Arabian (arabian) wrote,

'The Big Bang Theory' -- Top Ten Favorite Episodes, Part II

Since I watched all current forty episodes of The Big Bang Theory in such analytical detail, I decided to narrow it down to my top ten favorite episodes. A handful of them were easy picks, but I wound up with thirteen at the end of my selection and had to whittle it down a bit more, which I did by basing it on the Sheldon and Penny interaction and then the degree of issue I had with those remaining three. This is my final list, one or two (definitely one, LOL!) may surprise, but I really was looking at the overall quality of the episode, both A- and B- stories, as well as bottom-line how much I simply laughed my ass off.

Alas the post was too long, so I've split into different entries. This is the second five, and here is Part I. So, behind the cut are the second half of my top ten favorite episodes list, including my reviews, Sheldon and Penny analysis, and favorite moments, plus images and clips from each episode. They are presented in chronological order, and I culled the commentary from The Big Bang Theory Breakdowns that can be found over at sheldon_penny.

06. S2E07: The Panty Piñata Polarization
07. S2E09: The White Asparagus Triangulation
08. S2E15: The Maternal Capacitance
09. S2E18: The Work Song Nanocluster
10. S2E19: The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition

06) The The Panty Piñata Polarization (S2E07)

Episode Review

The Howard/Raj Top Model storyline was okay, but it did feed off of the main plot of the Sheldon/Penny war and really that's where the money was at. An episode highlighting Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and the infamous Parsons/Cuoco chemistry ™ fujiidom? Of course, it's a major win, and deliciously memorable. In the end, it doesn't matter that the B-story was only so-so because the A-story was so splendid that one can't help but think of this episode as one of their best.

Sheldon and Penny Analysis

So much Sheldon and Penny potential goodness to get from this episode, I don't know where to begin, so I'll just go down the line. (The link to every scene with them can be found in the Favorite Moments section.)

1.) Yet another reason why Leonard and Penny do not work. Whereas Sheldon isn't embarrassed about who he is -- heck, even Howard isn't! -- Leonard is and tries to hide the fact that they're playing Klingon Boggle. It shows such a shallowness in Leonard's character that he feels that anyone attractive wouldn't be attracted to someone nerdy and the continued lack of confidence is who he is as a person. It also shows that he thinks less of Penny, believing that she would be swayed from any attraction towards him based solely on his nerdy hobbies. Sheldon does not have this issue, and once again, shows that he can be completely who he is with Penny. Also, Sheldon looks almost giddy telling Penny about Klingon Boggle. Sheldon *enjoys* sharing his areas of interest with her, assuming that she would like them too. Leonard is embarrassed. See the problem here?

2.) Yes, it was bad manners to take food off of Sheldon's plate, but looking at it with shipper-goggles on, one can take from her action that she feels herself at a fairly high comfort-level with Sheldon to take such liberties. Nuggets, people, nuggets.

3.) Sheldon's comment to Penny that he "wishes" he could be more lenient with her, but can't because as a permanent member of their social group, he has to hold her to the same standards is interesting. Because ... why does he wish he could be more lenient with her? I'll tell you why, because he does care about her, more than he's willing to admit, or even realizes. If I truly didn't believe that there was not some great Sheldon/Penny plan set out from day one, I'd swear this was proof that there was. Just yet another little thing that proves that Sheldon does hold Penny in especial esteem.

4.) Sheldon trusted Penny with his email address. It doesn't seem like a big deal, unless you take into account that this is Sheldon. He trusted Penny enough to give her his email address. It's very likely that Penny is one of only a handful of people -- the three guys, his mother, possibly, maybe, but I doubt it, Missy -- who have his email address. And he trusted her enough to add her to that small list. Awww. And, yes, technically, in Sheldon's eyes, she betrayed that trust, BUT, the fact that Penny sent him a LOLcat is also sweet because she thinks they're cute and funny. Thus she obviously sent him one to give him a little laugh, a smile, and that's certainly aww-worthy too.

