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REVIEWS

"The Celebration Experimentation"/S9E17

Posted on March 10, 2016 at 12:35 AM

By Dhruv Rao

EPISODE 200


This isn't the first time I've written about a milestone as momentous as the 200th episode. In fact, merely two years ago, How I Met Your Mother aired its 200th episode, and it was quite the victory. However, the greatness of "How Your Mother Met Me" was overshadowed by the polarization Carter Bays and Craig Thomas caused after the series finale. On the other hand, The Big Bang Theory played it cool with its 200th episode knowing that the decision to do something "big" for the show's 100th episode was acclaimed by both its fans and critics alike. "The Recombination Hypothesis" was truly an original way for the show to introduce Leonard and Penny's fate, but it side-stepped all the other main characters, throwing them forgettable jokes which the studio audience seemed to rather enjoy. This week, the spotlight shifted to Sheldon, which wasn't a complete surprise when you consider how much of a cultural juggernaut Jim Parsons' character has become.


Sheldon's child-like, arrogant, and often hilarious behavior has been slowly modeled by the writers over the years through his relationship with Amy, so whenever the show lets his awkward characteristics shine, it's still a treat for the audience. This week brought his fear of birthdays because of his sister, and while neither his sister nor his mother make guest appearances, it was great to watch the show look inward and give its viewers glimpses into how- despite his personality- Sheldon has such strong relationships with the show's characters, especially Penny. I have always enjoyed episodes which pitted them together, and their heart-to-heart in the bathroom was just the perfect amount of "sappy" the episode required. It reminded me of Rachel and Chandler's good-bye scene from Friends, especially when the writers decided not to drag out the dialogue and let the studio audience ruin the moment. That scene was truly the highlight from the episode, much like the knowing look Leonard and Penny gave each other towards the end of the "Recombination Hypothesis", and it was one which I will file in my mind as one of the deeper-level moments of the show.


Sheldon's emotional character isn't usually a matter straddled by the writers, and for the writers to have him emotionally struggle on a momentous occasion was certainly a refreshing change of pace. Usually, the writers like to have him nag at the rest of the cast in order to generate a row of laughter from the studio audience. However, they do provide us with rare glimpses into him really living his childhood experiences through his mother. Without his mother there this week, the entire plot could have been a disaster, but the inclusion of Penny's pep-talk in the bathroom not only nudged at the close relationship they have, but also the implicit proximity between Penny and Sheldon's mother. It was a unique way to handle Sheldon's tantrum without relying on an overused tool.

 

On the note of Sheldon's mother, she wasn't the only no-show at Sheldon's party. The show decided not to fish through its past nine seasons and bring out every guest star they could. Rather. it chose to shrewdly include the ones with whom Sheldon had a notable relationship, as that was the primary theme of the entire episode. The inclusions of Leonard's mother, Barry Kripke, and Wil Wheaton were accompanied by jokes which most of the audiences would have recognized, but the writers did give its older fans a treat when they brought back Sara Gilbert as a small gesture which lightly polarized its audience and gave its older seasons a little more publicity. In my books, that's a win-win situation, especially when you consider the lack of B-plots to distract us away from the characters with whom Sheldon heavily interacted.


Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

- "You mention his birthday, and he vanishes?" "Where's that information been this whole time?"

- "Okay, we're on the clock here, sweetie! Can you hate yourself and frost at the same time? Birthday party first, pity party later!"

- "What's an Affleck?"

- "Wil Wheaton in the bathtub, batman on the toilet, it'll be like the weirdest Comic Con ever."

- "Hello, some of us need to check our hair because we might have a shot with Leonard's mother!"



Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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