The Big Bang Theory – Episode 2-13 Review

“The Friendship Algorithm” has the guys sitting around the lunch table discussing Barry Kripke. Howard thinks he’s an enormous knob since he doesn’t eat at the cool kids table with them. Raj throws in a “for shizzzle.” Sheldon points out that Kripke controls a computer that he needs to use. Leonard mentions that Kripke only lets his friends get time on the system. Sheldon decides he must befriend him. Kripke has no desire to be friends. Sheldon points out that Kripke shouldn’t turn down the offer since he obviously has no real friends. Kripke is not impressed.

The act of liking someone in order to get access is so true in the world of geekdom. Access is the primary motivation to networking in technology. I had a pal who worked at the computer lab in college. This was a time when poor college students couldn’t afford PCs. Around term paper time, that room had a line around the block. That guy used to get so many “friendship” bribes in order to get special treatment. One of which he wrote up and sent to the Penthouse Forum. You might remember it starting “I’m a student at a large Southern university who used to think the letters to the forum weren’t real until it happened to me.” He was given the credit of “Name and Address withheld.”

Leonard helps Penny set up her computer so all the emails from Howard will go in her spam folder. She discovers the pictures of Howard on vacation didn’t include a bathing suit. That was a tan line. Sheldon calls Kripke to let him know that they can still be friends. Penny asks Leonard how he became friends with Sheldon. It involved a roommate wanted flier that didn’t want a whistler.

While at art school, I put up a “roommate wanted” flier that included the line: “No Hootie and the Blowfish fans.” I ended up living alone. And loving it.

Sheldon bangs on Penny’s door. He has created a questionnaire to determine why his friends like him. He has 211 questions that he has listed at a high school reading level for the sake of Penny. She suggests he could get more friends by being pleasant. He recommends that be the topic of her essay question.

Sheldon is upset that Leonard didn’t take the questionnaire seriously. Howard drew a naughty animal on his test. Leonard points out that Sheldon needs to take an interest in what other people care about. Sheldon thinks that’s nonsense. He wants to go to the mall so he can buy a book about making friends.

The only books about making friends are in the kid section. He skims the titles and sits on the little table to check out a book about a new cockatoo in the zoo. He strikes up a conversation with a small girl who also hates birds and likes monkeys. He wants the little girl as his new friend. He suggest they go to the zoo together. Leonard grabs his friend before he becomes a suspected child molester.

Is this how Michael Jackson operates? One should never chat with little kids without their parents being right next to them. No matter how nice you are, you’ll end up on America’s Most Wanted.

The gang arrives at the apartment. Sheldon has filled the white board with what he declares is the algorithm to make friends. He used the cockatoo book as the basis of the formula. He calls Kripke and tries out his new routine. Kripke ain’t buying the new Sheldon. He’s trapped in a loop on his formula. Howard figures out how to end this problem with a loop counter. Sheldon agrees to join his new pal in an afternoon of rock climbing. Now he has to find an internet site to learn how to do it.

This goes up with trying to read a book on how to pick up girls. It never completely works. There are so many reasons why you end up with your friends. Seems that most of the time it’s a strange feeling that you and the other person aren’t like the rest of the folks in the room. It’s a conspiracy.

Sheldon is fearful of the wall, but disguises this fear with his sense of logic. He makes great headway until it’s pointed up that he’s halfway to the top. He looks down and gets nailed with a fear of heights. He ends up passing out and getting caught by the safety line. He does a reverse Tom Cruise from Mission: Impossible.

Looking down is never a good idea on the rock wall. You might think that it shouldn’t matter when you’re on a safety harness, but accidents do happen. A guy like Sheldon has memorized the odds of going splat while hooked in a harness. It’s easy to see him pass out from fear when faced with a minor chance of fatality.

Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny have dinner in the apartment. They whistle “Sweet Georgia Brown.” Sheldon and Kripke enter the room. Sheldon announces that keeping five friendships going is to much. He must eliminate a friend. Howard begs that it can be him. But nope. Penny thinks she’ll be the lucky one. But no luck for her. Raj is the odd man out because of his questionnaire answers. Kripke starts flirting with Penny. He gives her a new name that fits her: Roxanne. Howard asks Penny if he looks so bad now. Now with his new circle of friends set, Sheldon asks Kripke about getting time on the computer. He says no. Even though they are now friends, Kripke has no control over the schedule. Sheldon ends their friendship and bring back Raj. Turns out Raj likes monkeys.

The epilogue opens with the gang in the rock wall room. They stare upward. They are amazed how close he came to the top. Sheldon once more dangles from the safety rope.

The sad thought is that most of us who get tangled with a new friend in the hopes of getting access can’t cut off the schmuck as fast as Sheldon. This step is what keeps this episode of The Big Bang Theory from turning into The Cosby Show. Nobody explains to Sheldon that you can’t do this to a pal. While it is wrong to be friends with someone to get something; it’s even worse to hang onto them when they drive you nuts. The key to having a new friend is making sure they are someone you want to be friendly around.

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