5.) Penny will not knuckle-under Sheldon's will; she has no problem going head-to-toe with Sheldon and understands that by constantly knuckling under, the boys are creating their own Sheldon-hell. She refuses to do so and takes her (metaphoric) stand. As much as I loved the close of the episode, I do wonder how it would have played out had Leonard not intervened by handing Penny Sheldon's Kryptonite. Regardless, this does show potential promise for a future entanglement because Penny is the alpha female to his alpha male.

6.) Until this occurred, Sheldon had no problem with Penny using their wi-fi free of charge. I just think that that is a sweet, little bit of information to know that Sheldon doesn't mind sharing with her ... as long as she's not at war with him, of course.

7.) There are four instances in this episode where Sheldon and Penny are either perfectly in-sync, or follow each other's lead. The synchronized movements occur when Leonard walks in on them in the apartment and in unison they turn to glare at him, and at the end of the episode, when they share a final glance and then in unison turn and walk away. Yes, it was done for the symmetry and comedy of the moment, but regardless of the technical reasons, it gave us two instances of Sheldon and Penny perfectly in tune with one another.

In addition, we had the fact that Penny not once, but twice, used Sheldon idiosyncrasies. We're all very familiar with Penny's (angry) use of the triple-knock, but another one that doesn't get as much attention, but which I actually find more interesting is after Leonard points out that Penny did do something for which she might have to apologize for, Penny tells Leonard: "That's strike one." Despite Penny's belief that Sheldon's use of strikes and what-not is overkill, the two are indeed enough alike that on some level she understands and can just as skillfully use his methods. And she does so so very easily. Again, yes, yes, done for the comedic effect, but regardless: It happened, she did it; it's canon.

8.) This is another small thing done for plot, comedic effect, but it adds to the growing list of things that Penny knows about Sheldon. She knows his laundry schedule to a tee. As far as we know, Penny doesn't know any of Leonard's specificities. Yes, yes, Sheldon is Sheldon and has strict schedules for everything, but still, when you care about someone, you want to know their likes/dislikes, routines, etc. She hasn't done so for Leonard, but she already knows Sheldon's routines, likes/dislikes. Again, yes, done for the joke, and again, it's Sheldon, but the fact that she knows and remembers stuff about Sheldon, but not Leonard, is once again canonical evidence that Penny knows more about Sheldon. Yuppers!

9.) I just get a little tickle out of the fact that of all of Penny's clothing that she was washing, Sheldon specifically mentioned her undergarments, and then pointed out her brassiere and then panties. Hah! Asexual, my ass! He went straight for the potentially naughty stuff. Uh huh!

10.) Lastly, their final scene where Sheldon shows Penny more respect than we've ever seen him show anyone beyond his mother. This is a key thing in proving a potential future relationship between them is possible because Sheldon could never believably been in a relationship with someone he does not respect. He respects Penny. Plus, when he shares that level of respect with her -- including making the comic-book reference -- she doesn't mock or joke, she takes him seriously. Ie, she respects him too.

Favorite Moments

- Every Sheldon and Penny scene. Period.

- The scene with Sheldon on the phone with his mother is laugh-out-loud funny. And sweet to begin with. I loved how when Leonard told him it was his mother, his response was "Oh, good." Aww, I love the consistent little signs of how much Sheldon loves her. And then as the direction of the conversation changed, Sheldon's petulant, little-boy act coming into play, it was hysterical. Especially, the foot-stomping. Hah!

07) The White Asparagus Triangulation (S2E09)

Episode Review

Funny, funny episode; and one of the few where Sheldon is insanely annoying, but yet because of the why and how of Jim Parsons' delivery, he's still immensely enjoyable. As for Leonard, he was just spot-on. I loved him with Stephanie, loved him dealing with Sheldon, loved his rant and then 'aw-shucks' happiness over having a girlfriend. Great job by Johnny Galecki all around. Very little Raj and Wolowitz in this one, but the Sheldon and Penny scenes -- as always -- were gold.

