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September 18, 2014

The Big Bang Theory: The Monopolar Expedition (season finale)

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 12th 2009 12:26AM
big bang theory

(S02E23)
Buzzinga! This episode, which is the season 2 finale, kind of blew my mind. Sheldon is almost a real boy! Not only was he able to correctly identify emotions not once, but twice, but he has started pulling honest-to-goodness pranks. Funny ones, at that! The whole bedtime conversation between he and Leonard about Penny wanting him carnally? You know that wouldn't have happened a year ago.

Speaking of Penny, there was one glaring thing about this otherwise enjoyable episode -- she was practically non-existent! Granted, she played a big role in the over-arching storyline if not the episodic one, but nonetheless, her absence was definitely noticeable.

While she had some nice scenes with Leonard, she barely interacted at all with Sheldon, outside of when she hilariously knocked back at him when he came to her door. Surely they could have taken out some of the crossbow talk in order to get her in there a little more. Or, perhaps, as Sheldon theorized, in order to miss someone, they do have to, in fact, be gone.

Going to the North Pole is a weird construct to get the guys out of town for the summer/show hiatus. I can only assume this means that big changes are going to happen with Penny, and Leonard will once again be left behind. After all, she's not going to have Leonard's little puppy dog face to hold her back from dating, and he certainly isn't going to be meeting any women where he is.

Here's what I don't get about the whole Penny/Leonard thing. I get why he's playing it close to the vest and doesn't want to just profess his feelings for her: she's completely out of his league. Of course, that's changed from when they first met, but I'm sure it's still holding him back on some level. So what's Penny's deal?

She's obviously going to miss him, but couldn't come out and tell him that she doesn't want him to go. Is she intimidated by his intelligence? That was an issue earlier in the season, but I thought she had mostly gotten over it. She knows that if she takes a chance on him, he's not going to hurt her -- Leonard couldn't hurt a fly. She can't be too afraid of ruining the friendship; after all, it's already survived one attempt at a relationship, why not another?

So I don't understand what exactly is pulling these two apart. They're both single, they care for each other, and they totally live across the hall -- bonus points for convenience! I'm completely stumped. What's your take on the Penny/Leonard relationship, and what do you think is going to happen when the guys get back from the North Pole next season?

Some of my favorite lines from this week:

Sheldon: "It must be an emergency; everyone at the university knows that I eat my breakfast at 8 and move my bowels at 8:20."
Leonard: "Yes, how did we live before Twitter?"

Wolowitz: "Just imagine ... if he says yes, we'll have an entire summer without Sheldon."
Raj: "We could play outside."
Wolowitz: "We could sit on the left side of the couch."
Leonard: "I could use the bathroom at 8:20!"
Raj: "Our dreams are very small, aren't they?"

"But if we were part of the team that confirmed string theory, we could drink for free in any bar in any college town with a university that has a strong science program!" - Raj

"I'm a Hindu. My religion teaches that if we suffer in this life, we are rewarded in the next. Three months at the North Pole with Sheldon and I'm reborn as a well-hung billionaire with wings." - Raj

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gman

I do the same thing as Sheldon when I can’t make a decision by asking people what I should do and then disagree no matter what option they suggest. I love when the guys all cheer when Sheldon says he accepted the invitation to the Arctic. Sheldon asking his 3 friends was not a surprise. Blockbuster was my first choice in the past but since Netflix started I used them for many years until they raised my price but now that my free mail membership has come into my life I’m all for Blockbuster. I order the BBT seasons one disk at a time which fits my availability perfectly. I got it free with my new DISH Network employee account but it’s free for anyone. http://bit.ly/jYtohY

August 29 2011 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ankush

I've always felt that whilst the show itself is hilarious, the "premise" - geeky guy, attractive blonde, and the hint of romance between the two - isn't true-to-life.
I've never really cared about this since the show's funny and entertaining, and the romance aspect doesn't take up too much time.

Here's why I think the romance isn't going to happen - apart from being a geek, Leonard has no appeal. He's not especially funny or interesting, and while he has done some honourable things (he seems to pride himself on being the "good" guy), he's also done some pretty sneaky, self-serving things as well. He's basically just an average guy - if anything, his geekiness makes him less appealing than average to Penny, as it represents the fact they have very little in common.

I am very much biased, as I think Leonard is the least interesting character on the show - all he really seems to do is make the same sarcastic jibes about Sheldon, and complain about how women don't like him.

May 15 2009 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LizaF

We can look at this in two ways: As a TV show which historically--even on 'Friends' and 'Frasier'-after the two intended love interest get together ratings drop, it's the happily ever after paradox. They are happy, but the sitcom suffers.

Another way to look at it is by way of the illusion that is presented to us through romanticism. The Penny and Leonard storyline is archetypal pretty, yet flawed, girl meets geeky, self-conscious boy. She goes out with "man after man, who seem to never return" and he is seen going out with two women, which helps to make Penny see that he is not a total freak hence making him desirable. We are waiting for when, when, when not just if, if, if, it will happen. Most importantly we are rooting for them, because they represent all that we hold dear the aspiration that we too have a chance for happiness.

What has truly been surprising is not their story, but the other geeks future. Will Wolowitz ever find true love? Will Koothrappali be able to talk to women while sober? And how about Sheldon? It's been established that Sheldon cannot do without Leonard, though he thinks he can. Who will ever be able to put up with him? I believe that the true challenge in the storyline is Sheldon and humanizing him or more over getting him married off--or is that passing him off to some unsuspecting poor simpleton who can take it.

Either way it's a great show and I look forward to a long run!!!!!!

May 12 2009 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kate

I'll tell you exactly what's going on with Penny- she wants him to WANT her and she sort of wants him but she doesn't REALLY want him. It's just nice to have him around all the time, knowing that he worships her, but never really having to be with him. Haven't we all been there, on both sides?

May 12 2009 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kate's comment
GL

I would add that Penny realizes all this and knows that she might squash poor Leonard if she pushes it too far.

May 12 2009 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

I loved that the hut they were staying in is setup pretty much just like their apartment.

May 12 2009 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bird

Anyone remember "Moonlighting" with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd? Once Maddie and David consummated their realtionship the ratings tanked and the show was cancelled. Same thing. I'd vote for Penny getting another boy toy and Leonard to find another hot girlfriend to keep the tensions going.

May 12 2009 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Key Rick

Raj's parents stole the show

May 12 2009 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Key Rick's comment
SISSERS

How funny was it that one of the movies they were going to watch at the North Pole was John Carpenter's "The Thing"!?!?

May 12 2009 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C.A.

I think Penny didn't say anything because she already rejected Leonard once after their first small go at dating. She probably feels like she had her chance and she doesn't want to hold him back from the once in a lifetime science trip.

May 12 2009 at 8:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

Penny knocking back at Sheldon made me laugh so hard I did a spit take.

They obviously can't get Leonard and Penny together for the usual will they/won't they reasons and so the plot device to keep forward progress yet falling short of a real moment seems strained. I fear that when the boys return she will be dating another vapid pretty boy. Stewart was obviously too much like Leonard to put him out of her mind. A pretty boy will be more distracting. In terms of the character development and why they can't express themselves beyond plot device, I think they both fear what may or may not happen if they try again since the first attempt didn't take.

May 12 2009 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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