Ugh. If last night's episode of The Big Bang Theory was any indication of what Season 4 will be like, things are going to get ugly.
Look, in my long relationship with The Big Bang Theory, I'll be the first to admit. I always want more Sheldon! Seriously. That's all I ever want. Yeah, the rest of the cast is funny sometimes, but Sheldon is one of the best TV characters created in the past decade. He's the ultimate nerd. And beyond that, he's somehow managed to embody the entire geek-lifestyle of my generation, so anyone who has a little bit of nerd in them can identify with him. Why wouldn't I want more?
Regrettably, last night I got my wish. The Big Bang Theory proved why it's an ensemble show.
The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification opens with Sheldon in the living room, white boards covered in equations everywhere (a typical scene in the Sheldon-Leonard apartment). Sheldon explains his research: he's trying to determine his age of death. Of course. After a brief discussion, we learn that Sheldon is angry because he foresees himself dying a few years before he's able to turn himself into a robot and live forever.
And so, we have the basis of our episode's plot: Sheldon is concerned about his health.
Next we cut to the gang -- everyone except Sheldon who's eating brussels sprouts -- eating pizza in the living room. The discussion quickly becomes about what Sheldon can do to be healthier so he can live long enough to become a robot, and the decision is simple -- go running with Penny.
So, after mistaking the inability to pass gas for a ready-to-burst appendix in the middle of the night, Sheldon gets ready for his run with Penny. This was probably the funniest scene in the episode. It's always great to see Sheldon try to do something physical (hell, even watching him walk is funny sometimes). As you can imagine, to prepare of the run, he dressed himself up in an extravagant outfit featuring a Flash t-shirt and shorts. Shorts! I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've seen Sheldon's knees (which he claims are "his mother's"). But of course, the squirrelly, lanky madman tripped down the stairs before they could even leave the apartment building.
Despite not getting hurt with the fall, Sheldon decides it's best for him (and mankind) to not venture into the world again. So he creates a robot of himself -- or rather, a motorized flat screen television/video feed of his face, with a t-shirt dangling below it.
Leonard, although he doesn't want to and things the whole concept is "ridiculous," is roped into helping Sheldon out because of the roommate agreement. Oh, the infamous roommate agreement.
What follows Shel-bot's introduction to the world is simply just a bunch of robot jokes. And honestly, they get pretty old, pretty fast. Yeah, we get it -- he's a robot. He's an obnoxious robot. Leonard is annoyed by it. Everyone is annoyed by it. How many times can we do the same joke?
Some more boring stuff happens until the big finale. When the gang is out to dinner (including the Shel-bot) they see Steve Wozniak -- one of the co-founders of Apple Computers -- and of course the nerds do the nerdy thing -- nerd out. After introducing himself through the TV, Sheldon decides to make the trip down to the restaurant to have his original Apple 2 Computer signed.
Of course, on the way, he falls down the stairs and twists his ankle. And bam, that's the end of The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification.
Pretty lame episode, am I right? There was no plot! No story! No nothing! Nearly every joke made hinged on the fact that Sheldon wanted to live forever as a robot, and that was it for a half an hour. Frankly, the writers abandoned what makes The Big Bang Theory such a great show. Sheldon is funny. In fact, he's hilarious. But he needs the other characters to balance against his sense of humor. We can't constantly be assaulted with the same type of jokes over and over again without any type of change of pace. It doesn't work.
I admit it. I was wrong. I thought Big Bang was Sheldon and that's it. But no, last night proved me wrong. Hopefully last night was just a hiccup a usually very funny show.