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The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is a comedy about two physicists Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper who live and work together in Pasadena, California. They live a comfortable geeky existence until attractive wannabe actress Penny moves in across the hall. CBS 2007-???

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Episode 7 - The Dumpling Paradox

25 October 2016

Synopsis: Penny’s friend Christy begins hooking up with Wolowitz and it leaves the guys one short for all their regular activities, much to Sheldon’s despair.

The Good: Sheldon dominates this episode and shows signs of being one of those unique comic creations which can really make a show great. I don’t think he has done it yet but there are promising signs.

The first is the consistency of his character. His almost autistic, completely inflexible attitude to life is reinforced time and again. Losing six minutes of Halo night is a disaster even before it becomes impossible when Wolowitz is missing. Similarly he can’t watch Doctor Who in his bedroom because he never has before and refuses to accept that the group could possibly have a different order at a Chinese Restaurant. Not only does this consistency drive the plot and dialogue forward but Sheldon can turn a phrase and delivers some well scripted jokes with aplomb (see Comic Highlight). One example being Christy referring to Wolowitz as the little engine that could to which he remarks “well, there’s one beloved children’s book I’ll never read again.”

Penny has some nice moments throughout. Her Halo taunting of Sheldon is predictable but they show good understanding of the characters when the guys are all up at 6am and she wakes up to complain “what the hell is your problem.” Wolowitz makes the usual sex jokes, the best one being his voicemail message. There is also a clever moment when we realise that everyone has gone to bed and forgotten that Rajesh is still in the kitchen.

The Bad: The plot is pretty decent because we believe Wolowitz would ditch the guys for sex and we believe that Sheldon would kick up such a fuss about having to change. However instead of there being some kind of character moment to resolve this crisis, Christy just leaves. That is probably as likely an outcome as you could imagine but it leaves the episode a bit flat. It means that the story we have seen didn’t have a point to make, it simply was a story. It’s not a huge criticism but it is those character moments which bond you to characters and make you care about them.

Sheldon is unnecessarily rude on two occasions. First when he says if he could afford it he wouldn’t live with Leonard. A comment like that undercuts the closeness of their relationship. That is not only a shame but doesn’t fit with his neediness later on about having the group be the way he likes it. Then he tells Penny not to come to his funeral. It’s a very harsh statement and implies that he has genuine animosity toward her, when only indifference has been established.

If Halo night happens every week on the same night as Sheldon implies, then why is it clearly on a Friday first and then a Wednesday by the end of the episode?

Comic Highlight: Sheldon is keen to get rid of everyone “Well then it’s settled. Christy will stay with Howard, Penny cam go back to her apartment and I’ll watch the last twenty four minutes of Doctor Who. Although at this point it’s more like Doctor Why Bother?” It’s beautifully delivered.

In Conclusion: There is something missing from this episode. The story lacks a real punch and the jokes are solid but not spectacular. It is a credit to the show though that it feels close to something really good here rather than feeling like a disappointment.

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  • Hi Robin,

    I don't know if you check these comments any longer, but "insentive" should be "incentive".

    Posted by Faheem Mitha, 14/09/2016 7:30am (3 years ago)

  • Absolutely. I think it stems from the fact that Chuck Lorre doesn't make his money from developing characters. His sit coms develop a consistent, predictable formula and then repeat that for year after year after year.

    So sadly I think there is no insentive for the writers to end or develop these stories. They just use them to provide Sheldon with something to talk about and then they move on.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 19/03/2011 2:19pm (9 years ago)

  • That whole “Abrupt ending with no resolution to the plot” seems to happen a great deal with this show. It seems the writers had this strict proposal for every episode to have a defined conclusion, which I guess is normal for sitcoms. But, there are so many story lines that felt they could have been covered in two- or three-episode story arcs, but instead we just get these jarring, hasty endings. Penny and her PennyBlossom business, Sheldon vs. the Child Genius, Penny and the MMO, the New Upstairs Hot Neighbor, the Robbery, etc, etc, etc; there are so many episodes where it feels like they could have stretched the plot over a few episodes and allowed the characters to grow, but instead they end it with a joke and move on in the next episode. It feels like the stories themselves moved along at a normal pace, but they just stop with such unsatisfying endings that more time would have done wonders.

    Posted by Onimusha, 19/03/2011 2:22am (9 years ago)

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