Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Big Bang Theory, "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis": The search for Spock

So, a bunch of people in the "HIMYM" post started going on and on about the wonderful final scene from last night's "Big Bang Theory," with some going so far as to discuss certain elements of it in such detail that I worried the joke had been ruined. Turns out, the moment was so expertly-played by Jim Parsons that no amount of advance knowledge could have spoiled the gag. Alas, "Big Bang" isn't available anywhere on-line, but feel free to discuss the joke -- and the episode -- in the comments.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

it just goes you, alan...

you should watch and review bbt first. then himym.

always.

ok?

anonymous (who can't edit) said...

blerg!

"it just goes to show you, alan..."

Alan Sepinwall said...

Nah. It was a great scene, but I still liked the HIMYM episode better.

ap said...

I've never commented here before but I have to say that Sheldon's freakout over Penny's Christmas gift to him and his "gifts" in return were the most hilarious moments on the show yet.

Ryler32 said...

The Big Bang Theory is simply the funniest show on TV. I am so glad people are finally watching it. The show is hilarious.

Liz C. said...

If you're a real geek, then you gasped out loud when Penny said that the napkin was dirty, because you thought the exact same thing Sheldon did - DNA!!!

I both gasped and screamed.

marlark said...

I watched BBT 3 eps ago based on my fellow-geeky brother's recommendation. I was disappointed I didn't laugh. Then I gave it another shot. Hysterical. Last night clinched it. Never go against the family.

Yes, start with a Bang before Meeting Your Mother. Wait. That was an unfortunate string of words. (pushing up glasses)

Anonymous said...

sheldon: "you didn't give me a gift, you gave me an obligation."

heh.

i don't feel that way about gifts, but i do feel that way about "christmas cards." they go on forever!

<3 bbt

Anonymous said...

The relevant scene is available at AOL TV, even if the whole episode isn't. The Big Bang Theory leaves me cold, but Jim Parsons deserves any and every award he gets.

Anonymous said...

I've been kinda back and forth on BBT. I have not watched any of it last season, but this season I have had it on while making dinner (MOnday is pasta night and Tuesday is leftover pasta night) pre-HIMYM and Sheldon seems like a fun character and that chick is hot. I'm digging it more and more. Is the first season worth checking out?

Hey, the word verification phrase is "ament," same as the bass player for Pearl Jam. Kinda cool.

Simon H. said...

In my defense, I tried to be as vague as possible about the ending in case others hadn't seen it. That being said, the episode overall was better than HIMYM last night, for the main fact that both stories in Big Bang for the most part worked well despite a slow start(and folded into each other in a classically funny way at the end), while Mother's main story with Ted's sister was not very interesting at all. The stuff around the edges worked beautifully, but then that's often the case with Mother.

Kensington said...

Without going into details, I'd just like to point out that Alan's statement about the show not being available online anywhere isn't strictly accurate.

I'm a bit surprised there hasn't been a torrent of other comments pointing this out. Oh, well!

That said, I'm truly surprised that CBS isn't offering full episodes online. I'd think that would be an obvious thing to do, particularly with a show that's got a particularly tech-friendly audience base.

CBS.com does have some highlights from the episode, however.

Merry Christmas!

Kenrick said...

The end scene was quite hilarious. I was waiting to see how Sheldon would try to repay Penny for her priceless gift. It was great how even with all the gift baskets he bought, you could visually see on his face how he knew those would not even come close to being of equal value. His smugness about having a foolproof plan to give an item of equal value was a great setup.

Btw, although I empathize with you, Alan, about the fear of being spoiled (I can get pretty PO'd myself), we don't usually expect a Big Bang Theory post from you, so our only outlet is on the discussion portion of a neighboring show. It was just so brilliant we could hardly contain ourselves.

LA said...

Please don't mock me, but honestly, when Sheldon came out with Penny's gift at the end, I got a teensy bit choked up. Best scene of the series to date.

If you're a real geek, then you gasped out loud when Penny said that the napkin was dirty, because you thought the exact same thing Sheldon did - DNA!!!

Damn, I must be a geek!

Kenrick said...

