Episode Reviews

The Skank Reflex Analysis – The Infestation Hypothesis

The season 5 premere of The Big Bang Theory brings us a close to last seasons cliffhanger between Raj and Penny and quickly returns us to our normal form with some lovable Sheldon insanity.

In the season 5 premiere of The Big Bang Theory we find the fallout from last seasons insane reveal of Raj and Penny spending the night together, though once we drill down to it (heh), we find that not is all as it seems.

A lot of the episode spends its time with Leonard moping about trying to figure out what’s going on. With Priya going back to Mumbai, Leonard is left again to his own devices. Interestingly, the two seem to be willing to attempt a long distance relationship, but I doubt this will last all that long.

Across the hall, we find Penny is feeling horrible about what happened and how she’s hurt everyone in the group and contemplates moving back to Nebraska. It’s an eventual realization I think as it’s been 5 years without a single acting gig. It was actually a nice scene though when she revealed she was moving to see the guys genuinely saddened by the concept, though it was a bit arrogant of Leonard to instantly question “it’s not because of me is it?” Fortunately, we won’t have to have a season without her as she lands a hemorrhoid comercial which warrants her staying in town a while.

Back to the Raj story, we find that all of his secrets are coming to light. Not only did he “sleep” with Penny, Howard finds he secretly wrote a lot of sonnets for Bernadette, of which once she finds out, storms into Raj’s place with the same fiery temper we saw last season to elicit an apology for Howard. Back on the Penny front (heh), we find that Raj didn’t quite make it to the point of having sex with Penny, much to the relief of Penny.

It’s a convient plot point to keep the two apart it seems, and I wonder if it’s not stemmed in negative fan reaction towards the whole idea. It almost seems if Lorre wanted a do over, and wrote it such in away that he could say “nothing to see here, let’s just have a do over.”

Meanwhile, in the second episode, for what we lacked in Sheldon time in the premiere, we have a very Sheldon episode involving Penny’s new chair, hypochondria, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Sheldon, surprisingly, falls in love with Penny’s new red chair, which unknown to him, she picked up off the street. Of course once revealed, Sheldon falls prey to the cycle of insanity that we’ve come to love as he has nightmares about chair lice devouring him, even resulting in him asking Amy to convince Penny to get rid of it. Fortunately for everyone, a critter inside the chair puts an end to her new furniture, at least until Howard and Raj happen upon it in the street and bring it up to Sheldon’s apartment.

Some of the most interesting scenes of the episode have to be the interactions between Sheldon and Penny. The initial “old married couple” scene was clever and met with a lot of self referential mutual sneering towards each other, which is a little play towards the fan favorite pairing. Well written and perfectly executed, the scene showcased the great chemistry the two have towards each other. The second rapid fire Penny greetings was also good for a laugh to see how far they would take the rhymes with Penny more or less having fun with Sheldon’s OCD. The comedic paring of Penny and Sheldon is a great aspect of the show, and I love it when we have the opportunity to watch.

On the other hand, the Leonard and Priya story has already gotten stale and somewhat annoying. Falling back to Skype chats, I can’t imagine that this relationship is going to last, which is thankful as the whole dynamic between the two is terribly uncomfortable.

Overall, it was a decent start to the season, but I already have concerns that the show is falling back on its relationship and juvenile humor that plagued last season as opposed to its nerd/geek humor that built the show to begin with.

Other Observations

  • The internet kissing machine was a bit over the top, though it does reinforce the Howard and Raj pairing.
  • Of course Amy plays the harp. I don’t know why it’s obvious, but it is.
  • That hemorrhoid comercial was pretty weird.

By Kien Tran

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kien Tran is an avid television enthusiast. After spending hundreds of hours wasting away on a couch, he decided to actually do something creative with his hobby and created this very blog.

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