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Posts Tagged ‘johnny galecki’

I normally look upon stunt casting with a wary eye. When done right ( Paul Rudd’s sweet Mike on the final two seasons of Friends, Leslie Jordan’s wickedly fey Beverley on Will and Grace), it’s magical. When done just because ( Britney on anything), it’s cloy and distracting. It’s best if the stunt casting makes sense. It’s better when the guest star gets smashing lines. TBBT had been doing the stunt casting thing well. Till this week.

Summer Glau, star of The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox ( but produced by WB- hence the crossover), is actually quite dynamic on her show ( she’s honestly the best thing about it). But she was wasted on this episode with mostly monosyllabic answers to the constant attention of Howard and Raj. When the guest star gets no real funny lines on a sitcom guest spot, you have to wonder.

Fortunately, the Penny-Sheldon dynamic was fabulous despite the fact they were barely on screen together. Kaley Cuoco is truly turning into a charming and funny lead as the show goes on, because even without the guys to play off of, she was great, nonchalantly painting her nails as Jim Parson’s Sheldon gives wackadoodle directions to get his flash drive out of his locked desk drawer. ( The show is getting better with it’s callbacks recently, with mentioning of Howard’s new “relationship” with Leslie Winkle and the come back of “wackadoodle”). Jim Parsons, gifted physical comedian, spent nearly the entire episode sitting down, but still managed to be utterly delightful every second he was on screen. Johnny Galecki’s Leonard was also great this week, as he is having a ” I hate Sheldon” week and needles him more than usual ( but still plays peacemaker between Sheldon and a nosy Penny).

Things we learn this week:

  • Given enough time, Howard can actually come up with a clever pick up line.
  • Given the opportunity, Raj will steal that pick up line.
  • Penny has a job playing Anne Frank in a small 99 seat theater above a bowling alley. Hey, it’s an acting job, folks.
  • Sheldon keeps his flash drive locked in his desk, but the key for the desk in in his room, and nobody is allowed in his room.
  • Sheldon is way obsessed about trains.
  • Raj is susceptible to the placebo effect, and apparently cannot read labels on beer bottles.
  • Howard, though in a relationship, has a flawless reason to try and sleep with Summer Glau- ” It’s Summer Glau!”
  • The guys go to the Apple Store and mock the people at the Genius Bar.
  • Sheldon has a new packing system involving RDF tags, a scanner wand, and a complex cross referencing system.
  • Sheldon takes all the fun out of sarcasm, according to Leonard.
  • Sheldon’s vote outweighs the other three.
  • Sheldon is wary of voiding warranties, but is more obsessed with keeping season 1 of BSG on TiVo. Leading me to ask- don’t they have the DVDs?
  • Sheldon’s MeeMaw calls him ” Moonpie” because he is so ” nummy, nummy”. And only MeeMaw can call him that. For the first time, Sheldon shows a streak of sentimentality.
  • Leonard is reading Noble Laureate George Smoot’s ” Wrinkles in Time”.
  • Are you meaning to tell me Penny doesn’t know a USB port from a power button?

Overall, there were funny moments, but the use of Summer Glau was limited, and the real story got lost to the B story, simply because Jim and Kaley shine as the adversarial friends.

Penny line of the week: ” What up, Moonpie?”

Sheldon line of the week:’ It’s like talking to a chimp.”

Howard line of the week: ” One beer and it’s like he’s M. Knight Charmalamalan.”

Raj line of the week: ” You got me. Now, what are you gonna do with me?”

Leonard line of the week : ” Looks like you’re between a rock and a crazy place.”

Grade- B

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Christine Baranski and Jim Parsons

Christine Baranski and Jim Parsons

Think about Friends and the two primary love stories that happened on that show. Both the Ross and Rachel dynamic and the Monica and Chandler dynamic had the underlying foundation of friendship. Ross and Rachel, though, not being enormously close at the beginning of the series, entered into a romantic relationship fueled by sexual desire, low self esteem, fits of jealousy, and temper tantrums. It was after that original break up and several close calls over the years that you began to see a maturation of the relationship, cemented in the birth of the baby that only happened due to a moment of what I’m sure is self pity on both their part, and the eventual realization that frankly, they had been a couple the entire time, though they tried to deny it. It was an evolution of character, for sure, but it was annoyingly long and painful over ten seasons that the writers literally had to write the ending they did, or else they would have been shot at like wild dogs. The Monica- Chandler relationship, though, was less melodramatic in tone, more real, a natural evolution of an existing friendship that was already pretty close, and as mature as a relationship can get because, after all, it’s Friends.

Why do I bring up a show that is in constant reruns but has been off air for six years? Well, as I was watch this week’s episode of TBBT, I was struck by the balance that Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, and the writing staff are bringing to the Leonard- Penny relationship. They have formed a friendship that appears pretty solid, sweet, caring, and gentle, but the obvious crush Leonard has on Penny hangs over them both. It’s not the total focus of their relationship, but neither ignore it. At the same time, both characters show a surprising impulsive nature. Penny’s is more obvious ( this episode having a prime example), but Leonard’s impulsive behavior is more damaging to his immediate interests. he cannot for the life of him keep his mouth shut, and it interferes in his goals. He cannot shut off his brain, and therefore he ends up spouting of what really should be part of his inner monologue.

