Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Big Bang Theory, "The Large Hadron Collission": Swiss miss

Dealing with the ongoing comment apocalypse in the "Chuck" episode post has occupied far too much of my day, so I'll be quick on last night's "Big Bang Theory." Sheldon's Tuvan throat singing was funny (even if they went to the well once too often), and I liked his various schemes and rationales for getting to go on the trip (particularly the pancakes in the shape of Leonard's favorite fictional characters), even if I don't believe that Penny would have made the offer she did in the laundry room. (Fienberg, on the other hand, argues that Penny was completely insincere and just trying to get him to go away.) Also, Raj's list of depressing Valentine's Day rituals was very funny.

What did everybody else think?

27 comments:

David J. Loehr said...

Haven't watched it yet, but Tuvan throat singing? Wow. Nice homage to Richard Feynman there...

Phil Freeman said...

The throat singing was hilarious. The rest of the episode wasn't great.

Monica242 said...

Penny wasn't being insincere so that he would go away. He WAS going away before she offered.

Solid episode, but Leonard and Penny as a couple still doesn't work for me. Parsons was the highlight, as usual. Really enjoyed Raj's mini-b story and how the resolution tied both stories together.

Scotty Westside said...

I'm with Phil. There were a couple funny parts, but this one really fell flat to me. That's bound to happen at some point I guess.

Toby O'B said...

This was the first one where I really disliked Sheldon. The best part for me, televisiologist that I am, was the vanity card story about the TV show "Theorists" from Belasarus.....

Riddler said...

As discussed before, WHY do they still live with Sheldon. He just seemed so ANNOYING that I can't believe they tolerate it. (I'm in college housing. I work do roommate conflict for a LIVING. He wouldn't have lasted ten minutes.)

ESPECIALLY when he doesn't care about how Leonard feels. . . ugh. . . . .

They had better write in some Sheldon/redemption or just go Sons of Anarachy on him real quick.

Anonymous said...

My favorite moment was the declaration of Rupert Murdoch as a traitor because he owns FOX and FOX canceled Firefly. Not the best BBT, but still fun.

Jon Weisman said...

My wife pointed out that all Sheldon had to do was buy his own plane ticket - which you kind of have to assume he could - and the whole problem would have been solved. The three of them go to Switzerland, Sheldon joins Leonard for the sciency stuff, goes to his own room Valentine's night, but the room reservation gets canceled, and hijinx ensue!

Anonymous said...

Alan, I got to Big Love late, because of the Super Bowl, but could have sworn you had a thread for it. Yet that thread seems to have disappeared.

Sheldon would have had plenty of money for his own ticket, plus I'm sure they hold lots of scientific conferences in Switzerland. That took me out of the story a bit, though maybe he was arguing from principle, since it was in the roommate contract.

BigTed said...

Not only could Sheldon have paid his way to Switzerland along with Leonard and Penny, but given his status as a scientist he could probably get a tour any time he wanted to. (And I agree he could afford the airfare, given that he never dates and he shares a two-bedroom Pasadena apartment in a broken-elevator building.)

In this episode, the question was definitely less "why is Penny with Leonard?" (the offer of a romantic trip to Switzerland, even with a science element, can't hurt), but "why is Leonard with Sheldon?" The less fanciful parts of their "roommates agreement" seem to consist of Sheldon agreeing not to do the sorts of things that any normal roomie would toss him out on his ear for, and shouldn't require Leonard to offer things in return. Eventually, there should come a point when Leonard's fondness for Sheldon, and tolerance for his multiple annoying quirks, is trumped by Sheldon's inability to set any importance to anyone's needs but his own.

In other words, Jim Parsons is a hilarious actor, but it's time to dial it back a little.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Haven't seen Big Love yet, due to the Super Bowl, and the pile-up of shows from the first part of the week. Will likely watch this week's and next week's as a double feature and just do a post next Sunday or Monday.

cadfile said...

The episode was good. Loved Sheldon's scheming and it was fitting that Raj got to go at the end... poor Leonard.

The roommate contract reminded me of the one I had in the dorm in college so I was cracking up with that.

Lefty said...