Sheldon and Penny Analysis

This one was filled with small things that just highlight their chemistry, make you go hmm ..., overanalyze a tad much with delusional shipper goggles, and finally just squee at their final look. First of all, we had the two once again repeating each other's words. Yes, it was completely deliberate this time ("S'up?"), however, once again ... it's there, it's canon, it's happened multiple times now. These two are in sync, and actually quite alike in many ways which is why the writers can get away with this stunt so often. Sure, Penny's the social butterfly who's just your average smart, while Sheldon is an awkward genius, but at the core they are the same kinds of people. Both are the alpha dogs in their established hierarchy (we all damn well know that Sheldon could have opened that jar on his own), both have a way of delivering scathing insults -- Sheldon bluntly (and often without realizing it), Penny with a smile (the Lassie comment to Raj was just mean). They both have tempers, they both like to have things their way, they both have rules of conduct. The difference is that Sheldon is anal about it and actually has his rules listed and memorized by all who surround him. Penny's are more casual, but she has her way of doing things even if casually. The synchronicity of speaking is an example of their similarities. Many of the things they repeat, do in sync, wouldn't work with the other characters ... only Sheldon and Penny.

And speaking of those blunt insults ... Sheldon's comment about Stephanie being the only one involved with Leonard that he's found tolerable, leading to Penny's dismay because what about her? Well, and here's where the delusional shipper goggles come on, one could easily take his comment with the thought that a portion of it was left unsaid. What I mean is, look at the statement:
    Sheldon: ... of the handful of women Leonard's been involved with, she's the only one I have ever found tolerable.
Now, considering that Sheldon DOES like Penny, he DOES consider her a friend at this point -- we've seen enough of evidence of that -- why would he not have found her tolerable as a person? Well, we know that's not true. He does find her so. Therefore, the only logical explanation is that there was an unspoken part of Sheldon's statement -- which he didn't say because it would have been repetitious -- is "she's the only one I have ever found tolerable ... dating Leonard." See, the key is that he just didn't find Penny tolerable when dating Leonard. It's not Penny; it's Penny *with* Leonard that is intolerable. Uh huh. Alrighty then, taking off the delusional shipper goggles and moving along. Hee! The Lake House. Now, sure we can assume it was movie night, and Penny convinced the guys to watch it by selling it as some sci-fi, time-traveling movie, but Sheldon didn't mention anyone else, neither did Penny. So, yeah, one can easily extrapolate from this discussion (okay, I'm wearing the delusional shipper sunglasses still) that Sheldon and Penny had movie night together, just the two of them and they watched a romantic drama. Awww. Then, of course, on his next visit, he gave her such a lovely apology which she truly seemed to appreciate based on her happy and sincere smile. Plus, she also really seemed to like the zucchini bread based on how she sniffed it and smiled with a "yum!" expression, so go Sheldon! Good choice, way to worm your way into your future true love's heart.

Finally, the final scene. I've actually never caught this before, but as the group are crowding around to see Stephanie's Facebook status an interesing thing happens. Sheldon draws all of their attention with his: "If I'm permitted to speak again, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, for the win." He smiles (so sweetly) and they all look up at him, including Penny. And she has such a sweet expression on her face, which grows into a lovely smile as she looks at him. See pictorial *and* video evidence!

For the win, indeed. He seems to have slightly softened Penny with that move. Pulling out those goggles again, one can definitely see a potential for future romantic goodness here. All of the guys (and Penny) felt that by Leonard changing his status first, he was being pathetic, but by the fact that Sheldon saw no issue in doing so, it shows that Sheldon isn't prideful about silly things like that. When you care about someone, you don't play games. You let them know where you stand. Considering how so many of Penny's relationships fail because of or are based on dishonesty and pride -- even Leonard is often dishonest with Penny, although they are not ways intended to hurt her, but rather white lies, or attempts to make himself look better -- with Sheldon, she wouldn't have to worry about that. Uh huh. (Okay, taking the delusional shipper goggles and sunglasses off until next time.)

Favorite Moments

- The way that Sheldon leans into Leonard's seat at the movie theater, smiles and then gives his assessment is so funny. I literally had tears in my eyes from laughter. The look on Stephanie's face is pretty hysterical as well.

