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

The Big Bang Theory: “The Spoiler Alert Segmentation”

Illustration for article titled The Big Bang Theory: “The Spoiler Alert Segmentation”

You know what’s great about The Big Bang Theory? It has been so inconsistent that viewers have never had to worry that it will suddenly take a dip in quality, unlike a certain other comedy premiering tonight. The Big Bang Theory has stuck to the same formula for six seasons now, and while it's hit-or-miss ratio is split pretty evenly down the middle, it still garners huge ratings and Emmy Awards, so why switch it up? Whenever Big Bang has a streak of bad episodes, it course corrects with a few solid-to-great stories, then repeats the process. The show is on the upswing right now, and “The Spoiler Alert Segmentation” is another strong episode that brings the character relationships to the forefront. Sheldon also gets called out on his behavior for the second week in a row, which is just fantastic.

If there’s anything this series has taught us, it is that it would be horrible to live with Sheldon Cooper. It would be difficult to have Sheldon as a random acquaintance, so the prospect of living with him is downright horrific. When Sheldon spoils Dumbledore’s death in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, Leonard decides that it’s time to move out, making the hare-brained assumption that Penny wouldn’t mind if he moved in with her. It’s hard to believe that Leonard has been able to avoid both the Harry Potter novels and films for this long, but it will do because it leads to great material for both roommates and their significant others.

When Leonard leaves the apartment, Amy tricks Sheldon into letting her move in by asking if he would take on a new roommate who was also a scientist and accustomed to his habits. He says he would, and Amy is of course talking about herself, which puts Sheldon on a relationship path that he’s not ready for. Penny is in a similar situation with Leonard, except she actually cares about his feelings, while Sheldon is just concerned with convenience. Couples not ready to move in together isn’t the most original sitcom plot, but it’s one that is finely executed by these actors, who get a chance to really dig into the character conflicts that have been building throughout the season.

Penny and Leonard are back together, but she’s still afraid of getting too committed despite finally saying, “I love you.” Sheldon and Penny have always had the strongest chemistry of any pairing on this show, and this week’s episode has them at odds, yet in the exact same position. They both want to get rid of their roommates because they’re not ready to accelerate their romantic relationships, but there’s no way that no one is getting hurt in the process. Sheldon makes things very easy by blaming Penny when he kicks out Amy, which sends Amy across the hall to confront Penny, who confronts Sheldon, who ends up telling Leonard everything about Penny’s reluctance to live with her boyfriend. With everyone’s feelings out in the open, Leonard moves back across the hall, and in an intriguing development, Amy runs into Penny’s apartment. Hopefully that means they’re going to be roommates, because that would be a lot of fun.

The highlight of this episode comes during the scene where Sheldon and Amy are trying to live as roommates. She gets his Chinese food exactly the way he likes and has even written a new joint voice mail message for him to record, but Sheldon’s response is blunt: “You can’t live here.” Unlike last week, we’re never offered a reason to sympathize with Sheldon, and there haven’t been many of those kinds of moments in the entirety of Amy and Sheldon’s relationship. Amy is confused and asks if she did everything he asked for, and Sheldon says she did, which is not what she wants to hear. “So what the hell, Sheldon?!” she yells, setting her on a fiery tantrum that attacks Sheldon for being a shitty boyfriend, and it’s a fact that he can’t argue with. That’s when he blames it all on Penny. We have a little more insight into Sheldon’s relationship with Amy after last week, and it’s possible that her tantrum in this episode is the thing that will force him to shape up as a romantic partner. It feels like this season is building to a Sheldon/Amy kiss in the finale, and right now would be the time to get those wheels in motion.

What drags this episode down is the Raj and Howard subplot, which has Howard and Bernadette getting shuffled off to Vegas so that Raj can have a storyline with Mrs. Wolowitz. It starts off on the right track, with Simon Helberg giving a fantastic monologue detailing what exactly Raj does when he goes out to Hollywood to get some action: pay $20 to park, stand on the sidewalk, pay the bouncer to let him in to the club, push his way to the bar, pay $18 for a Cosmo, fantasize about a girl he sees, watch her leave with a guy who allegedly wrote Beverly Hills Chihuahua, go to Marie Callendar’s, buy a pie, and eat it in the parking lot. But things take a turn for the worse once Raj ends up at Howard’s house, where he’s taken hostage by his best friend’s mother. It’s a lot of fat jokes and Jew jokes, which serve their purpose, but ultimately feel hollow. The tag features Raj trying to sneak out of Howard’s bedroom window and getting pulled by in by Mrs. Wolowitz’s massive arms, and the best thing that can be said about it is that it’s really short.


Stray observations:

  • Who thinks that they’ll reveal Howard’s mom by the end of this series? I can see that being a series finale gag.
  • Penny has great hair when she wears it down this week. It’s like a modern blond Rachel. Less great hair: Kaley Cuoco at the SAG Awards.
  • Amy stopped wearing lip gloss because Sheldon said it made her lips look too slippery. The only thing worse than living with Sheldon Cooper is dating Sheldon Cooper.
  • “I think your morning cocoa puffs are turning you into a hysterical woman.”
  • “Leonard, wait! (Pause.) Dobby the elf dies in book seven.”
  • “You guys make such a cute couple. Like Bert and Ernie. You guys even teach me stuff about words and numbers!”
  • “Feelings? Who am I, a hippie at a love-in?”
  • “Spoiler alert: This door’s about to slam in your face.”
  • “If you don’t get out now, she will use food and guilt to keep you there the rest of your life.”
  • “Kick him out, break his heart. Everybody wins.”
  • “’Cuz we out droppin’ science, son!” I want to record a voice mail with Amy Farrah Fowler.
  • Sheldon: “Have you seen the one where Laurie dies?” Leonard: “No.” Sheldon: “Or maybe she doesn’t. Let’s find out.”