@LA - don't worry, I thought it was actually a very touching moment. It really showed how much Sheldon appreciated the gift, and would very much like to repay her but not really knowing how.

Anonymous said...

The clip itself is (mostly) here http://www.cbs.com/primetime/big_bang_theory/video/video.php?cid=501654023&pid=M5FNkgUiwg0ErO0uzzrQF7APKX3xTFim&play=true

anonymous (alan lover...) said...

its ok. cut alan some slack. i love alan. bestest blogger ever.

but i know why alan reviews himym before bbt.

see, alan isn't a geek like the rest of us. i'd bet that alan was qb1 on his high school team. alan had the coolest rally girl, dated the head cheerleader. had a brother named billy and stole copper wire and shit. i want to party with h.s. alan!

rock on! alan. i love you, man!

tell billy i love him too!

lunatic96 said...

I tried watching the big bang theory, but the laugh track just got ridiculous. It's really not necessary to laugh every time a character speaks or moves.

Kris said...

Hurray for BBT review!!!

When the show first came on, I didn't enjoy it at all. Penny was too stupid, the men just too smart.

But as hubby enjoyed it, we kept watching. Penny got a little smarter and the guys are still too smart, lol. But they sure do grow on you! And watching Sheldon, who is so clearly autistic, makes my heart swell.

The ending scene was just too sweet for words. His last gift to Penny, and how much he knew it was appropriate made me actually tear up.

I hope you continue leaving us geeks a place to review this great show, even if you are to quarter-backy to really enjoy it as much as we do!

Alan Sepinwall said...

It is possible to be a geek and not love this show, you know.

(My high school classmates would get a kick out of the idea of me as a football stud.)

As I've said in the past, the writing always walks the knife edge between laughing with the characters and laughing at them, and though the with-to-at ratio has gotten better, there's still enough lingering contempt for the nerds to bother me.

And even beyond that factor, I find the comedy very hit or miss. Sheldon's freak-out at the Spock napkin was hilarious, and I laughed at Howard and Raj's running commentary on Sheldon's first scene with Penny, but the rest of the episode did very little for me. My wife, who's a much bigger BBT fan, had already watched the episode last night and was watching it again with me, and I can think of at least a half-dozen times when she turned away from the TV to look at me -- her cue for "you're supposed to be laughing here" -- and I was completely non-reactive.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, and in case anyone doubts my geek cred, my initial reaction to the argument about Superman cleaning his costume was "This whole question is moot, because John Byrne retconned it 20 years ago so that Supes' costume isn't indestructible anymore, but can't be torn so long as he's wearing it tight to his skin."

Anonymous said...

is it me, or was the guy who played the stud geek that Penny went out with and Leonard looked up to a clone of Dane Cook?
I had to wait for the closing credits to make sure it WASN't him, then realized it could not have been, cause the guy in BBT was funny.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It was Michael Trucco, who's a castmember on Battlestar Galactica. Given the guys' love of BSG, I'm surprised the writers didn't go for some kind of brief in-joke.

Matt said...

I tried BBT a couple of times last year, but couldn't get over how much it seemed like the writers despised each and every single one of their characters. Penny is hot, but stupid, isn't that funny? Isn't she dumb? Sheldon and Leonard are socially awkward. Isn't that funny? Aren't they awkward? You can have awkward, silly, and dumb characters who writers seem to love (witness most of the characters on "The Office"), but I just couldn't deal with the level of contempt.

Anonymous said...

I'm a definite geek who really enjoys the geek humor but sometimes gets impatient with the rest of the show. I couldn't make it all the way through the pilot, just because of all awkwardly sitcom-y it was. It's certainly gotten better, but it still lacks the heart of shows like Scrubs and Office, the punch of a show like 30 Rock, or the creativity of a show like HIMYM.
And was anyone else annoyed by the fact that there was no mention Monday night of Leonard's current girlfriend?

leor said...

finally a BBT post so i can bring this up: does anybody else read the production slates at the end of the episodes? i just started a few episodes ago, and they're often quite clever!

Matt said...

Is this the Big Bang Theory scene everyone is discussing?

Matt said...

