sheldon dismisses Amy's achievements on a date and she gets upset. Leonard and Penny guide him through the process of buying her some jewellery. Meanwhile Howard is putting on a magic show for his cousin's birthday and asks Bernadette to be his assistant. She agrees but the experience doesn't change her opinion about children.
The Good: These were two solid relationship stories. I kind of like the way Howard and Bernadette failed to reach a conclusion over the issue of having children. Bernadette's suggestion that Howard stay home with the children if he wants them so badly was a fair suggestion and a clever bit of writing because clearly that's not how Howard imagined his family. It's never entirely satisfactory when a story ends with the issue not being resolved but this was a pretty accurate representation of how couples make difficult decisions. They have managed to avoid the issue for now but it will doubtless come back into play in the future.
Sheldon's decision to buy off Amy's hurt feelings rather than change himself also fit the characters well. Again the writers seem to understand Sheldon and can see how far he should develop and what lines he shouldn't cross. He is willing to do the bare minimum to keep Amy happy and nothing more. His ignorance of appropriate jewellery made the tiara an amusing choice and his love of trains (and selfishness) made the pocket watch another good choice. Amy's reaction to the tiara was fantastic. The lonely teenage girl inside her would no doubt be over the moon at finally being given a present by a boy. Her acting sold the moment well and gave the episode a nice fun moment to wrap up on.
The use of the computer game Red Dead Redemption was fun, especially when Leonard turned down a virtual drink because he was going to play Grand Theft Auto later. Now that's some witty geek banter right there. I also couldn't help smile at the thought that Sheldon begins each date by reading the minutes from the last one. Again the writers really put effort into his presentation and behaviour.
The Bad: I'm not complaining too much. Of course there was a lack of depth to the discussion of children but this is a sit com and it didn't seem unbelievable that Howard and Bernadette would interact this way. This wasn't a particularly funny episode either but they can't all be. The jokes about Raj being gay are certainly building up though. Is he actually going to turn out to be gay? It would certainly give the show something new to work with going forward and might connect nicely with his selective mutism.
Comic Highlight: Howard is struggling to entertain his cousin's friends with his magic show. As Bernadette announces the next illusion one of the kids asks "When are we gonna have cake?" Bernadette, without missing a beat, responds "After you've been thoroughly amazed!"
In Conclusion: Within The Big Bang Theory formula this was very solid stuff.
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