“The Copper/Kripke Inversion” – Big Bang Theory

Please. Make it stop. Just make it stop. I thought “The Bakersfield Expedition” was the epitome of bad. I thought “The Parking Spot Peculiarity” was the lowest form of comedy and that Big Bang Theory literally couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong. “The Cooper/Kripke Inversion” has earned the dubious honor of being the most terrible episode of the season – this season of many, many terrible episodes. I laughed once. Once. Honestly.

The biggest problem was Sheldon. It was enough to make me wonder why Jim Parsons keeps winning all those Emmys and People’s Choice awards. It must be because he’s getting props for making such a terrible character even marginally likeable. The writers and creators have consistently said that Sheldon doesn’t have autism or Asperger’s. If that’s true then they should consider introducing another reason for him being the way he is. Like, really soon. Because the whole way through this episode I was practically screaming at the TV, “Just suck it up and be a grown-up, dammit!” This is a grown man of indeterminate age (I’m assuming mid-30s), and he’s throwing a childlike tantrum because he has to work with someone he doesn’t like, then goes into meltdown mode because that person is better at something than he is? GROW UP, SHELDON! Learn how to be a person.

Don’t even get me started on what’s wrong with Kripke, or how much I intensely dislike Bernadette. Shout out to Kaley Cuoco who, in her reaction to Sheldon saying he could, feasibly, one day have sex with Amy, gave me the only moment of this episode that didn’t make me want to throw the TV out the window.

Big Bang Theory, you’re on thin ice. Another episode like this and you’ll get the chop. – K

Quoteworthy: “Go ahead and mock me. But use small words so I understand.” – Sheldon, to Kripke

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“The Bakersfield Expedition” – The Big Bang Theory

And just that quick, Big Bang Theory returns to last place on the list of my favorite shows. It’s not that it wasn’t funny, or at least amusing. It was the same problem I encounter time and time again on BBT – blatant sexism. It came in a slightly different guise than usual this week, though. I have read, on and off over the years, various diatribes against the show’s portrayal of geeks as predominantly male but that portrayal has never bothered me as completely as it did this week.

After this week I profoundly, deeply hate that BBT presents nerd culture as prototypically male. I love comic books/graphic novels and know plenty of other girls and women who do, too. The enjoyment of comics has nothing to do with gender. It’s all about personal taste. And, not to go on a gender-based rant here, but any perception of female disinterest in comics is because of the dreaded “accepted norms”. If more men than women buy comics it’s because people buy comics for young boys, and dolls for young girls. And those (many) women who do buy comics are drawn in just as much by good writing as their male counterparts. The representation of the BBT WAGs as comic book noobs who chose Thor because the main character is hot irked me on a fundamental level.

The episode’s one (slightly) redeeming feature? That, in fighting about the properties of Thor’s hammer, the women not only had a discussion about something other than their boyfriends/husbands, but expressed their own opinions on something and didn’t just ape things that Howard, Leonard and Sheldon had told them. It may be small, but it’s something. – K

Quoteworthy: “You have booze with breakfast on a Tuesday, you got a problem. You do it on the weekend, you got brunch.” – Penny 

“The Egg Salad Equivalency” – Big Bang Theory

        Image copyright CBS (2013)

I must be getting high off the fumes from the electric heater I’m firmly ensconced beside, because this is the second episode in a row of Big Bang Theory that I’ve laughed at. What is this I don’t even.

I don’t even know why I liked it… Nothing happened! It was just one of those episodes – light on plot, heavy on laughs.

The Human Resources liaison, Janine (guest star Regina King, Southland, A Cinderella Story), was perfection, as was Sheldon’s inability to see why he probably shouldn’t be talking to his employee about STDs. And Leonard’s cello apology to Penny was cute beyond belief.

Chuck Lorre, I would appreciate it if you could give me a few more episodes like this before you revert to type. – K

Quoteworthy: “I don’t even know what that means, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you you can’t say it.” – Janine

“The Santa Simulation” – Big Bang Theory

        Image copyright CBS (2012)

This is one of those fabled redeeming episodes of Big Bang Theory. It still had many of the same problems as previous episodes – minor sexism, over-reliance on established character functions, clichéd nerdiness – but it was also one of the first times I’ve enjoyed an episode or laughed frequently at an episode in close to a year. The ending was a bit anti-climactic but, hey, you can’t have everything.

This Christmas episode saw the boys having an evening of Dungeons & Dragons, while the girls and Raj went out for drinks. Raj and Amy bonded over their romantic failings and miserable pasts. In D&D land, Leonard concocts a Christmas-themed quest to build Sheldon’s Christmas spirit and make him stop sucking the joy out of the holidays. It appears to be working right up until the end when Sheldon prevents Howard and Stuart from saving Santa, choosing to leave him to die in retaliation for him not bringing Sheldon’s grandfather back to life. An oddly touching moment from Sheldon, and one that almost made us see a new side to him.

