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The Big Bang Theory "The Holographic Excitation" Review: Talk Nerdy to Me

The Big Bang Theory S06E05: “The Holographic Excitation”

So Howard was back from space, but he was lacking a proper outlet to get his full space-squee on since his ability to hijack any conversation and turn it into Space Adventures with Buzz Wolowitz of Star Command was practically a science and everyone was really sick of it—except Sheldon and Leonard, if only because they got a kick out of experimenting on it. But alas, even that amusement passed and Howard came to realize that it was almost time to go back to being boring old regular Howard.

Poor Howie, he only wanted to keep his coolness cred front and center. Unfortunately, his humblebragging abilities need some work. Hang out on Facebook for a while, Wolowitz, you’ll learn the art of the #humblebrag in no time.

Leonard and Penny claimed the spotlight leading up to Stu’s annual Halloween party at the comic shop. Penny didn’t want to attend, but Bernadette and Amy pressured her into going because they themselves didn’t have a choice. It’s no secret that Penny’s ongoing indecisiveness irritates me to no end, if only because she keeps stringing Leonard along and then managing to make it seem like her inability to commit is somehow his fault. Her complete and total disinterest in what the man even does for a living was alarming, and I was glad to see that even Bernadette and Amy—who are usually quick to humor Penny’s self-inflicted lovelife drama—were visibly irked.

Bernadette went as far as to say, “You get what you put into a relationship,” as a gentle condemnation of Penny’s initial inability to occasionally indulge Leonard in date nights and even life in general. Compromise goes both ways, lady, though for me, that was the easy part of Penny’s problem to understand. Penny doesn’t like the comic shop and she knew she wasn’t going to enjoy the Halloween party regardless of who she was with. That’s fair. That happens. Going to a movie with your significant other isn’t going to make you enjoy the movie any more if you had no desire to see it in the first place.

No, what really bugged me was the job thing. I mean, that’s Leonard’s life, the culmination of some impressive accomplishments and a lot of hard work, and Penny had zero interest in even the most basic aspects of it. She chalked that up to being too dense to understand what Leonard does, but made no effort to try, even when Amy and Bernadette attempted to explain it. Sheesh, Penny is capable of communicating with other human beings, and it’s not like anyone was asking her to PERFORM Leonard’s job.

At Bernadette’s urging, Penny dropped by the lab one day to hang out. You know those Band-Aids that The Big Bang Theory is so fond of slapping over the Penny/Leonard relationship, only to rip them off a few episodes later when we need some angst? I suspect that’s all we got here, but I’m also crossing my fingers that some actual progress was made. Please, PLEASE let some progress have been made.

Much to Penny’s surprise, she realized that Leonard’s job was actually kind of cool. He was working with holograms and showed off some neat tricks, explaining the Holographic Principle—which Penny seemed to follow pretty well because she’s not nearly as dumb as as she thinks she is.

Penny paused their shenanigans to say to Leonard, “I forget how smart you are,” and even though very shortly afterward they commenced with the sexytimes, that wasn’t sex talk coming from Penny. That sounded like a sincere compliment. Progress!

Of course, for the rest of the episode, whenever Leonard started talking nerdy—but not TOO nerdy, as we saw when Magneto entered the discourse—the conversation usually ended with romp in the... TARDIS. It’s the little things, right Penny?

Hopefully this is a turning point in Penny’s understanding of her relationship with Leonard, rather than an admittedly hilarious detour away from their usual inability to function. What do you think?



The Stray Observation Addendum


1. One-liner of the night: Bernadette’s "I’m gonna be washing paint out of my smurf for a month!” Howard’s sexy astronaut puns get an honorable mention just because they were creepy; his Bernadette impression, however, was glorious.

2. Speaking of puns, Raj’s Halloween menu was cute! However, it also kind of reminded me of a school lunch menu. Our lunch ladies really liked puns too. It helped disguise the fact that we were basically eating chicken byproduct pressed into different shapes every day of the week. NUTRITION!

3. Amy doesn’t like Star Wars. I’m sorry, Amy. I liked you. But you’re gonna have to go.

4. Just kidding, I love Amy. But really, I would have expected that to be a deal-breaker.

5. “There are certain things that say to the world, ‘I have a boyfriend and he’s not made up.’ Matching costumes, hickeys, and sex tapes.” Amy has a point. I was kind of holding out for her to enlighten Sheldon as to what a hickey is, if only to see his reaction of complete and utter horror.

6. Raj was irritated by Stu taking credit for all of his fabulous party-planning. Ruh-roh, Stu. I’d watch it. Your status in the inner circle was already shaky where Sheldon and Howard were concerned.

