The Big Bang Theory "The Extract Obliteration" Review: Don't Be a Fool! Stay in School!

The Big Bang Theory S06E06: “The Extract Obliteration”

Penny went back to school and didn’t want to tell Leonard because he’d make a big fuss over it. I suppose that’s fair, though it once again returns to the overarching Penny/Leonard problem of Leonard being eager to the point of obsessive and Penny insisting on keeping him at an arm’s length.

I won’t, however, complain about Penny rejecting Leonard’s “help” only to turn around and go to Bernadette and Amy for assistance with her slavery paper. She had every right to feel betrayed by Leonard’s actions—going behind her back and reading her draft when she explicitly told him not to, then having the nerve to rewrite it “better” and encourage her to turn in his paper under her name.

1. That’s insulting. It really is like calling Penny a moron to her face.

2. That’s risky. Plagiarism is kind of a big deal, kids.

3. There are just certain things that one should do on one’s own in life. Like college.

While Penny’s inferiority complex when it comes to her highly educated friends tends to come and go week by week depending on TBBT's need for conflict, it was in full swing in "The Extract Obliteration," which added weight and credibility to Penny’s decision to take classes at the local community college. She was proud of her decision and she was fully aware that, compared to her friends, it wasn’t all that impressive of a thing, but in the context of her own life, it was a huge step.

Leonard certainly meant well and his concern that a bad grade could discourage Penny from moving forward in her education was valid, but how was essentially telling her that her effort wasn’t good enough any better? At least the professor is, theoretically, impartial, and the grade impersonal. Leonard’s complete rewrite of Penny’s paper was akin to giving her an ‘F’—and considering his personal relationship with her, I think that flunking grade probably hurt the more than something from her prof ever could.

Amy and Bernadette were a different situation because Penny sought them out on her own; however, the idea that they too simply wrote a paper for Penny to slap her name on doesn’t sit entirely right with me. I would have expected them to value academic integrity as well, and the eagerness to ghostwrite in an educational setting just irks me. It’s not like the only option would have been to (theoretically) let Penny fail. While she is a delicate flower still trying to take root in academia, if Penny is serious about finishing college, she’s going to have to accept that criticism is a fact of life—and it’s not a bad thing! Being told “this paper could have been better” does not mean “you are hopeless and should drop out immediately.” There is nothing wrong with Penny seeking assistance from her more seasoned friends—APA citations are a bitch. MLA is only marginally kinder. Do not get me started on Turabian.

But if Penny is to truly grow and take something of value away from her classes, she needs to do the bulk of the work herself.

Integrity became an issue in Sheldon’s storyline as well, though with far fewer implications for his career as a game of Words With Friends with Stephen Hawking became heated, then stalled, and Howard let slip that the brilliant scientist is actually quite the sore loser. Sheldon had hoped that completely dominating his idol during their match would shine favorably upon his intellect and lead to professional collaboration and personal friendship. In actuality, when Sheldon’s lead became impressively obscene, Hawking simply stopped playing. Howard encouraged Sheldon to throw the game if he really wanted to work with Hawking and after a moment of deliberation that involved invoking Mama Cooper, Noah’s Ark, and Sheldon’s skepticism of the whole two-by-two thing, Sheldon ultimately decided to throw the game. I was actually surprised. For as much as Sheldon hero-worships Stephen Hawking, I thought he loved being right more. Right?



The Stray Observation Addendum


– One-liner of the night: “He’s a genius and he talks like a robot, two things I always wanted in a friend.” —Sheldon on Stephen Hawking

– Amy being awkward (and proud): “I once looked in Sheldon’s underwear drawer. He yelled at me, but I saw it and he can never take that away.” Uh, high five?

– Stephen Hawking trash-talking Sheldon was a thing of beauty.

The Big Bang Theory "The Extract Obliteration" Photos

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what no mention of penny cringe worthy 'impression of leonard ?'



the ep was great till that bit..



then penny imo just turned into a 5 year old who spat her dummy out.. for all the growth she showed so far that one scene threw it in to a black hole and is now non existant.
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Penny is a moron, and an ugly one at that., but of course this whole show is targeted at a moronic audience. Two and a half men for wannabee nerds.
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This whole season I've been annoyed at the turn Penny's character and her relationship with Leonard has been taking, so imagine my excitement to see that they had finally decided to let her character grow - it's about time Penny starts doing something with her life. So many positive moves were made by her during this episode - she took a class, shouted at Leonard for being a moron, made fun of him after getting a B- .... and then ... they completely ruin it at the end of the episode, by having Bernadette and Amy write the paper for her! What the heck was that all about?! So, basically, what you're telling us, is that her character will never grow, the relationship of her friends and boyfriend will never make any sense, we were fooled for 30 minutes, etc.