Nevermind, the clip has nothing to do with what you guys describe, although the title sure sounded like it could have been

Bobman said...

IT's a sign of the times and how fast we have "evolved" that I get very angry when a show isn't available, legally, online. My power has been out for going on six days now (I live in NH), and I've been staying with various family members and friends who don't have DVRs or at least don't DVR the same things I do, so I've had to try to catch up on all my shows via the interwebs on my laptop. For the most part it hasn't been too bad, as most every show I watch is online legally, but last night I realized I had to watch BBT and couldn't find it ANYWHERE, and had to resort to alternative methods of viewing.

erin said...

Count me as one who now finds BBT appointment TV. I thought it tried too hard when it premiered last year, but this season it has gelled so much better. I feel the friends all have so much chemistry, both with Penny and with each other, and Jim Parsons is just so wonderful and complicated, that it works for me. I find the show to be surprisingly sweet, and I think the writers have real affection for their characters. Yeah, they're total geeks, but at least they know it and can tease each other about it. Good, good stuff!

henry said...

I personally think the entire episode was great. The final scene proved to be absolutely hilarious. And I also kept wondering when the writers would put an in-joke into the episode about Trucco's BSG origins, but nothing came to pass. Only disappointment of the episode.

Alan Sepinwall said...

A bootleg clip of the scene on YouTube.

Pirate Alice said...

I have only caught a few episodes of this show (the whole episode) and luckily I watched Monday's episode before HIMYM. I can't believe I'm not watching this show on a regular basis. Each time I catch the show, it makes me laugh. I'm totally setting my DVR to record all eps from now on.

Simon H. said...

I don't buy the argument that the writers of BBT have contempt for their characters. That scene at the end the other night showed me that they probably have more affection for them then the audience does. The four male characters are pathetic and nerdy, but the show more often then not celebrates it to a certain extent, so much so that you end up rooting for them much more than against them. You want Penny to get together with Leonard at some point, and you want Sheldon to find some joy in life and get away from his obsessive-compulsive desires while still enjoying the humor that comes from his quarks. It's along those same silly lines some people hate Everybody Loves Raymond because they think the characters are there to be mean to each other, which totally misses the point of the show.

Anonymous said...

Kris- I totally agree with your behavior assessment. Jim Parsons has said that he is not playing a character with an Autism Spectrum Disorder but as one who spends her days with autistic children, I can tell you that his is the most Aspergian non-autistic person I've ever seen. Shonda Rhimes should be taking notes!

LA said...

Matt - I don't know how early last season you tried BBT, but they've made a concerted effort to wizen Penny up since the earliest episodes. She started off as a corn-fed bumpkin, completely clueless about everything. Now, she's rather street smart and not the helpless little eyelash-batting thing from the early days. It plays much better off Sheldon and Leonard this way.

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who got a little misty at the end of the last epi.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anybody else would agree with me, but this show reminds me a lot of Mork & Mindy.

The particulars are obviously much different and its hard to compare anybody to Robin Williams ever, but Sheldon and Mork have a lot of character traits in common while Penny and Mindy are put in the position of explaining how every day life on Earth is supposed to work.

Plus, I get the feeling with both shows that the stand out characters are better than the shows themselves. But in the end, I'm fond of BBT in a similar way that I was fond of Mork & Mindy.

erin said...

Re: Shonda Rimes and Autism...I totally agree. I love Mary McDonnell, but her characterization of someone with autism just bugs me, and i don't know if it's the writing, acting or combination of both.

Sheldon seems like a real person with that condition. I don't know much about autism spectrum cases, but he seems like he would fit the bill. I'm glad you agree!

Anonymous said...

I was able to find episodes of BBT on tvshack.net if anyone is interested. I love this show and LMAO when I saw this episode.

Ginny said...

Anon 8:58am, (if I may call you that)I think Leonard and Stephanie broke up by text last week. Agree this season is much better than last. The characters are very likeable now--even Sheldon. The ending was so sweet.

Anonymous said...

Well, that was the first and last episode of BBT that I'll ever watch. I've heard all the praise for Parsons. Seen Alan occasionally blogging about the show. And his hype for this one great joke finally pushed me to check out an episode.

