Big Bang Theory: The Closure Alternative


by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

The newest episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Closure Alternative,” deals with a couple of subjects we know a thing or two about around here: closure and excitement. Sheldon is looking forward to the next episode of Alphas, but it turns out the show was cancelled after a cliffhanger season finale. Because of this, he doesn’t get the closure that he so desperately needs. We all know what that’s like. We’ve all loved shows, or comics, that have ended midstory and felt the surge of compulsion to shake somebody until we can be told what happens. I wish I were like that. Ah, sweet closure. I’m more like the Doctor, I think. I don’t like endings, at all. But, if there has to be an ending, then give me a satisfactory ending so I’m not left wondering.

So, Alphas is cancelled and Sheldon is left trying to figure out how to cope. His response is much like the rest of us: call the network, impersonate the vice president of said network, and tell them to uncancel the show. Easy peasy. Turns out, though, that the people at the SyFy Channel are a tad bit smarter than that. So having been stymied by the network, Sheldon allows Amy to help him come to grips with his closure problems through a series of exercises that are designed to lessen his compulsive need for closure. There’s tic-tac-toe that gets erased before the game ends, a birthday cake where he’s unable to blow out the last candle, a jack-in-the-box that’s not allowed to pop. Amy even plays the Star Spangled Banner, and cuts out the last line, and has Sheldon set up dominoes in a pattern, but doesn’t allow him to knock them down. And how does Sheldon feel about all this? Like he does in the beginning: by wanting to rip his face off until he has a handful of Sheldon-face confetti.

Needless to say, the treatment exercises have no effect at all. After Amy leaves, Sheldon does what we all wanted him to do. He goes through all the exercises, one by one, and finishes them. And lastly, he is our champion. He calls the creator of Alphas and asks how the show was going to be resolved. Good man, Sheldon Cooper. Good man.

While Amy is helping Sheldon cope with closures, or lack thereof, Leonard gets excited about sharing Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Penny. Now, we all do this. We find something to get nerdy about, as the saying goes, and we want to share it with the most important person in our lives. It’s a wee bit soul crushing if they don’t go batcrap crazy for it like we have. Here it’s just like that. When Penny calls the show, “cute,” you can see a little of the light go out of Leonard’s eyes. But, God bless her, she suggests they watch another one. That woman loves Leonard. To this day I can’t figure out why. I’m not suggesting that she’s sacrificing by watching Buffy, of course. Hell of a show!

The point is that Penny really wants to love Buffy because of Leonard. She wants to be excited. When Bernadette visits, Penny laments that she’s not like everyone else. She doesn’t feel that she’s capable of getting excited about different things. Of course, when Bernadette suggests they spend a little time trying to figure it out, it’s just too much work. Penny is then left with not feeling passionate about various things. Not TV shows, not science, or which multi-functional remote to buy. And chances are she’s not going to be terribly excited about the new Xbox reveal coming up next month. You should be, though.

The wisdom of Penny

So, Penny isn’t excited about the typical nerd things. Okay. No problem. But there’s more to her than her interests. There’s more to her than her looks, her drinking, and her working at the Cheesecake Factory. There is something in Penny the others don’t have, but desperately need. We folk of the nerdly persuasion often get passionate about various geeky awesomnesses and whatnots, but sometimes we forget to be passionate about life itself, about the people in our lives, the little things that make our lives so full. It’s the people in our lives that fulfill us. Penny sees this not as a passion, but the passion. Many of us delve so deeply into gaming, comics, tv shows, and so on, that we sometimes miss the passion. Sometimes we neglect the people around us.

But this doesn’t mean that she’ll be dressing up for Comic-Con any time soon. And that’s ok. She may not automatically love all the things that Leonard does. She loves him. Her passion, the things that make her gush with excitement, as well as frustration, are not things at all, but persons. Would that the whole world had a bit more of this. It might just become a better place.

And this brings us, finally, to Raj and Lucy. Here’s the thing…

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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