The Big Bang Theory – The Convention Conundrum
By Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
In the newest episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Convention Conundrum,” the guys are doing their best to get tickets to the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con. It’s a problem many of us have faced over the last few years as the convention has grown ever larger. I remember last year doing the exact same thing the guys started out doing, not with Comic-Con, though, it had been sold out for quite some time. I was trying to get tickets to Nerd HQ. Ah, the sublime torture of waiting for those tickets to go on sale, and refreshing your screen like a maniac. To borrow from Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Like thousands of others the guys are unable to secure the tickets to the promised land. There’s dejection and sadness. When faced with such tragedy, there are only so many options a group of nerds can turn to: either buy scalped tickets, not go at all and feel that stabbing ache in your innards for the entire year, or start your own convention at the local Marie Callender’s (where, at least the panelists will get a free slice of pie). The middle option is right out, of course. Howard, Leonard, and Raj, decide on the scalped tickets, and Sheldon begins a quest to start his own comic book convention. Who will actually fill the void of not getting tickets?
While Howard, Leonard, and Raj find a scalper and set up their buying of the nontransferable tickets, which Sheldon reminds them could get them banned from Comic-Con for life and is classified as petty theft, Sheldon stalks guest star, James Earl Jones, to a sushi restaurant in order to ask him to be a panelist at the inaugural of Sheldon Con. James Ear Jones is absolutely fantastic. In his role (as himself) he’s not at all bothered that Sheldon only knows him from Star Wars and has Sheldon join him. They go all out; from the sushi place to an ice cream shop to a carnival to karaoke to pranking Carrie Fisher to a strip club to a sauna.
As Sheldon and James Earl Jones are out on the town, the three who elected to buy the scalped tickets waffle back and forth about the consequences of such bad-assery. After changing their minds, then changing them back again, they finally change their minds. By that I mean they decide that the consequences are too severe for them to go through with it just as the ticket scalper gets to their place and knocks on the door. I think their plan was as good as any: turn off the lights and pretend to not be home until the guy gives up and goes away. While they’re giving up on the dream of going to Comic-Con, however, Sheldon gets them all invitations to accompany James Earl Jones on the annual nerd pilgrimage. The only price is that Sheldon must go to Tijuana every night they’re there.
The other halves of these nerds-on-a-mission are not left out of the episode, though their participation in the episode isn’t filled with many laughs. They attempt to do the opposite of geeking out over conventions. They decide to go out for a grown-up evening at a tea shop only to be surrounded by a myriad 5 and 6 year-old girls having tea parties. The solution, naturally, is to go to the bar and get alcohol. Really, this is the only benefit to being an adult: you can legally buy the elixir of life, and it doesn’t come a philosopher’s stone. It comes from oaken barrels somewhere in the wilds of Scotland. Pardon the digression. Perhaps if I’d partaken of a wee dram while watching Amy, Bernadette, and Penny go through their adult exercise, it would’ve been funnier. As it is, they find that “being an adult” is quite boring.
The real joy of the episode is provided by a giddy James Earl Jones as he goes out on the town with a Star Wars groupie. Would that all of us could be so lucky as to run into a nerd icon when we have failed to get our tickets to…ahem, Nerd HQ, who could get us in without our having to resort to committing petty theft or getting banned from said convention. May the force of James Earl Jones be with you, nerds, as you try to get tickets to SDCC and Nerd HQ.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars