In last fall’s timeslot showdown between Community and The Big Bang Theory, I was all for Community. Community is witty, subversive, and clever. The Big Bang Theory is funny, in an easily digestible manner that can appeal to mainstream audiences.
This episode was funny, as most episodes of BBT are. There’s nothing spectacular about the show, now in its fourth season. While the introduction of more recurring players has helped the show break out of a slump earlier this season, BBT still tends to be a mediocre show. Good, but not great.
This episode was no exception.
First, on a general note, I’m incredibly tired of Raj not being able to speak to women. It was funny at first, but now it’s just a hindrance, relegating Kunal Nayyar into the backseat when he’s really quite a comic. Fortunately, now that there are more female characters in the show’s universe, the two sexes are often separated, which eliminates the Raj problem.
Another Raj-related problem that irks me is the continued sexuality jokes. We get it. Raj and Howard are very close, and close male friendships always border on the homoerotic. Many straight men do like Beyonce, pilates, and the like, so it’s not like Raj is an outlier of any kind. However, the joke is easy. Too easy. I can’t count the number of times in this episode alone that Raj was a subject of laughter for some perceived homosexual inclination.
That’s the problem with this show, in a nutshell. The Big Bang Theory reaches too often for low-hanging fruit. The boys are nerdy, haha. They don’t understand women, haha. Penny’s not too bright, haha. Amy and Sheldon are socially awkward, haha. And so on and so forth.
This particular episode also suffered from some lazy plotting. The A-story was strong, with the boys questing to avenge a World of Warcraft theft. However, the B-story was fairly weak. Penny dealt with Leonard’s new girlfriend (for the umpteenth episode). Not terribly exciting.
The episode did succeed in showing how close Penny has grown to the boys. She understands their interests, even if she doesn’t share them. Unlike Priya, Penny accepts Leonard and co. for who they are, “boys trapped in men’s bodies.” An easy, but important contrast between the two women in this episode.