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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. 

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!



THE STRAY OBSERVATION ADDENDUM

– "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"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/12/2016

Season 9 : Episode 24

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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.
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Sheldon. On. Fire.
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Thought it was completely wrong to have a dermatologist who gets tattooed????
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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?
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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.
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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.
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WEll, hopefully they don't break L/P up again to create drama. That would really make it Friends
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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 ^^)
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'knot' not 'know'...
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I really liked this episode! :)
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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.
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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.
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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)
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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.
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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.
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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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Raj showed great maturity, in dealing with Emily. This could have gone wrong in so many ways. And Emily came back to Raj to justify for herself. This looked kinda cool, given their culture-difference.

On the other hand, Leonard pulling out "The One Ring" ;), showed that he was expecting Penny to make this decision and had therefore popped the question on demand.

Howard & Bernadette added the humor.
But not much from SHAMY! disappointed a bit, But satisfied that some big changes came out of this episode as it nears the season finale.
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Mini Wolowitzes is what I want most out of this show :)
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Loved the proposal. Penny is growing up and realizes that she is happy with Leonard. Sheldon with really helpful by accident. Beradette and Howard was the funniest. I missed Amy though. I loved the episode.
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I thought the proposal was pitch perfect, right down to Leonard's admitting he had carried the ring around for a couple of years, and Penny's surprised and sweet whisper of an answer. I think that her realization that she did want to marry him was just what she said. She finally understood that she didn't need fame or fortune to make her happy. All she needed was Leonard. Whether she decides to continue pursuing acting or goes back to being a lackadaisical waitress remains to be seen. But she has had an epiphany about her reasons for wanting to act.
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Is it really so terrible to hire a nurse to take care of your mom?
They DO both have jobs after all.
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No, I think it was the right idea. It's good that they struggled with the decision, though. We'd like to think our loved ones would just jump in and be delighted to wait on us hand and foot. But that's not reality.
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She's lucky they didn't push her out a window. If she fit through a window, that is.
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While I like TBBT as a comedy just fine, I am usually not a big fan of Wil Wheaton on the show. He seems (or is?) not exactly an acting highlight. That's why I thought his self-depricating humor this week was great. Him getting a part in "Sharknado 2" of all things and how excited he got like that is any better than the job he just lost... Anyway, felt like the first time he was funny on this show.

I like that Leonard and Penny are finally moving foreward with their lifes. One thing I wonder though: does that mean at some point they will move in together - or in other words out of Sheldon's apartment and Sheldon will (have to?) get a new roommate???

Some "mini-Wolowitzes" would be interesting imho. I really hope they go there and can make it funny.
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I think they tackle the roommate issue next week.
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The issue of where Leonard will be living and how it will be affecting Sheldon seems to be a focal point of the next episode, at least based on the promo for it.
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And after all, the premise being from the beginning that Penny can afford an apartment in that building but Sheldon can't. Good grief.
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They mentioned once that Leonard was paying her rent
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I always liked Wil Wheaton as he seems to be able to ridicule himself (his old roles) in some way. He is also a funny guy in real life as far as I can see (and read).

You have the same question that I immediately had. Leonard of course spends most of his nights with Penny (if not he is a fool), but he still pays rent. I have no idea (yet) how they will fill that space. What also crossed my mind was that when Penny and Leonard are married, they should rent a house of their own. Why stay in that small apartment? They are that different that they will need different spaces and these different spaces are not available in her flat. Leonard now uses Sheldons (and his) apartment for that. He could keep on renting the room, but that would be stupid writing. As the series has just been renewed for two years, we will not soon get an end as Friends had ten years ago.

I just had a vision of Bernadette giving birth. I do pity the doctors and nurses around her bed :-).
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Oh man a pregnant and moody Bernadette... I wonder what that will look like :) I really wouldn't want to be Howard when she gives birth. But I bet it would be SO funny...
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It would probably look the same, but bigger.
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I think the writer of this article is being a little harsh on Penny's motivations, especially since they were covered by her response to Leonard when he raised that very point. In any case, this is clearly setting things up for stuff further down the line when her career finally takes off and causes problems for the couple.

I liked the stuff about the ring and the way it showed just how sure Leonard was that things would eventually happen for them.