- The unfinished triple-Penny-knock ... oh, the way he knocks on the doorjamb and says her name a third time out of the corner of his mouth, while Penny looks on 'whu!?!?" Hahaha! I *had* to include it.

- I'm a Sheldon fan through and through; that's fairly apparent. However, when Leonard blew up at Sheldon at the end of the episode, I was rooting for Leonard because he was right. One wonders what part Sheldon played in the dissolution of the Leonard/Joyce Kim relationship, since he certainly helped end things with Leslie. He is not an expert on relationships by a long shot, and was meddling terribly. If Stephanie didn't like Leonard as much as she clearly does, she would have bailed due to Sheldon's interference. So, even though Sheldon's hacking worked, it still doesn't mean that he was right. So, go Leonard!

Okay, and the fact that Sheldon tries to correct his grammar after all of that, hee! So Sheldon, and nice callback to The Jerusalem Duality and Leonard's tendency to end sentences with a preposition.

08) The Maternal Capacitance (S2E15)

Episode Review

HI-larious episode. Loved it. Yes, there was some heavy Leonard and Penny action going on, but it was the variety that showed yet again how very, very wrong they are for one another. Christine Baranski was hysterical and I thought that the scenes between her and Jim Parsons' Sheldon were extremely funny. Yes, (like Leonard and Penny), there was an ick! factor, but despite a comfort level, we know that Sheldon is not nearly as robotic as is Dr. Beverly Hofstadter; they have plenty of things in common, but he cares more, has more emotions and whether he admits it or not, he does embrace that side of himself more than he realizes. There were great moments with Raj and Howard, the Rock Band scenes were fabulous, and we got some lovely character shading for Leonard that really shed light into why he is how he is, and yet the episode was still laugh-out-loud hilarious on top of it. Great job.

Sheldon and Penny Analysis

There was very little Sheldon and Penny in this episode, just the one scene, but it was adorable. I love how Sheldon took it upon himself to answer Penny's question, and shared his know-how with her, leaning into her personal space, while Penny attentively listens. It's just a little moment that shows that, yes, they can get along quite fine. Another small thing was how Penny was concerned when Leonard told her that Sheldon was getting his brain scanned. (Nuggets!)

The big areas to discuss about this episode that pertain to Sheldon and Penny by means of their interaction with others "romantically" is the Leonard/Penny and Sheldon/Beverly scenes. With regards to Leonard and Penny, this episode and it's events *truly* should have put an end to Leonard and Penny romantically/sexually forever. It really, truly, mind-boggingly-so should have. *sigh* After getting drunk (again!), they actually do wind up in bed together, but it was far from a shipper's dream come true. No, in the middle of a "passionate" (uhm, okay) make-out session in bed, Leonard commented that his mother was right. Yes, he mentioned his mother while in bed with a girl he's been pining after for months. But wait, it gets better. He then proceeded to essentially state that Penny was sleeping with Leonard because she had "daddy-issues," while he was with Penny right here, right now because of his "mommy-issues." Say it with me, folks: Ewwwwww!! Unsurprisingly that was Penny's reaction pretty much too. The events here really should close the door on Leonard and Penny heading into anything romantic for a good long time. (Whether it will or not ... you know, with the schizophrenic nature of the Leonard/Penny plotting ... *sigh*). The bottom-line is that whatever is to come, this episode presented a truly squick-worthy fatal flaw in their potential long-term viability by having Leonard suggest that by them getting it on, the two of them were essentially having sex with their mother and father respectively. And Penny's reaction bore that conclusion.

As for Sheldon and Beverly, well, Jim Parsons and Christine Baranski have a one-up on Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki in that the actors actually do have chemistry, but Sheldon and Leonard's mom (and thus anyone like her) are way too much alike. Sheldon is initially intrigued -- shown in this episode -- but he would eventually get into a pissing contest over who is smarter. And yet, they are also way too different in that Beverly (and, again, anyone like her) would remain calm and analytical about it, but Sheldon is too emotional and wouldn't stay so. Dr. Beverly Hofstadter and her like may be similiar to Sheldon in many ways, but emotional her type of personality is not and there would be a constant struggle because he would get frustrated at the lack of battle. Whether he ever admits it or not, Sheldon likes arguing, debating, bantering, etc. It's in every important relationship he has (with the guys, Penny, his mother, his sister, even his boss). If he is ever going to be in a relationship for real, it would have to be with someone who doesn't consider themselves a brainiac -- because that would create a fight for dominance that would not be beneficial for Sheldon's state of mind because his genius is his one area of pride that if challenged would be a blow that he'd have difficulty recovering from -- and someone who understands emotional states, and knows when to calm and when to provoke him. Because he does need to be rattled every now and then.

