The Big Bang Theory "The Gorilla Dissolution" Review: A Modest Proposal

By MaryAnn Sleasman

May 09, 2014

The Big Bang Theory S07E23: "The Gorilla Dissolution"

To say that "The Gorilla Dissolution" wasn't up to The Big Bang Theory's usual laughs-a-minute pace isn't entirely true, but in the wake of last week's Star Wars sobfest, a more subdued approach to humor was apparent, and at the heart of "The Gorilla Dissolution" sat a lot of anxiety. Penny (and Wil Wheaton) lost her job and reevaluated her relationship with Leonard, Howard and Bernadette looked after a bedridden Mrs. Wolowitz and talked babies, and Raj went to see Spiderman 2... where he ran into Emily with another man, angsted, and only had Sheldon on hand to raise his spirits. The Big Bang Theory has regularly proven that it can handle an episode that doesn't involve a geektastic homage to anything, but "The Gorilla Dissolution" was undoubtedly one of the best. 


It was such a terrible, unromantic proposal, too and I love it because I'm a big grumpypants who judges huge displays of romantic nonsense for their lack of intimacy and obnoxious attention-whoring. Particularly in a relationship as long and as comfortable as Penny and Leonard's, where everyone has pretty much assumed they'd eventually get married for years now, a circus of a proposal just wouldn't fit. It wouldn't be them.

I've been ambivalent about Penny's acting career for, well, forever, but the one thing that rubbed me the wrong way about their betrothing was Penny's attitude that, since her acting career wasn't working out, she should get married. From a cynical angle, it reduces Leonard to a back-up plan and perpetuates the idea that women can't have careers and families, that it's one or the other. But many women have both. Sure, Penny just experienced a huge career setback and her disappointment and fear about the future are probably driving a lot of her thoughts. And sure, Leonard is the constant and the definite thing in her life and seems like the obvious solution to her unhappiness. But the great thing about television is that you can occasionally shuck reality to make a point, and giving Penny both a happy marriage and a career would be a nice change of pace from the usual "either/or." 

Raj, Bernadette, and Howard experienced similar anxieties over big life steps, putting Sheldon in the rarely seen position of authority and guidance (sort of) when it came to Raj's panic over seeing Emily with another guy at Spiderman 2. She claimed he was her tattoo artist, to whom she finally caved and allowed to take her out because he'd been begging for months. Congrats on probably making it worse, Emily, but whatever. Rather than fall into the old pining/stalking/drinking heavily pattern, Raj recognized his own self-worth after talking to Sheldon of all people, and approached the awkwardness of his situation with Emily with surprising maturity. If their relationship was done, then it was done, and he would find someone else and it would be okay. 

Fortunately, it's not over, I guess. I'm still struggling with the logic behind going on a date with a persistent creeper in order to make him stop. 

Bernadette and Howard have tip-toed around the baby issue pretty much since their marriage. When Momma Wolowitz was laid up in bed for six weeks, Bernadette embraced the idea of taking care of her, only to quickly tire of the demands and the grossness and join Howard over at "Team Putz." They ultimately hired a nurse and went back to drinking mochas in their bathrobes, so I guess that's a 'no' on mini-Wolowitzes at the moment, unless they're just going to roll with the "putzes reproduce too" angle, which could actually be a lot of fun. Terrible people who accept their terribleness make great comedy.

So last week we had a funeral, and now we're gearing up for a wedding, probably-not-a-baby, and more Raj/Emily action. The Big Bang Theory's penultimate Season 7 episode highlighted a more grown-up group of nerds, including a very welcome, accidentally-wise Sheldon. Well played, Big Bang Theory!


– "Oh, I'll make English breakfast tea. They destroyed your culture. Close enough." —Sheldon

– Leonard didn't want to be a bran muffin. Aww, but some people like bran muffins! And strawberry Pop Tarts are gross. Brown sugar and cinnamon is where it's at. 

– Howard's impression of Bernadette was great. 

What did you think of "The Gorilla Dissolution"?

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  • plasmarulz May 16, 2014

    Good season finale, but, for me, probably a series finale: Sheldon goes on to lead a hobo-life on the rails, Amy pines for him and dies alone, Stuart has found his bliss, Raj/Emily, Leonard/Penny, and Howard/Bernadette all live happily ever after.

  • Torwart23 May 13, 2014

    Sheldon. On. Fire.

  • LisaXYX May 11, 2014

    Thought it was completely wrong to have a dermatologist who gets tattooed????

  • chrelle66 May 11, 2014

    Which one of the girls is going to be the first to say: "It's about time!"?
    Will Sheldon ever shut about how much this is going to affect him and how much he doesn't like it?

