Review! The Big Bang Theory, Ep. 8.1:

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In case you haven’t heard, The Big Bang Theory has moved to Monday night—because Thursday Night Football has taken its previous berth, which is just fine, even though it gives the DVR a workout, you know, with Gotham on Fox at the same time. (Aside: It will be interesting to see how Mondays go with Dancing with the Stars on ABC, The Big Bang Theory/Mom/Scorpion on CBS, The Voice on NBC, and Gotham/Sleepy Hollow on Fox. How will that turn out?)

That said, BBT returned with two excellent first-run episodes on September 22.  In the first, “The Locomotion Interruption,” we find that Sheldon’s efforts to run away from his problems—e.g., moving away from string theory research, the comic book store’s devastating fire, Leonard and Penny’s engagement, and Amy’s desire to further their relationship by moving in together—have left him pantsless, possession-less, and down to a single sock in train station in Arizona. He raves like a hyper-intelligent lunatic begging for help, but none of his fellow travelers will come to his aid. Finally, he is taken to a police station, where he calls Leonard for help.

Meanwhile, Penny has cut her hair and has an interview to be a pharmaceutical rep for the company Bernadette works for—this likely to fill the void (in her bank account) left by her departure from The Cheesecake Factory to pursue her lackluster acting career full-time. At first, she’s a bit intimidated by the interviewer (wonderfully portrayed by the excellent Stephen Root), but they soon find a reason to bond.

8.1A

Hurrah! THE BIG BANG THEORY has returned!

Also, Howard—coached by Raj—is dealing with the friendship (or more) that has formed between his mother and out-of-work former comic book store owner Stewart.

This episode is about taking chances and conquering fears, and it is truly funny. Sheldon’s time in the police station alone is worth the price of admission:

    • “There’s lots of books called ‘Sherlock Holmes’, and there’s no books called ‘Officer Hernandez’.”
    • “Sherlock Holmes liked to use cocaine to sharpen his focus. But I’m sure those Cool Ranch Doritos are doing the trick.”

Seeing Penny take on a new role as a pharmaceutical rep is interesting because it (a) makes Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting’s new haircut really work within the confines of the show—a trivial thing, I know, (b) shows that she’s coming to terms with reality and growing up a bit more, and (c) gives her some interesting screen-time with Bernadette, who’s always a delight.

Sheldon’s relationship with Amy evolves ever-so-slightly in this episode, too, and that’s a real pleasure—since Shamy has become the best TV couple to root for since Caskett. The writers truly know what they’re doing with The Big Bang Theory. The characters have somehow grown—in their careers and in their relationships, yet they still feel familiar and continue to engage.

BACKLOG PRIORITY
10/10.
It’s The Big Bang Theory.  C’mon.

I will be back tomorrow with a review of Monday’s second episode, “The Junior College Solution.”

– Mou

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