I would have even accepted it, maybe, if at the end she said something like "This is the last time I will need any help from you - I will do this on my own ... bla bla bla", but no .. the writers decided it would be funnier to turn her into a complete prom queen super-b*tch (no offence to prom queens :-P). I know this is a sitcom, and common sense is not always a requirement, but I cannot even begin to describe how much things like these p*ss me off.

Anyway .. I hope they fix this soon. I'm really disliking Penny right now and seriously disliking her relationship with Leonard (I see absolutely no reason why they would be together this long, sorry). I hope they break up soon.

Ok .. rant over. I liked this episode (except for the last Penny scene, of course). TBBT still manages to make me laugh after 6 seasons - not bad!

Hawking's trash talk was pure comedy genius :-D
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I'm just amazed that Sheldon has friends to begin with - just so he can play Words with Friends.
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Comedy is a funny thing (pun intended).

In my expierience if a comedy show goes on for multiple seasons it is only a matter of time before the characters become caricatures of their past selves. The longer a comedy show goes on, everything that made it popular in the first place, begins to have the opposite effect. Chracters grow and change throughout a series, usually hitting their peak around season 5 or 6. If the show continues past those seasons the characters can remain stagnant. Sure things happen to push the story further along, but the actual characters very rarely continue to grow. This is because the show is no longer what it once was, what made it popular to begin with. So the characters do not continue to grow in order to try and get the show back to initial elements that made it pheonomenal in its early life; the irony being that it is not as good as it used to be because it is trying to be just that. Its a vicious cycle.

Tying it all back to TBBT, I think this is where the show is going. The characters are becoming stagnant (how may times have Penny and Leonard argued about her smarts, or lack thereof). When characters stop growing and rivert to there old selves they are not as believable anymore, it may still be funny, but they have lost something.

A great example is Barney in HIMYM, he was a womanizer, then he fell for Robin, then he had a string of serious relationships that didn't work out, then he went back to his womanizing ways. Granted it was still funny, but not like it used to be, because Barney is way past that now and to see him acting in that way is hard to buy into.

Sheldon is the only charcater on TBBT, that in my opinion, has continued to grow. But it is for that reason that he is not as funny as he used to be, but if he didn't grow it would have got old fast. Sometimes you are damned no matter what you do.

Now all that being said TBBT theory is one of my favorite shows and I will always be watching. It still makes me laugh, which is half the battle right there. I am just aware that it will not be as good as it once was.
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I love this season! I rofl everytime
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This was definitely the best episode of the season so far. Tons of laughs and good comedy. I dont care what the haters say, this show is still great.
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Ik loved the episode, it made me laugh out loud and that is waht comedy should do. It was the first time this season so it was really welcome.



I also think that's it's a shame that Mary Ann's review almost doesn't mention the fact that it was funny (only in the notes) and what was so good about it. It has been so over all her reviews this season (don't know about the ones last year). You seem so much more interested in drama part of the comedy then in the comedy part. That is an intersting way of looking at a comedy.
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Personally, I liked everything about this episode. Penny took a big step starting community college, and I think keeping it from Leonard and wanting to pass/fail on her own merits was commendable. It was quite hilarious that she would still go to Amy and Bernadette for help though. In fact, she was practically using them lol!!! Also her impersonation of Leonard had me rolling!!!



I also loved Bernadette's lines about mistakenly using Howard's mom's undies as a towel. There were just so many funny lines and moments in this episode. I was quite impressed.
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One of the best shows ever.
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Great episode. Bad move on Leonard's part on reading Penny's paper when she said not to and a worse move when he rewrote it for her. But when it turned out that Penny went to Bernadette and Amy to write her paper later on, I was like what the hell. Penny and Leonard are going to break soon I think and I think Leonard is going to pull the grenade on this relationship before Penny does. The whole Sheldon and Steven bit at the end was freaking hilarious especially this line,



Hawking: Do you like brain teasers

Sheldon: Ohh, I love brain teasers.

Hawking: What does Sheldon Cooper and a Black hole have in common? They both suck.

(Leonard points and laughs at Sheldon)

Hawking: ne ner ne ner



I was laughing for a good minute after that.
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I give the show a lot of credit...they could've very easily faked Hawking's voice.
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Am I the only one who laughed at "Do not get me started on Turabian" ? Watching the nerd-pandering show didn't make me feel like a huge nerd, but laughing at that did. Thanks, MaryAnn.



Also, what about "Words with random bitches on the innernets" ?

