Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Big Bang Theory 4.23: "The Engagement Reaction"

“Your girlfriend and your ex-girlfriend are hanging out together? Oh yeah. That can only be good for you.”

I didn’t especially enjoy “The Engagement Reaction,” although I didn’t find it especially offensive, either, which I guess puts it above several of this season’s episodes of “The Big Bang Theory.” The fact that I didn’t find it especially offensive is especially an achievement considering this penultimate episode of the season was a Howard-centric story. I’m kind of conflicted about the turn Howard’s character has taken this season with his engagement to Bernadette. Before, Howard sort of played the role amongst his group of friends that Barney plays in the “HIMYM” crew. Both are typically the womanizer whose comments and behavior often border on disgusting, but the rest of the gang for some reason keeps him around anyway. Unlike Barney, however, Howard never seemed to really have much going on under the surface to make the grossness palatable. When Barney decides to make a change in his life and give long term relationships a try, I believe it, because I know what the character has been through and why he decided to put on such an extreme womanizing façade. With Howard, I don’t know all that. So I don’t know why he went from disgusting womanizer to halfway-decent (not completely decent- that wanting Bernadette to be like his mother issue is still there festering under the surface) boyfriend and now fiancé. So it doesn’t mean as much to me because I don’t get the motivation behind it. I think that’s why, even though I wasn’t appalled by anything in this episode. I didn’t really connect with it, either. And the jokes (with the exception of Sheldon’s plot) weren’t funny enough to make up for that.

Anyway, enough of my ranting (for now, at least). This episode opens with a meal, as episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” often do. This time the gang is at the Cheesecake Factory. Bernadette and Penny are both working a shift while the rest of the crew (minus Amy, who doesn’t appear at all in this episode) are there to eat. There’s a bit of kind of pointless banter between Bernadette and Penny about who will wait on the rest of the gang’s table, and Bernadette ends up taking the job. There’s also the beginning of a bit that would run throughout the episode where Sheldon accidentally drinks some water from Leonard’s glass. Sheldon is horrified by this because he doesn’t know what germs Leonard might have backwashed into his water, especially considering he’s dating someone from another country. Okay, maybe I was wrong about there not being anything especially offensive in this episode. At least Raj does sort of call Sheldon on the inappropriateness of his comment. Priya turns the conversation to the subject of Howard and Bernadette’s engagement, and Bernadette reveals that Howard has not yet told his mother about the engagement. Bernadette seems strangely okay with this.

We next see the boys playing a game of Mystic Warlords of Ka’a back at Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment. Raj is doing a running commentary for every play, which is kind of funny, but not really funny enough. It’s more juvenile than funny, really. Anyway, in the middle of the game, Howard gets a text from Bernadette. Bernadette is having a “get to know you” lunch with Howard’s mom at a local deli. Things seem to be going okay with the lunch, surprisingly enough. Later at home, Howard wants to know what his mom thought of Bernadette. Howard is so anxious to know this information that he asks his mom about Bernadette by yelling through the bathroom door while his mother is using the toilet. Well, it’s really more like the producers had to keep up the “we hear Howard’s mom but never see her” gag. Howard’s mom seems okay with Bernadette until Howard says they’re getting married. Howard just hears silence, then a loud thud. Worried for his mother, Howard tries to break down the door, and of course he fails miserably, bouncing off the door and injuring his arm in the process.

Sheldon and Penny are talking in the laundry room, which as the characters themselves, well Penny at least, even mentioned, was something that’s been kind of missed for a while with Penny needing to steer clear of Leonard. Penny even gets nostalgic about Sheldon’s endless “jibber jabber” about things she doesn’t understand. Anyway, the conversation is interrupted by Leonard, who lets them know that Howard and his mom are in the hospital. Penny is ready to go to the hospital immediately. Sheldon, on the other hand, needs more coaxing because of the germs, of course. Penny eventually convinces Sheldon to go to the hospital, too, but he’s not really happy about it. At the hospital, an embarrassed Howard is forced to tell Bernadette that his mom may have had a heart attack, and it happened right after he told her about the engagement. To make matters worse, a doctor arrives in the waiting room to let Howard know that his mother is conscious and asking to speak to Bernadette. Feeling horribly guilty that she may have almost killed Howard’s mother, Bernadette agrees to the meeting. When she gets back, she is very angry at Howard. Howard’s mother likes her after all- she thinks she may have just come down with some food poisoning from their deli lunch. Bernadette leaves the hospital, doing her best screaming impression of Howard’s mom.

The rest of the gang had their own adventures while at the hospital. Penny and Priya both want decent coffee, and they actually decide to go to the hospital cafeteria together to get some. Why they thought a hospital cafeteria would have decent coffee, I’m not quite sure. Raj warns Leonard that no good can come of his girlfriend and his ex getting too chummy, because Penny will share stories about Leonard. And those stories could include reasons Penny broke up with him. Raj’s warning does at least sort of come true. Penny and Priya are getting along a lot better after their coffee run, actually joking around with each other. It’s a very typical TV plot, but it was mildly amusing. Meanwhile, Sheldon wants somebody to drive him home so he can use a toilet, but everyone refuses, so horror of horrors, he has to go find the germ-ridden hospital public toilet. He makes a big show of not touching doors, only crossing through doorways behind another person. On his way back to the waiting room, he ducks into a room to avoid a coughing man on a stretcher, only to find himself in a biohazard quarantine room. Doctors in biohazard suits tell him that he now can’t leave the room, because he’s been “exposed.” Served Sheldon right, really, so I found that bit amusing. I even kind of liked the episode’s tag where the rest of the guys, all in biohazard suits, are playing Mystic Warlords of Ka’a with Sheldon in his hospital room.

No comments:

Post a Comment