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August 28, 2015

'The Big Bang Theory' Season 4, Episode 20 Recap

by Mike Moody, posted Apr 8th 2011 8:30AM
the big bang theory The Herb Garden Germination['The Big Bang Theory' – 'The Herb Garden Germination']

Our favorite TV nerd herd is quickly becoming one big dysfunctional family.

Raj secretly covets Howard's squeeze, Penny loathes Leonard's new love, and Sheldon and Amy have taken to conducting social experiments on their unwitting friends. All of this would be downright disturbing if 'The Big Bang Theory' wasn't so funny and absurd.

After some cute/clever Brian Greene-bashing, this week's episode started out with a troubling bit of gossip -- Bernadette was thinking about dumping Howard -- but switched gears to end with one of the sweetest moments of the series.

Like most multi-camera sitcoms, 'TBBT' has little use for big, game-changing narrative arcs. (What, you want the characters to, like, grow and change? Pfft!) But engaging arcs and stories do tend to spring up around the characters' romantic relationships. So it wasn't a shocker to see everybody gossiping about the shoddy state of Howard and Bernadette's love life, or to learn about Raj's creepy Bernadette-inspired love poems ("Oh Bernadette, please play my clarinet").

Even Howard's nervous proposal and Bernadette's immediate "Yes!" didn't come as a huge surprise (but mostly because exec producer Bill Prady pretty much dropped that bomb a few weeks back). Still, the moment felt warm and fuzzy and all kinds of sugary (the good kind of sugary, like sipping a chai tea latte on the first scarf-worthy day of the year).

Howard's proposal was the big moment of the night, but the gossip that spread through the group like wildfire sparked the episode's best lines, scenes and character interactions.

This episode reminded us about the percolating Leonard-Priya-Penny love triangle with a few fun throwaway lines, but the focus here was more on Sheldon and Amy's strange and slowly ripening partnership. ShAmy owned this ep from start to finish. Anyone who couldn't find a laugh-out-loud moment in between all of their dirty rumor mongering, quirky reminiscing ("Shelly Cooper's a smelly pooper!") and chats about masturbating monkeys is clearly dead inside and should probably stock up on Bach flower remedies.

After four years of watching 'TBBT,' it's great to finally see Sheldon find someone who truly understands him but who is different enough to challenge and provoke him. Some of the best and funniest exchanges of the night sprang from Sheldon and Amy's delicious and bizarro dynamic:

Amy: "Do you have any ethical qualms regarding human experimentation?"
Sheldon: "It's one of the few forms of interaction with people that I don't find repellant."

And moments later:

Amy: "We'll track [our experiment's] progress through our social group and interpret the results through the competing academic prisms of mimetic theory, algebraic gossip, and epidemiology!"
Sheldon (grinning): "Look at you, getting me to engage in the social sciences. You're a vixen, Amy Farrah Fowler!" (Coffee cups clink.)

The boy-girl relationships are clearly evolving, which makes sense if the show is to press on for several more seasons. It'll be fun to see what our 'TBBT' couples will look like a few years down the line.

Things are looking good for most of our geek heroes: Sheldon has a partner (sort of), Leonard is currently inspiring a polite catfight between two hotties (and he'll eventually hook up with Penny again), and Howard is getting married. Married! Makes you pity poor Raj, the guy who was reduced to getting drunk and stalking his best friend's girl at her job.

This was one of the breeziest and most enjoyable episodes in months. Our major players did some fine ensemble work, and the writers expertly handled the goofy minutiae of the different character relationships and interactions. As the show's cast grows, it seems, so does the funny.


- "In the parlance of the urban music scene, 'What's the 411?'"

- "My father taught me archery as a child. It's odd how the activity brings back the smell of K-Mart bourbon."

- "I get a lawyer, he gets a lawyer ... It's easier just to stand behind the tape."

- "We're very rich in a very poor country so, all in all, can't complain."

- "Her freakishly small hands make anything look big. It's one of the reasons I love her."

Add your favorite quotes in the comments.

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

Follow @mikemoody on Twitter.

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I was concerned that adding relationships to this series would
screw up the show, but the producers have done a good job of
working it all in...
And I agree with the comment about Priya's quote...it scored a
10 in my book !

April 08 2011 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was concerned that adding relationships to this series would
screw up the show, but the producers have done a good job of
working it all in...
And I agree with the comment about Priya's quote...it scored a
10 in my book !

April 08 2011 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved! loved! This ep. So funny....You're right, the only arcs these characters really experience is in their romantic or quasi-romantic relationships. The show just keeps getting better and better. This has been my favorite of the season so far. Man, since when did nerds get so cool? I blame Comic-Con's success.

April 08 2011 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really do like how Amy's character has blossomed. At first, I hated her sanctimonious attitude (even though Sheldon's was quite similar), but this season she has meshed well with both Penny and Sheldon. The "girl's nights" have been hilarious, her "face in the computer" scenes are funny (and very appropriate), and I look forward to more of the "Shamy" shenanigans.

April 08 2011 at 9:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My favorite line: Priya "Oddly enough we always thought Raj was the clarinet enthusiast"

April 08 2011 at 8:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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