The Big Bang Theory: “The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition”
B+

The Big Bang Theory: “The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition”

B+

The Big Bang Theory

“The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition”

Season 2, Episode 19
 
I am, by and large, an agreeable chap—friendly, polite and non-confrontational—but like Sheldon, I get a little anxious around new people. I work at home, and venture out only for small errands and lunch, the latter of which I prefer to eat alone, with my newspaper. I’m no misanthrope; just a little shy, and not naturally social. Sometimes Sheldon’ neurotic behavior borders on the insane, but in “The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition,” I was right there with him. Who needs new neighbors? Especially if you might have to talk with them?
 
You’ll note that throughout “Dead Hooker,” Sheldon actually doesn’t talk with the new neighbor much, though he continues to interact with the old new neighbor, Penny. Once Sheldon determines that the new girl in the building, Alicia, is “non-musical, childless and pro-rug,” he can happily co-exist with her. But he still doesn’t want to hang out with her. Leonard, Howard and Raj, on the other hand, are at Alicia’s beck and call: setting up her stereo (with the floor-rattling DTS option) and her DVD player and her printer, while she coos about how cute they are and makes them feel like they might have a shot with her.
 
This, naturally, does not please Penny. Sure she may also exploit our boys for cheap labor and favors, but at least she’s fairly upfront about their relationship. She’s rude to Howard, dismissive to Leonard and treats Raj as a non-entity. They like her anyway. (Hey, they’re used to Sheldon; they can integrate any personality type into the group.) What’s bothers Penny about Alicia is that she’s blatantly leading them on, which is not cool. Oh, and it doesn’t help that Alicia is an actress, just like Penny, but with three national commercials, a recurring role on a soap, and a part on C.S.I. (playing a dead hooker) under her belt. Quoth Penny—in one of her two moments of sublime sarcasm on tonight’s episode—“That is so awesome.”
 
I don’t have a whole lot to say about “Dead Hooker,” honestly. It was a fine, funny episode, graced by a couple of indelible images—Leonard dwarfed by the enormous box he was carrying for Alicia, and Sheldon doing invisible equations—and it contained its share of laugh-out-loud lines, some of which I’ll note down in the “stray observations.” I’d probably have more invested in the episode if I had any confidence that Alicia was going to be a recurring character. But this is a show where Howard finally gets a girlfriend, and then we don’t see her again for three straight episodes (or even hear about her for two), so if we ever see Alicia again I’ll be shocked and delighted.
 
That said, what I really did like about “Dead Hooker” was the way it helped define Penny’s character further. This season of Big Bang Theory has been all about expanding our understanding of Sheldon’s condition and Penny’s faults. There’s something very sweet about her desperation at the thought of losing the attention of her guys. I loved the way she bought them Chinese food and almost got Sheldon’s order right. I loved her sudden ability to drop Star Trek references, and the way she defended the honor of the boys in front of Alicia. A role that started out as a stereotype back at the beginning of Season One has blossomed into a character that’s been fully fleshed out, and one that to me has become as fun to watch as Sheldon week after week. Kudos to the writers, and kudos to Kaley Cuoco.
 
Grade: B+
 
Stray observations:
 
-Do cocaine-smugglers write “cocaine” on the box?
 
-A woman-heavy episode means minimal Koothrappali action. Gotta get him more involved.
 
-Penny: “Not with a thousand condoms, Howard.”
Howard: “So there is a number.”
 
-Seeing Penny in a Hillary ’08 shirt reminded me of a comment I’ve been holding onto for weeks now and have never gotten around to making, namely that Penny seems to stay in her sleepwear pretty much all day when she’s not at work.
 
-Sheldon: “Congratulations, you did your laundry.
Penny: “Sort of.”
Sheldon: “How does one…”
Penny: “I bought new clothes.”
 
-The other sublime piece of Penny sarcasm this episode came when she hissed “Thank you Sheldon!” at him correcting one of her lies to Alicia. The best part was his tone-deaf response: “You’re welcome Penny.”
 
- I thought Sheldon’s Admiral Akbar impression—“It’s a trap!”—was funny, but it would’ve been funnier if Robot Chicken didn’t already kind of own that gag.
 
-“What am I running here, a fancy restaurant? What is this, Olive Garden?”
 
-It’s cute that Sheldon interprets the sound of Alicia’s creaky bedsprings upstairs as her “jumping on the bed.”
 
-“And thus concludes your fumbling attempt to mate.”
 
-Hey, I’m talking to Jim Parsons tomorrow. Got any questions you’d like me to ask?
 

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