With last week’s episode based around change, this week it’s about friendship, and Rajesh’s continuing despair at the state of his love life.
The episode starts off with Penny saying that she turned down a movie role in the sequel to “Serial Apeist”, a movie about a killer gorilla that she’d previously starred in. Leonard puts his size-10 straight into Penny’s bad books by suggesting that she’s nuts turning it down as she’s not currently working and has no money coming in. Leonard does seem to like digging his own grave in trying to give Penny career advice, as he still looks at things very logically compared to Penny’s more free-wheeling approach to her career.
Elsewhere Bernadette pulls up Sheldon about his constant put-downs of Howard, with Sheldon arguing that Howard has spend a great deal of time over the years winding him up with pranks (Howard subscribed Sheldon to a monthly copy of Granny on Granny) This then results in Howard extending an olive branch of friendship and offers to take Sheldon with him to the NASA Space Center in Houston. Howard and Sheldon’s relationship over the series has always been the weakest one of the group, with Sheldon constantly looking down at him, and Howard seemingly only tolerating him because of his friendship with Leonard, so its great to see the boys trying to make a deeper connection, even with Sheldon comparing Howard to Hawkeye from The Avengers.
The ever unlucky Raj decides to give the dating sites another go after Amy advocates that it might be a good idea, based on her own success with how she met Sheldon. Raj asks her to help him construct a message to a girl he’s interested in online, as Amy points out how his love of using overblown metaphors makes him come off as desperate and creepy (like Raj suggesting that Amy put in her message that she once saw him getting changed and that his package looked like the muscular tail of a jaguar). You have to feel sorry for Raj, who tries so hard, too hard in fact and yet still hasn’t managed to find a lasting connection with anyone but it’s great to see Amy offering advice on relationships and dating, showing just how far her confidence levels have risen through her ‘relationship’ with Sheldon and her wider friendship with the others.
Amy ends up agreeing to contact her on Rak’s behalf, but the girl ultimately rejects him, citing that he must be too shy if he cant even contact her himself. Amy still agrees to meet her for a coffee but Raj tries to prove his mettle by unexpectedly turning up and ends up coming off as creepy and stalkerish. I actually felt sadder for Amy here, as Rajesh kills the first seeds of friendship that she could have made with her.
We also get to see the final payoff in the continuing gag about Penny’s ‘check engine light’ as Penny’s car finally succumbs to the years of probable neglect.
Without a job and no car, Penny is forced to re-consider working back at the Cheesecake Factory and emotionally tells Leonard that her life is falling apart, this is a great scene with Kaley Cuoco doing some excellent work, being just the right side of emotionally upset so convince us but not far enough to kill the comedy in the rest of the episode. It’s also great to see Penny lean on Leonard for support, with Leonard redeeming himself at the end by pulling off a great gesture and putting himself in the running for boyfriend of the year.
Howard and Sheldon’s friendship efforts start to get a little strained during the flight to Houston, with Sheldon’s irritating habits slowly driving Howard mad, but during a rough bout of turbulence, the two are brought together by their fear of crashing.
Overall, a solid episode of Big Bang, not the best but far from the worst. There’s some nice moments of growth for Leonard and Penny’s relationship and whenever Howard and Sheldon are together it always makes great TV. Hopefully Raj’s luck will change soon with the ladies, as his newfound freedom in being able to speak to women seems to making things worse for him.
I don’t think I can stand watching another few seasons of Raj floundering around in the relationship wilderness, he deserves some happiness.
On a side note, am I the only one who thinks that Raj should end up with Amy?