I loved the Big Bang Theory because it was all about Penny's social skills versus the guys' awkward genius. With a lot of the crazy, weird fun things genius scientists do when they're off in their own little world thrown in. That's what made the show so brilliant and original. But now it's all about relationships, just like pretty much every other sitcom out there. They seem so obsessed with pairing everybody up, they even threw Penny and Raj, the two last single people in the cast, into bed together. It's not that I don't like Amy and Bernadette (Priya I can do without), I actually really like the characters and it's fun when they have weird girls' nights with Penny. But aside from those scenes Penny has now been pretty much sidelined as the focus has shifted to the relationships. And I fell in love with the show because it was dealing with something fresh and new and different, that hilarious and compelling interaction between Penny and the guys, rather than a bunch of standard boy-girl relationships.
This episode is a good example. The focus is on Howard and Bernadette's relationship, which was pretty ho-hum and standard stuff: boy wants to do something girl doesn't want him to do. And the much more interesting bit of Sheldon's enmity with Wil Wheaton was relegated to B story status, and it just wasn't exploited to its full potential, it was treated like a throwaway joke. I mean come on, if you have Sheldon, Wil Wheaton and Brent Spiner in an episode, you should take advantage of that. It was also a disappointment, seeing as how the conflict between Sheldon and Wil was building, and then they just let it drop. There's no climax or payoff. Meanwhile, Penny hardly plays a role in the episode, beyond one short scene where she asks Bernadette if she really loves Howard, and being present when Sheldon is talking about his Mortal Enemy List.
I understand that shows have to evolve if they are on the air for several seasons. But the trick is to hold on to the heart and soul of the show that people fell in love with in the first place while adding new facets that don't take away from the core. And sadly, in this case, they're taking away from what I love about the show.