Visiting the Big Bang Theory on Its Deathbed, Week 16


The Big Bang Theory is a CBS sitcom about a group of geeky adults that has run for 12 staggeringly long years. In that time period, it has attracted critical ire, many Emmys, and earned its stars million-dollar salaries. But now this show is dying and I, a pop culture critic with a heart made of onyx who has never even seen a single episode, have decided to watch the program weekly to pay my respects—and also roast it to death one last time.

Season 12, Episode 17: The Conference Valuation

Summary: Let’s just get this out of the way: there was no Joe Manganiello in this episode. I’m so sorry. But we do, sort of, see Howard and Bernadette’s babies, who I’ve previously surmised were nonexistent, or perhaps figments of the couple’s imaginations.

In this episode Penny, rich with power as head of a sales team for an anti-inflammatory drug (so rich with said power that she keeps employees past midnight regularly) goes to a pharma convention with Bernadette to, uh, get the word out about the drug? Or whatever the hell people do at pharma conventions? I saw Side Effects years ago and all I remember is Rooney Mara being hot and back-stabbing in it, apologies. At the convention a rival pharma bro tries to recruit Penny, he even has an offer ready to give her, but Bernadette is all, “hell no, not without a fight.” Here I thought there was going to be some high-stakes bidding scene over Penny’s worth, but Penny just says she’s good with the company she’s at and leaves with Bernadette. Boring!

Meanwhile Howard has to babysit his children and tries to invite the crew over to babysit with him. Sheldon comes over despite calling Howard’s children “loud, sticky babies” because he’s found some sort of baby “experiment” book where you can perform harmless experiments on babies (which sounds terrifying but is really like which child reaches for something first, etc.) And reader, we do indeed see some babies, but their backs are to us the whole time, and they’re in their carseats for some reason, and we don’t see their face so, yeah, actually maybe we don’t see Howard’s babies, goddamn it.

With the experiments, Sheldon is extremely interested in babies, and Raj is suspicious. He figures out that Amy is basically using the baby experiment book to get Sheldon interested in having children, which seems mighty messed up, okay! By the end of the episode, Sheldon is talking about how many kids he wants to have, Amy having succeeded in her little experiment on Sheldon.

Worst joke: “Don’t call it babysitting. It’s called parenting,” Bernadette tells Howard. “What’s the difference?” he says. “You don’t get paid,” she answers. Why do I feel like this is something I’d find written on a throw-pillow at a suburban HomeGoods? No disrespect to HomeGoods; it’s an incredible store.

Nerdiest moment: When Howard invites the guys over for board games as a “party,” Leonard says that it doesn’t sound like a bunch of guys hanging around playing board games is a party. “Someone doesn’t remember college,” Howard replies.

What I learned this week: I think Sheldon is incapable of seeing children as human. More sociopath material!

Did I laugh?: No.

How dead is this show?: I don’t know, but my question for you is: If I smothered this show with a pillow before it’s scheduled to go off air, would you tell anyone?

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