Expounding on Sheldon's emotionality, fujiidom points out that while clearly it was implied flirting between the two, since the singing was so obviously described to be nearly sexual, all it did was was dovetail off of the Freudian thing going on next door. Even more so, since Beverly is an actual mother. Sheldon saw in her what he'd always wanted growing up: The kind of mother that wouldn't need explaining why he preferred centrifuges to dirt bikes, when it came to birthday presents (he wouldn't even have any!) What happens, though, is you see how much warmer Sheldon is than most people describe/stereotype him as. He's obviously pretty reserved/cold emotionally (as compared to the other vibrant characters, save for, possibly, Raj with his selective mutism, but even that is debatable and not always the case), but he's a far cry from what he'd like to be. Even when presented with someone who is the emotional equivalent of polished stone, he doesn't stay dry and distant. He reaches out and forges a connection. Yes, that means he was attracted to her in some way or another (as stated above, she was the mother that he'd always dreamed about -- and based on his series long commentary on Mary Cooper, despite him loving her, they clearly had their issues). Mostly, though, it means that he's NOT like that. A truly unfeeling, asexual person would've discussed brain x-rays and made another pot of tea. But, Sheldon reached out *emotionally.* That entire scene was more about Sheldon being the one to *seduce* her than it was to showcase how alike and/or made for each other they were. Clearly, Sheldon needs his women to open up and be vibrant and wacky. (Paging Penny!) Unless Dr. Hoftstadter was going to do a personality 180 and agree to play Rock Band and geek out on a regular basis, that was a one time 'fling,' if you will, for her. For Sheldon -- based on his regular Rock Band activities, along with his love of comics, science-fiction, fantasy, paintball, Wii bowling, etc. -- it's just one of many activities from which he derives illogical fun. So, despite some seeing this as proof that someone like Beverly is the "perfect woman" for Sheldon, it actually clearly shows that someone who is her opposite -- again, Paging Penny! -- is.

One other small thing ... Sheldon says that he finds Leonard's parents form of reproductive sex "efficient," which, of course, ascribes to the "asexual" theory, but, what if Sheldon is as inexperienced as he appears to be? If that's the case, one could take his commentary on the situation as a sign of that inexperience, as such that he's thinking in theory, because he has no actual real-life experimentation from which to draw. Therefore, this sign of his "asexuality" could in fact be just another clue to his inexperience.

Favorite Moments

- Christine Baranski's performance. Period. There is a well-deserved reason she was nominated for an Emmy.

- The cold open with the Rock Band performance. Especially Raj. Hee!

09) The Work Song Nanocluster (S2E18)

Episode Review

Thus far, this is my favorite episode. There have been a few others that have had absolutely nothing that bugged even a teeny bit, while this one has a moment or two, but the overall quality and the Sheldon/Penny awesomeness more than makes up for it. This is just splendiferous shipper heaven. Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco -- who are in almost every scene together, and separately, in every scene -- were both fabulous. Wonderful delivery, fantastic timing, rhythm and, as always, that Parsons/Cuoco infamous chemistry ™fujiidom was in full swing. Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg and Kunnal Nayyar didn't have much to do, but what they did was delightful, however this one belonged fully to Parsons and Cuoco and they were utterly magnificent. Wonderful, wonderful episode; I love it so.

