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The Big Bang Theory “The Tangible Affection Proof” 

Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.

I had big hopes that Big Bang would give the lonely hearts, skeptics and romantics something to cheer for on Valentine’s Day. But, something was off.  The show has been on a roll lately with nerd-centric humor and character surprises. This episode was a stumble that will hopefully be righted next week.

Whenever a Big Bang episode is off, I notice the laugh track. It drives me nuts. Each burst of false laughter is almost the exact same duration and tone. Except a “big joke” gets a slightly louder burst. I don’t know why a show with such a devoted fan base and typically witty jokes needs a laugh track. When jokes fall flat, the false laughter draws more attention to the misstep. It’s like the laughter is trying to tell you, “This is hysterical!  Why aren’t you laughing? Don’t you know this is funny?”

Disappointments aside, there were a couple of moments that were still worth watching

Never trust a bank or a wallet.  Sheldon tasks his assistant with buying a Valentine’s gift for Amy Farah Fowler. He opens his desk drawer and empties his pockets, then tells her it’s about $2,000. Not too shabby.  Though, of course, Sheldon completely misses the point of doing something for someone else. We know he is capable of giving thoughtful gifts – such as the mountain of gift baskets he once gave Penny and the time he gave Howard his “spot” on the couch. It was pretty bad when he decided to keep for himself the autographed brain drawing intended for Amy. Sheldon is such a stickler for decorum, so this almost seemed out of character.

Overshare or fun fact?  Sheldon recaps his adventures after a meal of spicy food and explains, “The rectum does possess a sense of taste.” There’s not really much more that needs to be said on this one.

Raj may finally get a girlfriend.  After delivering a speech to his nerdy comic book brethren about not being lonely on Valentine’s Day, Raj is approached by an awkward, geeky woman. Is this Raj’s new love interest? She appears extremely socially awkward. The group of women already has Amy to fill that role, so it will be interesting to see how she’s incorporated if she sticks around. The show did such a wonderful job integrating Bernadette and Amy that I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that it can be done smoothly.

Penny needs to get over it. We get it. Penny is commitment phobic. She has been dating Leonard for a long time and has been friends with him even longer. She needs to start to move past her insecurities. We were doing so well given her recent confession of love to Leonard (and using the “L” word when talking about Leonard to Sheldon). Her sabotaging Valentine’s Day was selfish and a giant leap backwards. Leonard deserves to be treated better, so Penny needs to make up for her bad behavior.

Emergency contact. The saving grace of the episode was the scene between Amy and Sheldon when she canceled their plans in order to do what Sheldon wanted to do. This should have been enough for him to cough up the brain picture. He did one better, though. Sheldon showed Amy that she is now listed as his emergency contact at work. Amy’s eyes welled up and she gripped Sheldon in a emotional hug. Mayim Bialik really deserves a lot of credit for making Amy such a likable character, and she makes it believable that Amy could care about someone like Sheldon.

The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS.

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