Needless to say, this episode ends up giving a lot of food for thought about Leonard as a person. Tie what I just wrote into this weeks Slate article ( and I must say, a pretty good one) about Sheldon having Asperger’s.  I’m not overly familiar with the diagnostics of Asperger’s, just what I’ve read on Wikipedia, but I share some of those traits- active but odd, certain routines, pursuit of narrow interests, disjointed, quick speech patterns. and I know I’m not the most empathetic person in the world, and I am a ginormous klutz. I do not believe I have Asperger’s, as there are many of the characteristics I do not have. I always considered myself a raging misanthrope, a cynic, a pessimist, a fatalist. Chuck and Bill insist Sheldon is not an Aspie, and Jim Parsons ( genius- there is a person I wouldn’t mind having a conversation with) tows the party line pretty well while acknowledging there is no way Sheldon could be anything else but one.( His answers in the Variety series were a tightrope act without a net on this issue.) This plays into this weeks learn about Leonard episode as we finally figure out the reason why Leonard actually puts up with so many of Sheldon’s quirks and is always prepared to knuckle under.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Dr. Beverly Hofstadter. Some may call her an analytical cold fish. I call her Sheldon in a dress. Leonard calls her “mother”.

First off, my kids want Rock Band ( I admit, I do as well, but the price tag is enough to make you pause). This weeks cold open has the guys playing the zeitgeist consuming game. It was funny, but not as funny as last week’s episode of Sheldon abandonment. Leonard’s phone call to his mother wasn’t as funny as say- Sheldon’s phone call with his mother in episode 2-7 The Panty Piñata Polarization. But when Penny runs into Beverly at the broken elevator, we get an idea of why Sheldon doesn’t faze Leonard, as Dr. H launches into a theory of the passivity of the tenants due to the dust on the sign and tape blocking the door ( and I must say that in theory, she is absolutely correct, but in practice, fixing it means no more stairway walk and talks). Penny asks an innocuous question about Leonard when he was little ( ” I think you meant young, he’s always been little.”) that turns into a therapy session with a neuroscientist as Penny blubbers on about no longer being ” Slugger” to her dad. Sobbing Penny leaves Dr. H by Leonard’s door, and his mother informs him that all he needs to do to get Penny into bed is find out the brand of cologne her father wears. Who knew it’d be that easy?

This leads to a scene similar to one we’ve seen played out by Sheldon and Leonard a couple of times dealing with sustenance. Leonard tries desperately to please his mother with tea, but the oolong, loose tea, steeped three minutes, milk warmed separately, a teaspoon of raw sugar cup is cold, like mom. Sheldon is clearly taken with Dr. H, whom he sees as an ideal mother- analytical, smart, emotionally efficient, not prone to hitting you with a bible because you don’t eat brussel sprouts. Although a particularly disturbing side of Sheldon comes out when he gets excited by the prospect of viewing the Power Point presentation of her paper on her sex life with Leonard’s father ( and poor Leonard for having to deal with that issue, because he’s clearly been forced to observe it).

Leonard ends up taking Mom to work, where Howard and Raj have way too much fun at Leonard’s expense. Apparently, Leonard is the black sheep of his family, a lowly physicist, while his younger brother is a tenured law professor at Harvard, and his sister is on her way to curing diabetes. Leonard gets them back by telling his mother that Raj can’t speak to women unless he’s drunk and that Howard still lives with his mother. Raj’s case piques her interest a bit, but Howard’s amuses her more than anything- ” An adult Jewish male living with his mother is so common as to be sociological cliché.”, then deduces that they both have a pathological fear of women that they hide by developing an ersatz homosexual marriage ( leading Leonard to crow ” You brought your husband to work!”) This sets up a classic old married couple style fight between Raj and Howard involving Howard always having to speak for Raj around women,  an incident at the comic book store, and the fact Raj says that Howard never wants to talk about what’s really the issue at hand. What does Sheldon get out of this exchange? ” You went to the comic book store without me?”

Leonard, having decided that alcoholism is a valid career move, goes to Penny, and the two of them get wasted on white wine while Sheldon goes to the hospital for a brain scan with Dr. H. The two clearly Vulcanesque people have drawn the conclusion that they are exceedingly comfortable together, and are shocked that someone ” as workaday” as Leonard is their link. This leads to a scene where  Sheldon and Dr. H have a discussion about doing… something, needless to say, it’s filled with sexual innuendo, which is disturbing coming from Sheldon.

Leonard and Penny have moved on from white wine to tequila shots. Drunk, Penny allows Leonard to lick salt of her neck ( he gets very into it, I must say), and after his shot, discovers his lime in Penny’s mouth. Make out session begins ( he spits that lime out and it got some major air, dudes), and it moves into the bedroom, where those impulsive behavior issues come into play. Penny impulsively decides to sleep with Leonard. Leonard impulsively tells Penny that sleeping together is a Freudian nightmare that he’s frankly okay with. That gets him kicked out of bed, out of the apartment, and he returns across the hall to find his mother and Sheldon singing along to Rock Band. That’s what he was trying to convince her to do.