  • PaulCarroll2 May 10, 2014

    So, they ordered 3 more seasons of BBT. If Penny and Leonard get married next season, what will keep us watching for another 2 years? Waiting for Sheldon and Amy to tie the know or do the big nasty? Perhaps the BBT is turning into Friends - everyone is paired up and comfortable with each other.

  • chrelle66 May 11, 2014

    That BBT is transforming itself into a new version of Friends has been obvious for quite some time now. And why not? Friends was one of the most successful series ever.
    But they are going to need a bigger apartment.

  • Glennen May 11, 2014

    WEll, hopefully they don't break L/P up again to create drama. That would really make it Friends

  • Glennen May 11, 2014

    We'll see. Sheldon first has to deal with the engagement, since it's a big change and he doesn't like change, they probably shake up the living arrangements, the tenure stuff is still open, a possible baby (but nobody really likes working with babies on set ^^)

  • PaulCarroll2 May 10, 2014

    'knot' not 'know'...

  • NillaSweden83 May 10, 2014

    I really liked this episode! :)

  • Romano338 May 10, 2014

    That was... bad.
    It felt to me like that: "ok, it's been an empty season, nothing happened, let's make something happen quickly and haphazardly"
    No really, that's not possible. That was bad.

  • No1Slayerette May 10, 2014

    You're right MaryAnn, Leonard and Penny have been in a comfortable enough place on the series for a while now that it was presumed they'd be getting married eventually, and for them to have an over-the-top engagement would not have suited them or the show.

    I, like you, though, am conflicted about their reasons for getting engaged at this point in time. Penny labelling Leonard as 'a smart choice' definitely makes it seem that's he's her back-up plan now that her career isn't working out, and I didn't even think about the fact that it 'perpetuates the idea that women can't have careers and families, that it's one or the other', which is obviously a concept that shouldn't be perpetuated.

    On the other hand, Penny made it obvious after Leonard's reaction to being her 'bran muffin' that he's 'the constant and the definite thing in her life and seems like the obvious solution to her unhappiness' which, for me, is a very hopeful notion, that no matter what happens, that all they need in life is each other to be happy, and it felt very heart-warming.

    So yeah, I'm obviously conflicted, but I guess I'll have to wait and see how the series chooses to continue to play out their relationship to decide whether or not their engagement was a good decision.

  • Glennen May 11, 2014

    You just nailed it. Penny stated it, she doesn't need a big career to be happy, she's happy with Leonard. That's not to say that she'd like to be a stay-at-home wife/mom but maybe in the next three season they could change her focus from being a movie actress to being a stage actress (something she's good at if the Streetcar named Desire thing is an indicator of)

  • chrelle66 May 11, 2014

    There's no reason for her to stop going to auditions. But not being so desperate for a career would take some of the pressure off and she could view going to auditions more as a hobby, and so might enjoy it more.

  • vampman87 May 09, 2014

    You mention that it seemed like Penny deciding to marry Leonard was plan B in her grand scheme, but what you fail to mention is that Leonard actually realized this and called her out on it, referring to himself as the safe "bran muffin." It was a very funny speech and I think it sealed the idea that Penny needs to stop proposing every time she's upset and to actually think before she suggests it about the consequences. She proposed a total of four times to Leonard- once while completely drunk, which Leonard refused, twice while angry (which Leonard toyed with the rest of the episode) and now, where she was semi-drunk AND angry. I'm glad Leonard finally made her open her eyes and admit that she can't live without him. HE'S been ready since season 5 (hell, he's been ready since season 1.) so it's nice to see that she's finally ready to take the next step.

    I don't like Emily. I think she's too "normal" for Raj. And the fact that she made no big deal out of taking what was essentially her stalker out for a movie and says that she'd be furious if Raj did the same thing notes that there may be something not quite right with her. It's not glaringly obvious like Bernadette (sweet most of the time but if you get her angry SHE WILL END YOU!) but it makes me a bit uncomfortable... and REALLY makes me miss Lucy. Yes, Lucy was awkward, but had the writers expanded her a bit she'd fit a lot more into the ladies circle than Emily. (I also acknowledge that part of Lucy's departure was due to the actress's busy schedule.)

    Solid episode. 8 out of 10.

  • Oh_666 May 09, 2014

    Well, I think this show actually needed change. I don't know if there is enough it though.

    It has been dragging on and on on the same issues that are finally coming to a close. Sheldon and the possibillity of a physical relationship with Amy for instance, Howard and Bernadette and the possibillity of a baby, Raj and the possibillity of a relationship and the oldest of them: the possible marriage between Penny and Leonard.

    I do think that would be the natural end of TBBT when all the subjects above have come to a close: Amy and Sheldon having sex, H and B having a baby, Raj getting a steady girlfriend and yes the marriage between P and L.

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