Sheldon and Penny Analysis

There is just so much about this episode that is so awesomely wonderful for Sheldon and Penny that it's just too much. For a non-canon couple who at this point have no shot in hell, "The Work Song Nanocluster" was an amazing gift. Bottom-line, these two are just absolute gold together and writers, Dave Goetsch and Richard Rosenstock, surely mined that gold for all it was worth. I honestly just can't see how anyone can watch episodes like this one and not see how perfect Sheldon and Penny are for one another. Penny has already in small ways opened Sheldon up, taught him to unbend a bit (for goodness' sake, he gave in and drank the coffee with just a look and offering from her!!). While Penny puts up with Sheldon's idiosyncrasies and unlike the others in his life (other than his mother), knows how to handle them and shut them down when he needs shutting down. They are in rhythm and in sync. They push and pull each other, but yet can work beautifully as a team. So many, many things, I would be here all night, cataloguing and breaking each thing down. Oh my. Alright, gather ... here we go, some thoughts.

Penny has a 'don't knock before eleven-o'clock or I punch you in the throat' rule." Ah, more proof that Sheldon and Penny are meant to be! Penny has obscure, only-Penny, specific rules that you'd only know and care to follow if you wanted Penny in your life (much like all of Sheldon's rules). See. And Sheldon gets the why of such a rule. There he was, so intently looking at his watch before he knocked; he respects her rules because he expects others to respect his rules. It *is* a two-way street. It seems as if Penny is the only one of his friends who has figured this out. This is not one of those "little" signs that they can make it, but a big, whopping one. Penny gets him and knows how to work his Sheldon-y ways to her advantage, and this in turn, will give her a greater understanding as to they why of his Sheldon-y ways.

Honestly, I'm at a loss here as to how to analyze these scenes much further, because this episode wasn't full of nuggets, they were in a cave of gold and there's not much to analyze when it's all on the surface as it was here. Simply put: Sheldon and Penny work well together. For example, Sheldon, although dismayed about the possibility of Penny not being his waitress, listened to her enthusiasm about her business plan and then helped her. Penny was thrilled to show off her business to Sheldon and despite knowing how Sheldon would "help," she was willing, nay, enthusiastic to receive his help. They essentially became co-CEOs of Penny Blossoms, and got the job done, doing it, delegating, etc. Yes, there were still moments when they annoyed one another, but as time grows and their love does too (shush!, if I'm allowed to get overly sentimental and hopeful during the analysis of any episode, it's this one!), those moments will mostly become ones that amuse, rather than annoy. What we saw in this episode clearly is that with a few tweaks in their relationship, they can very easily have a healthy working one. They know how to listen to one another and that is so very important. Once the sarcasm and snide commentary was out of the way, at the core of their interaction, was that they communicated, and while the others may have come in and helped, it was still very much the Sheldon-and-Penny show and they ran it.

Finally, while in The Awesome Particulars Collection, I linked to a post with downloads and embedded videos of every Sheldon/Penny scene in this episode, I wanted to highlight some specific moments here before moving on.

- I have no idea what it is about this moment that is so delightful and thrilling to watch. I can put it down to one thing and one alone: The Parsons/Cuoco infamous chemistry ™fujiidom. When he shuts that door so firmly in the end, I know that quite a few people got some thoughts so not intended by the show there.

- Ooh, the way you know that Sheldon has touched her elbow off-camera and is pulling her towards him; the way they separate from the others, they are so close, she's looking up at him, he's looking down at her. LOVE IT!

- Who doesn't love alpha-dog Sheldon and Penny's reaction?

- I loved how Penny said to Sheldon, "Honey, do you want some coffee?" Come on, do NOT tell me that that moment did not play out like a couple. You simply can not. Nuh uh. Sure, she's slightly aggravated with his response, but it doesn't take away from the "Honey" and his apologizing for not being able to do so. Awww.

- Lastly, my favorite bit overall -- likely my favorite Sheldon/Penny moment as of this date -- was the two of them singing the sea shanty, the unison of their voices, actions and words when the others showed up and watched the two in perfect unison. It was a wonderful symbol of the two working so well together. This is them, this shows that, yes, they can work. And damn well. Sheldon and Penny = Meant. To. Be.

Favorite Moments

- Erm, every moment with Sheldon and Penny? No, seriously -- every moment with them. I do not lie. Check them out.

