The Big Bang Theory "The Santa Simulation" Review: Does This Episode Deserve Cookies or Coal?

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Dec 14, 2012

The Big Bang Theory S06E11: “The Santa Simulation”

Dear Santa,

I know, I know—it’s been awhile. Like Sheldon, I mildly resent the limitations of your powers, HOWEVER, the Barbie Fold N’ Fun House you brought me when I was five years old is still a warm holiday memory and because of that, I think his refusal to rescue you during Leonard’s epic North Pole-themed Dungeons & Dragons quest was a mite harsh. I hope your festive sweatshop isn’t suffering too much of a backlog due to the apparent slaughter of half your workforce. Sheldon’s love can apparently be won back with a heartfelt offering of at least three trains, if his nightmares are anything to go by. And please remember, Santa, at the end of the day, D & D is just a game. I know the guys I hung out with as a teenager claimed it was a “lifestyle” but, well, they’re creepy. And still single.

I’ll admit that I’m prone to faux-barfing my way through the holiday-themed episodes of most TV shows just because— actually, I don’t have a good reason, Santa, other than a mild “tradition” allergy. Very Special Holiday Episodes come out of the woodwork every season and unless they feature homicidal Santas, most of them just kind of melt together like that pile of gooey half-baked cookie dough currently congealing in the bottom of my oven. (So FYI, you’ll be getting cupcakes this year.)

While The Big Bang Theory’s “The Santa Simulation” managed to avoid the worst of the Christmas cliches with its hypothetical elf slaughter and your little cannon-wielding cameo in Sheldon’s nightmares, it instead fell into a pile of its own series staples (ouch), for better or worse. I thought that maybe I could help you decide whether the show gets cookies or coal in its stocking this year by helpfully documenting the good and the bad of “The Santa Simulation” for you. Consider it part of my penance for being mean to Glee on a fairly regular basis and cheering for the demon nun over on AHS.

Reasons to give The Big Bang Theory ALL the coal:

1. Admittedly, I giggled at Raj joining the Girls' Night Out after getting his character’s face blown off prematurely in the D & D quest, but how many “Raj is a woman” jokes do we actually need?

2. Similarly, The Big Bang Theory seemed to be aiming for some sort of record as to how many Amy-is-fugly jokes it could cram into one episode.

3. This was the second consecutive episode to feature a "traumatic childhood" pissing match between the guys. The point has been made. Repeatedly.

Reasons to NOT give TBBT coal:

1. Stu! I actually asked the TV where the hell Stu has been the past few weeks (When are the elves going to perfect the sentient television technology, Santa?) seconds before he was invited to Leonard’s epic D & D party. However, even though I'd missed Stu, I could have done without the detailed description of his bowel movements.

2. The gentle mockery of Raj’s double standard regarding women in his dating pool. When Penny, Amy, and Bernadette offered to set him up with a chick during their “ladies' night,” Raj insisted that they refrain from mentioning his wealth because he wanted a woman who cared about him for HIM... but she also had to be, like, super hot. Nines and tens only, maybe eights if they’re particularly frisky. I’d say leave Raj some coal, but I think he learned his lesson.

3. Stu’s rant against Amazon (it hurts the little businesses like his comic shop) and Leonard’s counterargument (he can order stuff while he’s on the toilet). Oh man—so torn, so guilty.

4. Melissa Rauch in that red dress. I mean damn, girl.

Santa, I hope that this quick note helps you to make a more informed decision when you’re overexerting the reindeer and eating yourself into a diabetic coma in the coming weeks. The Big Bang Theory isn’t a bad show and certainly doesn’t aim to end up on your naughty list, but it seems that for every nice gesture made, like the delightful D & D quest that Leonard concocted PURELY to force Sheldon into indulging in some Christmas crap, a slew of lazy over-reliance on the cheapest aspects of some of it’s core characters tends to put the brakes on my laughfest.

It’s up to you now, Santa. I trust you to make the right decision.



