Several comedies decided to double up this week, airing not extended hour-long episodes, but two separate episodes back to back... perhaps with the theory that since we'd been waiting all summer, we'd really want more. But in all three cases, this really didn't work: How I Met Your Mother's first episode was great, while its second one was a dud, and vice versa for Modern Family. Last night, The Big Bang Theory's second episode wasn't terrible, per se, but it just wasn't the laugh-a-minute episode that the first one was. In fact, if it had aired separately next week, we probably would have chalked it up as a fine, adequate episode with a few laughs -- instead it suffered by comparison. Here were the highlights of both episodes (thank god for Amy Farrah Fowler).
Great Parenting Advice (Ep. 1)
Christine Baranski (so happy The Good Wife is on the same network and CBS allows her to keep making appearances) showed up again as Leonard's child psychologist mom via Skype to advise him on what to do with all the feelings he was having about his girlfriend moving away and his ex-girlfriend sleeping with his friend in his bed. Her sage advice: "Buck up, sissypants." Then she quickly signed off, telling him, "If you need any more help from me, my books are available on Amazon." Can we get weekly video calls with her? Please?
The Catherine the Great Theorem (Ep. 1)
While Penny was belittling herself for sleeping with Raj (dubbing herself Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Whore), her self-proclaimed BFF Amy came over to offer comfort about Penny's uncontrollable skank reflex. She went on a whole spiel about Catherine the Great and the pulleys and the horse, summing up her point as: "She engaged in interspecies hanky panky and people still call her great."
Inquiring Minds Wanted to Know (Ep. 1)
Sheldon: "For the record, I do have genitals. They're functional and aesthetically pleasing."
Too Much Information (Ep. 1)
While Sheldon correctly assumed that Penny and Raj's naked and disheveled state was due to "coitus," Penny's brainteaser about "It's not what it looks like" threw him for a loop. He spiraled off in many directions, coming up with possible scenarios for what they could have been doing. The worst was how perhaps Raj had pinworms (which only come out at night). "Penny could have been inspecting Raj's anal region for parasites. That's a true blue friend."
Amy's Secret Language (Ep. 1)
She's so weird and lovable and desperate for a real-life friend that she was beside herself excited when given the opportunity to have a sleepover. She had been prepping for this day for a while, as she invented a secret language to use just for the occasion. So sweet and deluded.
It Was Never Meant to Last (Ep. 1)
While Raj decided that his hookup with Penny meant that they were in love, she didn't feel the same way, but she let him down easy saying she wanted to go back to being friends. "You can't ruin a friendship with sex. That's like trying to ruin ice cream with chocolate sprinkles," said the tipsy Raj. But the two agree to part ways, so long as he can tell people that they were like a candle that burned out too quickly. She didn't, however, agree to his other request: "Can I say I ruined you for white men?" But at least Raj (who she didn't really have actual sex with... long story) got to rub his hookup in Howard's face. "You're just jealous because I'm Penny's number two choice after Leonard."
Kiss and a Miss (Ep. 2)
When Sheldon wants Amy to get involved in Penny's unhygienic chair she picked up off the curb, Amy asks for "a kiss where I've never been kissed before." When he doesn't pick up the hint, offering up a random geographical location, she realizes that he's hopeless about sex and returns to her harp playing before confronting Penny.
Worse than Bed Bugs (Ep. 2)
We don't know what was in the chair, but it was large and moving and had teeth enough to bite Amy. Just when we thought Sheldon was OCD and crazy (oh, and kudos to Amy for pointing out that Sheldon's knocking habit was a total OCD trait). The girls running screaming down the stairs, while pausing to have a conversation before continuing their shrieks, was a pretty great physical gag.
Speaking of Biting (Ep. 2)
Raj and Howard engaged in some weird cyber makeout session that we'd rather not think too much about, as they virtually tangled tongues and gave each other tips on kissing. Raj got so into it that there was a playful nip that the mechanical smooch device translated as a bite. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but yet we couldn't take our eyes off of it.
The biggest problem with the second episode was that the Leonard/Priya romance felt totally forced and unoriginal, especially as he tried to have cyber-sex with her. The reveal of her parents there fell flat, as did most of their scenes together. At this point, the idea of Priya is better than seeing her on a computer screen.
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