All in all, sterling effort from the writers. It’s like a little Christmas present for all of us viewers – an episode to actually like.  – K

Quoteworthy:

“Instead of leaving Santa milk and cookies, we had to leave him research papers. And in the morning, you could tell he had been there because the paper would be graded.”

“Why don’t you love Christmas? That sounds amazing!” – Leonard, Sheldon

“The Fish Guts Displacement” – The Big Bang Theory

       Image copyright CBS (2012)

I don’t think there’s anything I can say about Big Bang Theory that I haven’t said in nearly every single review – it’s vaguely sexist, it’s repetitive, it’s lazy, it’s predictable to a fault, and it’s just not funny anymore. In fact this episode marked the point at which the laugh track became intrusive and downright bizarre. For some reason we were supposed to find Bernadette’s father saying grace amusing. Ha. Hahaha. Religion really tickles me. I have come to the realization that I might actually enjoy the show more if the writers weren’t trying to tell me when to laugh.

Storylines of the episode: Amy’s sick and asks Sheldon to look after her. Because he rubs Vicks on her chest and gives her baths, she pretends to be sick long after she’s better. When he finds out, he ‘punishes’ her with a spanking (vaguely disturbing), which she, of course, thoroughly enjoys. Sides. Splitting.

Howard tries to have a relationship with Bernadette’s father. They’re bullied into a fishing trip by their wives. Penny teaches Howard about fishing – because she “can do manly stuff”. Seriously though. My sides.

In the end, Howard and Bernadette’s father (whose name I already forget, but it may have been Mike) bond over the fact that they have controlling wives and go to Vegas instead of on the fishing trip. Mike (?) promises to teach Howard how to play craps. Aww friends!

I would say that I’m hoping for better from next week’s episode but I’m just not that naïve. – K

Quoteworthy (scraping the barrel with this one): Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous? I mean you know a movie is bad when my home girl Sandy B can’t save it.” – Raj

People’s Choice Awards, 2013

           

The People’s Choice Awards 2013 took place in LA last night. And I have to say I felt like certain shows, certain actors, were completely robbed. And therein lies the problem with the People’s Choice Awards. Prizes are awarded not necessarily on merit but on the sheer voting power of supporters. Though I must concede that my outrage plays into that very same central tenet. The recipients of each award are, at the end of the day, the people’s choice and my sense of injustice on behalf of many of the losing parties stems from exactly what drove people to vote for the winners – personal preference. And yet it’s not quite that simple. The Awards are part opinion and part drive. That drive comes from the nominees themselves, often in the form of mawkish ‘Vote for me! Vote for me!’ tweets that show only a desire to win and to be able to boast of being the people’s choice. The victors are not crowned, necessarily, based on quality of performance or clever writing or overall watchability, but on how good they are at getting out the vote. This is underlined in music and film categories with The Hunger Games beating out the likes of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises for Favorite Action Movie (despite boasting, arguably, far less action and far worse writing) and Katy Perry unfailingly winning every category she was nominated in. These victories don’t prove that the winners were the best at what they did, only that their fan bases were.

Bearing that in mind, here are the winners of the TV categories from this year’s awards:

Favorite Network TV Comedy: The Big Bang Theory

Favorite Cable TV Comedy: Awkward.

Favorite Premium Cable TV Show: True Blood

Favorite TV Crime Drama: Castle

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show: Supernatural

Favorite Comedic TV Actor: Chris Colfer

Favorite Comedic TV Actress: Lea Michele

Favorite Dramatic TV Actor: Nathan Fillion

Favorite Dramatic TV Actress: Ellen Pompeo

Favorite Daytime TV Host: The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host: Jimmy Fallon

Favorite New Talk Show Host: Steve Harvey

Favorite Competition TV Show: The X Factor

Favorite Celebrity Judge: Demi Lovato

Favorite TV Fan Following: SPNFamily (Supernatural)

Favorite New TV Comedy: The New Normal

Favorite New TV Drama: Beauty & The Beast

So some big surprises and some wins that we could have seen coming a mile off. Which do you think deserved their accolades and which categories do you feel passed over more deserving recipients? And, finally, we’ve never watched The New Normal or Beauty & The Beast… should we? – K

“The Parking Spot Peculiarity” – Big Bang Theory

       Image copyright CBS (2012)

Sometimes I wish Big Bang Theory didn’t have redeeming episodes. If they didn’t exist I could happily stop watching. I could call it a day and move on and never have to sit through another episode like this one, because this? This was in no way redeeming.

I hardly know where to start. I should maybe address the plot first, and I think I can sum it up in one simple phrase: ‘Are you effing kidding me?!’ The writers, in all their infinite wisdom (read: idiocy) decided that they could carry a whole episode on a dispute between Sheldon and Howard over a parking space, because hey! Sheldon’s socially awkward and Howard’s an astronaut. Oho! My sides are splitting. We see a tepid war between the two unfold. Then they solve it. Howard is the bigger person, then Sheldon is. Yaay friends. Is it over yet?

