A quick review of last night's "Big Bang Theory" coming up just as soon as a racially stereotypical plumber eats my dust...
Another funny episode, as per usual. It's nice to see Bernadette (aka Howard's Girlfriend Bernadette) integrated into the group, and to see that she's at least learned to identify Howard's jokes, if not understand them, as that seemed a bigger stumbling block to the relationship than the Megan Fox issue. Simon Helberg had a great time playing a smug, content version of Howard, even if that was revealed to be a bit of a facade from a guy who's still not secure about his ability to get and keep a woman.
And the Penny/Sheldon interaction was gold, as always. This was a really strong episode for Kaley Cuoco, from Penny's playful taunting of Sheldon in the opening scene to Penny's exasperation at Sheldon's teaching methods.
The teaching scene was also a reminder of the opportunity they missed to not actually show Sheldon teaching Leonard about football under similar circumstances in "The Cornhusker Vortex," which instead spent most of its time on the less funny spectacle of Leonard awkwardly trying to show off his new knowledge.
But then, I wonder (as Todd VanDerWerff did with this episode) if Leonard isn't starting to feel a bit extraneous to his own show. Not a slight against Johnny Galecki, but the strongest episodes tend to be ones that put Sheldon together with Penny, or some other combination of Sheldon, Penny, Raj and Howard. The Leonard/Penny-focused episodes particularly seem like the weakest, though of course that relationship does lead to a lot of the Sheldon/Penny material, since Penny mostly tolerates Sheldon because she likes his best friend.
Every comedy needs a straight man, and Leonard does sort of work as a bridge between nerd world and the real world (though he's still a little too far on the nerd side), but I've definitely noticed a pattern - The Inverse Hofstadter Ratio? - where the more central Leonard is to the stories, the less entertaining the episode is.
What did everybody else think?