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"The Communication Deterioration"S8E21

Posted on April 25, 2015 at 9:30 AM

By Dhruv Rao


There are often episodes of a sitcom that make us laugh while they last, but once they’ve aired, we forget about them. Tonight’s half-hour from The Big Bang Theory was a good example of an episode that was mildly entertaining; however, regular viewers of the show will probably not recall its plot. “The Communication Deterioration” isn’t one of the episodes that one would think of as soon as the show’s name is thrown into an argument. As far as I am concerned, whenever people mention this show, I usually think of “The Staircase Implementation”, “The Launch Acceleration”, or “The Locomotive Interruption” because those were the episodes where the characters were placed in situations the audience wasn’t habituated to, thus these were the episodes where character development was a prime factor, or at least it was a feature of said episodes. Having said that, tonight did have its own character development plot, but it was side-stepped into the B-plot.


Penny got the B-plot tonight as her career crisis that was central last season returns for a brief cameo. I admire how Penny’s character has matured since we first saw her, and tonight’s episode reminded the audience about how different she is than when she was an actress/waitress. Firstly, she finally has a respectable job where she can gain financial stability. Last season was the climax of Penny’s financial and career problems, especially when the writers decided to take the risk and get her out of her job at The Cheesecake Factory. Tonight’s revelation finally put an end to the question of whether Penny would ever decide to return to her previous career. The short scene before Penny left the audition is a strong one, as we hear her thoughts, but I would have recommended a flashback to when she used to be an actress as a stronger image. (I say that with confidence as the flashback-oriented episodes of this show have always been hits.) However, the idea for it was fantastic, so the writers get credit for that.


As strong as the subplot was, it cannot hold the entire episode together since it’s simply a background story that is placed neatly in between the main plot. For instance, in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the subplot had to do with fooling Malvolio, which I admit was entertaining and funny. However, I enjoyed the play mainly because of the intricacies and delight in the main plot: a distorted love triangle. The main plot is the one people will focus more on, but the subplot is the flavoring added, which can change entertainment from good to excellent. As much as I love strong A-plots, tonight’s was a disappointment mainly because of the rehashed jokes and half-baked story. The idea was one that other shows have nailed in the past: communication. (I know it’s in the title. Don’t reprimand me.) However, when an idea has been executed almost perfectly in other shows, the chances that its reprise will be entertaining aren’t high. This week’s A-plot just didn’t do the work it had to; it felt like it was lazily and hastily written. The only parts I liked were the unusual pairing of Raj and Leonard as omega-males and Sheldon’s message towards the end of the episode. Other than that, the jokes were mediocre and overused, especially with Howard and Raj’s friendship coming into play.


Tonight’s episode joins a string of fillers that seem to lead me to one assumption: the writers had a few good ideas for this season. Furthermore, the low number of key episodes this season is a good indicator that the finale might actually be something memorable. The decline in quality this season has also brought the show down from its number one spot it held during its metamorphosis stage (seasons 5 through 7). The only way the show can regain its viewership is by improving the quality of the episodes from now on and focus on shaking things up next season. Another weird phenomenon that I have noticed is that Amy hasn’t been doing more than one or two scenes for a while now. Big mistake, writers. Mayim Bialik is a fantastic actress whose presence can change a lot in an episode (For example, "The Indecision Amalgamation" scene when she asks Sheldon for butter).

Grade: B-

Stray Observations:

- Leonard: "When I encountered alien life, I discovered that the key thing is not to sit in its spot." People may hate Leonard's condescending tone, but I just love it!

- The look of relief on Sheldon's face when Penny used his version of knocking on the door is priceless.

- Whenever Cinammon is upset, she urinates in Raj's slippers. Thank God I don't have a dog!

- I agree with Bernadette, telling someone to pop something like a zit while consuming it isn't really mouth-watering.

- Penny started the rumor that another actress was 40 and everything is fake. Her look of disgust afterwards was a good sign of her maturity.

- Aliens on Sheldon: "That soft pink alien looks delicious!"

Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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