While a minor thing, the self-realisations made by Raj could end up being a very welcome thing as for too long he has been little more than Stuart with more lines and a contrast to any happiness of the rest of the main cast, which has made him more repetitive than he used to be before he could talk to women.
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Penny's motivations are clear: "once again I failed in my career, I need some changes. What's near me... Leonard. Oh what the hell, let's get married, that will do some changing".
So the writer has ALL the reasons to be harsh on her motivations. I can't even believe Leonard accepts. Once again he is the spare wheel.
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Not exactly, Leonard asked if he is a backup plan and that she can't get a job so she's mooching off him.

Penny said that she wants to marry him since the truth is she doesn't need a job to be happy, she needs him.

MarryAnnn's point was that Penny could actually have both. One is not dependant on the other...
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I worry about Stuart.
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As do I. The series has had difficulty maintaining consistency with it's supporting guest characters. On two occasions, with Leslie and Stuart, they tried to make them main cast members only to be unable to find enough storylines for them so the ideas were scrapped.

I really think recurring guest characters is something the series could work at to make it more realistic, for example, surely both Penny and Bernedette had/ have friends before meeting the rest of the group, where are they? It's not as if the series doesn't have the time to work on this and characters like Stuart, it just seems content relying on those that they do introduce to be one-note stereotypes.
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Oh hey, I thought they canceled Friends years ago. Guess not. That's cool. People like Friends.
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Friends wasn't canceled. It just ended.
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Really liked the episode. Leonard and Penny are finally engaged! I really like seeing them together and hope it works out. I actually thought the proposal was going to be from Penny to Leonard, but the way it turned around was clever LOL!!

Omg Howard and Bernadette tending to Howard's mom had me ROTFL at times, especially when she went to the store looking for the right food, i think!!!

I'm a little pessimistic about Raj and Emily. It's not because I don't want them to succeed as a couple, but that Raj has a bad history with women, and girlfriends in general. They just keep leaving the poor guy unfortunately.
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In the final episode, Leonard goes back to Robin.
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...and then we find out the entire series was an autistic boy's fantasy.

Either that or David wakes up next to Darlene, and it was all a dream.
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I don't know.
Season 7 has so far evolved the show from a comedy show to a soap opera-like thingy. I get that the characters need to grow and change to become more real, but in doing so, I feel they've lost comedic potential. Even Sheldon.
What do you think?
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Based on this series, I would say the writers have no idea at all how to make the show funny any more, and have completely run out of ideas, so they're falling back on a crappy soap opera model that loses everything that once made this show so special.
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Of course you're right. It hasn't been funny in a long time, ever since they made Amy a dumb enabler of her abusive narcissist.
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Sounds like a CW show rather than what it actually is; two characters that in any other show would've died single, but TBBT turned into comedy gold!
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I think the show is still really funny, but it is allowing the characters to grow and change.
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In realistic ways, I may add. The characters are still "geeky", Sheldon will die before become cool, Amy will never date out of her league, Howard will always be Howard, but they evolve into the best version of themselves that they can be
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It's interesting to read the comments here. Clearly, the fans are pretty invested in these characters and what happens to them going forward. The show will be on for another couple years and the formula that worked so well for the first few seasons was pretty much played out. So, they have to change the dynamic in order to have fresh situations from which stories can be written. As long as they maintain the personalities of the individuals, I believe it will continue to be a fun show to watch.
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If they hadn't changed you'd probably complain about their characters being stale. It's hard to find the perfect balance doing this but I think TBBT still gives you enough comedy to laugh. And as long as no one dies or it's suddenly revealed that Leonard and Penny are brother and sister (like they often like to do in soaps ^^) it's okay :)
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As long as no one dies and come back to life it's not a soap opera IMO.
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You mean like on Agents of SHIELD?
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You're confusing it with Avengers, in Avengers Coulson died (and came back to life off camera). In SHIELD, no one has done that yet.

