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The Big Bang Theory Watch: The Cruciferious Vegetable Amplification

Sheldon Cooper is a genius, so naturally he gathers data. He is an existentialist, so naturally he ponders death. He is a narcissist, so naturally he desires immortality. He is a nerd, so naturally he conceives a plan to conquer just about everything. In The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification, Sheldon uses his intelligence, his agoraphobia, and his disillusioned rationale to live forever, by imbuing his consciousness into a virtual machine.

Tonight’s main premise worked so well comically, and it reminded us why we love The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon’s virtual-self provided an adorable and shrewd sight gag, surprisingly pervading the entire episode without feeling too constrained or hollow. This is credited to the power of Jim Parson’s presence; even with a slight degree of absence, he beautified each moment with such unique charisma.

Of course, tonight’s episode gleefully capitalized on our investment into this fourth-year sitcom by referring to several inside jokes in the context of a new Sheldon-knocking on the door, Sheldon’s spot on the couch, Soft Kitty, and the casual cameo of a figure in the geek industry. Each set piece was designed to reach an interesting punchline, and most of them surprisingly worked. Sure, tonight’s episode did have some formulaic and contrived jokes, but with something as newly dynamic as a virtual-Sheldon, it would’ve been impossible to be impeccably hilarious.

Unfortunately, for the second straight week, The Big Bang Theory had difficulty giving the rest of the cast as interesting an arc as it gave Sheldon. Again, Leonard and Penny simply acted as canvases for Sheldon’s chaotic and colorful humor. Raj and Wolowitz struggled to find balance to fend off Jim Parson’s one man show.

Something tangential that notably perturbed me about this episode (and the series as a whole) was the acknowledgment of Raj’s inability to talk to women. However funny this gag might be, it continues to be a habitual hindrance to the show. Raj’s quirk is simply just a quirk. It stands for nothing more. And so, when Wolowitz reprimanded Raj to go seek out a shrink, I apathetically thought, “He really, really should…”

Furthermore, the first act of The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification briefly glanced at Leonard’s and Penny’s breakup, but it ultimately amounted to a lethargic joke. It’s specifically unfortunate that their postmortem lives have not been dissected yet this season; over the past three seasons, I’ve grown fond of the idea that Leonard and Penny should be together. Without a clue as to how they’re doing singularly, I don’t have much to extrapolate beyond what the show is already presenting us.

Recently, The Big Bang Theory has been about face value. That infinite space that Sheldon tried to discover tonight is something The Big Bang Theory may never reach. Is that a problem? Not necessarily. As I mentioned earlier, The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification, served as a reminder to why I so thoroughly enjoy this show. Although imperfect, the show can find enough moments in a standalone episode to illustrate some wonderful comedy.

Tonight’s episode was a comfortable niche of Big Bang humor- a humor I respond to because I, too, am a nerd. It’s a humor that is idiosyncratic, a tad bit insecure, but overall very charming.