- Kaley looked GORGEOUS in that hairstyle, wearing that sunny yellow top. The pants were okay, but the hair and top more than made up for it. Just gorgeous. Shallow, I know, but it is one of my favorite things about this episode. This is my favorite look on her ever.

- Jim Parsons' delivery of the whole "Planck's Constant" bit mixed in with Sheldon's Lewis Carrol love is fantastic.

- Yeah, it's a tad over-the-top, but when Sheldon runs out booming "Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!" it is hysterical. I can't not laugh every time he comes out.

10) The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition (S2E19)

Episode Review

If it weren't for the poor casting of Alicia -- very little depth or shading, a quite cliched performance and, I'm sorry, but Kaley Cuoco is miles better looking -- in my opinion, I would rank this as one of their best episodes ever. It truly has some nice characterization of Penny, really getting into the heart of her relationship with the guys. While she did use their help to a degree in the beginning, it was never with such cold calculation and obviously, she cares very much for them now. Aside from that, sole writer of the episode, Steven Molaro, gave Sheldon and Penny a plethora of wonderful scenes that highlight just how ingrained in each other's lives they have become, and at the same time, showed just how shallow Leonard's feelings for Penny are. Finally, while all of the cast did a great job as usual -- with Jim Parsons (as always) providing some highlight moments -- this episode belonged to Kaley Cuoco and she did a fantastic job. Cuoco has grown so much from the first few episodes to such a fine, understated, comedic talent. Bravo!

Sheldon and Penny Analysis

Oh, Steven Molaro, how I love you so. Let me count the ways ...

1.) In the opening scene, Penny brilliantly handled Sheldon's freak-out. While the others cowered, covered their heads and basically exacerbated the situation, Penny -- after first trying to ease his fears -- simply went to the opposite end, going for the absurd to the point that she calmed Sheldon enough that he stopped verbally fussing and sat back down. The fact that Penny has figured out how to somewhat deal with Sheldon's neurosis is awesome. The others coddle him and thus don't help.

2.) Also in this scene, we had the duo once again mimicking each other's speech patterns. Sheldon said about new tenants: "Oh, the horror!" Once Howard decided to move in, Penny copied Sheldon's phrase. Yes, I know it's done for the comedic effect, but other than copying Leonard's oft-repeated "here we go" (and the others have done so as well), it is only Penny and Sheldon who consistently pick up on each other's speech patterns. Nuggets!

3.) It's a small moment, but when Sheldon hears Leonard tell Penny that she can take her head out of oven because Howard is not moving into the building, Sheldon has a quick, surprised expression of dismay. Aww, he didn't want Penny to have her head in an oven.

4.) I am very willing to concede that the difference in how Sheldon treated Alicia as opposed to how he treated Penny is due to the change in Sheldon's characterization from the Pilot to now, however, that still doesn't change the fact that it's canon, baby. Sheldon was shy and flirtatious with Penny; he was also willing to help her out (albeit at the behest of Leonard, he still did it). Here, Sheldon couldn't care less about Alicia's attractiveness, his only concern was that she not make noise and disrupt his life. Furthermore, he informed Penny that he liked Alicia (on a probationary standing, of course) based solely on how her silence would benefit him which lends credence to what we already learned in "The Friendship Algorithm" which is that Sheldon consciously decides to "like" people based on what they can do to make his life easier. Other than occasionally agreeing to give him rides and answer a question or two about social conventions, Penny doesn't make his life easier. On the contrary, she makes it more difficult ... and yet! he likes Penny and considers her a friend. Uh huh.

5.) Despite the fact that Penny was understandably annoyed with Sheldon calling her out on her lack of jogging and why she was dressed like a slob, I absolutely adored (a) that Sheldon knows so much about Penny and is so aware of her routines and how she lives, that he was aware of the fact that she doesn't jog, and was also aware that she dresses like a slob when she hasn't done laundry in a while. And (b) how adorable his smile and sincere "you're welcome" was to her sarcastic "thank you, Sheldon." I mean, first of all, that he knows her so well shows how ingrained she is in his life is telling, and that he was happy that he had helped her was so very sweet.

