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"The Convention Conundrum"/"The Locomotive Manipulation"/S7E14-15

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

By Dhruv Rao

The Big Bang Theory is an oscillating show: it hasn't had a perfect run of excellent or terrible episodes. The writers' purpose of inserting comedy is often vague and unfocused, but it makes the show relatable to some people. I think one of the best decisions made by the creators was to expand the cast mates to make the show less male-dominant. Furthermore, it's international audience is strong due to Howard's jewish origins, Amy's social awkwardness and Raj's contribution as an Asian ambassador. These two episodes are examples of above average episodes of the show. The former concentrates on Sheldon's quirks and stubbornness while the latter focuses on the group's romantic lives.

Firstly, "The Convention Conundrum" is an episode where the writers use a guest star to elevate the season's dull hour. James Earl Jones' presence gave the episode a new energy that the characters sometimes lack. The gang's geeky nature is also revived, or as Penny said, "It's a new kind of sad." They're various attempts to get into the event is reminiscing and frustrating when we take their metamorphosis into consideration. However, they are still are the underdogs, at least that's what Chuck Lorre wants us to believe. When the black market dealer arrives near their door, they transform into little kids trying to avoid a bully. The theme of growing up becomes a little bit more prevalent during this scene, especially when they fear being banned from Comic Con. The comedy here isn't adulterated, but it certainly isn't the show's funniest moments. The plot's depth isn't a concern to the viewers, because they're getting exactly what they've wanted: a truckload of comedy.

Meanwhile, the girls go all classy with a sophisticated tea, only to realize that they haven't actually matured themselves: little girls love tea parties! They talk about their lives and how they haven't actually matured yet. It's something so wonderful to see the writers insert a meaningful statement (accompanied by comedy, of course!) into their path. It shows that Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro are actually trying to make these characters mature. I think my outlook on the topic might be impaired since I watch How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory simultaneoulsy. The former discusses the romantic lives of people who transitioned into their 30s and how they've all settled down. Meawhile, the latter is more immature as I often forget that the characters are still in their mid-20s. The jaundiced eye cannot see anything else, now can it? Although the plot was weak, the inner jokes were funny. I love the little Penny-Bernadette jokes that fired up between the ladies tonight. The snaps made at each other were almost perfect....if only the live audience hadn't overreacted.

The main plot; on the other hand, had very much escalated towards the end of the episode. Sheldon and Earl Jones got ice-cream, went on a ferris wheel, ate dinner, did some karoake, pranked Carrie Fisher and ended their day in a sauna. Sheldon learns a lesson this time: if a celebrity likes him, there will be a high chance the celebrity is weird. And I'm not joking: James Earl Jones is portrayed as a puerile, limbido-powered old man who likes Star Wars. It seemed funny, but in reality Mr. Jones is one of the long and increasin lists of guest stars who have given so much energy to the show that the cast just can't even try to reach its pinnacle. However, the three plots did align within the theme of growing up, nevertheless.

The second episode went on with a method which the writers are fond of ever since the fifth season: the couples' plots. The three couples on the show were split into three amusing plots, and while the entertainment was of a good quality, the plotline had its own substantial growth which the previous episode lacked. The A-plot focused on Shamy for Valentine's day (like I was surprised about that) and the B-plot focused on Leonard, Penny and Raj.

Amy decided to take Sheldon to Napa Valley on a romantic train along with Howard and Bernadette. Just by hearing the description, you already know that Sheldon is "unkowingly" gonna screw the romance into geekiness. This time, since it's a train, Sheldon ditches his friends and hangs out with another fellow train fan who just rides on random trains all over the country. (And I wonder why he was sitting alone that night?) The plot resembles the previous episode in a way: Sheldon hanging out with someone who isn't his friend. The night drones on, and Amy feels even more pathetic than she did during the cold open when they had reviewed their relationship contract. Howard and Bernadette can't help, but they surely can make Amy feel even worse: they romance each other right in front of her. The plot is simple, but the ending provided an advancement in the Shamy field of the show, which is refreshing and truly was a treat to watch. I hope we can expect a few more of these advancements over the season. 

The B-plot wasn't very valentine's day-linked. It discussed the immaturity of Leonard and Penny's relationship in a comic way: a way in which we didn't find the plot to be dragged and clicheed. However, for once, Kunal Nayyar stole the show. He didn't bacl down, and the writers supported him. They gave Raj a chance to be loved again, a hope for the character to start the process of settling down. It's really a magical moment when Raj gets her phone number and his eyes light up.

Overall, the second episode wasn't very evenful. However, how can we forget about Shamy's first PDA moment when Sheldon actually kissed Amy and liked it. That ending blew everyone away and was a long-impending treat from the writers. I just loved the second episode: although it was at times off, the plots worked together and made a Valentine's Day episode less clichee-horrible in a clichee-good way.

Grade: B/A-

Stray Observations:

- Raj: "I'll be a badass. But only if you pinky-swear to be one too!"

- Amy (to Bernadette): "Aw! Drinking in the afternoon, just like her mommy!" *Makes drunk impression*

- Penny: "Sex is not what makes you grown up." Bernadette: "Yeah, or you'd be the oldest one here." Penny: "Really? Is that how you talk to your mother?" I absolutely loved the little snaps in the episode.

- The guys want to go to Comic Con as the fantasic four, but since Sheldon isn't coming, they decide to pretend that the invisible girl is standing next to them. Well played!

- Why aren't Leonard and Penny joining the rest of the gang to Napa Valley? Leonard:  "I'm not sure it's a good idea to take Penny to where wine comes from."

- Raj on watching love begin again: "Cinnamon, she gave me her phone number! If I'd known it was that easy, I'd have considered poisoning you months ago."

- Bernadette consoles Amy: "So your boyfriend's a fixer-upper? Most of them are. I mean look at this guy. You think he came like this? When I met him he was a hot, goofy mess. Now, he's been to Space. That's all me!"

- Raj is simply hilarious: "I'll point out her name's Yvette and that she's a vet. That's hysterical! She'll love it."

Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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