Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Big Bang Theory 4.06: "The Irish Pub Formulation"

“You’re far too short to be Darth Vader. At best, you might be a turncoat Ewok.”

So the main thing I took out of this episode of “The Big Bang Theory” is that I want a Snoopy Sno-cone maker. This episode was a slightly different take on a story that had already sort-of been done in season 1, specifically “The Pork Chop Indeterminacy.” This time around, instead of Sheldon’s twin sister Missy, who we had never heard of before, randomly showing up in Pasadena, we’ve got Raj’s sister Priya, who we had never heard of before, randomly showing up in Pasadena. Another difference is that “The Pork Chop Indeterminacy” saw all the guys throwing themselves at Missy only to have no success, while in this episode, one of the guys sleeps with Priya, only to have to face consequences later. While I thought neither episode was among the best of the “Big Bang Theory” lexicon, I thought “The Irish Pub Formulation” had slightly more substance to it.

Raj brings Priya to lunch with the guys at the university. Since they last saw her, she has become an attorney for a large car company in India. She’s on her way to Toronto for a big business meeting, and she’s stopping in Los Angeles to visit Raj on the way. After some pleasant chatter about how far along Priya has come in her career since they last saw her, Priya asks if Leonard can show her where the rest room is. While they’re gone, Raj reiterates his command that the guys need to keep their hands off his sister. Howard says that shouldn’t be a problem. He and Leonard made a pact five years ago when they first met Priya to do just that out of respect for Raj. Leonard doesn’t seem to really care about that agreement, though. When he and Priya get out into the hallway, she grabs him and kisses him. The only thing that delays Leonard in returning the affection is doing a quick look out for Raj first.

That evening, Sheldon is sitting happily in front of his computer when Leonard comes home. Sheldon has discovered a way to play old school text-based RPGs, and he’s fully ready for an evening of typing his way through an adventure. This is bad news for Leonard, though, because he’s brought Priya home with him, and she’s hiding out in the hallway, waiting for Sheldon to go to sleep so she can sneak into the apartment and spend the night with Leonard. Leonard does his best to convince Sheldon to go to bed. Sheldon has some sort of crazy fear about being sleepy at work, and Leonard works that well. Sheldon heads to his bedroom for the night, but unfortunately for Leonard and Priya, he doesn’t stay there. Priya has to keep throwing herself behind the couch every time Sheldon comes out to the living room. It’s a really spectacular bit of physical comedy. I had never heard of Aarti Mann, the actress who plays Priya, before, but she is definitely fearless.

The next morning, Leonard shows that he’s still the total sap he’s always been. He wants to stay with Priya, even if that means looking for research opportunities in New Dehli.Next morning- Leonard wants to stay with Priya, maybe move to New Dehli. Priya says that is most definitely not going to happen, for a variety of reasons. As Priya is trying to leave the apartment, Sheldon almost catches them again. Priya manages to successfully hide, but Sheldon wants to know why Leonard has lipstick-colored marks on him. Leonard quick makes up a story about a rash, and Sheldon enthusiastically bustles off to look through his collection of ointments for something to help Leonard’s “dermatitis.” Priya makes a break for it, but Sheldon catches her as Sheldon catches Priya as she’s running out. He’s mostly upset that he almost gave up some of his ointment stash for no good reason.

We can, of course, predict where this is going to go next. You see, “The Big Bang Theory” has done an episode before about what happens when Sheldon is asked to lie, too. That episode was “The Loobenfeld Decay,” also of season 1, and it involved Sheldon going to far as to hire an actor as part of an alibi he was constructing so he and Leonard wouldn’t have to go see Penny perform. On the car ride to work, Sheldon is fretting about what to do if someone asks about Leonard and Priya. It’s not just the direct question he’s worried about, it’s all the other sneaky, seemingly innocuous questions people could ask that has him spooked. He’s also kind of pissed that Leonard broke his pact with Howard. Who knew Sheldon Lee Cooper had a sense of honor? Anyway, Sheldon once again takes to developing one of his elaborate alibis for where Leonard was the night before. This one involves an Irish bar and a barmaid named Maggie. He even has a lock of red hair (from an orangutan) to really sell the story.

When Sheldon and Leonard join the rest of the guys for lunch, Sheldon’s fears, of course, are soon realized. The conversation immediately turns to Priya, with Raj asking Leonard to confirm that Priya would never be attracted to Howard. Leonard successfully skirts that question, but then the conversation turns to the previous night’s episode of “Caprica” (RIP). Which Leonard missed thanks to spending time with Priya. Leonard starts using Sheldon’s alibi about “Maggie,” but he quickly gives up and goes with just plain old telling the truth. Raj is extremely angry for about two seconds until Leonard tells Raj that Priya “stomped on his heart.” Howard chimes in that he has never betrayed Raj’s trust, but then there’s a quick rundown of some of the ways in which the guys have all betrayed one another. Howard once dropped Raj’s iPhone in the toilet and also told Raj that it’s tradition for foreigners to give presents to Americans on Thanksgiving. Sheldon ground up moths and mixed them into Leonard’s food as part of an experiment. Raj once used Sheldon’s tooth brush. Everybody except Sheldon agrees that they should just all forgive each other. Sheldon is finally placated when Raj says he got Sheldon a talking Thomas the Tank Engine for Thanksgiving.

I thought this resolution was a bit too easy, but it’s a sitcom. In most sitcoms, everyone has to be happy at the end. “HIMYM” is really the one exception to this out of sitcoms that I watch. When Barney slept with Robin in season 3’s “Sandcastles in the Sand,” Ted at least stayed mad at him for a few episodes. On the positive side, I will say that I think this episode had more depth than “The Pork Chop Indeterminacy.” In that episode, Missy’s visit and the guys’ throwing themselves at her was pretty much just played for laughs. In this episode, the situation with Priya was at least used to examine the relationships between the guys, however briefly. Of course everybody had to be happy at the end, because that’s the nature of this show, but we got a little character work first.

No comments:

Post a Comment