S4E10: Every week, I get more and more frustrated with The Big Bang Theory.
After a two week hiatus, the show returned for another lackluster episode, once again featuring re-used jokes and old gags. In half a season, BBT has managed to gradually move from a clever, funny sitcom with interesting characters to a lazily written show without much direction at all. Or perhaps more accurate comparison, BBT is similar to Kings of Leon. Yeah, even though they’re at the most popular point in their career, their music is no longer interesting or original, it’s just turned into lame, lazily written alternative rock.
Let’s start with my first major complaint: Amy Farrah Fowler. Basically, I just don’t get her. Not to knock Mayim Bialik’s performance — I think she’s doing a fine job with what she’s been given — but I don’t understand WHY her character is in the show. In “The Alien Parasite Hypothesis,” we learn that her and Sheldon basically have no romantic future together, but not because of Amy. She is interested in sex. After running into Penny’s ex-lover and that meat-head Zach (the guy from earlier in the season who thought the moon was going to blow up), Amy has a “hoo” moment. Basically, she wants to bone Zach. And yeah, her “hoo” was kind of funny, but something bugged me about her reaction to being so “aww-ed” by Zach. Amy is clearly not stupid. The fact that Amy was so surprised by feeling attracted to Zach — so surprised that she didn’t understand what was happening — felt very out of character. We’re supposed to believe that Amy, as a scientist, doesn’t understand bodily functions? Sorry, but no. I don’t think that really makes sense.
So Amy talks to Sheldon about this whole being hot for Zach thing, and they spend a few minutes trying to scientifically narrow down the reason, only to conclude the obvious: she’s horny. Sheldon, being a problem solver, wants to figure out what to do about this horny-ness, so he talks to Penny about it, which brings him to the conclusion that he must get Amy laid. And initially, we are led to believe that Sheldon will try to seduce Amy, but of course, we’re wrong. Turns out, he sets up a date for Amy to meet Zach again and have “coitus” — which he had to explain to Zach was sex. But, after Amy realizes exactly how stupid Zach is (and touching his hand), she doesn’t want to pursue anything further. Then, she and Sheldon walk home together and she tries touching his hand as “an experiment,” only to find it does not give the same result. They’re just buddies.
So there ya go. That’s it. Sheldon and Amy — or “Shamy” — are probably never going to have a relationship beyond friendship. So that brings me to my main question: why the hell is she still in the show? Because now, the writers have two options with her character: a.) They could keep pushing the Shamy plot line and have them experiment with “coitus” to push their relationship further (but frankly, they lost having any logical or reasonable explanation for sex with this episode), but it will no doubt be extremely awkward and awful. Or b.) Continue to just be a version of Sheldon, except without the Y Chromosome.
Now, if the writers were brave, they’d try with option A. Yeah, like I said, they kind of fucked up their chance to have Sheldon and Amy have get intimate this week, but they could come up with some reason for it to happen again. And who knows? Maybe, even if it was extremely awful and awkward, they would both enjoy it? But, unfortunately, the writers are lazy. In a season that’s motto seemed to be “Hey, Jim Parsons won an Emmy and we are one of the highest rated comedies on television so let’s stop trying to be creative at all,” I can’t see them pushing themselves with a difficult plot line like that. The obvious choice they’ll make will be option B, which will no doubt continue to push the show down this path of terribleness.
Like I said, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with how Bialik is playing Amy. With the character she’s been presented, I don’t see how there’d be any other way to play her. She is a female Sheldon. But that’s where the problem lies. Although I like the idea of BBT pushing itself out into a bigger ensemble with both Amy and Bernadette, it can’t push itself out with different versions of the same character. With Amy’s presence as a female Sheldon, the show becomes overloaded with one type of humor. Parsons has always been funny because he’s been the crazy, absurd one. And every TV ensemble needs that. Seinfeld had Kramer. Friends had Phoebe. 30 Rock has Tracy Jordan. But notice how there’s only one of them? That’s because when you bring in multiples, it weakens the punch of their character, and in turn, weakens the comedy.
That’s not to say it’s impossible. For example, look at how The Office is handling the situation with Michael and Holly. They’re both very similar characters, but Holly is just different enough (or should I say, normal enough), that it doesn’t take away from Michael Scott’s insanity. But BBT isn’t taking that approach. Rather than make Amy a supporting character who sometimes will chime in with craziness, the writers are trying to make her a primary character on the show. Someone who ends up taking away from Sheldon’s comedic timing, rather than helping it. Simply, two Sheldons.
Now, let’s look at the B-plot. Raj and Howard are trying to determine who would be a better superhero. So of course, they decide to wrestle. There were some good bits of physical humor in this story, like when both of them were in wrestling singlets, but other than that, it was pretty plain. I laughed a couple times, but that was about it. Also, I should note that Leonard is, once again, doing nothing in this episode except pointing out that he has friends who are nerds.
I don’t know. This episode of BBT just wasn’t that funny. And usually, even if it’s an awful plot, there’s at least one redeeming Sheldon moment to make the half an hour worth it (like last episode’s paper incident), but this week didn’t even have that. It’s become glaringly apparent during this season that the writers are perfectly content with presenting us with standard, recycled, sitcom shit. And that is not only sad, but extremely disappointing. BBT is one of my favorite shows. I was so happy when I discovered it because deep down, I really do love multi-camera sitcoms. I love their theatrical, absurd approach and how you can, usually, just sit and watch, tune the rest of the world out, and be entertained for a half an hour. And in a world full of terrible, terrible sitcoms, it was nice to see BBT emerge as one that separated itself from the rest because it was actually funny. Unfortunately, being funny doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore.