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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 7.21 - The Anything Can Happen Recurrence




The Anything Can Happen Recurrence

Okay, I'm going to take this title as a challenge. Impress me, episode - impress me.

Penny describes life on the set of Serial Apist II to Leonard. It sounds quite artistic. Meanwhile, Sheldon is still off string theory and is looking for a new field in physics. He asks Leonard for advice, them promptly erases his suggestions. Penny diagnoses him as bored and suggests he do something totally different for a wild. Leonard decides to bring back "Anything Can Happen Thursdays". (In a nutshell: every third Thursday of the month, the guys do something different from their normal routine.) They happily agree - but none of them can think of anything to do. Opening credits.

Leonard, Penny and Sheldon are still stuck on ideas. After some pizza-related suggestions on Sheldon's part, and an outright rejection of his Lord of the Rings LARP idea, they decide to start small - they'll take a walk and try a new restaurant along the way. Raj and Howard are over with Mrs Wolowitz, Bernadette is working, and Amy's sick, so it's just the three of them.

Over at Mrs Wolowitz's, Howard and Raj are finished Mom-sitting and decide to watch House of Cards 1000 Corpses. Which one will cry like a little girl first is left up for debate. In fact, Raj wants to see it because he doesn't want to look weak when he watches it with Emily tomorrow. For this service, Raj declares that he "owes [Howard] one". Cue Mrs Wolowitz screaming for help getting out of the tub. Even so, Raj balks. When Howard gets back, Raj worries about a stray hair found on the DVD casing. A real trouper, that one.

Sheldon is totally edgy about choosing a restaurant sight unseen, though his friends blatantly ignore them. However, they are distracted along the way when they notice Bernadette and Amy boozing it up in a cafe, having pointedly lied about their plans to the others. Naturally, Sheldon hammers on the window right away, thus robbing the moment of any dignity left. When pressed, the women admit that they didn't want to hear Penny complaining about the movie and Sheldon moan about his lack of direction. Penny is flabbergasted and drags Sheldon from the restaurant, determined to have an Anything Can Happen Thursday - all complaints welcome. Leonard is left looking awkward, as usual.They go to a Fusion restaurant, a concept which entirely escapes the unadventurous Sheldon.

Raj lasts approximately twenty minutes into the movie, which is maybe not the most optimistic sign. He wonders what the film's gory content might signal about Emily's psyche, though Howard points out that he'd probably date a serial killer anyway. Over at the cafe, Amy and Leonard and Bernadette discuss the honesty in their relationships. Amy feels guilty about lying, Bernadette doesn't, and Leonard declares that his relationship with Penny is totally honest - a comment that earns snorts from his two friends. Meanwhile, Penny and Sheldon get fortune cookies. Penny suggests that it might be a clue to Sheldon's big decision, though Sheldon doesn't agree with the cookies on principle. Penny goes for it, and since her cookie talks about her guidance and wisdom, Sheldon immediately takes issue with it. Why is he still in their friend group again? However, Sheldon's mentions his warm and fun-loving nature, so maybe he has a point. Penny immediately passes him another cookie.

The gorefest continues, and even Howard can't take it. The question of Emily's film taste is raised again. Penny calls Howard to snitch on Bernadette. However, since this means kinky sex to make up for her lies later on, he's pretty OK with it. At the same time, Penny drags Sheldon to a fortune teller, all in the pursuit of doing new things.

Bernadette goes home to Howard's sex dungeon, and Leonard and Amy are left twiddling their thumbs. They lampshade how weird it is to hang out with no one else around. They get a text from Penny about the visit to the psychic, which shocks them both. Leading from this, Amy confesses that she's jealous of Penny and Sheldon's close friendship, even if she knows it's not romantic. Leonard admits that it took him a long time to get close to Sheldon, too, which comforts her a little. A grumpy Bernadette comes in to get her coat, venting her rage by telling Leonard some of Penny's lies.

At the fortune-teller's, Sheldon immediately insults the woman by (tactfully) telling her she's a fraud. The psychic takes it in stride, presumably having heard it before. The psychic diagnoses woman trouble, describing Amy in a vague manner which totally takes Penny in. The solution? Make Amy the key to his happiness. If he is devoted to her, everything else will work out. Sheldon is not convinced. He alleges "Malarkey" and storms out.

Emily and Raj finally have their movie night. As they prepare, Raj admits that he watched it, and is now a bit concerned about her. Emily confesses that they turn her on. Raj hits the play button without a word.

Amy has decided to make up for her lie to Sheldon, so she shows up on his doorstep - dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl, Bernadette's favorite form of apology. The audience flips out. Sheldon is confused. Naturally.

Dissatisfaction is a very common issue in adult life, as I have been learning this year, and tonight's episode handled it very well. What worked quite nicely was separating the usual couples and friend groups and shaking things up. It caused the characters to reconsider various dynamics and ended in some new truths for everyone. Raj and Howard's storyline largely existed outside of this theme, but was still an amusing aside. All in all, it worked. Tune in for the season finale next week!

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