7. So who won "Best in Show" with their costume?

Comments (34)
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I have great hope that Penny has made progress in her relationship with Leonard...I still think they belong together, although her usual lack of commitment annoys me as well. As for Amy and Sheldon's couples costume choices, Amy's "Blossom & Joey" was the best. But Howard and Bernadette's "Smurfs" stole the show!
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I'm a little worried that Amy thinks "Blossom and Joey" are a "couples costume", in the sense that they were brother and sister. WHOA!
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I'm more worried that Sheldon is becoming obsessed with slash coupless (Doctor & Daleks?! No Doctor and River Sun/Mr. Spock & Nyota, Han Solo & Leia, etc.)
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It's not slash; he's just not interested in romance. He has a less narrow definition of "couple". Amy knows she means romantic couples, but Sheldon doesn't see the world through that lens.
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While we're on the Blossom kick, has anyone else notice that frequent Chuck Lorre director Ted Wass, who played the dad on Blossom, has yet to direct an episode since Mayim joined the cast? I hope there's no ill will.
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When I saw "Dharma and Greg" and "Blossom and Joey" on AFF's side of the idea board, I was DYING. Great call outs there to both showrunner Chuck Lorre and Mayim Biyalik.

This was a cute episode, but man was Leonard ever lucky that his experiments were fairly complete enough to show Penny. I fear you're right and they're going to backslide Peonard, but at least it was nice to have a reason to care about them again for an episode.

Your photo above ruins the CGI illusion that the ball was actually floating, how could you?!? ;-)
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Staff
Ooh nice catch on the photo; that's the one that CBS had up on its press site for this episode!
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Bernadette was easiely the hottest smurf ever :P - great choice of costumes. And adding to that howards impression... It's been a while since i laughed that hard while watching big bang theory.
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Very good episode. Bernadette's smurf line had me rolling!!!
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I particularly laughed at "Indian Jones", Howard's Bernadette impression, and her deep voice. When Sheldon and Amy showed up to the party, my first thought was that they had come as Dorothy and a suspiciously-C3PO-like Tin Man. 7.8/10.
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Stu was supposed to be Willy Wonka? I thought it was the Mad Hatter. Would make more sense, since the Mad Hatter is a Batman villian.
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He was Willy Wonka! It's all there, in color, clear as crystal. You get NOTHING, YOU LOSE! GOOD DAY SIR!
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I got the Willy Wonka vibe from the specificity of the colors and cut of the topcoat, but I suspect you're right that it's Mad Hatter due to the large size of the hat.
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I love that "Blossom and Joey" was on Amy's list of couples!! :D
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this show is declining in quality and has been doing so since they decided to make it a dating show.
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"The Doctor and A Dalek"? What kind of crazy shipper is Sheldon?
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@ionee24



He doesn't know what love is...he's too selfish to know. It's more he wants another mommy.
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"4. Just kidding, I love Amy. But really, I would have expected that to be a deal-breaker."

Sheldon is in love with her, and that proves it.
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No, he just assumes that females are, by definition, irrational. He's not alone in that assumption, either.
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Staff
TRUTH.
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I enjoyed the episode in that it did its job and made me laugh. It is for that very reason I don't take comedies to seriously.

That being said Penny/Leonard is really starting to confuse me. A couple weeks ago a Penny loved Leonard but essentially was bored. Seems like that's almost been swept under the rug and with her obvious attraction to Leonard this episode has been resolved? Or hasn't? Like I said, im confused.

Ps. As for Penny not being interested or understand Leonard's job, I wouldn't b to hard on her, in season 3 she tried to learn, and all she got out of it was where fig Newton's come from.
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Staff
It's been resolved for the length of this episode. Penny'll get bored again, I'm sure.
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I dont understand why Shamy didnt go as Pierre and Marie Curie. That would have been perfect for both of them. Although, from the lists up there, The doctor and a dalek is the winnter for me. Amy is the perfect dalek, and then we wouldnt have to see her face!
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Pierre and Marie Curie would have made Amy more important or recognized than Sheldon. Not going to happen ;-)

The Doctor and a Dalek? How about The Doctor and Amy? No wait, something's wrong with that. But I guess the Doctor and River Song would have been a possibility.

I do like it when they recognize Doctor Who on Big Bang. I like Doctor Who :-)
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This episode exemplified pretty much all of the problems I have with The Big Bang Theory in one handy 22 minute serving size.



