Saturday, November 29, 2008

"The Big Bang Theory" - November 17, 2008 episode

Raj and Sheldon are having a disagreement about what to watch. Raj wants to watch an episode of "Deep Space Nine" and Sheldon wants to watch "Saturn 3", so they debate the merits of each. Leonard tries to be funny and suggests that they watch "Babylon 5" instead as a compromise. Sheldon, not surprisingly, doesn't get the joke.

Tangential rambling: I've never seen "Saturn 3", but as I recall, it's one of those cult movies that are really bad but that some people really like. As far as whether or not "Deep Space Nine" is better, well, it all really depends on the episode. If it's any of the episodes where Sisko is seriously neutered because they were so frickin' terrified that Avery Brooks would lapse into Hawk, then I'll pass. Sisko was much less commanding and forceful than he needed to be considering the issues he had to deal with. Cardassian ship is chasing a Bajoran ship in Bajoran space - you think you might want to have a little passion about that? But as far as "Babylon 5", I never watched it at the time and heard all kinds of good things about it, so I gave it a try a couple years ago. It was awful. Maybe it was because it was the pilot and first couple episodes, but the dialogue was atrocious. I hear it got better as the show progressed, especially when Bruce Boxleitner took over as captain, but I couldn't hang in that long.

If they wanted a real compromise, they really needed to watch something with "six" in the title (since six is right in the middle between nine and three). I couldn't really think of anything science fiction that had six in it (maybe the writers couldn't either), but I did come up with "DeepStar Six", which I think I've vaguely heard of but don't know anything about.

When I was originally thinking of "six" movies, I thought about a movie we saw some time ago (which I generally liked), but I was wrong about the title, since it's actually called "Deep Blue Sea". It's about experiments on sharks that end up making them smart, but the husband objected when the shark swam backwards. I'd love to hear Sheldon's running commentary as he's forced to watch this movie!

Sheldon then explains that he's come up with a modified version of "rock paper scissors", adding "lizard" and "Spock" to the list, and then he goes through a whole explanation of how the two new elements fit into the equation with each existing item. They decide to use this new method to decide what to watch. Unfortunately, both Raj and Sheldon throw "Spock", so no resolution is reached.

Tangential rambling: I didn't quite catch Sheldon's whole explanation of who wins against what, and while the gesture for "Spock" is pretty obvious, I couldn't remember what the gesture was for "lizard", so a friend had to remind me. OK, so funniest damn thing, right? But, it turns out that the writers of the show didn't actually invent this new variation. Apparently [sic], Sam Kass came up with it back in 2005. Here's a YouTube clip of that segment of the show with the explanation.

I'm still not getting how paper defeats Spock though.

So the other funny thing is that for no reason I can remember, the husband and I have been regularly doing "paper rock scissors" just for the hell of it - we're not trying to break a disagreement or use it as a decider of anything - it's just to see what happens. We've been doing this for a few months now, at least, so it was funny when it appeared on the show. And in the days to follow after the show, we played the game again for the first time - and wouldn't you know, we both threw "Spock". You know that whole thing Sheldon says in the show about how when people know each other well enough, they're going to usually tie playing this game? Totally true. One of the frustrations is that often, we do end up in a tie, even with going through three rounds. Sure, I don't like to lose, but I hate repeated ties even more. It's so anti-climactic. The next couple times we played the game after the show ended, I think we tied with either "Spock" or "lizard". I think it took a few more rounds of playing before one of us won. I think it might have been the husband.

Howard comes in with some sort of eyepatch gimmick and a plan to insult women that he thinks is going to work in getting ladies. When Penny later comes in, and he tries the new method on her, she goes up to him and snaps his eyepatch.

Tangential rambling: I'm usually not very good about knowing what's about to happen in a show even though it might be telegraphed, but this time, I knew she was going to snap his eyepatch. That was awesome! As far as the "backhanded compliment that's really an insult" method - does that really work? It wouldn't work on me or anyone that I know.

The next dilemma is that "The Clone Wars" series is on TV, but Sheldon hasn't seen the movie yet, so he is resistant to watching the series before having seen the movie. I liked the movie and would be watching the series if I had cable, so I disagree with the sentiment, but Sheldon's line was still classic: "I prefer to let George Lucas disappoint me in the order he intended."

Tangential rambling: I really liked the movie. Yeah, the styling was a bit different, but that didn't bother me at all. But I totally agree with Sheldon's sentiment about needing to watch them in order. But then, I didn't see any of the episodes that ran on TV before the movie, so I guess that kind of blows away my theory. But, George now thinks that you should watch all six "Star Wars" movies in order of the internal chronology. Sorry, George, you're wrong. They need to be seen IV, V, VI, I, II, III. You so lose the impact of the revelation of Vader being Luke's father otherwise. And it's heartbreaking to see Anakin and know and watch him become Vader. Yeah, I know, a lot of people don't like I, II and III. There are elements I don't like, but overall, I like the story arc, so save the negative comments, ok? I've heard 'em before and they have no bearing on what I think of the movies.

