This episode of The Big Bang Theory tried to squeeze too much story into too little time. However, “The Wildebeest Implementation” did utilize many of the recurring characters well.
The greatest fault with this episode is that it teases what so many of us critics and audience members have wanted: for Raj (Kunal Nayyar) to stop with the “can’t talk to women” bit. I understand that The Big Bang Theory has great ratings and doesn’t need to change its standard formula. However, high ratings can only last so long, if the show doesn’t rejuvenate itself every so often. The easiest “fix” for the show would be to clear up Raj’s speech issue and thus allow the character to interact normally with the rest of the cast.
The reason why Will They Or Won’t They is boring is because all other romantic pairings have an automatic expiration date. We know that Leonard and Priya (Aarti Mann) won’t last, because the show is building toward a Leonard and Penny series finale. It’s especially bad when, as in the case with TBBT, the main pair makes little sense.
Oh well. I’m just a little blogger kvetching against CBS greats Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady.
On to the plot: At dinner with Leonard, Priya, and Howard (Simon Helberg), Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) attempts to feed Priya false information about Penny, and extract some dirt at the same time. Penny and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayin Bialik) direct via text message, with entertaining results. My favorite joke involves iPhone autocorrect. (Check out www.damnyouautocorrect.com if you haven’t already. Funnier than network TV.)
The writers are making Priya less and less sympathetic with each episode. While she started out as an intelligent and humorous woman, now she’s just a jealous, hen-pecking medusa. Penny had some great character development earlier in the season (barring the episodes Kaley Cuoco missed, of course), but now her entire purpose seems to be to hate Leonard’s new girlfriend and covertly pine for the geeky physicist.
There’s room to discuss the representation of women in sitcom comedies, and the roles of female characters in network TV, but really I don’t think there’s anything political involved with relegating Penny and Priya to reflections of Leonard. The Big Bang Theory is a show, at the heart, about four overgrown teenage boys trying to deal with real life and with women. It makes sense that the female characters are less developed, though I do appreciate the greater role Amy Farrah Fowler and Bernadette have had this season.
Anyhow, Bernadette ultimately makes a mess of her mission. Nothing gets resolved at dinner. Leonard is overly interested in news about Penny. Priya is jealous. Howard is confused by his girlfriend. End scene.
The B-story in this episode is even more disappointing. Raj tries out new social anxiety medication, which is successful–too successful. He becomes so comfortable that, not only can he easily talk to women while sober, he can also remove all of his clothing without any embarrassment. He does this, in a scene that is somewhat funny, but really more just embarrassing to watch. Have you heard that people feel sympathetic reactions of embarrassment upon watching other people get embarrassed? Yeah, it was like that.
On the other hand, the thread involving Sheldon’s development of three person chess was amusing and enjoyable. It felt like a throwback to first season, when many of the plots revolved around the boys being geeky and doing geeky things. Plus, three person chess sounded fun (until the rules inevitably became too complicated to handle).
All in all, the episode started out strong, but there were just too many scene changes and too many side plots (shoes? chess?) to give any character or storyline its due.