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Another one of Sheldon's quirks... Amy is jealous of a bird.
Our show kicks off when a bird perches himself on the ledge outside the living room window. I can understand Sheldon's fear of birds having gone to a university where the main campus was very often invaded by geese and when considering blue jays tend to hold grudges. This dilemma sets up Sheldon's humorous efforts to scare off the bird and one of the season's few "nerds playing with toys" moments when Howard and Raj's sonic generator fractures the window. Amy jealous of a bird and another one of Bernadette's Mrs. Wolowitz moments were the among the funniest moments. The episodes only failing is the Leonard and Penny subplot where they start out hanging out as friends but wind up trying to outdo each other in terms of courting other people, not one of Leonard's greatest moments.
I'm single. I don't need this crap...
A fitting sentiment from Leonard after his breakup with Priya and when he forces Sheldon into an uncomfortable situation. Some may find "The Isolation Permutation" cringe-worthy or an indication of the show becoming too Amy-centric, but those who have been rejected by people they thought were their friends can certainly relate after Penny and Bernadette go dress shopping without Amy. Sheldon shows that he is both Sheldon and a stereotypical male when he is in the position of consoling a female friend who has been crying, but is willing to show some flexibility where Amy is concerned. While he may not admit it here, he cares about Amy more than anyone else as indicated by how upset he was the next day. He is notorious for complaining about the slightest changes of plans, but was never that livid. He may have been outwardly outraged the future of String Theory and his Lego fun time were disrupted, but he was clearly upset that Amy was upset. Thankfully, Amy gets her happy ending by being named Bernadette's maid of honor as a more concrete demonstration of the girls' acceptance of her.
Some of the best politically incorrect humor to date...
This episode marks the best Mary Cooper episode of TBBT to date with a fair share of racial and religious humor that doesn't get too offensive. I found Howard's remarks about getting only three wishes and about Jesus being the last Jew with muscular abs the most amusing. What was most pleasing was that it did not involve Leonard flying Mrs. Cooper into Los Angeles on implausibly short notice. And of course, as he very often does throughout this season, Sheldon realizes he more like other human beings than he is willing to admit and Amy is the one help him come to that realization. But in perfect Sheldon fashion, he gets the last laugh after feeling like the rest of the group is infringing on spending quality time with his mother.
BAZINGA, punk! Now we're even!
The Leonard and Priya relationship finally ran its course when Leonard takes a liking to a wanna-be comic book artist. The humorous irony is that he turns to Penny for advice, thinking that his closest male friends aren't qualified and rightly so. Penny knows what kind of person Leonard is, and would hate to see him not do the right thing. We could completely understand Sheldon turning down another woman, even before he and Amy became a more conventional couple, or turning down sex entirely, but Leonard doesn't come off as sympathetic while he berates himself for backing out of a night of carnal bliss with Alice. And then he compounds it by striking out with Priya. Sheldon, meanwhile, is baffled by yet another form of social interaction around Halloween. Despite one failed effort after another, he finally gets the last laugh with Leonard. Through a twist fate, this episode aired opposite one of the most memorable World Series games when the St. Louis Cardinals dropped a huge *BAZINGA* on the Texas Rangers.
Houston, we may have problems...
Even Amy Farrah Fowler finds Sheldon's dislike of Wil Wheaton rather infantile, not that the ongoing feud wasn't one of the most enjoyable ones on recent television. And while Wheaton seemed to enjoy needling Sheldon in his last appearance and he was willing to go to sinister lengths to beat him at bowling and Mystic Lords of Ka'a (not above playing the dead grandmother card), we see that the feeling is not completely mutual. And in a fitting comic irony, another Star Trek: The Next Generation cast member supplants Wheaton as one of Sheldon's mortal enemy. "Don't worry. It doesn't take up too much of your time." A more curious is this episode is titled after a subplot not alluded to in the CBS trailer, but is worth mentioning as it is the start of things to come. After Bernadette can't dissuade Howard from going into space, she tells his mother on him, leading some more amusing lines from the unseen Mrs. Wolowitz. It was both clever and despicable at the same time. That Penny still finds Howard repulsive is amusing, while Amy more effectively gets her point across, even before having more self-serving motives for supporting the coming Wolowitz-Rostenkowski nuptials.
A good Raj episode and a clever Sheldon subplot
Raj is feeling lonely being the only one of the four guys without a girlfriend-- of course, Sheldon doesn't dispute that notion, possibly because the viewers and his cohorts get the idea. Penny, of course, has the same idea Raj had in "Desperation Emanation", introducing Raj to Emily, who is deaf. Coincidentally, Katie LeClerc (who is hearing impaired rather than deaf) plays a deaf character on the ABC Family drama "Switched at Birth". The result is some fun moments between Howard and Raj, serving notice that dynamic may still be reminiscent of Joey and Chandler on "Friends" even after Howard ties the knot. And again some hints of the "old Howard" are still evident when he's ogling women at the gym. We may also see why Priya worries that her parents would not approve of Leonard when they cut off Raj, leading Emily to lose interest. The Sheldon subplot, where he leaves trivial decisions to a roll of the dice was the most cleverly conceived since he sought menial employment while stuck on a physics problem. I will (rolls the dice) stop right here.
Amy shows a willingness to manipulate circumstances to achieve her goals
This episode serves as an inside joke to Johnny Galecki and Mayim Bialik being each other's first on-screen kisses on "Blossom" twenty years earlier. Even as Sheldon and Amy are becoming TV's new quirky couple, Amy does not find all of his child-like qualities particularly endearing. He goes to a lecture on model trains expecting not to be impressed, only to buy the new train set. On the same note, Amy complains that Sheldon acted like a child when they went to a wedding together, and so Leonard is her plus-one this time around, ending up in accidentally making Leonard fall in love with her. Whether she simply misread a peck on the cheek or was hoping to make Penny jealous, we'll never know. It certainly elicited feelings of possessiveness towards his "friend who's a girl, but not his girlfriend" in Sheldon. Meanwhile, Howard and Bernadette mull over living arrangements, culminating in the hilarious exchange between Bernie and her future mother-in-law.
More Sheldon being Sheldon in the sophomore episode...
This episode was a strong followup to the first half-hour of the hour-long premiere event. We open with Leonard preparing for a via-Skype dinner date with Priya, despite the significant time zone difference. Sheldon is not shy about the ridiculousness of that arrangement, but he courteously decides to hang out at Penny's apartment kicking off both stories of the episode. Sheldon is pleased with Penny's new chair until learning that it had been in the garbage. I still laugh hysterically when Penny shoves the chair cushion in Sheldon's face to get him to stop badgering her. And I was pleased to see some hints of the "old Howard", turning Leonard on to cybersex, also setting up another comic moment in the "ersatz homosexual marriage" between Howard and Raj and Leonard's efforts having hilariously disastrous results.
The more things change, the more they stay the same... a good start to a season of changes
That expression is a recurring theme throughout Season 5 . The story picks up where we left off the end of Season 4 with Sheldon analyzing Penny's claim that "It's not what it looks like" in true Sheldon fashion. Leonard seems disinterested in Sheldon's musings, knowing that Penny slept with Raj just after learning that Priya was moving back to India. Penny, feeling that her acting career is going nowhere, considers moving back to Nebraska until she gets a role on a new TV commercial. This episode also marks the first instance of Amy crushing on Penny, but for now seems more like envy rather than hinting Amy's a closet bisexual. All is resolved once Raj reveals nothing really happened sexually, and the 4 guys can focus on a favorite hobby of theirs-- paintball.