The Big Bang Theory Recap – 8.06: The Expedition Approximation


This is the last week that “The Big Bang Theory” will air on a Monday as it will reoccupy its usual Thursday night spot starting next week. It’s last hooray kicking off the week went out with a whimper, however. There are definitely pairings that work best within “The Big Bang” ensemble, and unfortunately “The Expedition Approximation” focused heavily on one that just doesn’t work as well as others.

The episode starts off with Raj suggesting to Sheldon that they do some research on dark matter in mines in hope of getting in on the ground floor. To prepare them for something that they both would be heavily averse to, Raj suggests doing a simulation in a steam tunnel at the university. Of course, almost immediately it goes horribly wrong.

xthe-steam-tunnel-the-big-bang-theory.jpg.pagespeed.ic.jkzKEFPxYoSheldon’s many phobias come into affect, and his main attempt to soften their impact in a miner’s song backfires as the only one he knows gets darker and darker, going on about how usually mining is a dangerous job that can eventually kill you – it has a nice tune though.

Eventually Sheldon reveals to Raj that his biggest worry isn’t the mine, it’s that after switching to dark matter he’s starting back at square one. Raj gives him a nice speech, but Sheldon doesn’t really pay attention as he spots a couple of rats over Raj’s shoulder and bolts out of the tunnel leaving Raj behind. Amy, who was nearby in case of emergency, reveals they were down there for about 11 minutes.

Raj and Sheldon aren’t the best pairing on the show, but the other storyline of the episode matched up Penny, Leonard, Howard and Bernadette, a usually reliable team. And it was, though primarily thanks to Howard and Bernadette’s pickering.

Penny and Leonard come to them after arguing over some money issues. It quickly becomes clear that Howard and Bernadette don’t exactly have an ideal situation, as Bernadette makes a lot more money and has all the power in that regard. Essentially it breaks down to Howard acting like a child and Penny and Leonard realizing they’ll be able to manage it better than the other two.

Usually shows with large ensembles have some pairings that don’t work as well with others, but you’re always going to have a couple of episodes sprinkled in there with those. “The Expedition Approximation” just couldn’t bring its game with Raj and Sheldon and as a result made then whole episode soft, but they at least had a moment or two.

Best jokes:

  • The group makes fun of the idea of Sheldon and Raj going into a mine – Sheldon: Are they making fun of us? Raj: Sheldon: I miss the old days when I couldn’t tell.
  • While researching for ways to test the conditions of a mine, Sheldon decides to Google ‘hot, dark and moist.’ Some not so helpful videos pop up
  • Leonard: I feel like things got weird last night with the money. Penny: Leaving an envelope of cash on my dresser after sex is a little weird.
  • Leonard: See, I’m not just a genius in bed (no reaction from Penny). (Imitating Penny) You’re so right baby.
  • Bernadette has Howard on a star system to do his chores
    • Howard: I made my bed now where’s my star!
  • Leonard: Never done it on a big old pile of cash before (Penny looks away, bashful). (In his Penny voice) It’s my first time too.

What are the best character pairings on “The Big Bang Theory?” What are some of the weaker character pairings on other classic sitcoms? Leave a comment below.

What do you think?

Written by Michael Balderston

NoVA native who has returned to the Washington D.C. area after two years in L.A. My biggest annoyance since leaving L.A. is not having immediate access to indie films on their first weekend, but I'm making due. When I'm not tracking the year's Oscar players or exploring film history, I'm rooting for my Philadelphia sports teams.

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