‘The Big Bang Theory’ Recap: The Toast Derivation

S4E17: So this episode of The Big Bang Theory was pretty good — well, at least the first half was. Then after some pretty clever and funny setup, everything fell apart. It was sad, because for awhile, “The Toast Derivation” felt like it was an episode out of the show’s best season (two). But then, somewhere (right around the time he invited the “new” friends over), everything kind of fell apart. The payoff wasn’t what I hoped, and, well, it made me pretty angry. Regardless, the first half was still funny, so that’s good, right?

“What if he serves us haggis and blood pudding?” -Sheldon

Since Leonard has a new girlfriend — Raj’s sister Priya — the gang has changed up their routine (or rather, their “tradition,” according to Sheldon). Instead of eating pizza at Sheldon and Leonard’s place, the gang heads over to Raj’s place for dinner. Obviously, this upsets Sheldon because Sheldon really, really hates any type of change that might happen in his life, no matter how small. This eventually leads him to the Cheesecake Factory bar where Penny serves him his drink: ice water, neat, with an umbrella.

“Leonard, we had a good run, you and I.” -Sheldon

Sheldon decides to fight back. After all, he’s the lively one of the group, right? He has friends outside of the group, c’mon! Well — kind of. He calls up pretty much every other significant male character we’ve met throughout the series (and tweets at LeVar Burton), and preps to have them over at his apartment. Before Leonard leaves, he makes sure to do everything he can to make Leonard feel jealous. It’s a funny exchange, and I always enjoy it when Big Bang presents Leonard and Sheldon as a couple.

“When he finished, he shouted ‘Eureka!'” -Sheldon

“No, I always shout ‘Holy Moly!’ Don’t know why, just do.” -Zach

Now, this is where the episode kind of fell apart. The new friends at Sheldon’s apartment don’t click with Sheldon. He doesn’t get his way. Blah blah. Blah blah. It was pretty much everything we expected to happen, and sure, the lines were funny here and there, but I don’t know. It just made me angry. The setup for this part of the episode was so good, and then, bam, Chuck Lorre and crew just reverted back to a sitcom plot we’ve seen a thousand times.

I don’t know why I expected a different plot twist. Hell, I didn’t even expect that BIG of a twist, just something a little bit more than, “Oh, I actually don’t like these guys and I will go hang out with my real friends.” But, whatever. Perhaps it’s because, for the first time in awhile, I was actually laughing out loud to Big Bang. Something about it felt different, and then, wham-o, they fell right back into the traps of the rest of this season.

“Saying that while holding a snowflake’s a little heavy-handed, don’t you think?” -Bernadette

Complaints about the second half of the episode aside, I did enjoy the interaction with the girls. Penny is jealous of Leonard, and Amy and Bernadette recognize this, but Penny doesn’t want to admit it. The decide to go out dancing to try and get Penny to move past the fact that Leonard isn’t in love with her anymore. And, well, it was fun! Frankly, the three girls have quickly established themselves as a fun, tight little ensemble that always presents enjoyable moments on screen. Plus — and maybe this is just the 16-year-old guy in me who’s still holding onto that grudge towards my first girlfriend — I love seeing a woman suffer when she realizes that her crush has moved on.

“I had to leave. They were having fun wrong.” -Sheldon

Going back to my previous point, boy-oh-boy, Sheldon decided that he likes the group! And, boy-oh-boy, he wants to hang out! What a surprise! It’s so shocking! Exclamation point! Exclamation point!

Ugh. Usually, I don’t fault Big Bang for its weekly sitcom plots. After all, this show isn’t trying to break down any television boundaries. It just presents itself as a fun, carefree half an hour. But, I don’t know, there was something about the latter half of the episode that just, to be frank, pissed me off. Passing the ten-minute mark, there was so much promise. But, then, it just lost it. Honestly, I think I’m just mad that “The Toast Derivation” didn’t live up its own potential. Ah, well, at least we’ll always have those first ten minutes. (Plus, LeVar Burton. That was pretty funny, too.)