I'm not sure about this show. Leonard was the focus since he was the normal one, then it has been Sheldon, and now I think it is switching back to Leonard.
He's in the relationship. He's growing apart from his friends, which, you could argue he would do someday because he doesn't seem to share any interests with them any more. I assume it is for sitcom reasons that he hasn't moved out already (even if it is across the hall).
Sheldon's inability to grasp basic human relations can be funny but last night's was past annoying.
With Leonard and Howard in their own relationships, Raj seems to be doing this out of inertia. Raj, it's obvious, they don't have time for you any more. Raj could survive with Leonard being busy, but with Howard handing with someone else, there's nothing left for him to do.
I also wonder how fast Penny would dump Leonard (in real life) if he left for Switzerland with her and left her with his amazingly frustrating roommate.

Tom Galloway said...

Basically have to agree with existing comments; I also thought the Tuvan bit was a Feynman homage (for those not aware, Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning Caltech based physicist who's basically responsible for bringing Tuvan throat singing into as much of the Western World's public eye as it is. I highly recommend his two books of mostly autobiographical anecdotes and stories [i.e. no math], Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman and What Do You Care What Other People Think).

And I kept thinking "Sheldon can easily afford a trip to Geneva...or find some conference in Europe to attend using whatever grant he's on's conference money and then take a cheap flight to Geneva...and once there, of course he'd get a tour and get to talk to people working there."

And for the second week in a row, Raj bemoans not having a girlfriend...with the final scene of the previous to that ep being him getting hot and heavy with Danica McKellar's character. Really wish they'd toss in some line to explain why that didn't work out.

belinda said...

I also wonder how fast Penny would dump Leonard (in real life) if he left for Switzerland with her and left her with his amazingly frustrating roommate.

I find that hard to believe. For one thing, Valentines' day isn't really that big of a deal (and no, not all girls care about this holiday despite what tv shows make you think), so I actually agree with Sheldon - why wouldn't Leonard want to take a fellow scientist along to a trip that is primarily academic, someone who he can 'geek out' with, especially if Penny care nothing about the CERN stuff?

I find it strange that as a scientist Leonard isn't more excited about the super collider stuff, even if he is in a relationship. I mean, having Raj along should be a lot of fun! Why so moody? Penny and Leonard could always go on vacation (to Disneyland!) by themselves later.

And yes, all Sheldon needed to do was to get another ticket, so while I enjoyed the episode, the plot made little sense.

Iffer said...

I am somewhat perplexed with the why is Leonard friends with Sheldon questions? Leonard is a dick. He treats Sheldon with distain and has just as much loyalty to Sheldon as vice versa. His behavior in this season's first episode is the prime example but there are examples everywhere. I understand why Penny would think of dating someone like Leonard -- like the comic book store guy -- but not stay with Leonard. He's jerk. He is not loyal to his friends, he doesn't support Penny's beliefs.

Penny has a kind heart and really is the only one with any empathy with Sheldon.

The guys put up with Sheldon because despite all of his faults. He brings them more prestige at work. He allows them to feel superior yet put down at the same time. Raj can't speak to women unless he drinks where he becomes a douche. Howard is a scum bag. Leonard is self righteous loser. Who else are they going to be friends with? Unless a beautiful insecure failing Midwestern actress with no real friends of her own moves in next door.

Daniel said...

I wasn't saying she was being completely insincere, Sepinwall. I was trying to give Penny credit for understanding what it takes to shut Sheldon down and then giving Leonard her own interpretation. But yes, Monica242 is correct on the chronology, which perhaps throws my theory in the trash. So sue me for wanting Penny not to be stupid and easily manipulated!

-Daniel

Anonymous said...

May be nitpicking, but Sheldon repeatedly mentions dreaming of visiting the Hadron Collider as a child but then in the roommate agreement sheet he mentions that it was being built at the time of their contract. Did I miss something, or does that timeline not work out?

And I also thought this was one of the worse Sheldon storylines. Usually him being socially unaware just leads to awkwardness, but in this case he seemed extra mean, impish, and nasty.

Karen said...

@Jon Weisman: your wife is a wise woman. Mostly because she and I think alike.

All I could think last night was: Sheldon is a brilliant researcher who gets grant funding (cf. the Arctic expedition). I'm sure his university is paying him fairly well (either that or he's grant-funded but still probably pretty comfortable). If it's been his dream to see the LHC since he was 12, what on EARTH is stopping him from hopping on Travelocity and getting an $800 air ticket to Geneva? His academic connections could probably get him cheap or even free housing near CERN.

Of course, I get that without the notion that Sheldon can't go unless he's Leonard's date there would be no plot. But the situation was just insanely stupid. I could see if Sheldon were still in grad school that there might be a problem with his going to CERN on his own, but in his actual circumstances? It's just laughable.

Karen said...

@Anonymous 8:28 PM: Sheldon told Penny that the LHC had been planned for decades. So it makes sense that he would have known of it as a child and wanted to see it when it finally appeared. But construction didn't actually begin until much later. So the timeline is intact.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this has been covered before but does anyone know why BBT episodes aren't online?

Abhimanyu said...

The other thing I can't figure out is how Leonard and Penny stay together. I think they'd be better off making Penny at least a little bit smarter than she is now - she's the very definition of the dumb blonde negative stereotype as of the current episodes. She didn't even cotton on to Leonard's obvious Switzerland hints and has to have pretty much everything spelled out for her. I get that it's supposed to be an odd couple and that they're mining humour from that but making Penny more of an intelligent human being and less of a rather dim caricature would improve matters. It just seems so incredible that Leonard would stay with such an unintelligent person. And if the explanation is that he's staying with her because he can't get anything better, then that's just sad and we're back at laughing at the nerds instead of with them.

That said, this show still offers up a reliable 20 minutes of pleasant diversion and given that it tries to do absolutely nothing more, I can live with that. It's just that I figure it could be even better if the writers made a few adjustments.

Kyle said...

I've noticed that TBBT often takes an approach to plot lines overused on sitcoms by saying 'what if happened to total nerds?' and it works well most of the time. This was the classic 'I have one ticket/seat for this exciting event/vacation and more than one person wants to go with me' scenario and I felt they handled it much better then I thought they might. That being said, it was still somewhat of a lackluster installment and made me want to kill Sheldon. It did have its moments though, i.e. the throat singing, the reason Sheldon got sick, and 'Round Two: Dr. Leonard Hoefstader, Darth Vader, or Rupert Murdoch'.

Allison DeWitt said...

My favorite moment was the declaration of Rupert Murdoch as a traitor because he owns FOX and FOX canceled Firefly.

That part was truly funny. The previous comparisons that included Judas were over the top for me and not so funny.

Yes, Sheldon's relentless selfishness got annoying. His gratitude toward Penny was kind of sweet, even if it didn't end up quite go his way. What might have made this episode more interesting is if Leonard pointed out Sheldon indeed did have the funds to go on his own.

And one small thing - since my husband is Jewish and had the ritual every Sunday of going to the local Chinese restaurant.. I remembered I am always a sucker for a joke about Jews and Chinese food.

Penny and Sheldon alone, always appeals to me, also.

forg/jecoup said...

The throat singing had me in stitches LOL

marya said...

Daniel, I had a very different take on the scene in the laundry room - it seems to me that Penny is consistently the most empathetic to Sheldon. Yes, she's frequently irritated by him, but she also goes out of her way to care for him ( grumbling all the way). I think she did see how much it meant to him, and decided to give in. It makes her a pushover, but not stupid.

(Not getting Leonard's clues about Switzerland - now that makes her stupid.)

Pamela Jaye said...

And for the second week in a row, Raj bemoans not having a girlfriend...with the final scene of the previous to that ep being him getting hot and heavy with Danica McKellar's character. Really wish they'd toss in some line to explain why that didn't work out.

Or Dr. Stephanie. Last time she was mentioned Leonard was going off to have sex with her despite the fact he asked her to not have moved in.

Sheldon should do some bending here. Leonard could just move out and leave him rideless.
(though, if he could pay for plane fare to Switzerland - which I too thought of - he could pay to take a cab. daily.)