The Big Bang Theory’s “one-hour premiere event” was not a one-hour episode—as such a thing would have been when I was a kid; instead, it was two back-to-back half-hour episodes, which, of course, works better for syndication.
At any rate, “The Junior Professor Solution” finds Sheldon returning to Caltech, but, in order to pursue research beyond string theory, he will have to teach a class as a junior professor. Unfortunately, everyone drops his class because of his reputation, so Sheldon is left feeling…well, affronted. Then, a solution presents itself: Howard wants to pursue his PhD, and he’s willing to sign up for Sheldon’s class—if Sheldon’s willing to take him. Of course, Sheldon doesn’t feel Howard is intelligent enough to hang with him, so Howard repays his condescending teacher with jerky student antics and hilarity ensues. If there’s a constant in this series beyond Sheldon’s stubborn devotion to order, it’s Howard’s unrelenting antagonism of Sheldon, and, as much as we love Sheldon’s persnickety nature, we also enjoy seeing him taken down a peg or two.
Meanwhile, Penny and Bernadette are at odds over the amount of prep-time Penny is putting into the assumption of her new job as a pharmaceutical rep for the company that employs Bernadette—and Amy is caught in the middle. And she loves it. She’s running gleefully between her two friends with the fervor of a high school mean girl, maligning one to the other. Reprehensible? Sure. Funny? Of course!
If anything, “The Junior Professor Solution” settles Big Bang into its eighth season groove and allows the characters the space to run through their paces—although Raj gets short shrift in this outing. Obviously, the Sheldon/Howard student/teacher relationship is ripe with further possibilities, and Penny’s new job allows her to mine new territory—with her usual combination of uncertainty and bravado.
Frankly, I’m champing at the bit for more.
Best line(s) of the episode? This exchange comes shortly after Howard has fired a spitball into Sheldon’s mouth:
“Sheldon, I promise. Your uvula does not have an STD.” — Leonard
“Are you sure? It doesn’t feel as innocent as it used to.” — Sheldon
10/10 – I love The Big Bang Theory, and it’s always a priority for me.