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September 4, 2015

The Big Bang Theory: The Vartabedian Conundrum

by Kona Gallagher, posted Dec 9th 2008 1:01AM
Big Bang theory(S02E10) I'm really interested to see what you guys thought of this episode, because I have to say: it didn't do it for me. I thought the last episode, although a little too Sheldon-centric for my tastes, was good. This one, however, was just sort of blah.They basically had one joke--that every time Leonard tries to talk to Stephanie about their relationship, they end up having sex--that is just repeated throughout the episode.

I really like Sara Rue in general, but she and Johnny Galecki have zero chemistry. Because of this, I found all of their scenes together really boring, and unfortunately, they made up most of the show.

What makes this multi-episode relationship between her and Leonard worse, is that her scenes with Sheldon are a lot more amusing. Big Bang Theory gets a lot of comedy out of how people deal with Sheldon, and I like her take: Be super-sweet and manipulate him for your needs.

While she wouldn't give Sheldon a battery of tests at the hospital, she did validate his fears by telling him he has a ridiculously enlarged larynx. That made him feel better, plus she got the quiet she wanted. It was a win-win. The scene in which Stephanie examined him was so good, that I could have seen Sheldon falling for her, whereas with Leonard, I can't tell what he sees in her (well, other than the fact that she'll sleep with him).

Raj and Wolowitz were confined to lunch table duty this week, which is unfortunate. Raj made fun of Leonard's bird sweater, but the two of them were still drastically underused. Also underused, once again, was Penny. I'm still bothered by the fact that her relationship with Leonard got such short shrift, and she's relegated to giving relationship advice in the laundry room. I'm really feeling like Sara Rue needs to go, and we need to get back to the four guys and Penny, because that's when the show is at its best.

Because this episode focused on Leonard and Stephanie, there weren't a whole lot of snappy one-liners. However, the funniest part of the show didn't involve one-liners. The last scene in which Sheldon knocked on Penny's door and used his computer to speak for him was amazing. I love how he committed to the conversation by providing the appropriate facial expressions to go along with the computer's words, even blushing when he inadvertently asked for "hiney" instead of "honey."

Some of my favorite lines from this episode:

"I only initialed it because I thought it would never happen! I initialed another clause naming you my sidekick in case I get super powers!" --Leonard

"Good morning, Stephanie. I trust Leonard satisfied you sexually last night?" --Sheldon

Stephanie: I just performed a Sheldon-ectomy.
Leonard: Careful, if you don't get it all, it'll just come back worse.

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Everyone wanted a non-Sheldon-focused episode, and that's what you got. And it wasn't as funny. You get what you ask for! :)

While Sheldon overkill is always possible, I think the more palatable thing would be to keep the amount of Sheldon in it, but figure out a way to have more of the characters involved in the scene, rather than a Sheldon-vs.-Leonard or Sheldon-vs-Penny scene.

You can still have the nuances of Sheldon's funny lines in the context of an ENTIRE scene....you keep the comedy but you distract the view from looking at it as completely Sheldon-centric......

December 10 2008 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i think i was more excited that this episode wasnt all about sheldon. Hopefully this is the beginning of refocusing the show.

My fave scene was Leonard returning to the laundry room after sex, and Penny glances down at her watch--very apparent she took a mental note. haha

December 09 2008 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Kona Gallagher - and some of the commenters - is(are) making a basic mistake as regards the chemistry of Rue and Galecki. It's SUPPOSED to be awkward and stilted and not real. I think we're supposed to be rooting for them to break up because the real couple is, and forever shall be, Sheldon and Leonard.

Plus, the truth is, Stephanie is attracted to Sheldon - as are ALL the women Leonard dates - only he veneer of neurotic nonsense prevents women from getting close, so they settle for the nerd they can get - Leonard. what Stephanie really wants is a nerd she can manipulate but one that is also a challenge, which clearly Leonard is NOT.

SO...the mistake I think some are making is reacting to the show like people that WRITE about TV...you are analyzing how the sausage is made, not the taste of the sausage itself. The reaction you are feeling is wanting to see Stephanie and Leonard break up, and as people writing about TV you interpret that as a technical issue between actors.

I think maybe the actors are just doing a good job and some people are misinterpreting the feeling their having.

Hey, it's just a theory. :)

December 09 2008 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to malren's comment

I see it similarly. It is supposed to be an awkward pairing and the physical part is the only thing preventing Leonard from breaking it off cleanly.

December 09 2008 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that was LaRue's last episode. She was only slated for 3. At least that's what she said in an interview I just read. Maybe she should go back to 'Two & Half Men' and hook up with Alan again??? I loved the itchy pants Leonard was wearing and commented they were made of wool and fire ants!!

December 09 2008 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Guess what, where I live this episode didn't air last night. Instead, there was a 30 minute PSA about the DTV switch. Wtf? No one who watches this show would benefit from that.

December 09 2008 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love the continuing tease of Penny-Sheldon... its there, and its gonna happen at some point...

By the by, to the reviewer, Stephanie didn't confirm Sheldon's fears about his inflamed larynx, she exploited them by confirming his bogus claim, therefore causing him to shut up for the rest of the episode...

December 09 2008 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm gonna agree with the majority here. While I was excited for a more Leonard-centric storyline, I was somewhat disappointed with last night's episode. I like Sara Rue, and I think she does a good job playing Stephanie, I just don't find Stephanie to be a very likable character (except when she interacts with Sheldon). She seems kinda, well, easy, and we never really find out why she and Leonard like each other, aside from the physical reasons. Makes me wonder if all men (or all people?) are really that into physical relationships (as opposed to, you know, relationships based on things other than hormones).

To me, this episode felt very stereotypical sitcom-y, and therefore not very believable.

Also, it kind of bugged me that we never got a real resolution at the end of the episode. Why was Stephanie okay with Leonard's text? Are we going to hear more about this next week?

December 09 2008 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

penny will eventually be under the covers with leonard in an upcoming episode. there seems to be some unresolved tension between penny and leonard. while i like the leonard has a girl thread and like the girl - it isn't leonard enjoying it (except for the sex!). he still likes penny and vice versa. let's watch and see.

December 09 2008 at 11:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, I'm in the minority in that I really enjoyed and laughed at last night's episode and was happy to see an episode that centered on Leonard again for once. This show is really teetering close to turning the Sheldon character into another Fonzie/Urkel and we all know how those instances turned out. So it was a nice breath of fresh air to see some other people getting some screen time without Sheldon always front and center.

December 09 2008 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, I felt this was one of the weaker episodes of the year. The running gag that when they were going to fight or have "the talk" they would end up having sex was good the first time, a couple of episodes ago, now, ehh, it has run the course. We're beating a dead horse, we get it. The funny stuff is when the guys interact and struggle with their geekism. And where is Sara Gilbert? Her character certainly would have an opinon on Leonard's new squeeze.

Need more Howard and Raj!

December 09 2008 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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