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The show works best if you understand it as presenting a conflict, not between the smart and the, um, less-smart, but between people who have two different kinds of intelligence. Sheldon, at one end, is particularly gifted with abstract thought and almost entirely bereft of a capability for human interaction, Leonard, Raj, and Howard are slightly down from the peak but still exhibiting a strong divide. Penny sits on the other side, able to comfortably handle interpersonal interactions but less adept at abstract thought. These differences produce value judgments depending on context and identification, which is where the comedy is created.
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wowwww
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This show has lost direction and focus... where's sheldon's assistant - i was hoping she'd become an item with leonard - penny, WAS awesome, but now she just seems like a whiny bimbette. Also, where's all the great banter between penny and sheldon? that is something the writers seem to have done away with completely... i can go on and on... i just hope they get their act together, or this is going to become a HIMYM-esque situation! :(
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Funny, you know the show better than its writers. Okay then. Oh, and don't worry. Alex (Sheldon's assistant) would be back. You can now cross of "she'd become an item with Leonard" off your list because that seems to be what she's back for in episode 8. Well, sort of.
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i don't claim to know the show better (or worse than anybody) - all i'm saying is that it seems to be going nowhere and all the stuff i used to enjoy about it seems to have disappeared - it disappoints me - and that's my opinion!

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This show has almost entirely become about Lenard and Penny with the other couples jockeying for second bill. I liked it better when it was about the friendships and the humor of being with each other.



Loved Howard and Raj comparing accents, and almost peed my pants when Hawking started trash talking Sheldon (Lenard's reaction really sold it).
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Or, another way to view it, the show continues revolve around Jim Parsons, and he has the Emmy nominations to prove it.
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Good points on academic integrity, MaryAnn. Honestly, I was more surprised Penny told Leonard at all, her reasoning for not telling him had been sound, and he did exactly what she feared he would which made him pretty unlikable (although I can't say unsympathetic as his concerns were founded and his actions indirectly did help Penny find her way to success). Had Penny been doing a better job absorbing the material and churning it into a passable report, then calling her a moron to her face wouldn't have been justified, but this episode once again argued that either she *is* stupid, or she's a lazy student, or both. Of course, that presumes that Leonard is a valid judge of her paper's quality, and it seems as if the writers on this episode were perfectly content to make that argument despite his field of study being far detached from a history class; I'll assume they think that a nerd is a nerd in all areas, yet even Sherlock Holmes had significant self-admitted educational deficiencies... how nerdy of me was citing that?

Sheldon's storyline was one of the lamer "self-contained hopeless assface Sheldon" storylines, but it was less offensive simply because it was minimal. I suspect Sheldon threw the game because he had no ego, he had decided Hawking was the superior intellect and valued that relationship as such. Plus, in his cold mechanical heart he knew he was the superior player.

Amy's fetishization of Sheldon's underwear felt a lot like a male writer's type of viewpoint, but I suppose there are awkward girls out there who do the same thing even if I would only picture that behavior on a pubescent awkward weirdo girl (though getting a thrill out of what we all know are tighty whiteys seems a stretch).
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1. I really enjoyed Sheldon and Leonard's scene with the chess timer. So funny!



2. I was also confused about how Bernadette got to share her MIL's bathroom again. I thought she and Howard were already living on their own, as shown on episode 4.



3. I don't know what the writers are doing with Penny but she's no longer the soft-spoken darling in the first few seasons. Yes, she was kinda annoying then when she hooked up with different jerks but now she's irritating in a lackluster way.



Last night's best...

Amy: You know when one male dominates another, his testosterone level rises.

Sheldon: What's your point?

Amy: It's exciting to think you might be getting a testosterone level.
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You missed talking about some of the funniest stuff in the episode, Raj and Howard doing impersonations of white and Indian accents
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My only comment about the Leonard/Penny story is this: Leonard said she writes like she cooks, well my response to THAT is.. at least she attempts to cook. I've never seen Leonard cook: only have Take Out. So my point is, it's really good she's attempting college, so Leonard needs to back off.
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What's this obsession some women seem to have with cooking? He provides the meal about 100 times more often than her. His method is takeout. Her method is cooking (and that's almost certainly because she can't afford takeout). I'm all for gender equality in these matters, but it doesn't need to be cooking. Just like doing the dishes: if one does them by hand and the other uses a dishwasher, who cares? Sorry, no, you can't call him out on the cooking, he puts way more into that relationship than she does in most ways, including meals.
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And you know, Penny is in just about every way a reprehensible human being whereas Leonard is just shy of perfect. The real tragedy of this show is how Penny is implied in most episodes to be right. It's rather shocking how much disdain this show has for geek culture while pretending to be it's champion.
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Other than the highlights mentioned in the comments so far, I also like the testosterone joke of Amy... :)
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You win Sleasman, you said that it would be a week before they trashed the Leonard and Penny relationship and you were right. I was hoping for a little more breathing space before they completely undid everything from last week.