The Stray Observation Addendum

– One-liner of the night: “An eight is acceptable if she’s willing to bring another eight to the hot tub.” —Raj

– How do you think Santa should gift The Big Bang Theory’s “The Santa Simulation”? Coal or cookies?

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  • ionee24 Dec 18, 2012

    No more than Raj and Bernadette and later on Raj and Penny were destined to be together. Been there, done that. TWICE. Add Amy and it would be like beating a dead horse.

  • Atlantida Dec 17, 2012

    is it only me or raj and amy are destined to be togerher?

    i mean, it's obvs she won't be w/sheldon the way she wants to be, she won't have the relationship she wants so much, and raj is alone and wants the same, so why not?

    OF COURSE, i think that raj should date some nice guy (b/c he's SO BI) but it won't happen on this show, so amy is the best candidate imo. team #ramy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ionee24 Dec 16, 2012

    At this point, I figure Raj needs the most tomboyish girlfriend this show could find. Cookies all around!

  • OdumC Dec 16, 2012

    While the girls modeling their dresses was certainly some delicious eye candy, that in no way saved the show. it triumphed all on it's own. as Holiday episodes go, they'll never top "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" where Penny gives Sheldon Leonard Nimoys Autograph (and DNA) and he's so stunned he hugs her. But this was still a thoroughly entertaining episode with lots of big laughs. not sure why coal would even be considered.

  • MollyHolzschl Dec 16, 2012

    This show brings me joy. Even when it's silly to the point of obnoxiousness, I adore TBBT and I say not just cookies, but really, really good cookies. And MaryAnn, I really don't think you get this show, or that you like or care much about it. Reading your non-reviews harshes my buzz. To TBBT, may you long prevail!

  • Daniel-Jackson Dec 16, 2012

    "Santa is dead and I picked this over having sex with my girlfriend". Definitely cookies, t'was a funny episode.

  • DavidJackson8 Dec 16, 2012

    Amy: "Once I passed out at a frat party and woke up with MORE clothes on."

    That probably got the biggest laugh out of me. Although I didn't technically clothe her, it also reminded me of this time at a party when a girl passed out on the bed and I put a jacket over her body like a blanket. I wonder if she woke up and was disappointed.

  • Glennen Dec 16, 2012

    Have you seen Kaley Cuoco's reaction after Amy said that? She works hard supressing a laugh :)

  • Tigerbob Dec 15, 2012

    It was okay. I can see them making Raj gay but it wouldn't work.

  • dragon22a Dec 15, 2012

    For a holiday episode it could have been a lot worse. Sure you had some cliche moments like the bit with Sheldon singing or the bells but at least they were played for laughs. The whole Raj being a woman or gay has been a running joke for years but it is getting to be a bit much, even Stuart is seeing it.

    On that note it was good seeing Stuart as part of the group. I would like to see more story for him outside of being Raj's substitute Howard. Flesh him out a bit more, maybe get him a love interest, like one of Raj's sisters.

    I will admit that things did take a dark turn when Sheldon turned the game around and his feelings about his Grandfather emerged. It really wasn't dealt with after that either other than in the dream. Rather than that, they could have just had him turn on Santa in the game because he wanted to make the quest more interesting or to stick it to Leonard and his Christmas cheer. They could have still had the dream at the end without the Grandfather angle.

    Like I said, the episode could have been worse. Most of the time in a holiday episode you have some sappy life lesson thrown jammed down your throat. Here all I could see as a lesson was save Santa from a dungen or he'll blast you with a cannon.

    And I must say that Bernadette and Penny looked good in those dresses. We have seen Penny in such an outfit but I never thought Bernadette had it in her. Of course it was all the funnier by the fact that it was made perfectly clear that Amy doesn't have it in her even if she thought Sheldon would notice.

  • Uncle-Bryn Dec 15, 2012

    I'm clearly a typical shallow man. I'm sure the episode was sub-par but then Penny in the black dress....... Damn my fickleness!

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