'The Big Bang Theory' Season 4, Episode 12 Recap
by Oliver Miller, posted Jan 7th 2011 4:45AM
['The Big Bang Theory' - 'The Bus Pants Utilization']
In a way, Sheldon and Penny are kindred spirits on 'The Big Bang Theory.' They're both outcasts. He's too nerdy even for the group of nerds that he hangs out with; she's not considered nerdy enough. So it always seems appropriate when the pair are forced to spend time together, even though it's stressful for them both.
Last time out, the show plunged into the murky waters of the Leonard/Penny romance. But this week's episode was a bit more low-key.
The episode's plot thread was the most slender of plot threads: Leonard has an idea for a new phone "app." Yes, Leonard comes up with a ridiculously nerdy smart phone application -- a differential equation ... recognizer that will solve math problems. Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj join forces to create the app, huddling in the apartment and scribbling madly onto a whiteboard. But then, Sheldon wants to take over the project. He names himself "the boss" and assigns lesser tasks to his friends. Leonard isn't having any of this, though -- after all, the app was his idea.
In the end, Leo has to fire his pal: "You're impossible to work with!" And of course, Sheldon's Asperger-like behavior would make him hard to work with. But pleasantly enough, the show makes no attempt to exaggerate the drama here. Even at the height of their argument, Leo promises that they'll always be friends. Other sitcoms might try to blow things out of proportion, but 'Big Bang' recognizes the inherent reality of the situation: Best friends don't "break up" over a single argument.
Still, there's some revenge to be had. After being ousted from the app team, Sheldon resorts to sabotage. He enters the apartment and plays the theremin at maximum volume, disrupting the entire project. When even this fails, he ends up huddled on the stairs outside the apartment, strumming a mournful theremin-ized version of 'Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.'
Which is when Penny finally enters the picture.
If it's Sheldon's fate to take things too seriously, then it's Penny's fate to never be taken seriously enough. She instantly (and effortlessly) comes up with a far better idea for a smart phone app: A program where you can take pictures of cute shoes, and then learn where to buy them.
Of course, Sheldon just scoffs at this. (In another nice touch, no one ever realizes that Penny's idea for an app is way more marketable than a differential equation whatever-er.) But since Penny is a kind-hearted lass, she still invites him up to her apartment for cocoa. She even tells him how to get back into the app team's good graces: Since Sheldon is so bad at sarcasm, he should sarcastically praise everyone.
Sheldon tries this, and it works. His futile attempts to sound snarky just make him sound even more earnest -- and the team takes him back. And then he screws it up all over again.
The episode ends with Sheldon being forced to work on "Project Shoe" with Penny, sitting and listening as she rattles off an endless list of designer shoes: "These are Uggs, these are Crocs ... Steve Madden, Nine West ... " It's probably Sheldon's own personal vision of hell. But hey, sometimes you don't get the friends that you want; you get the friends that you need. If Sheldon and Penny could learn to get along, they could really help each other out.
"Can you say that and not make it sound like I'm a cat who's learned how to use the toilet?"
"We'll be hundredaires!" -- Howard, finally realizing that Leonard's idea won't make them any money after all.
Penny, trying to speak while shoveling take-out food into her mouth: "Who, muh?"
"That's just 'Sheldon' backwards."
"That's the kind of girl I would take on a submarine ride."
After Penny tells Sheldon that she's got an idea for an app: "Is it better than your idea to move to Los Angeles and become an actress?"
'The Big Bang Theory' airs Thursdays, 8PM ET on CBS.