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"The Champagne Reflection"/S8E10

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM

By Dhruv Rao

Tonight was all about the final result of one's efforts, thus the word "reflection" appears in the episode's title. There are various ways to celebrate one's life once they are gone; however, when a closer look is placed on it, the years and years of effort amount to money in a bank, and in this case, tons of sporadic data that causes Leonard to reflect deeply on the meaning of his career path. The scenes do have a certain poignancy in them; however, the writers neatly balanced them with certain moments of well-crafted comedy. For instance, when Leonard first pronounced "Roger Abbott", Raj immediately noted the similarity to 'Roger Rabbit". Although the joke lacks the sophistication that the show has acquired over the years, its ice-breaking ability makes it apt. Another example is when Howard simply threw away the papers Professor Abbott wrote right after he pondered on the significance of scientific research. Once again, the writers didn't come up with the perfect ice-breaker, but they perfectly timed its delivery to mask its flaws. Furthermore, the gravity of the plot shadows the comic moments, thus providing the viewer with an impression that lasts. And that exactly is what I find memorable in television shows: an episode that makes you think about life or any known topic in a refreshing way. 

I knew this episode had a lasting effect when I often ignored the comedy in the A-plot and focused on what Leonard was trying to argue: the poignancy of a life that amounts to nothing. The thought process that this plot evoked was remarkable, and that's why I commend the writers for writing such a refined episode. Furthermore, I appreciate the balance in the episode between light-hearted humor and plots like these. The B- and C-plot provide for the former, and they do their job well, as the episode can easily be categorized as one of a sitcom. The comedy they provided is the type that shows like Seinfeld and Friends often employed: they used the default character traits and placed a certain "twang" on them. For example, the B-plot this week gave various flashbacks to the high points in Fun With Flags' run (232 episodes). The disrupted sketches of Sheldon and Amy donning various attires to represent the flags they were discussing was hilarious as all the Fun With Flags moments. In addition, they provided us with extra Shamy moments to cherish in the future. I can just picture a major chunk of this plot being uploaded to YouTube under "Season 8 Funny Moments".

The C-plot was not as great as the first two; however, it did have its own momentum. The individuality of the three plots is what make this episode unique: the various members of the group are on their separate evenings, and no "coincidental meetings" occur. This method of scriptwriting is often employed on The Big Bang Theory, as the show likes to segregate the three plots for convenience. However, not all shows can pull it off, for the same reason why not all sitcoms can easily and smoothly incorporate dramatic elements in them like How I Met Your Mother did. This plot was a good digestive for the episode, as the solemn nature of the A-plot was a little too solemn. The topics touched upon were of little relevance to the big picture of the show, but the comedy they provided scrutinized on the accentuated character traits of Bernadette: she is a bully dressed like a sweet little girl. The scenes have a few flashbacks that the show have often used, but they are unfortunately only through dialogue and lack a visual representation like how How I Met Your Mother used to do it. A few years ago, I would've been upset at the writers' inability to include them, but now I just let it slide. The show isn't known for it, so why should I force the writers do something they're uncomfortable doing...

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

- Bernadette: "I'm like the sweetest person I know! Look at me! I should be in a tree, baking cookies!"

- LeVar Burton agreed to appear on Fun with Flags in exchange for Sheldon deleting his contact details. 

- Amy's "I PRESSED IT!" is perfect. It's moments like these when I realize how great of an actress Mayim Bialik is.

- What's the best part of a scientific achievement? Leonard: "Rubbing it in Sheldon's face."

- The company's employees have been paying for Bernadette's coffees for the last five months.

- Bernadette's private bathroom was meant for the entire floor.

Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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