Blogging Big Bang Theory S4 “The Thespian Catalyst”

Ah bummer, I just realized I missed the last new episode of Big Bang Theory. I think it was because of the holidays or Wipeout or something, but I guess I’ll have something new to watch once reruns roll around or I buy the DVDs. Anyway, after a pretty uneven season with some really bad episodes and some pretty good ones, I was pretty excited about this one after hearing it would involve Sheldon giving Penny acting lessons. I just hoped they wouldn’t try to awkwardly cram all the other characters into the episode when dealing with often winning combination of Penny and Sheldon. Thankfully that wasn’t the case this time around, though Leonard wound up playing pretty much no part in the episode and Amy only poppped up briefly, but with an important piece of advice for her not-boyfriend. The episode kicked off with Sheldon teaching a lecture to a bunch of college students who found him, understandably insufferable. Raj, Howard and Leonard kept track of the lecture thanks to Twitter and Flickr. Sheldon returns feeling pretty good about his lecture only to have Raj show him the Tweets which include KMN which apparently stands for “Kill Me Now.” Frustrated, Sheldon hides in his room after saying “I didn’t want to teach those poopie heads anyway” to which Howard responds to the group “FYI I think that’s what Darth Vader said just before he started building the Death Star.” This is a great scene with plenty of characters (Penny’s there too because Sheldon changed the WiFi password to “pennyisafreeloader” without her knowledge). Everyone gets some good business to do, even becoming forgotten cast member Leonard. Later Raj, Howard and Leonard are hanging out at the Cheese Cake Factory. Howard tells his girlfriend that Raj needs a girlfriend and Bernadette says it shouldn’t be a problem because he’s a hottie. This kicks off a series of events throughout the episode where Raj imagines situations where Howard and Bernadette ask him to take care of his girl…sexually. The first involves Howard moving to Israel for some kind of fellowship while the second involves Howard getting into a pretty serious scooter accident (that’s what the above picture is from).

Meanwhile the Penny/Sheldon section of the show gets kicked off thanks to Amy suggesting that Sheldon take acting lessons to play better in front of a group of students (after saying they could laser part of his brain). He heads over to Penny’s and asks her if she can help him. Penny’s pretty happy with the idea that she knows something Sheldon doesn’t. Sheldon’s quick to point out that going from actor to acting teacher is essentially admitting that the acting career is over. Penny almost walks away from the whole deal until he offers her money. Sheldon shows up to the first lesson wearing a cool Flash t-shirt I can’t track down and doesn’t get into Penny’s opening body movement exercises to loosen up, noting that he keeps “a cool, wary distance” from his body. As you might expect, Sheldon’s not so great at improv either. During another acting lesson–Sheldon wanted to take two instead of one so he could perfect the art–he tells her he doesn’t want to do a scene from Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, but instead a scene from the Star Trek fan fiction he wrote called “Where No Sheldon Has Gone Before” that he adapted into a one-act play. It’s about a young Sheldon getting transported to the future where his genius is respected and celebrated. When Penny asks if he thinks he’s a better writer than Williams, he says they should let history decide. He wants to play Spock and have Penny play his mother in the scene, but Penny mixes things up, saying she will play Spock and he should play his mother. I’m guessing Penny making the above hand gesture and spouting a few of Spock’s catchphrases will spawn it’s own fan fics. Anyway, Sheldon gets caught up in the emotion of the scene and Penny has to call his mom to talk him down. The episode ends with a Bollywood like fantasy dream sequence between Raj, Bernadette and everyone in the university’s cafeteria, ending with Raj opining “Dance number aside, I’m SO not gay.”

Favorite Moments & Lines

“Listening to Doctor Cooper has made me want to start cutting myself again.” – Penny reading a Tweet about Sheldon’s lecture.

“That was the last arrow in my quiver of whimsy.” – Amy after using an underwater background on Skype and acting like she’s swimming doesn’t cheer Sheldon up.

Lecturing is the first thing Sheldon’s failed at since trying to do a pull up as a kid. He must have forgotten about learning to drive. Leonard saying that Syfy’s new spelling and logo is about his biggest part this episode. For what it’s worth, I completely agree with him, it’s a ridiculous change.

All in all, this episode was a lot of fun. The A and B plots were both plausible and fun to watch, unlike the episode where Raj and Howard kept talking about fighting. Penny and Sheldon together is a winning combination, there’s no doubt about that. It’s just too bad that Leonard seems to be slipping into the background. At least when he was dating Penny, it would make sense for him to be in the same scenes with Penny and Sheldon, but without that relationship, he’s become the forgotten cast member, like the low key cast member on any given season of The Real World. So, what I’m saying is, get them back together dammit!

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