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20 January 2010 @ 12:05 am
TBBT - The Bozeman Reaction  
I generally throw my first-viewing thoughts in the episode thread over at sheldon_penny, and then do a rewatch and and analytical review of the episode and Sheldon/Penny moments for the episode breakdowns. I'm trying to start putting those thoughts here in my lj as well. So here goes.

It was amusing and once again showed how much Penny cares about Sheldon. In fact, we also saw signs that Howard and Raj care about Sheldon. Except for the one part of that one scene (you all know), it was a good episode. I laughed out loud more than a few times. And prior to reports that made it sound like it was torture Sheldon, I thought it showed an adorable side to him and how most of his friends do truly care about him. I think the reaction WAS supposed to be how we reacted which was with, yes, some laughter, but in an 'awwww, poor Sheldon' sort of way. Plus, JP was pretty much in almost every single scene, woohoo. And yeah, tons of nuggets. Lots of good shippery S/P in this ep. YAY!

Upon my second viewing, I was a little harsher, but overall, still did enjoy it. This was a quietly amusing episode that would have been improved greatly with two changes: 1) A more realistic reaction from all of the participants regarding Sheldon's reaction to the robbery and 2) good Lord, writers, STOP writing Leonard as the "funny" straight man who doesn't appear to care about his friends. With that said, unlike most, I did enjoy this episode overall. There were plenty of one-liners that garnered chuckles, and a few outright laughs. Jim Parsons was front and center, literally winding up in every scene, appearing in the entirety of the episode but for less than a minute's worth of screentime. And, as usual, he was hilarious with some added nuance projecting Sheldon's post-robbery concern. The writers just needed to add a bit more emotion and resonance to his story. However, we did get some lovely moments of emotion and resonance from Penny towards Sheldon (and to a lesser degree, from Howard) and that was definitely something. All in all, not one of their worst, but not one of their best either.

As for Sheldon and Penny, lots of love from me (and the writers Steven Molaro).

What was lovely about "The Bozeman Reaction" (and I don't think I'm out of line in thanking writer Steven Molaro for this) was the many scattered nuggets of Sheldon/Penny shippery lain throughout the episode. Still, there was not much depth, as this was very much a surface episode (sadly, yes, to its detriment), so I'm just going to lay them out.

1.) After Sheldon informed Penny that she should ask who's at her door (which showed a lovely bit of concern on Sheldon's part for Penny), she didn't mock him despite the fact that his particular brand of knocking, not to mention his voice, would give away that information. Furthermore, when he knocked a few seconds later, Penny paused before opening and did ask who it was. Yes, it was obvious that she was just humoring him, but she wasn't doing it in a teasing way, but rather understanding his feelings on the matter, respecting them and following through to ease his mind. It was very sweet. (Unlike Leonard later, who *was* just teasing, no sweetness involved.)

2.) Even though she just got done with a dinner shift, and was clearly tired, Penny stayed up fairly late (past three in the morning) to help and keep Sheldon's fears at bay. Something that his "best friend" couldn't be bothered to do. Of course not.

3.) Heh, callback to "The Vegas Renormalization." Despite it making no sense, when out of guesses, Penny went for Star Wars while playing a game with Sheldon. Awww. (And, yes, I'm taking this as proof that Molaro had a hand in crafting the S/P shippery moments of awesome.)

4.) It can definitely be taken other ways, but I'm choosing to take both Penny and Sheldon's not wanting her carnal relationship with Leonard highlighted as an undercurrent of connectivity between the two. Yes, yes, I am aware that I'm reaching, but I do not care.

5.) Aww, when Sheldon was electrocuted, Penny was so quick and sincere in her "are you okay?" Hey, it's a nugget!

6.) I know that it was not meant to be taken sexually (or was it?), but there was definitely a moment of 'things that make you hmm...' when Howard explained that it would be better if one were to imagine Penny spasming uncontrollably under the net. So yeah, not meant to be read in an R-rated way at all, but still, Sheldon thought out and then responded positively to that image. And, dangit, I choose to take it such.

7.) Penny lobbed a few Sheldon's way (the "mothership" comment), but Sheldon lobbed 'em back (and worse) with his crossing off the entire state of Nebraska. They just like getting under each other's skin, hah!

8.) A small thing and may not mean anything, but Sheldon once again took the time to bring up Leonard's shortness and lactose-intolerance during some meant-to-be Leonard/Penny time. Likely doesn't mean much, but it certainly does help build up that foundation, doesn't it?

