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.
PENNY AND LEONARD ARE ENGAGED, YO!
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"?
AIRED ON 10/20/2014
Season 8 : Episode 6