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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 Werewolf Transformation

7 March 2012

Synopsis: Howard heads off for his NASA training and finds it all pretty tough. Sheldon's regular barber is sick and he refuses to let anyone else cut his hair. He begins to believe that the order he has brought to his life is meaningless.

The Good: I have mixed feelings about the Howard story. I'm not a fan of stories which humiliate the geeks for being well, geeks. However astronaut training should be vigorous and Howard's shell shocked acting was excellent. The conclusion where Bernadette and his mother independently rushed to his side when they heard how he was struggling was interesting. In a sense there is something positive there where Howard draws people to support him in his endeavours. In another way it was just a cheap continuation of one of the running punch lines which the writers lean on. I guess we will have to wait and see if he actually ends up in space. I'm glad he didn't quit based on puke and poop.

The Bad: The Sheldon story was tedious and then became even more of a waste. The haircut concept tapped into Sheldon's sheltered childhood and was pretty dull. He is afraid of a new barber and then moans and moans about it. At this stage of the show's development any dedicated viewer could probably have written the script.

Then the writers decided to do something more interesting and have Sheldon abandon his whole philosophy of order and explore chaos. Unfortunately the episode was half over already so there was no chance that he was going to actually question anything seriously. Instead we got some very broad bongo-based jokes which felt beneath the show and Sheldon himself.

Comic Highlight: In a humourless episode Amy stepped up to inject a couple of laughs towards the end. Penny begs Sheldon to let her cut his hair and he asks Amy's opinion. "There's not a hair on my body I wouldn't let this woman trim" she reassures to disturbed looks from Penny and Leonard. It's good enough for Sheldon who gets up to leave and thanks Amy for letting him sleep on her couch. "There's only so many times a woman can say 'How about the bed?'" she notes. The writers are getting good mileage out of Amy's sexuality and actually had her disappearing to masturbate early in the episode.

In Conclusion: Each season I hope The Big Bang Theory is going to turn a corner in terms of quality but it still hasn't happened. After a run of good episodes (507-14) these last four have been poor. More than that they have been forgettable and complacent. It seems like the writers don't really discern between what works well and what feels tired and generic.



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  • As a followup to Doobius's comment, I too have occasionally looked up actual science stuff on the net as a result of watching BBT. Not very often, but in one episode they reference lunar ranging + einsteins foundational paper on lasers. In another episode Sheldon mentions "topological insulators", which I had never heard of before. For the record, I'd prefer more science and less random comic book / pop culture sf stuff. But I guess the makers figure audiences will relate better to the latter.

    Posted by Faheem, 25/12/2012 10:53am (8 years ago)

  • I thought this was an excellent episode. You didn't touch on the inclusion of Sheldon actually believing he had haircut records! That still has me chuckling; the possibility of someone so intelligent being so gullible! And when the nephew starts to cut his hairs (see what I did there) and tries to start the small talk, and Sheldon BOLTS out of the chair saying "nope!" - that just works for me! I agree that Amy is bringing more to the show, too. Actually her deadpan delivery always makes me laugh. I don't get why you think the bongo element didn't work, either? It seemed like something Sheldon might actually do under stress, since he is obviously so influenced by these men he revers like Feynman. One of the things that first drew me into the show was some of the elements of "geekdom" being grounded in reality, and then looking into them by reading on the internet and actually learning a few things on my own. I don't know of any other TV sitcom which has ever caused me to WANT to learn!

    But, I'm a fanboy, if you can call a 52 year old man a fanboy haha! I watch comedy for the comedy, not to dissect it to death and analyze it. I agree that Howard's storyline this week was hilarious too! I felt so sorry for him, and felt pretty bad for Bernie when she showed up and his mother was already there! I think my only criticism of this episode is that maybe too much was going on and they crammed one too many story lines in there. But all in all, as always, I had facial stress after all the laughing!

    Thanks for the forum for thoughts! Good work!
    Doobius ☮

    Posted by Doobius, 20/03/2012 5:08pm (9 years ago)

  • There's definitely a mentality now of just "feed Sheldon everything." The show continues to actually grow its audience which is so rare that they clearly won't be changing things much.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 20/03/2012 5:08pm (9 years ago)

  • Isn't it amazing that a tv show that is so successful is so afraid to stray away from Sheldon even for one minute. This should surely have been Howard's episode. His astronaut plot is interesting and he is a funny character, why the fear from the writers to give him a little spotlight?

    Posted by The G Man, 20/03/2012 5:08pm (9 years ago)

  • I thought this was a better episode than average, though excessively Sheldon-centric as usual. They've reduced everyone else to supporting characters at this point.

    I don't see why Leonard couldn't tell Penny that she has won. Because it would have made one less joke? It seems a little implausible that she could have beaten him when she can't even even remember the names of the pieces, but perhaps she has natural aptitude, or maybe he is a really bad chess player. Also, that scene was way too short. See Sheldon-centric remarks above. They should have him go away on a really long trip somewhere (maybe the South Pole) so the rest of the cast can have a chace. Still, makes a break from watching Penny do nothing but be cute all the time.

    I thought the bongos bit was effective and funny, though a little obvious, as everyone knows about Feynman and the bongos, at least if they read "Surely You're Joking"... Also there is a picture of him in the Feynman Lectures playing the bongos. That's what I first thought of when I first heard the bongos, anyway.

    I thought the video chat between Howard and Bernadette was surprisingly effective. They really should make more use of the rest of their cast.

    Posted by Faheem Mitha, 20/03/2012 5:07pm (9 years ago)

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