The next debate involves whether "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (STI) or "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" (STV) is a worse film. In the middle of the argument, Leonard gets a phone call from Howard, and Leonard says they have to go immediately because Howard has called a DefCon 5. Sheldon says that means everything is just fine, and if something was wrong, Howard would have called a DefCon 1, so then they all debate whether 1 or 5 is the emergency number.

Tangential rambling: I had to stop and think about this for quite some time. Is STI or STV a worse film? Wow, that's a *great* question. I didn't see STI in theatres. I saw it on TV. And it was boring and awful. Nothing happened. And then the revelation of what V-ger was?'.goodness. How incredibly lame. But then, you have the equal lameness of the Search for God, as we called STV. We figured they couldn't actually use that title since STIII was the Search for Spock and they didn't want to repeat an element of the title. I have my own personal hellish experience which accounts for why I think STV is worse (if you actually know me and want to know, ask me in person or email me), but looking at it on more of an objective level, STV has got to be the worst. For STI, at least they had the nostalgia aspect - it was the first time there was "Star Trek" after so many years, and on the big screen no less! There was also bald-headed lady who I thought was pretty cool. But what's the deciding factor in STV being worse? Four words. "Directed by William Shatner". Really, do I need to say more?

And then there's the whole defcon argument. Yeah, I have a problem with that too, because you'd think that the higher the number, the more of a problem there is. In the case of defcon, you'd be wrong. One would think that with my fascination for "WarGames", I'd have gotten all that straightened out years ago.

They all arrive at their work place and it turns out that Howard has lured someone back with him by promising to let her drive a car on Mars. And in the process, Howard has gotten the Mars rover stuck in a crater. Howard doesn't want the woman (Stephanie, who's a doctor) to know about this, so he makes up some complicated reason about what he and his colleagues have to do, and he asks Leonard to drive Stephanie home, which he agrees to, but in the car, the two of them end up totally making out.

Tangential rambling: Since Howard's original idea didn't work, it makes sense that he would use the Mars rover as a lure. The thing with Stephanie and Leonard kind of came up out of nowhere, though.

Howard, unaware of this new development, has fast forwarded into overdrive and keeps calling Stephanie to tell her about coming over to his house and his mother will be cooking dinner, and there will be lots of other family there, including family who are flying in to meet her. Meanwhile, Leonard is surreptitiously on a date with her in her apartment, and he later reveals to Penny that he feels guilty because Howard doesn't know, but Penny says he shouldn't feel guilty and is surprised and happy that he and Stephanie have already had sex.

Tangential rambling: OK, the continuous series of phone calls from Howard and the whole dinner situation getting bigger and bigger and more out of hand was just too funny. Desperate? No way! Where would you get that idea? But I will say that as much as I can understand things just happening between Leonard and Stephanie, he really needed to tell Howard. Sure, nothing was going to happen between Stephanie and Howard anyway, so it's not like she was off-limits, but dude, come on, fess up. Penny was funny though. When she asked if Leonard had had sex with Stephanie and he admitted to it, and then he asked if that made a difference, she said no - she was just being nosy! Too funny!

Leonard is at Howard's house, and when Howard answers the door, Leonard is about to tell him about Stephanie when Howard's phone rings. He says very little, but when he's done, it's obvious that Stephanie called to tell him about Leonard, and Howard turns to Leonard and says, "You're dead to me" and shuts the door on him.

Tangential rambling: Well, Leonard tried to do the right thing, but I guess Stephanie beat him to the punch. Poor Howard, I actually kind of feel sorry for him. But then, I remember that he's agreeing to be subjugated by his mother, so hey, whatever.

At some point later, Leonard is coming back to his apartment, and Howard is there but is refusing to acknowledge Leonard's existence, using Sheldon as the go-between instead. When Stephanie shows up, Howard ignores her as well, but Stephanie says it's too bad that it'll only be three of them since she brought her roommate along, at which point Howard breaks his silence and happily agrees to accompany them.

Tangential rambling: At first, I was surprised that Sheldon would go along with Howard's insistence that Leonard didn't exist, but then I realized it was a matter of Howard having set up the parameters. Sheldon was ok with that until Howard broke his own guidelines, at which point Sheldon was out.

All is not well with Howard though. He had erased all evidence that he was responsible for getting the Mars rover stuck because he didn't want to get in trouble, but it turns out that with the Rover stuck in the crater, there were some amazing discoveries made, more conclusive evidence that there was previously life on Mars, but they have no idea who was responsible for making these discoveries possible.

Tangential rambling: Ahh, poor Howard. It was a stupid accident, but it turned out to be a fateful accident, and all the undercover stuff he did to remove his fingerprints on the accident meant he could now take no credit for any discoveries that are made, even if it came from an accidental occurrence.

So I think I've mentioned previously that creator Chuck Lorre has a card at the end of each episode where he just rambles about something. They're usually pretty funny, but sometimes, they're just weird, and sometimes, they're kind of angry or even censored. He has a website where you can find all of the cards, including the ones at the end of his other show "Two and a Half Men". The card for this episode was particularly hilarious. Can I just tell you how *much* I loved the "P.S."? See, I told you so!!!!!!!!

This is a longer clip from the show which has the various uses of "rock paper scissors lizard Spock" and a few other segments I mentioned above.

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