Episode 10 - The Alien Parasite Hypothesis
31 January 2013
Synopsis: Amy is aroused by Penny's ex Zach and can't diagnose her symptoms. Sheldon helps her realise that it is sexual arousal and seeks out Zach to arrange a meeting. Meanwhile Raj and Howard argue over who would be the sidekick were they to gain super powers.
The Good: The writers continue to use Amy to deal with Sheldon plots which they realise are too valuable to use up right now. So instead of Sheldon feeling his first stirrings of sexuality we substitute Amy. I think it's a good idea in the sense that The Big Bang Theory is going to run for the foreseeable future so why blow through Sheldon stories when we can test them on surrogate Sheldon first.
Sheldon actually turns out to be a good friend, going to great lengths to satisfy Amy's urges even if it means losing respect for her. As usual there was lots of fun to be had with these scenes (see Comic Highlight) including the unappetising sight of the two sharing dinner while Amy dissects a human brain. Sheldon comments that ears and genitals are "not body parts that usually team up" which was a fun way to state the obvious. Then later when she thanks him for taking her to Zach he instantly shuts her down saying "please don't drag this out." In the end Amy decides not to seduce Zach but return to science which was the sensible resolution and she then grabbed Sheldon's hand to see if that would lead to similar arousal. It did not. That was one of the few subtle moments you will see on this show and it was a nice recognition of the situation. For now Sheldon is going to remain asexual and that's the way we like him.
Howard and Raj's banter did lead to one smile worthy moment with Howard's attempt to demonstrate his bravery by putting his hand into a pot with a spider in it.
The Bad: The spider pot was a fun idea and if that plot had involved a series of escalating silliness as Howard and Raj tried to prove who was braver it could have been a nice little story. Instead they opted for an extended demonstration of their cowardice on a wrestling mat. It was a choice which led to several dull scenes of taunting and in reality this was about as pointless a B plot as could have been constructed.
Amy still isn't the best foil for Sheldon. It isn't yet clear how she is different to him and those differences would lead to more comedy. She doesn't have his camp air or self satisfied arrogance but is dour and ultra serious instead. So watching her interact with Penny or Zach just isn't as much fun as it is with Sheldon. The story also seemed to be missing any evidence of Sheldon's jealousy whatsoever. Amy accused him of feeling jealous when he had demonstrated none. But he ran out as if he were which seemed odd. He then made great efforts to help her out, showing that he cares but not that he was jealous. It seemed like the writers weren't clear how far they wanted him to be attracted to Amy. I liked the way the plot actually played out where he seemed unconcerned by her sexual behaviour and was more concerned with helping out his friend.
Comic Highlight: Sheldon decides to help Amy by diagnosing her strange symptoms. He offers four choices: hyper thyroidism, premature menopause, alien parasite and sexual arousal. Later they begin measuring her vital signs to rule out possibilities:
S: "How about your follicle stimulating hormone levels?"
A: "Sheldon I am not going through menopause."
S: "Are you sure? You said that with the testy bark of an old biddy."
In Conclusion: The Amy-Sheldon relationship is still something I enjoy exploring even if the writers never figure out quite how to pitch her. The rest was poor filler.
Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.