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

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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