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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 16 - The Peanut Reaction

29 March 2012

Synopsis: When Penny finds out that Leonard has never had a birthday party she decides to throw his a surprise one. While she takes Sheldon to buy him a present, Howard has to distract Leonard.

The Good: This is an ideal story to show Penny’s affection for Leonard and makes the best use of Howard as a comic figure.

The writers have done an excellent job making Leonard plausibly attractive to Penny and here they hit on just the right plot. The brief explanation of Leonard’s childhood fits with his behaviour and squares with what he said earlier in the season (see 109). While Penny making a much more conventional fuss over him fits her character and gives them a natural excuse to show their affection for one another.

Meanwhile Howard, who has been growing in comic stature as the season has unfolded, takes centre stage and delivers some good comedy (see Comic Highlight). His desperate attempts to get Leonard to leave the apartment are pretty funny, what with his claim that eight unseen seconds of Blade Runner “completely change the tone of the film!” Followed by “Oh my God. Do you smell gas?” and when Leonard can’t a disappointed “yeah no.”

Then he manages to mess up both Sheldon’s secret knock and his code words “The laundry is out of the hamper.” Then when he tells Penny that he is at the hospital she asks if Leonard is ok he replies “Leonard’s fine. I’m fine. Thanks for asking by the way.” Throughout he displays an excellent comic timing and by doing something nice for Leonard, even for selfish reasons, makes him seem like a better person. The makeup job they give him to show his allergic reaction is excellent.

Sheldon’s argument against the concept of giving presents fits his character perfectly. His story in the shop is also a fun diversion.

The Bad: Rajesh remains undefined.

Comic Highlight: Penny tells the guys that she wants to throw Leonard a surprise party. Sheldon says that Leonard doesn’t want one. Penny argues that he only says that because he has never had one. Howard considers this and says “I suppose that’s possible but for the record I’ve never had a threesome and yet I still know I want one.”

In Conclusion: The show at its best. The characters are clear and the humour is consistent. A really enjoyable episode.

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