Monday, October 12, 2009

Big Bang Theory, "The Pirate Solution": Trade your passion for glory

Quick thoughts on tonight's "Big Bang Theory" coming up just as soon as I lecture you about your religion...

I never got around to writing about last week's episode, in part because it felt less like an episode of a half-hour sitcom than a couple of intertwined extended comedy sketches. (Sheldon trying to use conditioning therapy on Penny was funny at times, but incredibly slight.)

"The Pirate Solution" had more of a plot, and just when I feared it was going to turn into one of those episodes where Sheldon is just an insufferable ass for a half-hour, he said "Bazinga!" and everything turned out to be okay. Sheldon was still obnoxious, but at an amusingly tolerable level, and not at the Larry David levels he can sometimes reach. And the "Eye of the Tiger"/"Rocky" spoof of Sheldon and Raj just thinking about the problem was inspired. (I just wish they hadn't gone back to the well at the end of the episode, as the use of the song wasn't as clever in that later context.)

And on my usual internal debate about whether the show laughs with or at its characters (as opposed to whether Raj was working with or for Sheldon), I still can't decide how I feel about Raj's inability to talk to women without the aid of booze. On the one hand, it feels incredibly lame and stereotypical. On the other, Kunal Nayyar always does a great job of flipping the switch between timid Raj and liquid courage Raj, and I thought the set up this gag particularly well with the professor's talk of drinking times in other solar systems.

What did everybody else think?

21 comments:

Isaac Lin said...

I thought the recurrence of "Eye of the Tiger" after the aspirin felt like the joke was being dragged out a bit, but liked it at the end, probably because of the dramatic "walk with purpose" effect, and how it showed that the theoretical academics of the gang can literally carry on the heavy lifting of their research at any time.

Daniel said...

You figured since you tweeted on Sheldon's "Gremlins" comment that you didn't need to remark on the normally fastidious character confusing the rules ascribed to mogwai behavior to treatment of gremlins? If we made the same mistake around Sheldon, he wouldn't be nearly so patient towards our mistake...

-Daniel

Kirsten said...

All I know is my daughter and I laughed hysterically for several minutes after the "Eye of the Tiger" music started and we're still giggling about it hours later.

J.J. said...

I loved the "Eye of the Tiger" montage of quick cuts with them thinking. It's a hilarious concept, that this was their version of an action sequence.

Still don't like the deal where Raj starts talking to women as soon as he takes a sip of a drink. Back when they introduced the gag, wasn't it explained that he had to actually get a load on before he could talk? Now he just drinks a shot, and is suddenly speaking freely (and inappropriately, with the hot tub invite)? Before the alcohol even had time to affect him? Come on.

Diana said...

My husband and I loved this episode and laughed throughout the entire half hour.

Isaac Lin said...

J.J.: As the episode with Summer Glau showed, there is at least some placebo effect involved with Raj's need to down an intoxicating (or pseudo-intoxicating) beverage before being able to speak with women.

Anonymous said...

The episode was written by Steve Holland. Is that the same guy as "Savage" Steve Holland of "Better Off Dead" fame?

Robert David Sullivan said...

Raj's continued inability to speak around women in the 3rd season is a tip-off that BBT isn't aiming very high as a sitcom. (Or is content to coast on Jim Parsons's performance and his comic chemistry with Penny.) At least we don't have to hear Howard's mother as much as we used to.

Pamela Jaye said...

It's odd. I liked the ep a lot, but I can't really think of anything to say about it. (my DVR doesa throw fits trying to record it, though)

I'm so happy the show was moved to 9, but with it no longer being on at 8, I'm left to choose betweem HIMYM (which I don't like as much) and House. So I finally went for House, BigBang, DWTS (just Donny), then HIMYM. (funny that it's hard to find something when 3 shows are recording at once)

erin said...

I don't know--I laughed my butt off when Raj had the first drink, started talking, had the second drink, and was completely inappropriate. I think it is written as a placebo effect (although bourbon or whiskey for a lightweight might hit him pretty quick) and I love the way the actor plays it.

I also howled at the the Eye of the TIger montage.

And i'm kind of getting a kick out of the penny/leonard relationship, which i'm sure is doomed, but i like how leonard is just so appreciative of penny's...gifts. It just seems in character.

I thought the CBS shows were firing on all cylinders last night!

Rinaldo said...

I found this the flat-out funniest episode they've had in quite a while. That it was fairly evenly spread out among all 4 guys shows that they have good depth of ensemble, and can/should try new pairings. That said, I especially loved everything to do with Raj. He and his lines hit the bulls-eye every time.

Bryan said...

Unlike HIMYM I feel this show is starting to find it's rhythym for this year.

Eye of the Tiger bit was terrific and though I've never been a big fan of Raj or Howard both of them had strong moments tonight. The 30 seconds of Raj sauntering over to the liquor and sliding from shy to confident to lech was great and Howard's facial expressions when he busted in on them making out cracked me up.

Bob in SA said...

The Ghandi reference cracked me up. Like a lot of people, Raj just couldn't face the fact that HE was the reason he didn't get the job (and the charges have already been filed--even funnier).

Sheldon's continued pirate references also cracked me up.

MC said...

Strong episode. I like how the writers are figuring out how to keep Penny/Leonard together while still keeping the show funny. Howard's "big finish" line was great as was the "let's slide over into Sheldon's spot and make out!" exchange.

But the highlight of the ep was definitely the Eye of the Tiger montage.

Travis said...

I thought the moment when Raj whispered to Howard asking whether or not he could talk after realizing that Penny was listening outside the door was a nice tip to how rediculous that problem is.

Howards entrance and exit were both played very well.

One thing starting to bother me is how these guys dress. If I'm supposed to buy that Sheldon is a near world-famous physicist, why does he dress like a 12 year old boy? Funny anime-type t-shirt over a long sleeve tee? Really?

Anonymous said...

re. Travis comment,
I work at CERN where we have a lot of world class physicists - and believe me a lot of them dress like Sheldon!

Heather K said...

I was howling with laughter at eye of the tiger, and I kept getting the giggles just reading references to it here.

I thought this was one of the funnier shows possibly ever. I really liked it.

tyg said...

I'm not sure about the frequent use this season of "Bazinga!". It's feeling forced but not wholly in the sense of "Let's create a catchphrase" but rather a way of letting Sheldon be uber-obnoxious but then "Bazinga! It's just a joke!". Offhand, given Sheldon's personality, I'd expect no more than 2, maybe 3, Bazinga!s per season.

cadfile said...

I loved the "Eye of the Tiger" action sequence but the funniest line for me was when Raj said he would be deported and have to hear the sardonic quips from his cousin Sanjay "or as you know him Dave from AT&T Customer Service..."

erin said...

@tyg--i keep getting pleasantly surprised by the "Bazinga!" jokes, and it seems in character for me that Sheldon thinks everything over the top that he does deserves a "Bazinga!' after it. Just the way he delivers it (well, the way jim parsons delivers ANYTHING) is gold.

Pamela Jaye said...

I swear I heard someone say Bazinga just the other day. It might have been real (internet) life, or possibly another TV show (and now it's going to bug me!)