Occasionally, I'll be disappointed with an episode of "Mother." However, even the worst episode of "Mother" is Masterpiece Theatre compared to the best episode of "BBT."

The show is painfully, cringe inducingly unfunny.

Let me guess, all of you people who swear by it thought "Napoleon Dynamite" was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and not bargain basement Wes Anderson without the production value or the heart.

Thank God "Mother" finally started beating it in the ratings. Now that is a show worth talking about.

Gob's frozen pigeon said...

Anon 8:58am, (if I may call you that)I think Leonard and Stephanie broke up by text last week.

Heh-heh on the "if I may call you that." My take was he breakup-texted Stephanie, lamenting "I'm never having sex again," and she immediately texted back. We don't know what she said in the text, but Leonard brightened, said something like "Apparently not!" and zoomed out the door. To have makeup sex.

Another highlight of the "Bath Item" ep was the intro. They sayt around their work lunch table discussing Superman's Cryptonian tetherball-induced condiment-encrusted pit stains. I showed this ep to my H last night for the first time--he's a construction guy and SO not a nerd--and by the time of the Nimoy napkin scene he was rolling in tears too. I hope to convert him.

This is hands down the funniest show on the air now. I actually get excited when it appears in my Tivo queue.

Must go pour some rum into an eggnog carton now.

Ginny said...

Gob's frozen pigeon--You're probably right..I couldn't quite remember (my kids are forever talking to me when my two shows are on! Nervy!)so, I was relying on the CBS website's (measly) recap. Guess I need to put some more eggnog in my eggnog. If so,then yes, it is weird that they didn't mention Dr. Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anon three posts above me: THANK YOU. I thought I was going crazy there for a second, based on all the other comments. I, too, watched it for the first time based on this entry. I can't believe the positive reaction -- that was without a doubt the most unfunny thing I've seen this year. This was supposed to be one of the better episodes?

erin said...

Guys--if you really hate the show that much, why are you bothering to comment? Gracious. Just stick to the HIMYM blog comments where you'll be happier. Even Alan, who admittedly isn't that big a fan of the show, isn't so unpleasant. Geez.

Kensington said...

Love Big Bang Theory.

Hate Napoleon Dynamite.

So much for that theory.

Bobman said...

Guys--if you really hate the show that much, why are you bothering to comment?

I find it best just skip over the comments that start with the word Anonymous. Nine times out of ten they are just belligerent garbage.

Anonymous said...

hey Bobman,

Either that, or maybe someone with the intelligence to present a dissenting view.

To call it "belligerent garbage" represents to me the Fox News way of thinking that everyone else's view point if it differs from their own is invalid.

But hey Bobman, maybe you really are on the intelligence level of the people at Fox News.

Sincerely Yours,

Anonymous

Steve said...

I have seen bits and pieces of the show, but this was the first full episode that I watched. It was okay.

Sheldon is very funny and the actor that plays him has great delivery.

However, I cannot get over how much the show's laugh track butchers the show. I can't remember the last time I was annoyed so much by a laugh track.

P.S. The Stephen Hawing phone sex joke was a lot better in the standup routine by either Louis CK or Patton Oswald (can't remember).

Anonymous said...

To call it "belligerent garbage" represents to me the Fox News way of thinking that everyone else's view point if it differs from their own is invalid.

Take that crap to Television Without Pity, where it belongs.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay everybody, calm the hell down, okay?

Rule #1 of What's Alan Watching?: Play nice with each other.

If you can't remember that, I shut down the comments.

dark tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dark tyler said...

Okay, is this one of the mass hallucination thingies like when James Spader wins his Emmys? Because, seriously.

Seriously.

That thing isn't funny.

Dani in NC said...

I liked the fact that this final scene showed some growth on Penny's part. In the early episodes of the first season, she was written as a girl who was totally oblivious to anything that appealed to geeks. Now Penny is shown as someone who understands that they are really passionate about their hobbies, even if she doesn't totally get them. The Penny of the first season wouldn't have understood how much Sheldon would cherish that napkin.

OldDarth said...

