The Big Bang Theory S4E8 review
|REVIEWS - TV|
Star Trek's biggest Nemesis returns to haunt Sheldon...
"The 21-Second Excitation"
Series villain Wil Wheaton makes a welcome return this week as Sheldon Cooper's personal nemesis, a King Among Geeks always more than willing to abuse his power to take our hero down a few pegs.
But this time he's gone too far. When Wheaton (once again playing himself) and his cronies oust Sheldon and Co. from the first screening of a new version of Raiders Of The Lost Ark (a version with an extra 21 seconds which apparently explains 'the submarine issue'), Sheldon's sense of civic propriety - subject to the strength of his geek desires at the best of times - is penetrated. Cooper finishes up stealing the precious new version of Raiders from the cinema after sneaking in through a side door, pursued down the street by a rampaging horde of Raiders fans.
That's the central plot done with for this ep, but some of the real pleasure here was to be found in Mayim Bialik's deepening character of Sheldon's girlfriend ('She's NOT my girlfriend!') Amy Farrah Fowler. Her Spock-like rationale for crashing Penny's girls' night with Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) is unfaultable: "I'm a girl", and her attempts at some no-guys relaxation with the other more laid-back girls is both hilarious and touchingly sad - without remotely trying to milk it.
This side-plot actually drives the season forward more than the shenanigans over at the Raiders screening, since it becomes clear in the course of the girly games of this stuttering slumber-party that Penny is beginning to think that her break-up with Leonard was really just mis-timing. He was getting too serious too early, but now that he's free again, she wonders how she'd feel to see him really hook up with someone else.
Damn, this show is on form this season. Big Bang Theory has never had the balance quite this right, and it's never been so consistently funny and also faithful to its geek origins. Unlike The IT Crowd (whose writer, BBT fan Graham Linehan, will probably admit as much), Big Bang Theory doesn't hesitate to throw full-on geek jokes out to its core audience, confident that there's enough mainstream mayhem not to alienate the wider viewers.
My only concern is that the writers let Kaley Cuoco have a little fun, as the others have been enjoying in her absence, before advancing back into the Penny/Sheldon conundrum. But perhaps she had to ride out that period of leisure in the hospital. Anyway, it's good to have her back.
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