But aside from the general lack of ANYTHING resembling entertainment in the plot, the aspect of this episode (and of the show) that I found increasingly lazy, clichéd and downright offensive was the fight between Amy and Bernadette. As if it isn’t bad enough that these characters are there merely as foils for their male counterparts – if they’re not talking to the men they’re talking about the men and even the storylines that are directly about the women are somehow always about the men – now they can’t even have their own fights. Amy and Bernadette spend the episode locked in a war of their own, but not because one of them hurt the other or did something horrific to the other. They’re fighting because Sheldon and Howard are fighting. Say it with me now: ‘Are you effing kidding me?!” – K

 

Quoteworthy: “Gosh, Amy, I’m sensing a little hostility. Is it maybe because, like Sheldon’s work, your sex life is also theoretical?” – Bernadette 

“The 43 Peculiarity” – Big Bang Theory

      Image copyright CBS (2012)

Sometimes I don’t know why I inflict this on myself. Twenty minutes of watching and nary a laugh. I barely smirked. Stony-faced throughout. Are the (very) occasional hilarious episodes really worth trudging through the other 18 to 20 utterly laughless ones? Do I really need to hear another ‘joke’ about Leonard’s lactose intolerance, Penny’s (comparative) dumbness, Raj’s effeminacy or Sheldon’s inability to be around people? Do I need to hear Amy make another uncomfortable comment about how her loins are on fire whenever Sheldon is near, or sit through another episode where Bernadette does nothing but prop up Penny and Howard? Do I really need to see Howard? But I can’t stop watching. Why, I’m never sure. Sometimes I think it’s just an overwhelming urge to watch something that I don’t need to think about and that it’s a nice short break between 42-minute episodes. Some time to give my brain a rest. I guess I’m just not ready to give that up.

Leonard is jealous because Penny has a new, British, guy friend, Cole (Ryan Cartwright, Bones, Mad Men). Explaining why nothing will happen between her and Cole, Penny tells Leonard she loves him. Leonard remains oblivious to Alex’s flirtatious advances.

Sheldon disappears every day at 2:45. Raj and Howard play detective to find out what he’s doing. The number 43 figures prominently.

Because I feel it would ruin the little intrigue that the episode has, rendering it unwatchable, I won’t tell you what Sheldon does with those 20 minutes. You’ll have to watch to find out. – K

 

Quoteworthy: “Call me Leonard. Dr Hofstadter’s my father. And my mother. And my sister. And our cat. Although I’m pretty sure Dr Boots Hofstadter’s degree was honorary.” – Leonard 

“The Habitation Configuration” – Big Bang Theory

     Image copyright CBS (2012)

Okay, this may cause some manner of backlash from my entire gender, but I’m totally on Sheldon’s/Wil Wheaton’s side for this whole episode. The entire premise hinges on the fact that Wil was rude to Amy and she’s pissed at Sheldon for not standing up for her. But he shouldn’t have had to. Amy was being a pain in the ass. Yeah, if Sheldon was normal he would have found a diplomatic way to say ‘yeah she is, but it’s not cool that you said it Wil Wheaton’. But for Amy to completely fly off the handle? For Sheldon to be in the dog house for that? There’s a time when you need your boyfriend to fight your corner and a time when you shouldn’t even be offended. I think if one of my boyfriend’s (if I had a boyfriend, which I don’t – forever alone!) friends told me I was a pain in the ass, I’d give as good as I got then forget about it. Amy, dear, you shouldn’t need your boyfriend to stand up for you. Stand up for yourself. And stop being a pain in the ass. Wil Wheaton’s (and LeVar Burton’s) acting was fine!

Other story aspects: Howard moves out of home, then moves back in after telling Bernadette a really sweet story. Sheldon gets drunk. – K

 

Quoteworthy: “Very often when women think they’re angry they’re just hungry.” – Sheldon (so true)


PS Did Raj even have a line this week?

“The Extract Obliteration” – Big Bang Theory

       Image copyright CBS (2012)

This was hands down the funniest episode of The Big Bang Theory I’ve seen in months. Maybe even years! I don’t know what it was – perhaps the fact that I’m watching it at 1am and am slightly sleep-deprived. But the jokes were throw-my-head-back, laugh-out-loud funny for the first time in so long. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Basic story: Sheldon is playing Words with Friends with Stephen Hawking, is excited, Hawking is a sore loser. To stay friends with him, Sheldon loses on purpose.

Penny takes a class at a community college. Didn’t want to tell Leonard because she didn’t want him to make a big deal of it/ruin it for her. Understandable. I’d feel the same. When she does tell him, she asks him not to read her paper (due the following day) because she wants it to be her thing and doesn’t want his help. He reads it anyway. Writes a new paper for her. She’s super pissed (I would be too). A few days later, she shows up with a B- on her paper to rub it in Leonard’s face. What she doesn’t tell him is that she had Bernadette and Amy write it for her.

But seriously, despite how I just made it sound, it was hilarious! – K

 

Quoteworthy: “What do Sheldon Cooper and a black hole have in common? They both suck.” – Stephen Hawking (as himself)