‘The Big Bang Theory’ has two solid plot lines tonight, both focusing on scientists endeavoring to better themselves through social experiments with the potential for hurt feelings and disastrous results. Which of course means the show was operating right within it’s wheelhouse, making for a very funny and entertaining episode.
The main story focused on Sheldon (as usually happens), who early in the episode is frustrated after Raj claims he is “fine” after revealing he is single once more, and Sheldon misses the social que informing everyone else that Raj is anything but. Lamenting his lack of skills with emotions, Bernadette says she read about a new machine being developed at MIT which can interpret the emotions of humans with an 85% accuracy rate, which Howard is happy to put in Sheldon’s name to be a beta tester for. Soon enough, the machine arrives, and Howard, Sheldon and Amy test the machine, with Sheldon being able to use the machine to tell that Amy is happy looking at puppies (despite their sharp teeth), and sad looking at her grandmother, which Sheldon believes is because Amy is worried she will inherit her grandmother’s turkey neck (which is of course followed by the machine telling Sheldon that Amy is now mad, which confuses him). Overjoyed at how well the machine works, Sheldon and Amy bring it over to Leonard and Penny’s place, where it reveals that Leonard is secretly angry that Penny invited her brother to come live with them while he looks for work in LA, a fact that he had tried to be cool with before. While the machine reveals that Amy and Sheldon are secretly enjoying watching their friends fight, Leonard says it was unfair of Penny to tell her brother he could stay with them without asking him first, while Penny throws out that it was no different than Leonard making her live with Sheldon for over a year after they got married. Sheldon is hurt, especially after he shared his Cheerios with her (which she points out he always charged her for) and he and Amy storm out, which Amy points out doesn’t work as well if they chat about storming out while they do it. Back at their apartment, Sheldon tells Amy that the machine has actually made him sad, as it has pointed out how little progress he has made over the years with his social issues. She reminds him that he has made progress nonetheless, and often can tell her emotions even without the machine, which is more than enough for her. Penny and Leonard visit later and apologize for sucking Sheldon into their fight, and share that Penny’s brother will not be staying with them, with Penny saying she is going to tell her dad that Leonard had a problem with it. Sheldon realizes on his own that Leonard is angry about being thrown under the bus, and congratulates himself on being able to read emotions without the machine, and heads back inside his apartment, leaving the married couple to resolve things on their own.
Raj meanwhile, gets the idea in his head that he should gather all of his ex-girlfriends and have a discussion with them about what made him a bad boyfriend. Despite Howard and Bernadette telling him it is a terrible idea, and Bernie warning him it will only result in hurt feelings for him, Raj proceeds nonetheless, with Howard coming along to take notes and interpret for the original Emily (you know, the deaf red-head who only liked Raj until he was cut off from his money). The ex-conference is awkward and, not surprisingly, a little humiliating for Raj, as the girls discuss how he was always putting them in situations that were uncomfortable (such as this discussion), his vanity (apparently he spends a lot of time on his eyebrows), his problems in bed, and the fact that he is a bit of a mama’s boy, which Raj demands that Howard write as “loves his mommy” in the notes for the meeting. They also learn that Raj apparently taught all of them exactly what they did not want in a man, as almost every one of the ladies followed up their relationship with Raj by finding their current boyfriends, who apparently are all amazing. And when Howard jumps to Raj’s defense and Emily Two asks why the two men never dated, even Howard jokes that he had to suffer through Raj to find Bernadette, none of which is very amusing to poor Raj. After the ladies leave, Raj laments his love life, and the guys joke about how maybe they should get together in 30 or so years if things don’t work out with Bernadette, a joke which Howard thinks is hilarious even if Raj says that he would swoop on Bernie the second she broke it off with Howard (though apparently Stuart has first dibs).
When the gang reconvenes at the end of the night, they discuss how new moms supposedly are biologically more able to detect emotions than normal people, which intrigues Sheldon, as he asks Bernadette to read him. She claims he feels he is superior to everyone else in the room, feels slightly sorry for them, but would not trade places with any of them, and Sheldon is of course very impressed at how accurate she is.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
LEONARD: (on Penny’s brother becoming a Pharmaceutical rep) I’m sure he’ll appreciate carrying his samples in a briefcase instead of his colon.
RAJ: Don’t worry, I’m a grown man, I have a thick skin.
HOWARD: You’re so stupid.
RAJ: (hurt) HEEEEY!
PENNY: How is this any different than you making me live with Sheldon?
SHELDON: Hey! I shared my Honey Nut Cheerios with you!
AMY: (on Sheldon getting better with emotions) There have definitely been days when I’ve been sad and you could tell.
SHELDON: Yeah but that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. You’re kind of a sad sack.
EMILY: Honestly, I’m surprised you two didn’t end up together.
HOWARD: (after a beat) Well… like you gals, I had to suffer through him to find Bernadette.
Pretty spot on episode for the show, and I really liked the emotion detector, though I enjoy any plotline on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ that has them playing with some new scientific device, that seems to be when the show is at its best. Yet despite how enjoyable the ex-conference was, I really hope the “sad Raj’ lovelife storylines are leading up to something, as I am tired of seeing him dumped on for no apparently reason, and I feel like pretty soon his character needs to grow up, and learn to be an adult, who can hold onto a relationship, especially if that is what he really wants. See you back here soon for more ‘Big Bang Theory’ reviews!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)