Chuck gets my live viewing but this show gets watched afterwards.

The napkin scene was nerdvana!

Pamela Jaye said...

was away - and in a car on Monday night - and didn't get to see this till tonight.

i was trying to read all the comments but only made it to this one;

my brother asked what happened to stephanie, probably right before I did. what is up? (my apostrophe just died)

i was almost distracted to the point of checking the production numbers. then we had an argument about the meaning of the word "now" in the sentence "i am going to have to check the production numbers now" (i feel like Data without my apostrophe!)

I tried BBT a couple of times last year, but couldn't get over how much it seemed like the writers despised each and every single one of their characters. Penny is hot, but stupid, isn't that funny? Isn't she dumb? Sheldon and Leonard are socially awkward. Isn't that funny? Aren't they awkward?

I really liked that Leonard was less awkward than Sheldon. He was a geek, yes, but at least had some social graces. and i was happy when he got a girlfriend. I cheered for Leonard - especially when I could remember which character had which name...

and if no one took this yet - is it not Aspergers, not Autism?

thanks for posting on this. I only notice the laugh track when showing the show to a friend who i am trying to impress (and wishing I had a better ep, like the license ep or the Penny online gaming ep)

oh, and the closing vanity cards, which have been around since Dharma and Greg, at least, can be found at www.chucklorre.com - if someone else has not - sigh - already said this. I only watched the pilot of D&G and one other ep, but still when i saw Chuck Lorre in the Pilot credits (opening), I jumped right to the end to see if he was still doing it. He was going on about DVRs and VCRs and pause buttons... :-)

Pamela Jaye said...

Bobman, I (just miss) feeling your pain. We left for Mass just after the power killing storm, and fled just before the next one. (left boston at 6pm, made it to Delaware at 2am)

I did resort to other means, but didnt have time to watch, so I ended up watching on my DVD tonight.

If anyone has mythtv, I'd like to point out that the Choice Hotel chain blocks port 8080, so you can't (ooh! my apostrophe!) program your mythbox from their hotels either. thankfully, its in (darn it's.. never mind) in my regular programming and my DVR is in Florida. The power, which often goes off for no reason at all, here, stayed on all week, and my hard drive was shiny, new, and had lots of free space (which i now have to dig thru and dump shows)

Seriously, though, Bobman - glad you got the power back. (I'm from the part of Mass that would not have gotten hit, had I still been living there, and my friends with whom I stayed were also inside 128. the only problem we hit was that I couldn't get into their wireless router and then they broken my wireless and i had to reinstall it in a DE hotel room at 3am (happily, i succeeded). while i was there, though, they did lend me an ethernet cable.)

the brother came over tonight and we watched *last Monday's* shows. (i still have to get to Boston Legal) so now i get to read the reviews and comments for CBS, and the rest of the comments for Chuck (which I did see, as my friend records it)

for anyone still reading,

it was awesome what Penny gave him, and his reaction, and her kinda cluelessness about what it meant.
I want to know where Stephanie is (still didn't check those numbers)

I *did* think of the DNA, as Scott Bakula and a bunch of his fans had this conversation once, and it was mentioned that you can't sell anything with DNA on it on ebay...

I also liked the mention of Saturnalia and the origins of Christmas. (as I look around my undecorated house)

Pamela Jaye said...

also, I think it's sweet how patient Penny is with the geeks.

and i liked Leonard's reaction to the wife revelation and Penny's "that's what you took from this?"

Pamela Jaye said...

I also agree that Shonda's depiction of Asperger's is ... a little off. (to quote the chief, who should have known what it was, rather than using those exact words)

Pamela Jaye said...

what's Napoleon Dynamite?

i'm a minor league techie geek, rather than a science geek or a comic book geek, btw. I adore Chuck (though he rarely gets to touch a computer - loved him left behind in the room with the racks full of computers)

Pamela Jaye said...

I just checked the production numbers - finally. They are sequential.
The missingness of Stephanie makes even less sense then the missingness of Stella when Ted was dating her. Mostly because it's implied in this Big Bang ep that... I don''t remember: Leonard isn't getting any? never had a girlfriend? something like that