There is a time when two main characters in a sit-com hook up. Sometimes it elevates the series and other times it drags the show down. The deflation of removing the romantic impediment happened on Cheers when Sam and Diane got it on and when Sam later got it going with Rebecca. The comic dynamics change tremendously when the main characters are sexually satisfied. The storylines devolve into arguments about China patterns. Big Bang Theory is about to venture into that territory. Can beauty and the geek survive an open love affair?
At the end of the first season episode “The Tangerine Factor,” uber-nerd Leonard (Johnny Galecki) finally talks Penny (Kaley Cuoco) into going on a real date. The two are nervous about going beyond the neighbor boundary. Smartly before they go out, Leonard plays a gambit.He kisses her at the start of the date instead of waiting till the end. Lesser folks see this as foolish, but this is extremely smart since he’ll know right off the bat if she’s into him. If she responds positively, all will be great. If she’s unresponsive or calls the cops, he won’t have to worry about paying for an expensive dinner only to get the “let’s be friends” talk in front of her door.
The new episode, “The Bad Fish Paradigm,” has Leonard and Penny return from their date. As they walk up the staircase, Leonard explains the truth about frozen yogurt. They kiss good night next to the defunct elevator. The security camera above the door comes alive and zooms in on Penny’s top. Leonard uses math to determine the second date. Penny says they should just wing it. No plans are made.
Leonard enters his apartment to discover Howard and Rajnesh were spying on him with the security camera. Sheldon acts bored by the whole date business. Howard and Rajnesh think that Leonard crashed and burned since he didn’t already have a second date. Howard and Sheldon go to the video to determine Penny’s reaction to Leonard’s goodnight kiss. Leonard gets flustered at all the Monday morning quarterbacks judging his dating life.
“It was a lot more fun when he had no hope,” Raj says.
“Give him time,” Howard promises.
Commercial break. I’m already sick of the “I’m a PC” campaign from Microsoft. Contrary to what Deepak Chopra says, I’m a Human Doing!
Second act starts in the laundry room. Sheldon is using one of those t-shirt folding boards from The Gap. Penny arrives with her dirty clothes. Leonard tells her to breakdown her laundry for proper cleaning. She dumps it all in one laundry. Penny asks if Leonard ever dated a normal girl. Sheldon mentions a
“You think if Leonard and I keep dating, he’ll eventually get bored of me?” she asks. Sheldon is shocked.
Sheldon asks if she has a working knowledge of quantum physics or speak Klingon. She confesses that during dinner, she lied to Leonard about graduating from community college. Sheldon gets extra nervous when Penny wants him to keep their talk a secret especially the community college part. He hadn’t agreed to keeping a secret from his roommate.
While walking up the stairs, Sheldon tells Leonard that given enough start up capital and materials, he could be Batman. They run into Penny. She’s heading out to her waitress job. Penny plays coy when Leonard asks if she’s free any time soon. She claims her work schedule has her nights booked up. When Leonard asks Sheldon about Penny, the guy goes nuts keeping his secret.
Sheldon flees to Penny’s restaurant to beg to be let out of his secret place. He spills the beans on a top secret project to prove he can’t keep a secret. She tells Sheldon to come up with a way to keep their secret. Sheldon returns to the apartment to announce that he’s moving out.
Commercial break. Emeril is pimping Crest tasty toothpaste. He keeps saying Bam! They want a new catch phrase and have a contest. Here’s my choice, “It Burns!!!! My Gummms!!!! The Blooodddd!!” What are my chances of getting the Don Draper award for that gem? Doogie Howser is pushing How I Met Your Mother. I want to party with Doogie. They broke up the NCIS team? Why am I the last to know?
Leonard doesn’t believe Sheldon doesn’t have a reason to move out of the apartment. Sheldon tries to us high level logic to escape giving a real answer. Howard and Raj return from the Bodies show. Howard got excited seeing women without their skin. Raj and Howard are shocked that their pal wants to move. They blame Leonard for this unexpected departure. “Did you make fun of trains?” Howard said. Sheldon is ready to leave with his pre-packed disaster bag. Sheldon declares he’s going to stay with friends. Howard immediately bolts from the room. Sheldon claims Raj has to take him in as part of his religious upbringing. Raj accepts his fate. Leonard seems happy to have his own place.
At Raj’s apartment, Sheldon is nervous since the building is an old watch factory. There’s a chance of the radium in the materials. The two begin to argue over Indian cinema. Sheldon claims to be the authority.
Door bell rings in the middle of the night. A barely awake Howard wanders into the room. “Stripper-gram” the voice on the other side of the door says. Howard opens the door. Raj demands it’s Howard’s turn to take Sheldon.
Howard’s mom isn’t happy with her son’s sleepover guest. Sheldon gets upset at being stuck on the air mattress. Howard swaps with him to get Sheldon to shut up. Sheldon goes weird ranking the actresses that played the Catwoman.
Leonard opens his apartment door. Howard shoves Sheldon through the door. “Tag, you’re it!” Turns out Howard has doped up Sheldon in order to shut him up using mom’s old meds. The messed up Sheldon begins to blab about Penny’s secret. After a little coaxing, Sheldon confesses Penny’s secret. Leonard is taken back her fear.
Commercial. Hybrid caddie SUVs are so boss. I’m creeped out by the girl missing the back of her head and having the X-Box 360 Rock Band inside her.
Leonard shows up at Penny’s door. He admits he knows Penny’s secret and he has a simple solution. He has a pamphlet for Pasadena City College. She gets upset because he won’t date a girl without a fancy degree. She asks if he’d date a girl who wasn’t smart. His answer isn’t quite romantic and diplomatic. The door gets slammed in his face.
For the kickoff episode, “The Bad Fish Paradigm” keeps up the romantic tension without having the characters price China. Sheldon is still the most amazing geek character on TV. The guy is Cliff Clavin 2.0. Penny’s fear of not being smart enough for Leonard plays real. At least we know episode two won’t involve them registering for wedding gifts at Target.
Joe Corey has worked as local crew on numerous reality shows including Candid Camera, Rescue 911, Battle for Ozzfest and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He mostly recently worked as Associate Producer on the documentary Moving Midway that should be coming to TV this Spring.
Sir Linksalot: Television News
Tags: The Big Bang Theory