S5E14: Last week on The Big Bang Theory, we got to see a glimpse of Leonard’s thought processes in reference to asking Penny out. This week, we get to see a part of his thoughts turn into actions, as Leonard and Penny Version 2.0 heads into beta testing. Will the second go around be ready for a release version? Or will Leonard’s negative predictions from last week’s episode come true?
“The flags of Lichtenstein and Haiti were identical by coincidence; a fact that wasn’t discovered until they competed in the 1936 Olympics. Thankfully their embarrassment was overshadowed by the rise of Fascism.” – Sheldon
Our story begins with Sheldon and Amy starting their own video blog, “Fun with Flags,” because everyone wants to “explore the dynamic world of vexillology.” Well, it is more of Sheldon’s show, since Amy is acting like she is being held against her will. But she makes the most of it by creating a mascot for the show: Ferdinand T. Flag. There’s no way in all of science that The Big Bang’s writers have already run out of geeky, interesting, and funny antics for Sheldon to get into. While the opening and closing buttons were humorous, these guys have done way better with their lunacy. Anyone remember Spy-Chess? Turning “Shamy” into a couple has not yielded the kind of classic comedic moments that this show is known for and is not the fault of either Jim Parsons or Mayim Bialik. They poured their hearts into this nonsense. At the very least, we have a few Jeopardy answers out this B story.
“Seriously, do I not get credit for knowing Beta Test?” – Penny
“…That a boy Hofstadter, nothing gets the ladies hotter than software development anologies.” – Leonard
Leonard and Penny return jubilant from their dinner. Just like the first time around, they decide to take it slow, and Leonard offers up the same solution that his thought processes conjured up last week: test out the relationship before getting serious. He suggests that the two compare notes – or bug reports as Leonard calls them – and see where things go. The couple also agrees to not get mad when discussing these bugs, so it’s only a matter of time before this relationship goes belly up.
While spending time at the apartment watching Doctor Who with Sheldon and Amy, Penny offers up a bug report: when asking a girl to spend time with him, the guy should have something better planned than watching Doctor Who. After agreeing that this was a bad move, Leonard gives Penny a whole sheet of bugs for her to work on. And they’re color-coded. Red means fix immediately; yellow means fix when Penny feels like getting to it; and green is for flaws that Leonard can learn to live with. When will sitcom guys learn that instead of trying to improve them, they need to hold on to their hotties like grim death?
“I’ve played a lot of Grand Theft Auto; I think I know how to handle a gat.” – LeonardThe bug reports weren’t all for nought though. As a surprise Leonard found out from Penny’s father that she used to like going to the shooting range as a kid. It was only a matter of time before Leonard shot himself in the foot – literally this time. Don’t worry; it grazed his pinky toe so his Reeboks were the true casualty. As for the continuation of L & P 2.0? Penny is still a happy gal and gives her honey a kiss goodnight before heading back to her apartment. Leonard heads to his own house, which has been turned into Sheldon’s Fun with Flags show.
“Look at that, there’s finally a woman in your life that you can talk to” – Howard to Raj
”…is that cute or creepy>” – Bernadette
“Uh huh.” – Howard
Meanwhile with nothing really story-driven to do, Raj tests out the iPhone 4S and becomes obsessed with its voice recognition program, Siri. On a show about four super nerds, this storyline was bound to happen. Unfortunately, it’s several months too late as just about everyone who has an iPhone 4S has already played out the Siri memes to their annoying end. I myself have tried to get Siri to admit that it’s a Terminator, Astromech Droid, or at least a Protocol Droid. But alas, the friggin’ phone won’t cop to being any kind of robot. Anyway, Raj begins to fall for the sexy droid voice; who he gets to call him “sexy.”
Of course Sheldon admires Raj for “taking an evolutionary leap by abandoning human interaction and allowing yourself to romantically bond with a soulless machine.” On The Big Bang Theory, anything involving speech involves Porky Pi-er – I mean the boys’ coworker, Barry Kripe. Kripe chimes in about Siri by trying to have it “wecomend a westawaunt.”
Luckily, the already worn out joke ended on a good note. Raj has a nightmare where he walks into the office of Siri, and just as he had hoped; she’s leggy redhead and of course, even a dream, Raj cannot speak to women.
Obviously this episode was more about putting Leonard and Penny back in play than exploring the B stories, which makes “The Beta Test Initiation” a good episode. The minutiae of Flag Facts and Siri jokes, while garnered a snicker or two, didn’t do much to help or hurt. Although the vision of Sheldon in Lederhosen and Amy dressed as a pretzel (“Ich bien ein Bavarian.” “And Ich bien eine Pretzel”) was pretty hysterical and, as I said before, Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik sold it like they were getting Emmys for the performance.
So what do all of my fellow Big Bang Theorists think of Leonard and Penny Beta Version (or is it the Alpha version)? Is the testing looking as good as Penny thinks it is? Will we get to see more absurd costume choices on Fun with Flags (which is the only way that runner wouldn’t get old so quickly)? What part of geek-pop will be explored next week? Leave your comments below and remember to follow me on twitter @CouchForceOne.
Former cellmates Michael (Russell) and Murphy (Costner) are leaders of a posse that plans to pull off the heist of a lifetime: robbing the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas during International Elvis Week. This means of course adopting full-on spangled jumpsuits sunglasses and "thank yuh thank yuh vurry much"-es. But when Murphy turns against the crew to keep all the loot for himself Michael escapes with it instead and heads for the border to launder it. He's sidelined along the way by a dalliance with a grifter (Courteney Cox) and her young son. Meanwhile Murphy's hot on his trail.
Costner turned down the chance to play Russell's part to take on the villain instead - and he looks like he's having the time of his life. Less filled out but more amoral than his baddie in the underrated "A Perfect World " Costner bats well as a foil to Russell who shows a barely visible vulnerability under the necessary roughness. Cox to her credit does a complete 180 from her uptight role on "Friends" as the sexually aggressive con-chick Cybil. Christian Slater David Arquette and Bokeem Woodbine make small appearances as part of the Elvis crew Howie Long and Ice-T kick some tail and Kevin Pollak and the long-absent Thomas Haden Church ("Wings") provide comic relief as bumbling lawmen.
"3000 Miles to Graceland" may seem like a caper reminiscent of last month's "Snatch " except there's a lot of bloodshed particularly during the casino robbery where machine gun blasts fling people across the room to land on cha-ching!-ing slot machines. Novice director Demian Lichtenstein's music video background is evident in his Guy Ritchie-esque cuts zooms and a way-bizarre computerized scorpion fight that kicks off the movie (what was that about?). His style and the Vegas ambience give the film a kitschy edge that disappears once the guys shed their Elvis garb. Stay for the credits - you'll see a costumed Russell lip-synching in his own music video as Costner Cox and crew dance about.