The closer was a bit of a downer considering how funny the show was in the middle. Dr. H goes to leave, giving an obligatory hug to her son ( if you can call it a hug at all). Penny and Leonard have no bad feelings about the night before ( and  they never, ever have to talk about it). On the way down the stairs, Penny again falls into the trap and ends up sobbing about her parents, prompting Dr. H. to ask her to fly to New Jersey and have a brain scan. Penny sniffs ” Will it help?”.  ” Well, it would certainly help me,” Dr. H intones.

TBBT had it’s cast on fire this episode- everyone got a good line in, it was balanced evenly between the three leads, the two supports, and the guest star. Johnny Galecki, who had been reduced to being the reactionary to Penny and Sheldon the past season finally got a half hour to shine. Sure there were outdated pop culture references that weren’t funny a decade ago ( JarJar Binks? Really? Although Simon Helberg’s impression was spot on. His gift for mimicry surprises me every single time), but I don’t care that much. I love this show.

Sheldon quote of the night: ” I’d like to do the math.” How exceedingly perfect.

Grade- A-

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ATTENTION: ALL BIG BANG THEORY FANS
Please remember that the show tonight, a fresh, brand spanking new episode that has Leonard’s mom visiting is on tonight AFTER Two and A Half Men, due to the Presidential News Conference. On the West Coast, they will be airing a Christine repeat, followed by HIMYM, then the two Chuck Lorre sitcoms. Please
remember to tune in and watch CBS comedies tonight. Thank you.

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”It’s very simple. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and, as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”
—Sheldon (Jim Parsons), explaining his new game of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, on The Big Bang Theory

” I never have any normal fans.”

Dr. Spencer Reid ( Matthew Gray Gubler), lamenting the fact yet another serial killer is a fan of his work, on Criminal Minds

“I hate New York! I’m sorry, but it’s true! Today, I was walking around PriceCo. Have you been there? It’s huge! All the stores in New York are so cramped! Every time I turn around I knock something over. I’m like some huge monster that came out of the oceans to destroy bodegas! …I’m too big for New York, okay! I’m always trying to fit into cramped little subway seats, or duck under doorways that were built a hundred and fifty years ago. “Hey, people are bigger now! Build bigger doorways! What the hell is wrong with you?” …And it’s so loud. All the time. Yes, I know it’s the city that never sleeps, but guess what? I like to sleep! I’ve been tired for eight years! Tired and scared, with black and blue marks on my elbows from trying to fit into all these tiny elf doorways! New Jersey’s great! It’s got huge stores, and lawns, and you never have to carry a cup again! For the rest of your life! I’m not afraid to say it: I love New Jersey! ”

– Marshall ( Jason Segel), ranting after spending time at Stella’s New Jersey home, on How I Met Your Mother

” I can see Russia from my house.”

-Sarah Palin ( Tina Fey), giving a press conference with Hillary Clinton ( Amy Poehler), on  SNL

”I am Shiva the destroyer and your harbinger of doom for this evening.”—Kym (Anne Hathaway) in Rachel Getting Married

Penny: Sheldon, it’s me.
Sheldon: You’re in my bedroom.
Penny: I need your help.
Sheldon: People aren’t suppose to be in my bedroom.
Penny: Well, can we talk in the living room?
Sheldon: I’m not wearing any pajama bottoms.
Penny: Why?
Sheldon: I spilled grape juice.
Penny: Well, can’t you put on other pajamas?
Sheldon: I can’t put on other pajamas, these are my Monday  pajamas! Penny, people really aren’t supposed to be in my bedroom!

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), after she enter’s his room in the middle of the night for game playing advise, on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: I know this is none of my business, but I just… I have to ask — what’s Sheldon’s deal?
Leonard: What do you mean, “deal”?
Penny: You know, like, what’s his deal? Is it girls…? Guys…? Sock puppets…?

– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard ( Johnny Galecki), after witnessing a girl fawning over an oblivious Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), on The Big Bang Theory

Penny: Sorry the napkin’s dirty, he wiped his mouth with it.
Sheldon: I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy?!
Penny: Well…yeah, I guess. But look, he signed it!
Sheldon: Do you realize what this means?!?! All I need is a healthy ovum and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!
Penny: Okay, all I’m giving you is the napkin, Sheldon.

– Sheldon ( Jim Parsons) and Penny ( Kaley Cuoco), after Sheldon opens his Christmas gift, on The Big Bang Theory. This is followed by Sheldon giving her a half dozen gift baskets and the funniest hug in the history of television.

” I kissed a girl and I liked it/ the taste of her cherry chapstick.”

– Katy Perry ” I Kissed A Girl”

 “Denny is my best friend. I love him with all my heart. If I could yank that horrible disease out of his body, I would fight it and I would win. I would use every ounce of my strength and I would win, if I could — but I can’t.” 

– Alan Shore ( James Spader), in front of the Supreme Court, on Boston Legal

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