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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 7.13 - The Occupation Recalibration


crazyforkate

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blog-spenny.jpgspenny

Welcome back! After last week's dramatic episode, there's a lot to be worked out, especially in the ongoing Saga of Leonard and Penny. Oh, boy, I'll need a drink for this.

We get a recap of the career disaster and the proposal, then go on to the real episode. Sheldon's complaining about something, as usual. It turns out he has to use his vacation days. Poor Sheldon is so addicted to work that he can't imagine taking time off. Well, if you don't want those days, I'll gladly take them. Leonard's too wrapped up in his relationship drama to care, of course.

He goes to have an honest talk with Penny. They agree that they don't want to break up (Leonard cries a little) and Penny admits that it was probably a good thing to turn down her proposal the night before. She's frustrated with her career, and has decided to devote herself to being an actress, 100%. That means quitting her job at the Cheesecake Factory. Which she has already done. Leonard's flummoxed. Opening credits.

Sheldon begs Leonard to take him to work, but he refuses. Wait, since when do universities enforce vacation days? I was under the impression that academics could basically research themselves to death if they felt like it. Sheldon tries to follow him out in a puppy-like manner, but Leonard's on to him.

Bernadette shows up at the comic book shop. She's destroyed one of Howard's rare comic books and wants to replace it. Unfortunately, Stuart can't get a new copy for a few more days. Oh, boy, time for an elaborate coverup plot! She offers him free pharmaceutical samples in exchange for his silence. He takes it.

Amy is hard at work dissecting rat brains when Howard and Raj interrupt her with a lunch invitation. Just then, her friend Burt shows up from the geology department. He's even nerdier than Sheldon, and much less interesting. Also, he brings Amy a present and is clearly into her. Amy's horribly embarrassed when the guys point it out to her, and ask for advice on letting him down gently. We'll see where this goes.

Penny runs into a morose Sheldon on the stairs. Vacation time does not suit him. I wish I could be like that, to be honest. It would sure make the next four months easier. Amy's off to do a whole bunch of acting-related chores (looking for agents, etc), and when she sees how lonely he is, she invites him to come along. Seriously, why is Sheldon so depressed? Couldn't he pop in a few seasons of his favourite sci-fi series and lose a few days that way?

Stuart has found the comic at another store, but hates the owner, who is apparently a massive jerk. He offers to take her there himself, because a) this store might try to rip her off and B) it's pretty boring in a comic book store with no customers. Poor Stuart.

Over lunch, the gang discusses Penny's sudden career change. Leonard makes a big show of being all supportive and stuff, but admits he's faking it. And to be honest, it seems like a pretty stupid move to me, too - she's had, what, one commercial in seven years? Not all dreams get to come true, honey.

He calls Penny to check on her, and she mentions she's at the Cheesecake Factory. Relieved, he plunges into a monologue about how glad he is that she's decided not to take the risk, in this economy blah blah blah...but she's only there to return her uniform! PSYCH.

Penny's pissed off, Leonard's apologetic, the friends stare in horror. Ohh, boy, how is Leonard going to get out of this one? And does anyone still care?

Sheldon tries to indulge in guided meditation. It's hilarious. I love Jim Parsons and everything about him. Penny comes out of the restaurant ranting about Leonard and his lack of faith. She asks Sheldon if she made the right choice. Sheldon, surprisingly, says yes. When one has a goal, one should be devoted 100%. He even gave up being a chalk monitor in favour of his physicist dreams. He and Penny are apparently "dreamers", and Leonard just doesn't understand. Between this episode and the last one, Sheldon has proven himself to be very sensitive lately. Is he finally becoming a real boy?

Burt tries to ask Amy out, but she tells him she has a boyfriend. It's incredibly awkward. Hurt, he claims that she's lying about Sheldon, and then moans about how he'll never get anyone to date him. He even calls himself a monster. His manipulation is just plain awful, and soon Amy agrees to go. Though she insists it's not a date, he insists it is. Bastard.

The other comic book store appears to be a happenin' place, full of cool displays and busy customers. The owner (Jesse, sadly not Pinkman) is every bit the bastard Stuart promised, insulting the poor guy's appearance and failing business. Bernadette has soon had enough of this and tells Jesse to knock it off. All she gets is more snark and the "I was just kidding" routine. To her credit, she decides she won't buy the book from him after all and storms out. Inspired, Stuart gives Jesse a little lecture of his own - Jesse might be successful, but at least he has friends. I just want to give him a hug.

Howard and Raj try to help Amy get out of the rock show. In the process, they reminisce about all the times they got rejected. It's quite lengthy. They're not much help, let's put it that way. Amy decides to be brutally honest. The guys try to talk her out of it. No dice - Amy's determined. Finally, the guys offer to tell him for her. Their brilliant cover? Amy's a lesbian. I dunno, Burt seems like the type of guy who would want a threesome out of that.

Penny introduces Sheldon to yoga, which is as funny as it sounds. Let's just say that Sheldon is not adept. (He thought she was suggesting "Yoda".) Leonard returns and gets the cold shoulder from his girlfriend. They soon argue, and it turns into a "re-evaluating the relationship" argument. Sheldon butts in, demanding to know where the three of them will live if Leonard and Penny get married. Despite the interruptions, Penny and Leonard manage to establish that they support each other even when it's risky. Oh, god, just break up forever please.

Bernadette returns to the store, telling Jesse that a) Stuart's store rocks, B) he is a total prick, and c) she still wants to buy the comic book if he has it. Her pissed-off voice is magnificent, though.

Raj and Howard broke the news to Burt, but they paid the price - they're going to the mineral show with him. As they sit trapped in a car, speeding along the freeway while Burt screams "ROCK SHOOOOW" and pounds the dashboard, I believe I have witnessed a glimpse of hell.

Okay, I get that Penny/Leonard is the main pairing of this show - but honestly, it's gotten so stale. This kind of couple has played out a million times in other (better sitcoms). Either shake it up in a unique way or let it die. More Raj, more Howard, more Stuart - that's great! But this episode was kind of dull. Tune in next week to see if they've got their act together.

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