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The Big Bang Theory S4E3 review

REVIEWS - TV

Sheldon seeks feline society, but it has nothing NOTHING to do with his split with Amy...

Sheldon's fine. Fine. He's fine.

"The Zazzy Substitution"

The fart gags have gone this week, but then so has the hilarious nerd misuse of technology as we dip back into the season-theme of the humanisation of Sheldon Cooper.

As Howard succinctly points out when professional bickering cause Sheldon and hyper-nerd biology-researcher girlfriend ('She's not my girlfriend') Amy to end their relationship: "Women - can't live without them, can't refute their professional hypotheses'.

Sheldon's native state is Denial and highly elliptical handling of emotional crises, so he fails to see any connection between the loss of his...whatever the hell she is to the fact that he almost immediately begins filling the apartment with cats, all named after members of the Manhattan project. Sheldon's inner child is clearly locked away in a stoutly-sealed cupboard, but there's a limit to what it will put up with.

Well, having finally established with reasonable certainty that Sheldon bats for the home team (if he bats at all), we now know that in that clinical fact-factory he calls a heart, there is something beyond rationality and OCD-driven cleanliness.

The day is saved by Sheldon's fundamentalist-Christian mom, played with her usual adroitness by Laurie Metcalf, called to the site of the substitute-cat plague by a desperate Leonard. Even the cheapest psychological mind-games from mom are enough to reunite our estranged...err, again, whatever the hell they are, and pretty soon our favourite heart-locked professor is having an unorthodox cat-sale where the buyers get paid to spirit away the moggy invasion.

We can expect another 10-12 eps solely concentrating on this season-arc. Sometimes I wish BBT would go a little more Seinfeld, because the episodes where no-one learns anything are by far the funniest, and this particular set-up of psychologically-dammed characters gives so much scope for comedy when the show moves away from its season theme. The first two episodes of this season were in that class, and they were real winners. The main fear that I have is that Sheldon may end up dealing with the ups and downs of love in the same conventional way characters in most sit-coms do, even if the expression is unorthodox.

Providing the real comedy in Zazzy Substitution were Metcalf and Raj, who, with a couple of beers inside him, is not only able to speak in front of Penny but take her slovenly apartment down several pegs. If Raj isn't going to get his own season story later, he's still got a lot of potential for more than the off-the-cuff nerdisms and autistic incidents which hallmark his contribution to BBT.

 

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