Thoughts on last night's "Big Bang Theory" coming up just as soon as I try to be the 101st caller to my favorite radio station...
The biggest laughs in "The Vengeance Formulation" were contained in the Sheldon vs. Kripke storyline, with the one-two punch of Sheldon way overdoing the prank and the ill-timed, overly-explanatory video that followed it. But I want to mainly talk about Wolowitz.
Howard is by far the most problematic character, the one the show usually seems to be laughing at, rather than with. So I commend any episode which attempts to humanize him - even if part of that humanization involves his masturbatory fantasy of taking a bath with Katee Sackhoff. And I thought this one did a better job than the episode last year where Penny tore into Howard for being an utter loser. There, it felt like the writers were paying lip service to the idea that Howard's not just a clown, but their hearts weren't in it. Here, he made tangible progress with Bernadette(*), and the idea of him having a regular girlfriend has real promise, and at the very least, will take the character out of his rut.
(*) Did they name her Bernadette because they knew at some point Howard was going to do his own mangled version of The Four Tops song?
However, I do wish that they hadn't gone with the obvious, superficial dilemma that Howard feared Bernadette wasn't hot enough, especially since the actress is plenty cute and has just been dowdied up a bit to be a plausible Wolowitz girlfriend. I know that Howard is a relentless horndog with an overdeveloped sense of ego, but I think the more interesting way to go - and a story that they could still very easily do - would have been for Howard to get hung up on the fact that the two of them have nothing in common, other than a shared resentment towards their families. The first Bernadette episode dealt with this, but I think there's plenty of mileage left in the idea that everyone thinks Howard should be so grateful to have a nice, attractive girlfriend and he can't quite appreciate her because she doesn't know or care about robots or "Battlestar Galactica." That seems like a conflict that's richer, one that might give Howard a little more credit as a person, instead of just having fantasy Starbuck tell him he needs to settle for someone less overtly hot.
Of course, going that way would have deprived the show's target audience of a glimpse of Katee Sackhoff in the tub. Can't blame the show for giving its fans what they want, I suppose.
What did everybody else think?