Season Analysis: The Big Bang Theory has always had a weakness for cheap gender and racial gags and overly broad zingers amidst its otherwise keenly observed and performed version of the geek experience; this season, the cheap gags overwhelmed the whole show and produced its worst season thus far.  Until a string of fine episodes to finish off the year, I was worried that TBBT had become completely the worst possible version of itself that its critics think it always is.

“The Launch Acceleration”

Who are the two best characters on The Big Bang Theory?  If you answered anyone besides Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah-Fowler, then you are a fool.  Moreover, obviously, their “romantic” relationship is the most fascinating coupling on the show.  Sheldon professes to be immune to the charms of romantic entanglements and his actions usually make that appear to be the case, but, as a neurobiologist, Amy may have the insight for breaking down that immunity.  Accordingly, she taps into the pleasures of Sheldon’s childhood to insidiously prompt an attachment – utilizing the Super Mario Bros. them as background music, serving spaghetti with little hot dogs cut up along with Strawberry Quik, and playing doctor Star Trek-style.  Sheldon recognizes what she is doing, and he does not like it, except for the fact that he likes it very much.  It is this sort of bizarre understanding of social constructs from socially abnormal individuals that The Big Bang Theory has generally excelled at.  Also in this episode, Leonard and Penny’s relationship – while not at its most dramatic or its most entertaining ever – zips along nicely, and that is the least that we ask of it.