There are lots of reasons to love “Big Bang Theory,” and many of them were on display in last week’s episode, titled “The 21-second Excitation.” The show revolved around the guys’ excitement about a special screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” that featured 21 seconds of new footage. Penny and Bernadette got to try and bond with Amy, and the Evil Wil Wheaton made another randomly fabulous appearance.
Mayim Bialik’s “Amy” continues to be the welcome counterpart to Sheldon in ways that Sarah Gilbert’s “Leslie Winkle” has never quite managed. As slow to understand social interaction as he is, their relationship/companionship is wonderfully odd. Just don’t tell Sheldon. This week we saw Amy try to ingratiate herself more into the group by pretending to agree with them every so often so they would like her more, and then telling them she was doing it.
Her social awkwardness comes to bear especially well in her interactions with Penny. This week, she invited herself along to the girls’ night that Howard’s girlfriend Bernadette had accidentally let slip they were having. Watching Amy try to navigate female friendship by telling Penny and Bernadette about her extra firm cervix and tilted uterus was both funny and uncomfortable. Then there was her “slumber party” checklist that she looked up online on her phone, and in true Amy/Sheldon fashion, decided to follow step-by-step.
In “Big Bang’s” first couple of episodes back in 2007, the character of Penny was a little worrisome. A little too “dumb blonde from the sticks.” As time wore on, her character expanded a bit, and we saw her become more of a normal girl with a lot more social perception than her genius-IQ counterparts. Penny as she is now is far from stupid, and provides the emotional and sane counterpart to alot of her nerdy neighbors’ awkwardness.
We also continue to watch her complicated off-again relationship with Leonard. The writers this season are doing a much better job than they did last, of setting up just why Penny and Leonard don’t work-yet. This episode saw Penny get very uncomfortable after Amy asked her what she was going to do if Leonard found someone else while Penny was still dragging her feet on their relationship. Penny got visibly upset and refused to answer the question, leaving viewers with the knowledge that her feelings for Leonard are far from gone.
Leonard truly is his brother’s keeper on this show, looking out for Sheldon and tolerating him in ways that many others, including Howard and Raj, wouldn’t have the strength for. Watching the interaction between the group of guys as they wait in line to be seated for the special screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” tells you everything you need to know. After heckling the other three about waiting too long to get in line-“I informed you thusly”-Sheldon proceeds to fall asleep and let the others handle the wait. Raj accidentally wakes Sheldon up, and Leonard promptly chastises him for waking him, complaining that he “had just gotten him down for his nap.”
Evil Wil Wheaton
Making actor Wil Wheaton, of “Star Trek” fame, play a twisted version of himself just to get under Sheldon’s skin was an inspired bit of casting. There’s no real reason why outside of the constructs of “Big Bang” that he and Sheldon should spar, and yet Evil Wil Wheaton has become Sheldon’s archnemesis. When he’s recognized by the guy manning the line and invited into the “Raiders” screening, he starts tweeting immediately about how awesome his seats are, etc., ending his post with “suck on that Sheldon Cooper.” Sheldon and co. obviously don’t get seats to get “Raiders,” specifically because Wheaton cut the line.
“Big Bang Theory” can be seen on CBS on Thursday nights at 8pm. Seasons 1-3 are currently available on DVD both in-store and online.