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"The Hook-Up Reverberation"/S8E4

Posted on October 17, 2014 at 9:30 AM

By Dhruv Rao

If any television program runs successfully for more than half a decade, it is possible that the writers may have created what I call land mines: episodes which is so rich in content that it can be successfully alluded to in future episodes. For example, How I Met Your Mother had land mines laid out throughout the show, like "Slap Bet" or even "No Pressure". Full House's pilot episode was a constant throwback in future seasons. Likewise, the fourth season finale's cliffhanger was really a stunner, and a land mine for the writers. The advantage of introducing land mines into a series is that any time the writers are stumped, they have an idea in stock that can bring the show's legacy to a whole new level. When Lilly left Marshall in HIMYM's first season, the writers had resolved it early on in its second season. However, just this year, they reprised the idea in the biggest fight of Marshall and Lily's marriage. Likewise, Chuck Lorre reprised the season four finale idea to add depth to Raj's new relationship. I commend this gesture, especially because Raj's "relationship" with Lucy was a string of awkward dates whose culmination didn't really occur. 

The writers have really been challenging themselves in the office lately, and you can see the results in the seventh season of the show, where everything changed. This season is just starting, but the show has already put into motion a plan which will solve Penny's career crisis for a while: they gave her a job at a pharmaceutical firm. It is a good ploy, as it led to the confrontation scene between Penny and Emily. I don't think I would've picked up on Penny's new career direction and use it to help in advancing a plot. The story itself took a whole circle, with Emily and Penny still hating each other towards the end. If I were to quote a TV character's ex who had conflicts with the former's friends, I would easily name the Full House episode "Joey's Funny Valentine" because the conflicts were risen without the viewer even knowing. Furthermore, the resolution was the family getting to know Roxy from the start. It was refreshing, but that was 1994, a time when most of the good ideas for sitcoms weren't completely taken. That's why modern shows are often accused of being "cheesy" or "unoriginal", such as this show right here. The idea of a girl or boyfriend having issues with the character's friends has been used many-a-time in sitcoms and even dramas. Each one could be resolved differently, but at its core it's the same plot device. For instance, in HIMYM's fourth season, Karen had a problem with all of Ted's friends, and the episode ended with the couple breaking up because of Lily's scheme. The Big Bang Theory didn't resolve anything, they simply introduced the subject, built it up, and let it crash and burn towards the end by giving its ending no actual originality. However, the comedy bits in between the plot, especially Penny's talks with Amy and Bernadette, were hilarious and a joy to watch.

The second plot was an amusing one, with the guys deciding to own a new comic book store. The posh comic book store makes another appearance this week, and the guys decide to invest into Stuart's store. Howard's main reason is to get him out of his mother's house, and it really is refreshing to see his relationship with his mother roll on a new leaf. Furthermore, the various ideas the guys come up with to get this investment to work was a treat to watch, especially because they often don't get to be themselves with the girls around. With the girls not around, we get to hear their inner nerds blast forth into an explosion of comic books, super heroes, and most importantly science. The plots do go on, but the writers formally remind us that the guys aren't the same people they were when the show started: each one tells their significant other about the idea. The inclusion of those scenes was a subtle reminder to the viewers of how far the show truly has come, and how the writers have improved their writing skills. It's a good combination of funny and geeky, and it wasn't too heavy to digest. Furthermore, Howard's shout to his mother brought back the old days when he used to live there...

Grade: B

Stray Observations:


- Stuart has seven HBOs on his cable paid by Howard's mother.

- Amy: "I'm with him three years: nothing. She's with him two minutes and he's taking his pants off!"

- Penny shily agrees that Emily isn't the first girl who's hated her.

- Sheldon's comeback to the customers: "You don't work here. Shut up!"

- Howard gets emotional. Bernadette: "That story's made up, isn't it?"

- Amy: "I'm feeling a little backed into a corner, Sheldon." Sheldon: "Perfect!"


Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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