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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 7.20 - The Relationship Diremption





Bla bla bla nerds bla bla bla mediocre expectations bla bla bla let's move on with the episode.

Everyone's at lunch, discussing a big break through in astrophysics. Raj is riding pretty high in the scientific community over it, but Sheldon doesn't care. He claims it's a concern about elitism, which no one believes. Leonard insists he's just jealous. Sheldon claims that his duties lie elsewhere - there's a lot of good TV these days. Kripke interrupts to tell them that there actually has been a breakthrough in string theory. Of course, he's joking, but Sheldon totally falls for it. Kripke contends that string theory can never be proven. This shakes Sheldon to his core. He wonders whether he's wasting his life. Howard tells him never mind, at least there's Game of Thrones. Opening credits.

Penny wakes up to find Sheldon, lodged on the couch and in the midst of an existential crisis. He tells her how he's feeling. She can sympathize, saying she knows what it's like to work hard only to fail. Sheldon accidentally insults her about eight times in the process. Nonetheless, Penny continues to offer advice, comparing Sheldon and physics to a relationship and telling him to break it off.

Meanwhile, Raj is still trying to date Lucy and Emily at the same time, and it's not going well. Emily's okay with it, and Lucy is not, especially since Raj keeps comparing her to Emily. So now it's just Emily in the picture. Sheldon announces that he's breaking up with string theory, and distributes his books among his friends. You see, he's taking tips from Cosmo on Penny's advice, and is following their guide to breakups closely. They share fond memories of his career, though Sheldon makes it clear that it's all over - "I have needs too." They promptly go back to Raj's love life.

Raj, Howard, Bernadette and Emily are going on a double date. Raj cautions Howard, as every character has done eight million times on this show, not to say something horribly insulting in front of his girlfriend. Howard promises. Sheldon, still reading Cosmo, hears that he needs to get a breakup haircut, so he enlists a reluctant Penny. Gah, this plot is stupid. Leonard asks what he's going to pursue next. As Sheldon insults Leonard's comprehension of dark matter, Penny finishes the style - and Sheldon hates it. It is kind of cute, actually. Sheldon considers it "boy band", but decides to keep it. Amy comes in and is taken aback by his new look. Not because it's bad - but because it's nice enough that she's scared other girls will notice. Sheldon concludes that he's "too hot", and it's back to the drawing board.

Howard and Bernadette discuss Raj's propensity for screwing up relationships. Once the other couple arrives, however, Howard panics. Turns out he has a bad history with Emily. "Whatever happens tonight, just remember I love you," he advises Bernadette. At first, the evening goes well, but Howard is awkward and evasive. Over at Sheldon's, the genius is looking for a new discipline, though he is very picky, considering geology "the Kardashians of science", and turning down everything else thrown at him with similarly hilarious one-liners and physical comedy. Jim Parsons absolutely rocks this scene. Amy drily comments that she hopes he's this devastated if they ever break up. Penny suggests waiting for inspiration, rather than actively pursuing it. They share a toast over Sheldon's new opportunities.

The date continues. Emily seems fixated on Howard, saying she's sure she knows him from somewhere. At first he tries to blame it on space, but then Emily's memories resurface. Ignoring Howard's pleas, she starts to tell the story, but he takes over, feeling it would be better coming from him. On a blind date four years ago, he had some stomach problems and asked to use her bathroom. Apparently, his "problem" so ruined her plumbing that it caused her to lose her security deposit. In her friend circle, he is known as "Clogzilla". Bernadette and Raj look horrified. Oh, come on! Anyone with a speck of decency would have let him keep that secret! Throw her to the curb, Raj.

The toast apparently led to quite a bit more, because Sheldon is completely wasted. Amy guides him to bed. Apparently he tried to match Penny drink-for-drink, and anyone who's witnessed her alcohol tolerance knows that this is not a great plan.

My instincts with Emily's lack of humanity seem to be on point, as she reveals that she became a dermatologist because she likes "cutting people with knives". Howard continues to defend his actions when Clogzilla happened, though it seems much more sensible to move on. Bernadette declares the topic closed. However, they continue to mock him, Emily ringleading, and Howard storms out.

Sheldon wakes up in bed, shirtless. He cringes. "Oh, no, what have I done?" He looks over, and we learn that he is in bed with - a geology book. For shame. He slinks out, probably intending to hide the book, and finds Leonard making coffee with a smirk on his face. Sheldon grabs his phone to call Amy and apologize for the night before, but a horrible sight awaits him. Apparently, last night he drunk-dialed Stephen Hawking!

We get a bunch of clips of hilarious Sheldon voicemail in Hawking's office. Over lunch, meanwhile, Sheldon and Howard complain about their current struggles. Sheldon tells the story of the origin of that classic phrase - "This too shall pass." Maybe it will, but Kripke will certainly never let them forget it. Wait, how does Kripke even know about Clogzilla?

More messages, including Sheldon's intriguing proposition that they give up science to solve crimes together. (I would watch that show.) Hawking appears, in voice-over only, to declare Sheldon a "jackass", and thus ends our story for the week.

The story involving the double date actually played pretty well, though I do hope they get rid of Evil Emily soon before she destroys Raj. Sheldon's was less convincing (would he ever stoop to advice from Cosmo?), but once that bit was mercifully over, Jim Parson's excellent performance elevated the rest. What worked really well, however, was the excellent moment of friendship and understanding between Sheldon and Howard, a dynamic rarely explored on this show. It's great to see the show trying to move in new directions. This episode didn't completely come off - but overall, it worked.

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