The Big Bang Theory – The Friendship Turbulence


By Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

The seventh season of The Big Bang Theory continues with “The Friendship Turbulence,” wherein we find out the history of the animosity between Howard and Sheldon. Can I just say right off that if you’re going to carry on a multi-year insult war with somebody, make sure it’s not someone with an eidetic memory? You may have forgotten what the feud was about, but, I can promise you, he hasn’t. And, if it’s Sheldon you’re dealing with, he’s going to take every opportunity to make you pay. He just won’t tell you why.

Well, this week Sheldon tells. While sitting around the coffee table—the new dining room table made its appearance and was promptly abandoned—Sheldon tells Bernadette that Howard started the feud by calling him C-3-Pee-Wee-Herman, and putting slides of nude, fat women bending over in Sheldon’s lecture on cosmic gas clouds. At that point, well, what else was a future criminal mastermind to do but exact revenge over, and over, and over? Sheldon’s preferred method of revenge is the continued belittling of Howard, and anything he does.

To rectify this broken quasi-friendship, under the influence of Bernadette’s noise-cancelling tracks of land, Howard invites Sheldon to go to Houston with him. Howard has to give a talk at NASA, and Sheldon could visit his mother. Seems like a win-win opportunity here that Howard has managed to come up with all on his own. Sheldon agrees provided he isn’t walking into a nefarious trap in which he will be arrested and deported to South America. Seems like a reasonable precaution. In their going to Houston, the plane enters severe turbulence and they bond over their mutual fear of it, and their mutual fear of death. I don’t know if they’ll be bff’s or anything, but it’s a start.

Interspersed between the Howard and Sheldon moments, which always strike me as appropriately uncomfortable, Raj continues his pathetic, downward spiral. Amy tries to pull him out of it by reluctantly agreeing to message a woman on a dating site on his behalf. Predictably, it doesn’t go well, at least for Raj. The woman and Amy, however, hit it off and decide to meet up for coffee. In response to the woman’s view that Raj is too passive and shy, he tracks them down and bursts into the middle of their coffee meet-up. Well, it’s a bursting in for Raj. It’s not like a grand, or unexpected entrance that makes everyone around take notice, thinking that “this is a dashing, impressive, figure. I bet he’s interesting.” It’s more like you’re standing in line at the cafeteria counter and your backside forcefully, loudly, expels clouds of cosmic gas. You know you did it. They all know you did it, and everyone backs away slowly, staring at you with a mixture of surprise, laughter, fear, and severe discomfort, with some random lady in the back lamenting, “somebody, help that poor man.” Not that I would know what that’s like, mind you.

Needless to say, the encounter doesn’t work out so Raj loses out on a possible date, and Amy loses out on a possible friendship. Evening wrecked. And it looks like another evening will be wrecked when Leonard, once again, shows his lack of support for Penny when she turns down a roll in the sequel to her first movie, Serial Apeist. As much as Leonard is often annoying with his passive-aggressive, fear-induced nonsense, I almost had to take his side in this one. I mean, work is work, isn’t it? Isn’t it? What I do know is that there are many ways to be supportive, and to show that support, and he’s not doing a very good job at any of it. That is until he steps up when Penny’s car dies.

Facing having to go back to the Cheesecake Factory and waitressing, the distraught Penny receives an unlikely act of love and support from Leonard. He buys her a car. He tells her she doesn’t have to go back to waitressing and that with the new car she can get to all her auditions. Good for Leonard: stepping up and proving his faith in Penny.

Even though there were some funny bits, it was less grand than I’d hoped. I don’t know if it’s a result of having 3 plot lines squeezed into 19 minutes and 17 seconds, or a lack of ideas about how to treat all these characters, but thus far the 7th season seems to be losing focus. Trying to fit everyone in to each episode seems to be getting the better of them. But it’s still The Big Bang Theory, so I’ll keep watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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