Like a lot of TV from the end of last week, I missed out on last week’s Big Bang Theory. I just remembered that it had Wil Wheaton, so I’m hoping I can catch it on a rerun later in the season. Anyway, I did catch tonight’s and it was quite a doozy. I think it’s interesting that both this and last season, as the cast of characters has grown, there always seems to be at least one episode that makes me worry the writers can’t handle so many of them. There’s always one episode that just feels unbalanced and a little too silly for my view of what the show should be. And then, right after that, they mostly kill the rest of the season.
This season’s third episode, “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation,” really bummed me out by not feeling really unbalanced, but then “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation” came along and I was back on board. I’m not sure how last week’s episode was, but tonight’s was pretty amazing, made even more impressive by the fact that Sheldon’s mom guested (Roseanne‘s Laurie Metcalf) and not only stole the show as the most interesting Christian on television, but also by scoring the funniest one-liners in an episode so packed with them that I had trouble keeping up. Sheldon’s mom is visiting because she’s either on her way to or back from a Born Again cruise featuring such activities as Jonah and the Whale Watch and has stopped in to see her Shelly. Sheldon’s plans for her to cook him fried chicken and pie get thwarted when she winds up getting sushi and doing a tour of the area with Raj, Howard, Penny and Leonard. A real tentpole in the episode for me was when Mrs. Cooper had each of them pray for something out loud in the church. Penny asked for her brother to stop making meth, but without cops getting involved, Leonard first asked for height and then some help with Priya, Howard passed trying not to burst into flames and Raj (through Howard) asked to loose some weight before Sheldon’s mom suggested he should ask about that whole “not talking to girls” thing. Great stuff all around. Meanwhile, Sheldon’s on his own, it starts to rain and he gets sick. After comparing himself to a man next to him waiting for a bus, saying the other guy is average and unremarkable, he winds up at home sick and his mom takes good care of him. I thought I saw on Twitter that Bill Prady has written another verse to “Soft Kitty” for this week’s episode, but I’m either mistaken or it got cut out of tonight’s episode. Oh, there was also a scene where Sheldon goes over to Amy’s apartment and she explains to him that, when it comes to emotions, every human is pretty much the same, regardless of intelligence level. It’s a quick, but effective scene (and one that puts him on the bus stop I mentioned above). It’s a great example of using a character effectively, without feeling the need to keep them around for the entire episode. There’s a great split of characters, bouncing pretty much everyone off of Mrs. Cooper except the one person you expect to see her with. They also didn’t try to shoehorn in Bernadette, Priya or Raj’s parents, which I think shows a maturing writer’s room. I hope they can keep it up!
“My mom’s fried chicken is why we had to buy my dad an extra large coffin.” – Sheldon
“There’s a lot of harm in trying something new, that’s why we test drugs and cosmetics on bunny rabbits.” Sheldon regarding his mom wanting to try sushi.
“I bought six new friends, unfortunately three of them are dead.” – drunken Raj outside Sheldon & Leonard’s door with a 6-pack
“I thought it was OUR Indians that have the occasional drinking problem.” – Mrs. Cooper
“Penny has a lot of money tied up in promiscuity futures.” – Sheldon to his mom with Penny in the room.
“They don’t always get to ride the rollercoaster, sometimes they just get to spin the tea cups.” – Penny
“When I was your age, you could have me for a car ride and a bottle of strawberry wine.” – Mrs. Cooper
“Hey, they have wine here, don’t they?” – Penny in the church
“That’s the last Jew who did sit ups…and look where it got him.” – Howard to Raj looking at a crucifix
“I’m good, but it would be a big help to my family if you could make my brother stop cooking meth.” – Penny praying
“I guess it’s a little late to ask you to make me taller.” – Leonard in church