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The Big Bang Theory – Episode 2-18 Review | Inside Pulse

The Big Bang Theory – Episode 2-18 Review

“The Work Song Nanocluster” sounds like a Soviet-style science theory. Or maybe something that North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il would declare as the latest way to improve productivity in the flag waving industry. Or maybe it’s the latest U2 single. At least this title suggests a peppier beat than that boots song Bono thought was a hit.

Raj is playing chess with Howard watching. He makes his move and wonders what Leonard will do. Shall he give the pawn or the position. Turns out Leonard is on the other side of the room. He’s using an aersol to expose laser beams cutting around the kitchen. He’s like a goofy version of Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment. Leonard gets snagged on a beam. Howard is disappointed that he’s pal can’t hack Secret Agent Obstacle chess. Sheldon comes out of his bathroom. He forfeits his turns since it’s almost 11 a.m. which means Penny’s “knock on my door before 11 o’clock and I punch you on the throat rule.” Howard wants to lure girls over to play Strip Secret Agent Obstacle chess. Leonard isn’t sure they’d want to see naked the girls who’d agree to this. Howard doesn’t care. He’s a man with a dream and a low standards.

Sheldon knocks on Penny’s door and covers his throat. She opens and is happy to get her package left by UPS. Sheldon wants her to sign a note saying she agreed to take the box from him. She doesn’t care about paperwork. It’s a box of rhinestones. She’s making flower barrettes called Penny Blossoms. She dreams of being able to do it full time and quit working at the Cheesecake Factory. Sheldon flips out with the fear of who will bring him his cheeseburger. After he recovers from this, he does the math to explain what it will take to make it a viable business. “Penny, I’m a physicist. I have a working knowledge of the entire universe and all that it contains.” “Who’s Radiohead?” she asks. “I have a working knowledge of the important things in the universe,” he replies. He turns to leave, but she begs him to help her. He will.

This episode marks a major change since they decided to not just stick with the prologue before the credits and the first commercial break. Guess they realized it’s not good to give the audience a minute worth of show before they get the instinct to clip around the cable universe. Finally someone got smart in programming. It’s March Madness hype during the break. Have you filled out your brackets?

Penny makes a Penny Blossom while Sheldon times her. She moves so slow that children in an Indonesian soccer ball factory will out earn her. He gives her a brief history of the assembly line. It’s almost like Mr. Whoopie on Tennesse Tuxedo if passed through Tony Randall’s Felix Unger on The Odd Couple. He mentions that this stuff isn’t discussed on that Radiohead.

Howard, Raj and Leonard are ready to head out to a movie. Howard’s got a muscle strain from capturing a pawn. In the lobby, they’re freaked out by hearing Sheldon and Penny singing a Sea Shanty song. They are doing it to help improve their output rate. The guys come up with ways to speed up the process. Penny’s glitter is clumping from the moisture. Howard has seen this before on strippers. Penny doesn’t want to hear about it. But he does have a solution. Sheldon gives orders to the guys including having Leonard set up the website to sell them. The guys head out to make things work. Penny decides as the boss she’s going to take a nap.

This seems to be Penny’s episode without it turning into a story about Penny dating a macho dork. It’s nice they want us to see Penny being crafty and productive. The guys seem naturally excited to chip in on her semi-Junior Achievement project. For once they can help her without getting their pants ripped off.

The guys aren’t impressed by Leonard’s website design. Penny thinks it looks like the Myspace page of a juvenille girl. Howard declares Dateline could use it to attract predators. Sheldon wants her to fire him. But before anything could be reached, the first online order arrives. The woman wants to use the Penny Blossoms to hide her bald spots. The guys ponder marketing them to men to hide their bald spots. The key will be introducing Blue Tooth to them. Like bacon, everything is better with Blue Tooth. The next order is for 1,000 of them. It’s for an alternate style luau in New Jersey. Penny’s happy until she notices it’s a one day rush order. Leonard was just matching Amazon’s shipping plans. Penny doesn’t think they can pull it off. Sheldon gives a pep talk about how Davy Crockett didn’t quit at the Almo. Howard reminds them that Davy was slaughtered by a bazillion mexicans.

The guys are now cranking out the order while Sheldon and Penny sing about coming around the mountain. Should we read something into that musical choice? Raj isn’t happy about doing this. If he’d wanted to crank out cheap crap he’d be back in India. Howard reminds him that he’s from a rich family with servants. Sheldon reminds them to shut up and get to work. He’s the boss man at the Geek factory.

Sheldon can’t stay up so Penny offers him up coffee. It’s the demon drug! The man can not shut up while juiced on java. It’s so wrong. Against all odds, they finish the order. Penny offers to pay the guys 20 cents for every dollar she gets. That’s her profit margin. She retracts the order. When Leonard goes to print out the shipping forms, he sees the folks in New Jersey want another 1,000 blossoms. They want it overnighted. The guys can’t do it. They’re beat and almost have lives. Into this sluggish room zips Sheldon dressed in a Flash costume. He wants more coffee. The pot is empty. He races down to the grocery store making a zippy sound. He’s a java junky!

This moment is so real. I went to school with a geek who didn’t take anything. When he got hooked on the coffeehouse scene, we could not shut him up. It was worse than if he’d taken LSD. At least there we could make freaky hand motions to trip him out. But with coffee, we could only absorb the punishment.

The final scene has Raj working his way through the lasers in the kitchen. He gets through and claims his prize – a slice of pizza. Leonard thinks it’s a stupid way to eat lunch. Just not as cool as Chess fun.

Although for us dumb guys, I’d rather have a slice of Pizza Transit Authority sausage and mushroom waiting for me at the end of a deadly laser trap than a stinking Chess move. As Big Bang Theory episodes go, this one really is an anomaly. This has to be the longest the four guys have been around Penny without even Howard putting his moves on her. She was just their little craft pal. This was almost like the nice episode that the producers made to show their moms. Sheldon’s character really did come off as the love child of Felix of The Odd Couple and a TRS-80.

Good news for fans of the show, CBS has ordered 2 more seasons of 22 episodes each.