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Friday, 16 of April of 2021

The Big Bang Theory – “The Robotic Manipulation”

“No saws! One circumcision was enough.”

Amy Fowler is not Sheldon’s girlfriend. Now that we have that out of the way.

The move to Thursday had many (myself included) worried for the continued success of The Big Bang Theory. Tonight’s premiere was phenomenal and if it can keep up the quality it has a fighting chance to reign supreme over the already doomed My Generation, the self proclaimed comedy underdog Community, the “Will they, won’t they? Just kill me now” Bones and Twi-lite Vampire Diaries.

The Sheldon/Amy (Shamy. Genius.) relationship is sure to be a major arc for season 4 and for good reason. Not only does a female version of Sheldon add a whole new level of humor to the show but it’s a great catalyst for some serious character development. And not just for Sheldon.

Season 3 really focused on the progression of Penny and Sheldon as friends. In “The Robotic Manipulation” they start moving into an odd sort of mother/son relationship. Which makes perfect sense. Penny gives him dating advice, drives Sheldon and Amy to a restaurant and even eats with them as a chaperone. This duo (and for this episode trio) provided the most laughs in the episode as well as the most development.

One of the problems people claim to have with BBT is the lack of character development. Looking at the show as a whole it’s easy to see that Sheldon and Leonard are not the same now as they were in the beginning. This new relationship with Amy is going to push Sheldon (an Emmy award winning role if you need to be reminded) to places even he did not think he will go. Whoever thought of a possible love interest for Sheldon on this show? Well it’s happened and the possibilities that can emerge from this development will take him even farther.

Penny, while a main character and only female lead, is a rather underdeveloped character. Al of her development has been in regards to her relationship with Leonard and friendship with Sheldon. She has not changed much as her own person. Well the premiere revealed intimate information about Penny’s sexual history and provided groundwork for her to do some soul searching and make some changes. According to Sheldon’s math, Penny has dated over 170 guys and has had sex with 31 (rounding up). While of course presented comically, this information could light a fire under her to look for a more real and lasting relationship. Maybe she’ll reconsider her relationship with Leonard. Maybe she’ll move to New York and date Ted from How I Met Your Mother. The point is this is potential for Penny to grow in a way that she has yet to on the show. Hopefully it won’t go to waste.

With the aforementioned focus on the Sheldon/Penny friendship in the past season, Leonard, Howard and Raj have been reduced to B story antics. Yes, Leonard had the Leonard/Penny relationship, another focal point, but it was only important mostly in its genesis and its conclusion. Once they were together it just became a fact of the show until they broke up. He spent most of his time engaging in random and hilarious misadventures with Howard and Raj. And yes, Howard did date Bernadette for a little while. But she disappeared after a while. Literally. They fleetingly mentioned a breakup in one episode.

This trend has continued into season 4. The B story here concerned Howard getting his penis stuck in a robotic hand. Yep. Robot masturbation. Classic nerd situation. The problem was solved by simply turning off the computer hooked up to the robot. 3 geniuses could not come up with such a simple solution. Hilarious.

All in all, a very solid premiere. From cold open (an area BBT has always excelled in) to credits, the episode kept the jokes rolling. There are some great potential story arcs at hand and I’m hoping they come to fruition.

Final Thoughts:

  • “Where does Aquaman poop?” Excellent question, Raj.
  • Amy poses the question and I am inclined to agree: Penny’s kind of a slut. Maybe she should hook up with Barney instead of Ted.

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