9.) The best part was Penny's genuine sadness (clear in both expression and vocal intonation) when she told Sheldon she was going to miss him. Aww, she just sounded so sincerely upset about his departure. See? She does love him! And then after they watched the video, Penny immediately turned to talk to Sheldon, and based on body language, and word choice ("Sheldon, that's so--"), I don't think it's a stretch to say that Penny was going to go for that prolonged goodbye with a maudlin display of emotion after all. Awww.

10.) Yay! (And, of course!) Sheldon considers Penny one of his three closest friends.

In addition to all of this overt Sheldon/Penny stuff, we also had the further humanization of Sheldon here. I don't believe the purpose of the episode was to laugh *at* Sheldon, but rather to laugh at the situation as he spun into over-reaction by the end, but more importantly, to feel for him even as we were laughing. This felt very much like an "aww, Sheldon!" episode, where many moments were designed to illicit that response to him. Also, as loathe as we are to see them as such, I believe that Sheldon seeing Leonard and Penny intimately, followed quickly by both Penny and Sheldon not wanting to acknowledge it was yet another small nudge in the 'awakening Sheldon to sexuality' department. I truly believe that he is in stage of sexual development that was arrested in his pre-teens when he went to college, and bit by bit we're beginning to see his introduction this season. And that, for Sheldon/Penny shippers, is a good thing ... especially when so much of it revolves around Penny.

Finally, I just want to say that while I remain convinced that the show will go the Sheldon/Penny route somewhere down the line (season five or further with baby steps continuing to develop their relationship), I never forget that Sheldon and Penny are categorically *not* canon. Leonard and Penny are, and yet, despite that, we witness very little that identifies them as a loving couple and very little intimacy between them (the three episodes with Leonard and Dr. Stephanie featured those two much more so in both departments in just those three episodes as opposed to the thirteen we've already had of Leonard and Penny). Meanwhile, our non-canon couple continues to get moments (both big and small) highlighting their growing love and affection for one another. No wonder I have such confident hope in the future for this ship.
 
 
 
sorryno: cute face s/psorryno on January 20th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Nice analysis!

I agree on ALL points.

And re: #6 -- my mind so went there, too! :)
Arabian: Jim & Kaley - Heartsarabian on January 20th, 2010 07:39 am (UTC)
Honestly, how could we not? There's no way they (Molaro) aren't aware that they're getting our minds down that path, LOL!
Brandy: tbbt: s/p level three warriorbrandyleigh on January 20th, 2010 09:38 am (UTC)
Totally agree with you here, as usual. I enjoyed the episode quite a bit - I've yet to read the reactions over at sheldon_penny because I had to wait and download the episode after it aired and I didn't want to be spoiled, but I liked it. Sheldon was ADORABLE, and I felt awful for him because he was so scared after the robbery, but he was just so cute.

It can definitely be taken other ways, but I'm choosing to take both Penny and Sheldon's not wanting her carnal relationship with Leonard highlighted as an undercurrent of connectivity between the two.
My mind went there, too! Really, why should Penny care if Sheldon knows that she was getting ready to have sex with Leonard? Except apparently, she does care.

And I loved how genuinely sad she sounded at the thought of Sheldon leaving for good.

I truly believe that he is in stage of sexual development that was arrested in his pre-teens when he went to college,
I definitely believe this is what is happening, too. He was much younger than everyone else in high school/college, so he wouldn't have had the opportunity to develop sexual feelings for any of his peers when he was growing up.

The writers can't possibly want us to root for Penny and Leonard now. At one point, I think they did, but as you said, they wrote more love and intimacy between Dr. Stephanie and Leonard so if they truly wanted people to be on board with Penny and Leonard, they wouldn't write them the way that they have.
Arabian: Sheldon & Penny - Duckarabian on January 20th, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
Fair warning, most did NOT like the episode at Paradox and actually had quite a ball ripping the episodes/writers to shreds for various reasons. It did have issues, but well, you read my post, LOL!

The writers can't possibly want us to root for Penny and Leonard now. At one point, I think they did, but as you said, they wrote more love and intimacy between Dr. Stephanie and Leonard so if they truly wanted people to be on board with Penny and Leonard, they wouldn't write them the way that they have.

Especially when you compare how badly L/P are being written with how beautifully Howard and Bernadette are being written. It's deliberate.