When a sitcom episode only has two characters you don’t want to toss a cream pie at — and that’s really only because those characters don’t factor into the story lines that much — it’s a pretty safe bet that these 30 minutes won’t just fly by. To make matters even worse, the theme of this episode is: Who’s the least obnoxious character onscreen?
Is it Sheldon, who leads the group in its condescending explanations and pedantic ramblings to Penny about the rivalry between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison as a preview of a documentary screening?
Sheldon, who later reveals to collaborators Howard and Leonard that, after the trio was pulled from its guidance-system project by Air Force Colonel Williams, he went behind his friends’ backs and pitched a modification to the project that would make it useful as a communications system? Sheldon, who not only kept the new project a secret from his friends, but completely cut them out of any credit for the revamp, which was based on an idea they originally conceived and invited him to team up on?
Sheldon, who considers it high comedy when his girlfriend stubs her toe, and is bored by her drama when she cries about the pain?
No, it’s not Sheldon.
Is it Leonard and Howard, who come up with another modification that will better Sheldon’s new communication project, and invite the creepy opportunist Kripke to do their math work so they can go behind Sheldon’s back and pitch their new take to Williams themselves?
Is it Kripke, who, as Kripke is wont to do, does the math, then pitches the makeover himself to Colonel Williams, without any mention of Leonard and Howard’s involvement?
Nah, Kripke is reliably obnoxious.
Is the least obnoxious character in tonight’s episode Raj, who is sleeping with Bernadette’s co-worker Ruchi, but still agrees to Bernie’s request to find out whether or not Ruchi is trying to steal her job while she’s on maternity leave? Raj, who confirms Ruchi is trying to steal Bernie’s projects, but tries to convince Penny he shouldn’t tell Bernadette, because that would mean Bernie would confront Ruchi and lead to him not being able to continue having sex with Ruchi?
Nope, very obnoxious.
Is it Bernadette, who is understandably concerned about her job, but also confirms she’s manipulated and sabotaged co-workers?
Is it Amy, who sees so much good in Sheldon that she finds his scientific gasbaggery sexy? Or Penny, who despite knowing she possesses more common sense in her pinkie finger than her allegedly more intelligent loved ones do in their big ol’ genius noggins, still supports them all and tries to make them treat each other well?
Yes! It is Amy and Penny who are the least obnoxious characters in the episode, but again, that comes with the notation that neither of them had much story line happening, save Amy’s toe business and Penny’s listening-to-Raj-whine business.
The worst part: All the offenders of the basic tenets of good friendship get a dose of karma in the end, but because we’re longtime viewers and fans, we still want only good things to happen to them. (Well, except for the cream pies that should hit them in their faces.)
Maybe Penny has more common sense than all of us.
• “Isn’t he sexy when he’s all fired up? He really gets my current alternating, if you know what I mean.” —Amy, while Sheldon discusses the rivalry between Tesla and Edison.
• “You went to see the movie It because you thought it was about scary IT guys.” —Penny to Sheldon, after he laughs at her for thinking Nikola Tesla invented the Tesla car.
• Sheldon logic: Thomas Edison is a pornographer because he filmed the first onscreen kiss.
• “Leonard, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’ However, there is an ‘I’ in ‘I’m working with the military, and you’re not.’ There’s five of them, in fact.” —Sheldon, after he tells Leonard he’s still working on the military project.
• “What you’re saying sounds nice, but the way you’re saying it is making my testicles take cover in my abdomen.” —Raj to Bernadette, after she calmly explains what she’ll say to Ruchi if Ruchi is trying to steal her job.
• Raj to Ruchi, who refuses to fist bump him after sex: “You’re the one who wanted to keep things casual.” Ruchi: “There’s a difference between casual and weird.” Raj: “Not the way I do it.”
• Ruchi’s nickname for Bernadette, which she shares with the co-workers who also don’t like her: “Pregnadette.”
• Leonard points out Tesla was insane because he fell in love with a pigeon. Sheldon’s response: “If we’re going to call Tesla crazy for loving something small and unappealing, might as well put Penny in a padded cell right now.”