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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 7.12 - The Hesitation Ramification



blog-hesitation.jpgThe Hesitation Ramification


Fun fact: I was in Israel at the same time as Mayim Bialik, and we were probably metres away from each other at the Western Wall. I'm sure she's just devastated that we didn't meet.  This has nothing to do with the episode. I suppose I should get to it.

We join the gang at their regular takeout dinner (how much money must they spend every week?). Unfortunately, everyone's glued to their phones. Amy gets quite pissy. Sheldon's fine with it, of course. Penny bursts in, telling them she's got a bit part on a crime drama - NCIS, to be precise. Everyone flips out. Her character flirts with the lead in a diner, which ramps up Leonard's jealousy factor. Seriously, buddy, get a grip. Opening credits.

Raj is still whinging about not having a girlfriend, and the guys offer to help him. Penny tells them she's hosting a "my-episode-is-on" party and invites them all. Sheldon tries to prove to the guys that he can make a joke, and fails badly.

Afterward, he asks Leonard if he's a funny person. Leonard tells him no, to his crushing disappointment. Sheldon protests that he is totally funny, just no one can understand his genius. He suggests creating a "Unified Theory of Comedy". An exasperated Leonard tells him to have at it. He then makes a few more jokes at Sheldon's expense - which Sheldon of course doesn't get.

Raj, Howard and Bernadette head to Penny's place for the episode, along with Raj's date - Stuart. Apparently, Raj tried to bring a real date, because that wouldn't be awkward at all, but chickened out when trying to ask a hot girl. Howard suggests he lower his standards a little. "What, fatties and uggos?" Raj asks. Such a charmer!

The gang watches Penny's episode. Leonard is both proud of his girlfriend and insecure about himself. Sheldon is edgy because they're not starting with the pilot. Amy tells him to think of the previous episodes as a prequel.

Unfortunately, it looks like Penny's scene has been cut. She's shocked and deeply disappointed. Her friends try to comfort her, but seriously, that is a pretty low blow. I'd be devastated if I was her. Can't really snark this. She leaves the room. Sheldon thinks his new humor studies might help and goes after her, but Leonard stops him.

Penny commiserates with her dad over the phone. He sounds pretty supportive, thinking she was cut because she was too pretty. Apparently, they invited the whole family to come and watch, making it all the more upsetting for Penny. Leonard points out that getting cast was an accomplishment. Of course, it wasn't just the part, as Penny explains, it was the possible exposure, future opportunities, etc, etc. Leonard reasons that since it was a small part, none of that would have happened anyway. Cue Massive Penny Outrage, and I'm on her side this time. What a horribly insensitive thing to say! Forget Sheldon, it's Leonard who needs to work on timing.

So they fight for a bit, and Penny demands the honest truth from Leonard - does he think she can make it in show biz? Initially he says yes, but when she presses, his knee-jerk reaction is "no". Which, to be fair, the show has been implying for seven seasons now. But I see how it could be upsetting. Leonard tries to dig himself out, but just makes things worse. He tells her how terrible the odds are, which does nothing to mollify her. He bitterly reflects that he should have sent Sheldon instead.

Sheldon is still continuing his humor studies, and has just discovered that surprise can be funny. This is a recipe for disaster. Amy points out that he can't learn humor from a book. His response is to drop his pants. Which is honestly kind of funny. Amy appreciates it, anyway.

Stuart and Raj go to pick up a regular girl. Raj is insistent that they don't hit on anyone pretty. Why are you taking advice from Howard, who's a certified idiot when it comes to girls?

More humor studying. Sheldon analyzes the humor potential in several words. What's more, he intends to continue on to the rest of the English language. Amy is so bored she tries to break up with him. No dice. She is doomed to a life of boring linguistic analysis. Save yourself!

Penny flips through channels, bitter at every actress who made it onscreen. Leonard comes back to apologize. She's still upset, understandably. To show how much he believes in her, he bagged her an audition for the new Star Wars movie. Thank God for nerd-driven open casting calls. Penny is not impressed, pointing out that anyone can send it in. Jesus Christ, who pissed in your enormous glass of wine? Misguided as it was, you have to admit he had his heart in the right place.

Raj and Stuart continue to fail at pickups. Raj finally decides he'll hit on the next person, no matter who it is (and interestingly doesn't specify a gender). No one walks by. Clearly, the universe is conspiring to make Raj and Stuart happen.

Amy meets Howard and Bernadette for dinner, where she complains about Sheldon's new interest. Bernadette suggests that she just fake laughing at all his non-funny jokes, which raises Howard's attention. However, he's convinced he'd be able to tell. Sure he would. In a direct rip-off of When Harry Met Sally, Bernadette pulls off the biggest laugh you've ever heard, then calmly turns back to her menu. Howard is stunned. And can only claim that he fakes his orgasms.

Leonard is busy ordering flowers to try to save his relationship. Penny comes in and apologizes for her rudeness about the Star Wars debacle. She reiterates her frustration and disappointment with her life's direction. Leonard tries to comfort her, saying she always has him. Penny agrees with this - and proposes. 

Yeah, she gets down on one knee and everything. Leonard, to his credit, does the right thing, telling her she's drunk and generally not in a good space, so he's not going to accept for now. I give him a ton of credit for having the courage to say that. Penny flips out over the temporary rejection. Just then, Sheldon walks in offering to make them laugh. Penny leaves, saying she needs to be alone. Sheldon starts his joke: "A sandwich, a rabbi and yo mamma walk into a bar..." Leonard flees the scene, too.

Raj and Stuart sit on a bench and talk about how sad they are. A security guard tells them the mall is closing. Raj sees him as an opportunity, and asks him if he likes his job, thoroughly confusing the guy.

In the middle of the night, Sheldon finds Leonard wide awake in the kitchen. They talk about the rejected proposal. Sheldon is surprisingly sensitive (well, by his standards), offering some rather sincere sympathy. They both wonder if the relationship is over, and Sheldon says he's sorry if it is. Leonard's surprised, but as Sheldon explains, they're friends - and they support each other no matter what. He does, however, put a Kick Me sign on Leonard's back, no matter how much he denies it.

Tag scene: Howard's Star Wars audition, complete with Jedi bathrobe and a mention of his real-life astronaut status. It's beautiful. Except Bernadette screeches at him halfway through. Ah well, next life.

This episode was very strong, in my opinion - pulling together a lot of the threads woven by these characters over the years. Raj's loneliness, Penny's lack of success, Sheldon's inability to relate to others - all were a prominent part of this episode, and it worked, with an excellent blend of humor and emotion. Heck, even the Leonard/Penny dance wasn't completely insufferable. An excellent start to 2014. Next episode to follow tomorrow.

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