As I said last week Howard brings his outsider status upon himself by not knowing how to interact with people and then when someone brings it to his attention instead of taking the advice he just ignores it and pouts. I loved the clip with Buzz Aldrin at the end to show him what it was like for other people when he went on and on about having been to space, because hopefully he learns from it, but when you follow up an episode where I'm supposed to be sympathetic to his blight with an episode where he's acting like a nerd douche its hard for me to develop any sort of relationship to the character. If he had been openly avoiding talking about space because of last weeks episode where it seemed like no one cared and then the flood gates were opened when they told him they'd like to care about it and he learned a lesson about humble bragging that would have been an actual character arc instead of just another random character trait that was developed for the sake of humour this week.



Which brings me to the whole Raj thing. I love that he has taken Stuart under his wing and is helping him via friendship, it is very in line with the Raj character, but then to have him all jealous that Stuart was taking credit for the party seemed so disjunct with what was shown up to that point. Stuart had pointed out that the party was a way for him to meet girls, what did Raj expect that as soon as Stuart met a girl he would pause to gesture to Raj and give him credit. Besides it didn't feel like Stuart was actually taking credit, you would address the owner of the store as having thrown a good party, not to mention its not like when the attractive girl said I love the names of the food, Stuart said "thanks I came up with them all on my own" he was very nonchalant about it, because he was too nervous to do anything else. Raj's behavior would have made sense if we'd seen more of Stuart taking credit besides the one scene where he could form a coherent sentence. Speaking of Stuart what happened to the guy who was able to get a date with Penny what happened over the past four seasons to turn him into white Raj.



Sheldon and Amy, I'm sorry but that Star Wars thing would have totally annihilated early season Sheldon. I'm glad that the character development has happened with him and that he genuinely cares about Amy and her feelings. With that said it makes little to no sense that he wouldn't actually compromise to them going in an actual couples costume. I also find it hard to believe that they don't have one single duo that the two enjoy enough to go out in couple costume mode in. That whole things just shows that aside from social awkwardness these two have nothing in common which seems to counter everything we know up until now between the two. I like them as a couple but I wish that the writers could give them better conflicts between the two. Each episode where they fight the stakes seem non-existent.



Which transisitions nicely into our other dating couple. Penny and Leonard, I'm kind of sick of the we're a boyfriend and girlfriend when its convenient for a joke or storyline thing, and I have no doubt that within the next two weeks Leonard will say or do something stupid that breaks them up again. I understand that they can live outside of when we see them each week, but when the main crux of the show's premise was nerd gets girl it seems odd that they treat their relationship in such a cavalier manner. I was also stunned by Penny's comments during girls night at the cheesecake factory, not because they were so hurtful, but because they were so incongruent with the Penny we know. Its like with Amy and Bernadette being there as girls they've had to dumb down the character of Penny, to a point where she doesn't understand a relationship. The Penny who we saw in the first few seasons, who so reluctantly bonded with Sheldon and who Sheldon so reluctantly bonded with has disappeared and been replaced by a stereotypical mean girl. The best part of Penny was that she always seemed to actually be a nice and intelligent person who just also happened to be pretty. We met the girl who was mean and took advantage of the guys in the character of Alicia, in the nineteenth episode of Season Two. Penny stood up for her friends in that situation because she was smart enough to see what was going on and strong enough to handle it. I doubt very much that the character of Penny we've seen so far in Season Six would do anything like that. She's become a parody of herself, I'd say she'd been flanderized, but it seems as if they begun exploiting character traits she has never shown and begun relying heavily on them for plot lines. Its odd.



Which brings me back to my original point, there is just no sense of character identity in this show. Each episode feels like we are dealing with complete strangers and that is even more difficult to contend with when you add in the fact that it feels like each episode just end without proper resolution.
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Staff
You nailed it.



The Howard thing particularly bothered me because he's only been back for two episodes, and he didn't get to geek out about his experience in his first episode back at all. Now we immediately jump to the Howard-is-so-annoying-about-space storyline without getting the comfortable middle just so there could be a storyline about it.



With Raj and Stu, I agree. Raj essentially signed up to be an event planner, which, by nature, is a job that involves working behind the scenes. I would have expected him to understand that, but even if he didn't, like you said, it's not like Stu was overreaching in his credit.
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I dunno, I am not convinced "I forget how smart you are" was a genuine compliment. I think that was a verbal indication that she was getting lady-wood.
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Staff
Lol, least sexy sexy-talk ever.
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My line of the night goes to Amy's turtleneck/foreskin comparison...hell, that entire conversation was gold.
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i didnt even notice that the board said blossom and joey
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I hadn't noticed Sheldon's side had Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect... Love to see some Hitchhiker's Guide love in the show. Also would have liked to have seen that Sheldon as Ford and Amy as Arthur would have been a bit of fried gold
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Heh. That is all.
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Which would've been kinda creepy, since Blossom & Joey were brother & sister.



Note "Dharma & Greg" is also on there.
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I'm still trying to understand Hewlett 6 Packard myself
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