Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Big Bang Theory: “The Holographic Excitation”

Illustration for article titled The Big Bang Theory: “The Holographic Excitation”

It’s Halloween on The Big Bang Theory and drama is in the air—except for Penny and Leonard, who actually have a good episode for once. The episode begins in the comic shop, where Howard won’t stop talking about going to space and Stuart is getting ready for his annual sad attempt to meet women by throwing a costume party in the store. Raj offers to organize and pay for the party because he’s cool like that (secretly in love), and Sheldon and Leonard test their hypothesis that Howard can redirect any question or comment back to him going to space and being an astronaut. The dynamic between the core four nerds and Stuart has existed in the past, but it’s interesting to see how it’s changed since Stuart has become a regular fixture of the group. Stuart’s presence breaks this episode into four couple plotlines: Bernadette wants Howard to stop talking about space, Sheldon and Amy can’t agree on a couple’s costume, Penny tries to learn more about what Leonard does, and Raj plans Stuart’s party.

There’s a nice balance between the individual stories, with Howard and Sheldon getting more time than Leonard and Raj because their stories have higher emotional stakes. After last week’s rocket blast into depression, it would make sense for Howard to become obsessed with telling people about his greatest accomplishment, but it’s also annoying as hell. He can’t even be intimate with his wife without making a bunch of space puns, and when she tells him to shut up about the astronaut stuff, he gets all hurt and mopey. They blue themselves and go to the party as Papa Smurf and Smurfette, and there are few things more pathetic than a small man dressed as Papa Smurf throwing a fit because he can’t brag about the one cool thing he did in his life. It takes a video of Buzz Aldrin handing out candy to trick-or-treaters to convince Howard to stop, showing a man who not only can’t stop mentioning going to space, but even picks his Halloween candy with space in mind.

Amy is in a similar situation with Sheldon, struggling to find a Halloween costume that they’ll both agree on. Granted, the fact that Sheldon even wants to do a couple’s costume at all is remarkable, but Amy definitely didn’t have C-3PO and R2-D2 in mind when she broached the topic. Amy points out that she makes compromises for him all this time, and that just this once she wants something they both agree with. He suggests Hewlett and Packard, but she has to be Packard. Later, he creates a Venn diagram of the couples they like, with Sheldon’s circle containing pairs like Batman and Robin and a Doctor and a Dalek while Amy’s circle has Jack and Rose, Dharma and Greg, and, in a fantastic little Easter Egg, Blossom and Joey. Sheldon definitely can’t play Joey. He won’t be Raggedy Ann and Andy, and as he turns down more suggestions, Amy gets angrier until she finally snaps at him, explaining that she needs a boyfriend who isn’t so distant that he may as well be imaginary. This has been a concern of Amy’s before, and eventually she’ll have to come to the realization that forcing Sheldon to be her boyfriend is basically the same as making one up. Until then, she’ll gladly show up at a Halloween party as Raggedy Ann and Raggedy C-3PO.

During the girls’ Cheesecake Factory night out at the start of the episode, we begin to see some more of the selfish Penny who doesn’t really seem to be all that interested in her boyfriend. She doesn’t want to go to the Halloween party because of the potential creeps at the comic shop, and when Amy and Bernadette tell her that she should go because it would make Leonard happy, Penny says it’s Leonard’s job to make her happy. All she’s obligated to do is let him make her happy. The other girls grill her about her distance in this relationship, asking her if she even knows what Leonard does for a living. She doesn’t, and they try to explain it, but it just makes it harder to understand, so she decides to get a hands-on lesson from the physicist himself.

Hands-on lesson means have sex, because when Penny goes to Leonard’s lab and has some raw science unleashed on her, she starts getting frisky. Apparently holograms and Maglev systems get Penny all hot and bothered, because Leonard has a whole lot of sex in this episode. They even fuck in the TARDIS photo booth at Stuart’s party, and Penny’s sexy cop gets to have her way with Leonard’s Albert Einstein. Maybe Penny has developed nerd fetish? It’s nice to see Penny actually attracted to Leonard, and this episode strengthens their relationship for the first time since they’ve gotten back together.

Despite his lack of skill with food puns, Raj throws a great party, showing up as Indiana Jones’ mocha-skinned love child, Indian Jones. Stuart is Willy Wonka, and he’s just as bad at talking to girls as Raj is, fumbling through some lines about how he put the party together when he crosses paths with a pretty lady at the food table. Raj gets mad that Stuart is taking credit for the party, but he’s probably just jealous that Stuart is a) able to talk to a girl b) not giving him attention.


Stray observations:

  • Amy puts two tea bags in one cup like a real bad girl.
  • Amy doesn’t like Star Wars. How could that not be a clause in the relationship agreement?
  • Penny is a sexy cop because slutty cop just came with a skirt and two badge nipple pasties.
  • “Ain’t no party like a Koothrapparty.”
  • “Do you think your husband’s fondness for turtlenecks is an expression of longing for his missing foreskin?”
  • Amy: “There are certain things that say to the world, ‘I have a boyfriend and he’s not made up.’ Matching costumes, hickeys, and sex tapes.” Sheldon: “What’s a hickey?”
  • “I’m gonna be washing paint out of my smurf for a month.”
  • Howard: “Two weeks ago, I was an astronaut.” Bernadette: “Well now you’re a Smurf. Keep walkin’.”