By Josh Axelrod
This week’s “Big Bang Theory” featured two funny yet troubling plotlines. I was really hoping that the guys having to help run Stuart’s comic book store would be a season-long plotline, but instead it just led to some cheap (albeit quite funny) relationship and financial jokes. I’m not surprised Penny is buried under mountains of credit card debt, and I hope that off-hand admission comes back to haunt her and Leonard at some point this season.
Of course, that wasn’t even the episode’s main conflict. Emily (Laura Spencer), Raj’s insanely hot girlfriend, finally met the gang this week. Weirdly enough, the only one being awkward around her was Penny. I thought this was going to devolve into one of those “pretty girls always hate each other” storylines, but instead it went in a much more entertaining direction.
Remember the Season 4 finale, where naked Penny woke up in bed with naked Raj? Well, because Raj is an idiot and likes to brag about his “hook-ups” (and to call what Penny and Raj did a hook-up is a stretch), he told Emily about that night. So understandably, Emily is a little uncomfortable around the beautiful woman who once did…something with her boyfriend and is still in his life.
Of course, Penny is engaged to Leonard and she would prefer to never think about that night with Raj ever again. That scene with her, Emily and Raj in Penny’s apartment was great only because it might be the only time in this show’s history where two women were (kind of) fighting over Raj. And Raj was clearly enjoying it, almost to the point where he was about to seriously get on Emily’s nerves.
The resolution to this plotline, where Emily and Penny admitted they still didn’t like each other under their breaths, was too catty for two grown women trying to resolve an inherently dumb conflict. I hope this doesn’t get brought up again, because this is now two out of four episodes where the girls have been wrapped up in an issue more suited to 15-year-olds (i.e. Penny and Bernadette’s mini feud, though they settled that like adults). “Big Bang Theory,” please let these strong, intelligent woman act their age.
But like I said, that wasn’t the most amusing storyline this week. The guys making plans to invest in Stuart’s shop was hilarious. First and foremost, Leonard’s description of Sheldon as an “80-year-old man in a 15-year-old’s T-Shirt” deserves to be inducted into some “Big Bang” quotes hall of fame. That riff about picking up children in a van, which only Leonard seemed to understand was creepy as hell, was also amazing. I thought Howard would get it too, but the fact he played along with Sheldon and Raj’s idea somehow made it even funnier.
The scenes where the boys asked their significant others about investing in the shop played out exactly the way they should have. Penny didn’t care, Bernadette wouldn’t budge and Amy begrudgingly agreed with Sheldon. Of course, it turned out none of this mattered because Stuart had the funds to reopen his shop thanks to Howard’s mom. That relationship is deliciously weird, and Howard’s increasing discomfort with that situation will probably provide a season’s worth of comedy.
Overall, a solid episode that was weighed down a little by a storyline that shouldn’t have ended so quickly and another one that concluded in the least mature way possible. The boys are all man-children, but the girls are supposed to be adults. Heck, Penny even has a real job now. Hopefully they act more like women and less like girls going forward.