The Big Bang Theory – Episode 2-5 Review

“The Euclid Alternative” opens with Leonard walking into the apartment and collapsing on the sofa. Sheldon is already up and ready to return his Star Wars sheets to Pottery Barn before they get to work. Leonard says he’s not going to work. He’s working on equipment that’s only available overnight. And he’ll be on that schedule for a few weeks. Sheldon is shocked cause he relies on Leonard to drive him to work. He’s forced to beg Penny for a ride since he can no longer take the bus. Penny refuses. Sheldon invokes the covenant of friendship: the favor.

I’m expecting big time humor out of this weirdness. It is strange to find someone in Los Angeles that can’t drive. New York City is full of non-drivers because of the subway and bus. But Los Angeles? That town is covered in cars filled with insane people behind the wheel. It’s as bad as Boston. I can’t imagine Sheldon driving or being driven as a safe experience.

Penny is behind the wheel. She tells Sheldon that it’s her day off. Sheldon thinks it’s good that she has a free day to drive him. Her “check engine” light is on. He goes nuts wondering why she hasn’t fixed it. She wants to change the subject. He suggests a brain game. He gives an element and she’s supposed to mention an element that starts with the last letter of the previous element. She wants quiet time. He can’t give it to her. She tells him to get out of the car. He thinks he’s supposed to check the engine for her. She drives away.

Sheldon finds Leonard in the break room with Howard. He demands a ride home. But Sheldon has to stay all night to work on his project. Howard won’t agree with Leonard on the carpooling issue. “Just for the fun of it, I’m going to take his side,” Howard says. But the plan backfires when Sheldon ends up on the back of Howard’s moped. They scream. Raj is now stuck driving Sheldon home. Sheldon doesn’t want to come since it’s new comic book day and five other stops. Raj can’t deal with it. Sheldon is back at Penny’s door begging for a drive to Pottery Barn. The gang stages an intervention to get Sheldon to get his driver’s license. He reluctantly agrees.

How else can you let a guy so weirdly focused on the road? He’s too anal to merge properly. You can never go wrong with an intervention joke. We once tried to stage an intervention for a pal who was addicted to Bojangles Iced Tea. That stuff is potent. We realized it was cheaper for him to keep buying the stuff than pay for a rehab program. Jim Parsons does have an amazing face when he thinks he can get Penny to give him a ride even when he got kicked out of her car. The guy sells the oblivious in his eyes.

Sheldon is now at the DMV with Penny and Howard pushing him forward. He explains to them what he was doing when he was 16 that prevented him from getting his license then. His answer is more complicated than mine. When he gets the test, he’s concerned about the question. The woman at the DMV doesn’t give a damn. Sheldon keeps arguing about car lengths and slick roads. He frazzles the woman to the point that she gives him a learner’s permit without taking the test.

The gang sticks Sheldon in a computer simulator to learn how to drive. Nobody wants to risk their vehicles. They argue about the color of his cyber car or if it can be the Batmobile. Sheldon asks if there are airbags. Penny offers to hit him in the face with a pillow. Sheldon’s first trip in the car ends in twisted metal. Penny lives up to her promise. Late at night, he still can’t drive it straight. His cyber car is on the second floor of a mall and smashing into a pet store. He walks away from the mess. He realizes that he’s evolved beyond driving with his toes and other body parts. Leonard begs him to learn how to drive and not give up or evolve into something with wings.

Raj, Howard and Leonard discover Sheldon is living in the office to avoid the commuting issue. He scampers off to the radiation lab to shower down. The guys ask Leonard why Sheldon is there when he’s done with his late night project.

There is a weird satisfaction in faking your weird roommate out of the apartment with them still paying the rent. Sometimes you just don’t want to smell them. Or see their dishes in the sink. Or worry about them asking you a dumb favor. The show played this ending right.

The epilogue has the Spanish speaking cleaners freaked out at the mysterious late night dining in the break room. The sandwich crust is perfectly arranged on the plate. Then the catch a glimpse of Sheldon in a hoodie while he gets a soda from the machine. “You saw nothing!” he declares to the fighting women.

What a great kicker to the episode. It seemed that this season was going to explore Leonard and Penny. But it’s become the Sheldon Show which is pretty good. This isn’t nearly as painful as when Fonzie took over Happy Days. Maybe at some point Leonard will move back into the lead position, but his character is lacking the umph.

It’s a rerun next week with “The Pork Chop Indeterminacy.” Sheldon’s twin sister visits and all the guy want to hook up with her.

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.

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