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October 2, 2014

'The Big Bang Theory' Season 4, Episode 17 Recap

by Oliver Miller, posted Feb 25th 2011 6:00AM
['The Big Bang Theory' - 'The Toast Derivation']

Sheldon is generally the funniest part of 'The Big Bang Theory,' but there can be such a thing as too much Sheldon. Really, Sheldon's at his best when he's charmingly misunderstanding the rules of the world around him, and at his worst when he's just being rude and bossy. And he was at his worst tonight.

The show continued the Leonard/Priya/Penny love triangle from last time around, as Leonard's romance with Priya forced him to shift the gang's Thursday night hang-out session to Raj's apartment. This, of course, disturbed the delicate equilibrium of Sheldon's world, causing him to freak out.

Sheldon refused to go to Raj's, because Thursday night was supposed to be spent at his place, darn it. He then came up with the simple plan of completely replacing all of this friends. Brilliant! Unfortunately, he decided to replace them with Zach, Stuart, Barry, and ... LeVar Burton, of 'Reading Rainbow' and 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' fame. Less brilliant.



LeVar wisely opted out of the gathering, and the three other guys ruined Sheldon's concept of a party (which included "goodie bags" and video games) by getting drunk instead. Meanwhile, Leonard was at Raj's, hanging with Priya -- and in our second sub-plot of the night, Amy and Bernadette tried to help Penny "get over" Leonard.

But mostly, things were Sheldon-centric, which gave us a chance to see how Sheldon can work on this show and how Sheldon can't work on this show. Sheldon going up to Penny at the bar and ordering a "water, neat, with a little umbrella"? That's funny, because that's Sheldon being clueless. But Sheldon continually insulting everyone around him? That's not so funny, and it becomes tiresome and grating.

Sadly, that's what the episode devolved into. Sheldon insulting Leonard. Sheldon insulting the guests at his party. Sheldon insulting Priya about her cooking. It's doubly unfortunate, because the episode hinged on the characters realizing that they missed Sheldon and needed him around -- a weird combo, since we were seeing Sheldon at his worst for a full half-hour.

Two trends continued on tonight's show, one good and one bad. First, the bad: For what seems like the millionth time, Leonard was given nothing to do; he barely made a single joke. Now, the good: The Amy/Penny pairing remains awesome, and is currently the best thing happening on 'Big Bang.' The scenes with the two of them hanging out were the best part of the night. There's something inherently hilarious about Amy calling Penny "bestie" in her robotic voice. Also hilarious: Penny's continually freaked-out response to Amy's attempts at friendship.

The episode ended with a twist -- one that was expected, but gratifying. Leo, Raj, and Howard all made a toast ... and realized that they missed Sheldon's nerdiness. (Specifically, his nerdy tendency to continually explain why a toast is called "a toast.") Right afterward, Sheldon was reunited with his friends, and all was right with the world.

Everything went less well for Penny. While Amy and Bernie were at her apartment, she found a present that Leonard had given her: A snowflake from the North Pole, pressed between two pieces of Lucite. The gift made her realize that she missed Leonard -- which is happening a lot these days, but still, it was a touching moment. It also set up a great one-liner -- as Penny mused about how Leo is a one-of-a-kind, Amy offered up this zinger: "Saying that while holding a snowflake is a little heavy-handed, don't you think?" Good stuff.

Really, the best thing that 'The Big Bang Theory' has going for it is that the characters seem to genuinely like one another; you can visualize them being friends in real life. On so many sitcoms, the characters are nothing more than quip-machines, dispensing sarcastic put-downs -- making you wonder how they could ever stand hanging out together. For about 20 minutes tonight, 'Big Bang' strayed into that territory, turning Sheldon into a jerk, more or less. The show recovered in the end, but it was a bumpy ride. Let's see if things improve on the next episode, which is coming in two weeks.

Random notes:

LeVar Burton's cameo was way less funny than the one he did on last week's 'Community.'

Leonard suggests that if Sheldon won't come to Raj's place, then he should stay home and read a book. Sheldon's response: "And be a social pariah? You know that's not my style."

"It's 'Harry Potter and 98 percent of the Sorcerer's Stone'."

"From this angle, I can see up your nose."

"Don't be needy, bestie, that's probably what chased Leonard away."

"It must be killing you wondering whoFINEI'LLTELLYOU."

Sheldon, overreacting to Leonard: "We had a good run, you and I. But change is a part of life."

Zach: "I'm Zach and I'm a, uh, could you come back to me?"

"I'd be happy to share some tension-reducing techniques for ladies that I've perfected over the years."

"Don't go bwakin' my heart."

"I think it's like 'Beetlejuice' -- we said his name too many times."

"I had to leave, they were having fun wrong."

In the end, Raj toasts to "friends, no matter how quirky."

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

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Roxana

Did anyone else notice that Raj now feels comfortable enough to talk directly to Penny? On last weeks episode he asked Penny to explain to his sister why she became disenchanted with Leonard. He also made a comment in front of Amy before Penny came in to mooch some pizza.

Tonights episode was funny. Amy and Penny are great.
Sheldon got punched by Bill Gates. Lol
Best quote for me came from Howard, talking about Sheldon.
"That crazy bastard is looking at quirky in the rearview mirror".

Love this show!

February 25 2011 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Roxana's comment
El

When you see Raj able to speak to a girl there is usually a beer involved.

February 28 2011 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marc

What I have found the best in the past few weeks is the reboot that the writers gave to Amy, which has actually made her an enjoyable aspect of the show.

I actually thought last night's episode was funny, in a temper tantrum type of way. It wasn't the best episode, but it certainly wasn't the collation of crap painted above.

February 25 2011 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Radio

I'm pretty sure the season finale is NOT in two weeks.

February 25 2011 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brandon

Really. You come across like one of those internet geeks who decide it's time to bash the show because it's gotten more popular. Sheldon has always been an annoying jerk, and those goes right along with how clueless he is. And either way, it's always been funny. This is site is really starting to bug me. You're turning a site that was once great reading (even when you didn't like an episode of a series) into a waste of space.

February 25 2011 at 8:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ben

"LeVar Burton's cameo was way less funny than the one he did on last week's 'Community.'"

Are you kidding, imo that (short) cameo was the funniest moment of this episode!

February 25 2011 at 6:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ben's comment
lumien

Yes, it was the funniest moment of the eipsode, but still his cameo here was worse than on "Community".
That was the point.

February 27 2011 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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