The agents killed by HYDRA stayed dead.
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I hope it is a quick engagement
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They'll either get married next week or near the end of season 8.
I'm not sure which I prefer.
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I was worried going into these last two episodes that they were going to break Penny and Leonard up. A little less worried now that I've seen the preview for next week.
Really thought tonight was good. I like a show that takes risk. They've done a great job with Penny and Leonard as a couple (a lot of times getting characters together ruins the show, New Girl), so I have hope that they will do the marriage right as well (Bones hasn't and it's made it not as good).
I think the next season will be about Sheldon's reaction to Leonard moving on, that and maybe an advancement in his relationship with Amy (SHAMY FTW!). I also like the way they're FINALLY moving Raj's character forward, it's about f-ing time. The question is what will they do with Howard and Bernadette, will they stay in stasis as they have for the last season or two?
Next week will be fun, and I'm already looking forward to next season!
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Bernadette and Howard aren't really in stasis; they are just a young, married couple. Bernadette is still getting established in her career, and right now they are caring for Howard's mother. That's normal, as is the subject of children creeping into their discussions.
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Children have to be next. And I suppose taking their time is good since there are at least three more seasons, but it seems odd to see everyone else changing and moving forward, but Howard and Bernadette not really moving forward.
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Some season back, there was an episode that had Howard's mother in the background - kitchen, I believe. Her face was not shown, just her body from the back. I suppose she got fat since then because she wasn't in that old scene. It's something that's been nagging me. I don't think they need to keep referencing her weight either, which helps keep what she looks like a secret.

Sheldon's reference to his clever contractual dating plan with Amy seemed sort of out of character, as though he were a devious schemer in the relationship. I always saw him as more innocent and/or clueless being more wrapped up in himself and his supposed intelligence.

Good episode otherwise. Nice seeing Steve Valentine - short though it was.
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He is innocent, but has talent for making people sign one-sided contracts.
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Yes, I'm replying to myself, again. Sighh. It's like Sheldon is a child. Think of the kind of deals you wanted to make when you were a kid; they would all be one sided and to your advantage. That's Sheldon.
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Because children have an inflated sense of self. You know who else has an inflated sense of self? Sheldon.
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Inflated sense of self doesn't necessarily mean innocent though. The Jersey Shore cast members have inflated senses of self, but I'd hardly consider any of them innocent.
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Exactly my point.
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Sheldon has addressed his relationship troubles. It's not that he's naive or clueless, but rather that he's not comfortable with bodily contact. The fact that he "schemed" to have AFF agree to not date anyone else actually shows a weird sort of character growth on his part. He recognizes the impact AFF has on his life and wants to continue to have her as his girlfriend even though he's not good with the physicality of it all.
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I think Sheldons plan wasn't supposed to be a scheme, rather something so he would have her as his girlfriend while at the same time only having to do the least amount of relationship stuff (like going on dates etc)
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I tend to think that television writing is greatly overrated, but I think Lorre and his writers do great work on this show.
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Can't help but think Raj's story would have more weight behind it if he himself hadn't briefly dated Emily and Lucy at the same time just a few episodes prior. Any sympathy I would have had for him when he saw Emily with that guy just was not there.
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Loved the engagement. Love How this show makes its characters "grow". Hope they don't "go back" on the whole engagement thing in the last episode.
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I hope they don´t drag the whole engagement throughout season 8.
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I can pretty much guarantee that the wedding will occur in a sweeps month.
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That might pretty much happen. Having them be engaged for season 8 and marry in the final episode. The season could focus on the possible change of living arrangements, since it would make sense for L/P to move in together.
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I bet Leonard will move into Penny's apartment and then Amy will move in with Sheldon, but they will sleep in seperate bedrooms.
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Or possible Raj would move in with Sheldon. They did try it out in season 4 finale...
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I would like to see them explore this new, committed aspect to their relationship just a bit, though. No "when it is going to fall apart again", but maybe a chance for Penny to right herself the marriage.
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*right herself BEFORE the marriage.
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finally engaged.
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Yawn.
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Aww....I actually think that is probably how I get engaged too, where we are honestly not sure that we did....
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Wow!!!
Between Melissa & Joey and The Big Bang Theory this week...

Their episode this week was quite similar alot... They start it off as an business help at first... Then move right in spin off the hit couple future as of marriage...

I've not seen 2 couples from 2 different sitcoms shows, get in engaged close together into the same week broadcast before....

It's not i am complaining or anything like that...
It's just i find it quite interesting and weird... Seeing 2 broadcast sitcom shows engageing, their hit couple to be married close together into the same week...
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"Seeing 2 broadcast sitcom shows engageing, their hit couple to be married close together into the same week"

M&J isn't a broadcast show, so you still haven't seen this.
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Wrong, all of Tv from Cable Tv & Network Channels are broadcast programming....
That's how they air putting programs on airwaves Tv and Scheduling week to week...

So, what are you talking about?

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Well, it is sweeps.
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Well, it's more like 2 is better than one...
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