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"The Sales Call Sublimation"/S9E12

Posted on January 8, 2016 at 1:00 PM

By Dhruv Rao

The challenge to maintain consistent levels of continuity, maturity, and depth in a season is usually one at which most sitcoms fail, including The Big Bang Theory. However, all the aired episodes this season have maintained plot structures which fall under a unanimous wavelength; the audience can finally see an overall plot of the season. Frankly, while I was watching tonight's episode, I couldn't help but think at how much of an improvement this season's plotlines are in comparison to season eight's, which was a major dissapointment after the "golden years" of seasons five, six, and seven. The show's ninth season focuses more on the real issues in the plot and ties up all the loose ends season eight left behind. 

Tonight's episode focuses on the natures and dynamics of the relationships which populate the show. The theme of the episode truly impressed me when it presented romantic, parental, and platonic relationships rather than having the romantic ones steal all the screen time. The different relationships also provided a much-needed change of pace from all the Shamy excitement with which the writers filled the holiday season, even though all those episodes made enormous leaps in their relationship which had reached a dreaded point of stagnation last year. Another reason why this episode worked well was because it provided an even distribution of screen time to all the characters. The three plotlines brought various underlying issues to light, and the incredible wrap-up of the characters being nostalgic illustrated it very well while maintaining an air of comedy due to the final shot of Leonard's sheer joy.

All the different types of relationships aren't just mutually exclusive: they are all webbed together neatly, which places the show closer to reality. The romantic nature of relationships is the dominant one in the plot involving Leonard and Penny; however, in the Howard-Bernadette and Raj-Sheldon plots, it serves as a catalyst to propel the two plots forward. Similarly, the dynamic of friendship is the primary driver of the Raj-Sheldon plot, providing the audience with rare moments of these two interacting while keeping Sheldon as the boor he truly is. The friendship angle is incorporated very subtly in the Leonard-Penny plot as the main catalyst for the discussion of their marriage. This discussion tackles both romantic and parental fronts, the latter of which is portrayed in Howard and Bernadette's screen time after Stuart finally moves out.

This complex web the writers wove could have easily led to a lackluster episode; however, the writers managed to neatly tie all the various aspects of the episode together. This episode may seem as a filler episode, but its true purpose is to add nuances to the primary foci of this season: Shamy's intimacy, Leonard and Penny's marriage, and Howard and Bernadette's possible step into parenthood.

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

- "Aww, you always know just what to say after I tell you what to say!"

- Leonard: "Did you try wearing the shirt I said was inappropriate for work?" Penny: "The doctor's a woman, but, yes, 'cause you never know."

- "I just have never been in this room while you're awake..."

- "Look at that: an Indian guy outsourcing a computing job to a white fella!"

- "It appears romantic, but it's really just a rock in space that gets me out of Valentine's Day forever."

- "I used to wear tank tops a lot. That was a big selling point!"

- Penny's best quality as an actress: "doable".

Categories: The Big Bang Theory

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