You couldn’t escape the feeling of déjà vu with this week’s “The Big Bang Theory.” Sheldon is stuck after making the switch to dark matter and attempts to solve the problem by raising his anxiety. He does this a number of ways, loud noises, arguing with the rest of the gang, and avoiding sleep. If that sounds familiar, it should, because it is pretty darn close to an episode in season 3, “The Einstein Approximation.”
In that episode Sheldon was stuck on a new aspect of string theory and avoided sleep until he could figure out the problem. Five years later, he’s in the same position. Frankly, it worked better the first time. Sheldon is not at his best when his plot line divulges from the group, because there isn’t as many opportunities for him to be the odd man out.
There are a couple of instances of that tonight, most notably when he first proposes the idea of raising his anxiety to the guys and they just immediately start arguing with him on its merits as a way of assisting, or when he tries to endure the girls’ feminine talk only to steer the conversation toward werewolves. Those work, but they are few and far between.
Sheldon’s plotline took up most of the episode, but it was the subplot that stole the show this week. Howard invented a new game for the gang to play and tease Raj with, called Emily or Cinnamon, where they have to guess if Raj said a quote to his girlfriend or his dog. This was a fun new joke and something the show could go back to in the future.
The only thing that was disappointing with it was the final scene when Emily tells the guys she heard about the game and that she doesn’t think Raj’s sensitivity to his dog is weird at all, but then she kisses him and realizes he has dog hair in his mouth. It was another shot at Raj, but an easy one and another example that Emily is not likely long for the show as the writers continuously pass on any opportunity to flesh her out or further involve her in the group.
Obviously the entire episode couldn’t have been centered around Emily or Cinnamon, so that may explain the lackluster Sheldon arc, but it’s the former that will remain memorable from “The Anxiety Optimization.”
Here are some of the best jokes:
- Leonard and Penny scare Sheldon after they return after a night out – Leonard: Any progress? Sheldon: How can there be with all these constant interruptions? Penny: I love him, but if he’s broken let’s not get a new one.
- Sheldon: I’ve been cooped up in here for too long. I need some fresh air. (He takes one step outside their apartment) Ah.
- Sheldon hears Penny making strange noises – Sheldon: I was worried something unpleasant was happening to you, like a murder, or spontaneous coitus with Leonard.
- Raj: You know a man can care deeply about a woman and a pet, it’s not that strange. Leonard: Oh, Emily, I heard him say that to Emily.
- Howard: Penny, you’re the tiebreaker. Penny: Say the quote again. Howard: It’s just so perfect; we’re both Libras. Penny: Wow, this is hard. I’m going to say Cinnamon. Howard: Yes!
- Raj: If she ever found out it would hurt her feelings. Bernadette: Emily’s feelings? Raj: Yes, Emily. Everyone: Yay!
- Penny and Leonard put Sheldon to bed – Leonard: You know he can be a lot of trouble, but when I see him lying here like this I just think… how easy it would be to hold a pillow over his face.