6.) It's a small thing, but Sheldon seemed pleased that Penny is practicing mimicry as does he. It's something they have in common, he was happy to learn. And then, after he showed off his Admiral Ackbar, his expression appeared to indicate that he was upset by the fact that Penny wasn't impressed with his impersonation. And so he kept on working it out. Oh, Sheldon.

7.) Sheldon becomes so either (a) engrossed with his conversation with Penny or (b) bothered by her slight "squid-head" insult that he forgets his air calculations and has to start all over again. In other words, yeah, Penny gets to him, makes him lose concentration, etc. Oh yeah, this is the kind of stuff of which fanfics are made. Ooh, baby!

8.) Not Sheldon and Penny, but rather Leonard and Alicia. When Leonard met Alicia, he acted pretty much exactly as he had when he first met Penny. Furthermore, he then ignored Penny and even accused her of nagging him when she asked him to set up her printer (as he'd promised to do a week ago). I know that some complain that it doesn't mean anything because Penny's dated countless guys and she throws them in Leonard's face, but the difference is that Penny has NOT contended that Leonard is "the one" and been all moony and obsessed with him for two years. Leonard has about Penny ... except when a new attractive woman shows up? Huh? How is that anything BUT proof that what Leonard feels for Penny romantically is completely shallow? Again, thank you, Steve.

9.) I just find it adorable whenever Sheldon chooses to share things that he finds interesting with Penny; it's his way of including her in his likes. He found the queen bee information interesting, therefore, he shared it with Penny. Awww.

10.) It isn't specifically stated but since Howard mostly leers, Leonard avoids any nerdy-talk in front of her and Raj doesn't talk, it's a safe bet that Penny got her Star Trek shields metaphor moment from hanging out with Sheldon. Uh huh. So ingrained in each other's lives, they don't even realize it yet.

11.) Finally, she got his order mostly right. And, he let her do her venting *before* he pointed out that the mustard was wrong. And, speaking of that venting ... so, Penny thinks that Leonard is weak-willed? Okay. Good to know. The best part, though, is how he rather flung it in Leonard's face that Penny did it right. Sure, sure, it was to point out Leonard's shortcomings, but from another (slightly shippery, delusional) angle one could take it as Sheldon pointing out to Leonard just how well Penny knows him, so there! (Okay, that's not slightly delusional at all, but majorly so, but I don't care!) The bottom-line is that like so much of this episode, we saw just how well Sheldon and Penny know each other and their habits. Loads of nuggets in this one, just loads of 'em!

Favorite Moments

- The two single funniest moments in The Big Bang Theory ever to me took place in this episode and were delivered separately by Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco, both due to their excellent delivery. Sheldon's "It's not" about change being good ... the delivery that Jim Parsons used was absolute genius! Just the way he looked up, his voice softened like a child was hilarious. And then in the laundry room when Penny began to explain shields by using a Star Trek metaphor and then she stopped and looked away, her expression so agog ... man, it was perfect.

- Sheldon's disbelief that a pizza is all one gets for helping friends move? Priceless. And then as a bonus, his question as to who would possibly choose a mountain bike? LOVE IT! Ooh, and another great moment is Sheldon's "It's a trap" impersonation. He just keeps on keeping on!

- I love continuity, and so I appreciated the multiple 'hello' greetings between Leonard, Sheldon and Alicia, mirroring the multiple 'hi' greetings from the Pilot when the duo first met Penny. The difference, of course, being that while here the "hello's" from Leonard were as moonstruck to Alicia as they were to Penny, Sheldon's moonstruck "hi's" to Penny were not the same to Alicia. In this episode, he was suspicious and then just wanted it to end.

- Okay, how ridiculously hot does Kaley Cuoco look in that blue mini-dress? I don't know what I want more: That dress or to have a body like hers that would allow me to wear that dress.

- Hee! I never don't crack up at Sheldon's "They're gone, Penny. They can't hear you." Hah!

- I think that Raj's contention that a #2 pencil can knock out both incarnations of the Green Lantern is one of the single funniest lines I have ever heard in my life.

Read the first five in Part I

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