The episode felt like it might be actually building to something of continuity for the show. Last week we saw Penny take an interest in Leonard's work and that interest could have easily blossomed into her desire to go to school for something and find what it is that she loves, even if it is just dipping a toe in the water. Then just as quickly as I got my hopes up they were dashed when they that rather than build on the bonding of Leonard and Penny over her desire to intellectually better herself that it would instead be better to deal with fictious conflict that it would create. I remember a few years ago when Leonard gave Penny a course catalog from that same Community College and she freaked out. This episode would have been a nice stepping stone for some character development, but then I suddenly remember that I'm watching The Big Bang Theory and let's be honest next week Penny probably won't even still be enrolled in a college class.



Which brings me to my biggest gripe with the episode, which you slightly mentioned in saying that Sheldon's score became impressively obscene. In fact it was sligtly more than obscene it was impossible. When Sheldon said he scored 82 points on the word Extract a huge alarm went off in my head, I thought there is absolutely no way that you can score that many points on the word. I checked back to the scene and Hawking played "A-C-T" for 18 points, which with a point distribution of "1-4-1" and on a Triple Word score would be completely possible. Then Amy said Sheldon should play extract off of Hawkins act for double the points. Unfortunately on both a Scrabble and a Words with Friends board there is no possible way for him to do this and the closest bonus square to use off of a Triple Word score is always a Triple Letter score. Since once a bonus square is used its effects wear off, this means that if Sheldon were to play "E-X-T-R-A-C-T" by adding an "E," "X," "T," and "R" at a point distribution of "1-8-1-1-1-4-1" or 17 points the most he could score incorporating a Triple Letter score would be 33 points if it were applied to the X (19 if on any of the other letters). Even if Sheldon had somehow found a way to play it for double the points as Amy's dialog suggested it would only make the 17 point word worth 34 points. There is no possible way that Sheldon could have scored 82 points on the word extract as he griped to Leonard later on in the episode. It was sloppy writing not to check it against the game and see what the proper point distribution would be. I know that it was meant it jest but Scrabble and Words with Friends are both fairly popular and well known games so it seems odd that they would act so cavalier about the score on a word just for humour. I did all of the formulation in my head before having to bust out a rule book and board to confirm my math. I know what I focus on in shows is usually specific to my own admitted insanity, but that was something so unbelievably egregious that took me completely out of the episode. Add in the fact that it was the crucial linchpin of Sheldon's storyline as well as part of the episode's title and it just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.



Overall another weak episode in the increasingly weak sixth season of The Big Bang Theory
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"What do Dr. Cooper and a Black Hole have in common? They both suck." Leonard's reaction to this was priceless!



I have to admit that Bernadette's cold open of her drying off with Howard's mother's underwear was hilarious. Also, brought up the question: Are they still living with Howard's mother? The problem kind of just faded away after the episode where the argument happened with no resolution.



I, also, believe that Penny was helped with the essay, not that Amy and Bernadette rewrote it for her, but that they purposefully kept it on her level to make it appear she did it on her own to be able to shove it in Leonard's face for basically calling her dumb. I get that, I make notes on my friends papers that ask me to proof-read it. Also, she didn't really have a topic (slavery was bad doesn't count) or thesis statement, them helping her discover one to write about would have made the difference.



Also, you have to remember Penny dropped out of college before because it was to hard. She took the skills she used in High School, where she wasn't an A student, and thought they could be up to par with college standards. So, her seeking out Amy and Bernadette's help will help her realize what she needs to do in the future, after all she said she wanted an A next time.



Raj and Howard's competing accents was hilarious!!
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When Howard came back from space, it looked like they were in her place, so I don't get where they are living either.
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Obviously, Howard is still stuck in a tug-of-war between his wife and his mother.
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Pretty sure Penny didn't actually have Ber and Amy write her essay for her, she just had them help her a lot like with proofing and editing and suggesting changes. Though, I think the joke was in the fact Penny was pretty much using them as slaves.

Also, I like how Sheldon takes a step forward in being almost human and the writers immediately feel the need to reinforce the fact he's a donkey's behind.
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Also, no mention of the accent-off between Raj and Howard? That bit killed me.
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I was hoping for an actual Hawking cameo... was that even him on the phone?
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He has appeared before, but I'd have to guess that getting him to travel to the set is a fairly expensive proposition... one you could do if he was "in the neighborhood" for other purposes, but not an expense you'd incur just to be on-camera for a few seconds.

I suppose they COULD send a crew to film him on location, but that's going to be expensive, as well, so it probably doesn't happen for the same reason.
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He was in the credits as Playing Himself, so yes.
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Well I hope they didn't pay him. That really could have been anyone with a computer. Or Howard.
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+1 for the "or Howard" reference
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