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August 21, 2014

'The Big Bang Theory' Season 4, Episode 2 Recap

by Donald Deane, posted Oct 1st 2010 12:15AM
['The Big Bang Theory' - 'The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification']

In terms of unsympathetic characters with deeply-rooted flaws, no one fits the bill more than Sheldon Cooper; he's alternately egotistical, obsessive-compulsive and largely immune to the plight of others. And yet, there's something endearing (and very funny) as Sheldon attempts to come to grips with situations beyond his control. This was the case with tonight's episode of 'The Big Bang Theory' in which Sheldon confronts his mortality and comes up with a series of ill-fated schemes to prolong his life.

Naturally, Sheldon takes the inevitably of his own demise to the extreme and charts out an estimate of his death, learning that he'll miss the singularity -- a theoretical point in time when he'll be able to transfer his consciousness into a robot -- by a matter of years. So, he latches onto traditional methods of extending his life, such as eating right and jogging.

But, after suffering a bout of gas from Brussels sprouts (and assuming at first that he's contracted cholera or some other exotic disease) and falling down the stairs on his first day of jogging, Sheldon deems his body too fragile and decides to go about the world from a remote location using a robotic "mobile virtual presence device."

As usual, poor Leonard suffers the most at the hands of neurotic Sheldon, having to cart his makeshift robot to and from work, endure Sheldon's self-satisfied chattering, and open doors when the robotic doppelganger can't. For the second week in a row, Leonard has little more than a supporting role due to Sheldon's antics, but he does participate in a hilarious scene where he and the "Shelbot" travel together in a car to work:

Sheldon: I don't understand why you're not enjoying this. Together, in this car, with my enhanced capabilities, we're like 'Knight Rider.'
Leonard: Except, in 'Knight Rider,' the car isn't a yammering sphincter.
Sheldon: You mock the sphincter, but, the sphincter is a class of muscle without which human beings couldn't survive. There are over 50 different sphincters in the human body. How many can you name?
Leonard: I was wrong. This is exactly like 'Knight Rider.'

Finally, while the gang and the Shelbot lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, Sheldon gets chummy with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in what's destined to become the episode's most buzzed-about moment. Then, in an ironic turn, Sheldon falls and trips again, destroying his vintage Apple II after being lured from his bedroom by the promise of an autograph.

What's most interesting about the season so far is that Leonard and Sheldon appear to have swapped places as pivotal characters. And, yes, while this episode was predictable at times, as long as there's plenty of Sheldon, the show's still plenty funny.

Other funny moments:

After learning that Sheldon plans to take up jogging, Penny asks, "Honey, have you ever run before?" Sheldon: "Certainly. I've run from bullies, dogs, angry chickens and one particularly persistent PE teacher determined to bend me over and give me a scoliosis test."

Wolowitz spots Leonard and the Shelbot in the hall of their college, then quips, "Oh look! It's Leonard and R2-D-bag."

'The Big Bang Theory' airs Thursdays at 8PM ET on CBS.

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Couchtime With Jill

R2-Dbag was a good line, but this episode fell short for me. I loved the premiere last week, but anytime a show resorts to fart jokes, my respect for them drops. Check out my full review here: www.couchtimewithjill.com

October 01 2010 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
beanspants1

This was another mostly awful episode. Making Leonard drag around Shelbot and be nothing but pissy about it didn't work. He's shown in the past he's not a complete pushover, and a normal person would have tossed Shelbot out of the car (or never made it down the stairs). The writers should have a least shown he had a little interest in the Shelbot experiment -- the way it was, it played out like a series of sketches from a nerdier version of HeeHaw.

October 01 2010 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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