S4E22: The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite shows, but I can't really tell you why. It just kind of works, I guess. Look, I like the characters, the situations are funny, and, well, that's pretty much it. For some reason, I find myself laughing out loud at pretty much every episode, even if that episode airs against a brilliant installment of Community or Parks and Recreation, two series that many critics consider to be "smarter" or more "innovative." But maybe that's why I like Big Bang. It's a change of pace. It's not always trying to out-do itself with another over-the-top movie spoof like Community, or attempting to teach us some life lessons like Modern Family. No, frankly, it just sticks to a traditional format and simply tries to make us laugh and, for the most part, it works (at least for me). That's not to say that Big Bang is incapable of doing wrong, because as the fourth season displayed, it's very capable of doing wrong. But on the whole, the show is typically a fun half hour on Thursday nights that, sure, may not break down any walls and take us to a new place in the comedy world, but it gives me a moment to just sit, relax, and enjoy myself, laughing at the silly characters in their silly situations with their silly resolutions. Last night was one of those episodes. "The Wildebeest Implementation" illustrated that the show, after some trial and error for most of the fourth season, has started to zone in on just how to expand the Big Bang ensemble -- and how to do it well.
"Ever since you started having regular intercourse, your mind has lost its keen edge." -Sheldon
So, Priya and Leonard are still together. At this point, their relationship feels more accepted and has finally grown out of the new and exciting stage (or more accurately, the "I can't believe someone like Leonard could date someone so hot!" stage). Anyway, to start the episode, Leonard's off (leaving Sheldon to work on his three-person chess game alone) to meet up with Priya, Howard and Bernadette for a double date. But before Bernadette heads out, she plots out some evil doings with Penny and Amy as a way to make Priya and Leonard jealous of Penny.
This storyline was fun, and I really loved Bernadette as a character. She's such a sweetie, but at times, she loves to be as evil as possible, like it's a game or something. Her interaction with the Leonard and Priya was pretty comical. She wants to lie and make Priya feel jealous and intimated by Penny, and as she begins to relay the fake stories of big movie productions and astronaut boyfriends, she starts to really get into it. Clearly, Bernadette isn't a girl who's broken many rules in her life -- so even something that probably wouldn't be a big deal to troublemaker is exhilarating to Bernadette because she's so innocent.
"That's amusing. Auto-correct must have changed it." -Amy
But Bernadette's innocence also works against her: she can't hold a lie, no matter how big or small. The stories that Amy and Penny tell her to feed to Priya are a little far-fetched and as soon as there's any suspicion that Bernadette would be lying by the other group members, she immediately gets defensive, pushing back at each at the most extreme levels, demanding to know why they would inquire. To the audience, it's comical because, c'mon, one of their friends supposedly got cast in an Angelina Jolie movie. I think it's a safe assumption that most friend circles, no matter the division, would be interested in hearing more about that. Regardless, it was predictable (and I'm also not so sure how I feel about how Priya is being painted as a straight-up bitch), but anyway, there's something about the chemistry between Bernadette, Amy and Penny that is just so lovely and charming. Their friendly, always-looking-out-for-each-other dynamic provides a nice, and needed, contrast against the guys, who spend most of their time insulting one another.
"They sound delicious, but this money is earmarked for scones." -Sheldon
Meanwhile, as Sheldon works on his three-person chess game, Raj knocks on his door in need of his help. A friend of his has an experimental drug that helps with social anxieties, and because Raj becomes mute in front of all women that are not family, he thinks he should try it out. Rightfully, he's slightly afraid of anything that will adjust the chemical function of his brain, because he's a scientist and his mind is his moneymaker if you will, but the idea of being single and lonely at the age of 30 is enough to push him over the edge and make him take that risk. So, he does and he and Sheldon head to a cafe to try it out.
At first, it seems like it's working: Raj says hi to a girl, invites himself to sit down, gets some positive response. But before we know it, the drug has made him too open and suddenly Raj takes off all of his clothes -- seriously, all of his clothes. Some may argue that this plot development felt lame and sitcom-y, and perhaps that is true to an extent, but from an overarching story viewpoint, I enjoyed it. The Raj-women thing has been an unfunny problem with the series since its inception back in season one, and it's about time they do something to fix it. And if they would've fixed it in one episode -- with a pharmaceutical drug nonetheless -- it would've felt not only easy, but like a missed opportunity for development of one of the show's most important characters. Plus, it was pretty funny to see Raj strip in the middle of the cafe.
Oh, and one last thing I feel I must note: three-person chess, although sounding totally awesome, was no Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.