The Big Bang Theory season 6 episode 10 review: The Fish Guts Displacement

Review Kaci Ferrell 7 Dec 2012 - 07:41

Kaci finds one element of this week's The Big Bang Theory turns her stomach, and it's not the fish guts...

This review contains spoilers.

6.10 The Fish Guts Displacement

Well, that was awkward. 

You know, I honestly don't know where to begin with this episode of The Big Bang Theory, so let's just start with the easy stuff and get to the weirdness as we go. 

In the non-Shamy half of the episode, Howard is dealing with his in-laws. There are quiet dinners, stilted conversations, and constant foot-in-mouth syndrome. We've all been there, if not with our in-laws then with someone. Sometimes, it's just hard to connect to other people for whatever reason and it leaves everyone feeling awkward. (Awkward seemed to be the theme of this week, but if you thought this was awkward, then...well, like I said, we'll get there.) 

So thanks to some gentle nudging by Bernadette and her mother, Howard and Mike end up agreeing to go on a fishing trip, which leads to the revelation that Howard has no idea how to fish. Nor, apparently, do Raj and Leonard, thanks to the three of them having fathers who either weren't around or whose interests were decidedly not in spending time with their kids. Fair enough, and I like that for once, the explanation of why these geeks don't know how to do traditionally less-geeky things has an in-character explanation, but I have to admit that I'm a bit tired of their interests being confined slowly to the nerd realm. I'm as geeky as they come but I also have eaten my own freshly caught trout on more than one occasion. Geeky people can have non-geeky interests, too! Particularly in this day and age, when it's become sort of geek-chic to prepare for the "zombie apocalypse" thanks to the influx of zombie media in our pop culture. 

But I digress. They don't know how to fish, so they turn to Penny. She tries to teach them, but it mostly just leads to gross-out gags about fish guts. I'm sort of creeped out by how much she seems to revel in cleaning the fish or hooking the worm. 

All of it is for naught anyway, as Howard and Mike decide to go gambling instead, which is probably a better use of their time and is more likely to result in bonding, if memory serves. Being stuck on a tiny boat with someone you're not quite sure how to talk to is a surefire recipe for awkwardness. 

Speaking of which — I really can't put off talking about this anymore, can I? Do me a favor and get your cringe ready now because you're going to be doing a lot of it in the next few paragraphs — Amy spends most of the episode sick and thanks to the Relationship Agreement, Sheldon has to take care of her. 

I admit, this starts out fairly harmless and almost sweet; it's nice to see Sheldon not only admitting that he cares for her, but actually doing something about it for once. As expected, Amy basks in the attention and I really can't blame her since having that Vapo-Rub applied to her chest is about the most action she's gotten since Penny's ex-boyfriend Zach first made her say Hoo

But then it starts to get a little creepy when she admits to Bernadette that she's recovered and is only keeping up the ruse of being sick so that Sheldon will pamper her — creepy, but again, still kind of understandable, even if things do take a turn for the weird when he offers to help her bathe. 

Only then Sheldon finds out that she's been lying to him and suggests that she needs to be punished to prevent further incidents and since his father never spared the rod while he was growing up, Sheldon doesn't see a reason why he should now. 

I very much hope that if you're reading this, you've already seen the episode, because there are some things too awkward for me to put into words. Between Amy's eagerness, the R&B music, and Sheldon's chiding that she shouldn't be enjoying this, I am at a complete loss for words. A friend once introduced me to the concept of "motts," which she defines as that feeling of second-hand embarrassment you get when you watch something awkward happen to other people. If "motts" is ever added to the dictionary, the picture beside it will be a still from that tag scene. 

If I can just ignore that last Sheldon/Amy twist, this was a fairly good episode of the show; I liked the character depth we got regarding Howard, Leonard, and Raj's relationships with their fathers and the final scene between Howard and Mike was touching. Even the Sheldon and Amy storyline provided some general amusement in the first half. 

But those final scenes soured me on the episode, I have to admit. There are just some things that cross the line not into offensive, but into too awkward for me to enjoy, and this didn't just cross the line, it tap danced right on past it. 

Were you as squicked out as I was? Or is my awkward metre just too sensitive? Hit up the comments and let me know.

Read Kaci's review of the previous episode, The Parking Spot Escalation, here.

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I think that was the most ridiculous thing i have read, that show is very funny and there was nothing awkward about it i thought it was great and the funniest part was sheldon spanking amy!!!! Maybe your a little bit of a drama queen that has a hard time just watching something without putting a negative twist on it,, the only thing awkward was your comment, i hope you go find yourself one of those things called a sense of humor

It was a little out of character for Sheldon, but very much in character for Amy.

I agree with you on that,, it was different watching sheldon,, but i think when people are acting like it was some big sex scene was kind of over the top, he rubbed medicine on her chest and spanked her,,, it was funny!!!...

As others stated here, I also think this episode was very funny even the last part. Also I felt a bit of "motts" but that was when Howard tried to find something to say to Mike while sitting on the couch I hate those kind of situations... Anyways I think this was a great episode may as well be the best one untill now from this season.

Come on einstien..."As I have said so many times, God doesn't play dice with the world."

give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime...

clever. Does god play dice?

I believe the reviewer takes herself entirely too seriously. This is not the first review by this person that has come across judgemental and a little preachy. Lighten up, Francis.

The Sheldon and Amy portion of the episode had me cracking up. Amy's facial expressions were priceless. Sheldon's innocence in the whole matter just topped it off.

I think the only way Amy is ever going to get something remotely sexual out of Sheldon is to mislead him or leave him for someone else. If the roles were reversed (the guy wanted sex and not the girl), the guy would have either pushed her or dumped her eons ago. The show's assumption is that Sheldon will come around, but will he?

Its creepier if the guy wants sex, and the lady doesnt. The way they have it keeps it funny. They had that story when Amy went on a date with Stuart. Sheldon does care for Amy!

Here's my advice for ya Kaci, channeled via an old movie quote; "Lighten up, Francis."

I think the reviewer put her dislike of spanking into the complete review of the episode. I can see how some would not like the spanking, but I thought it was hysterical and showed a completely new side to Amy. And that Sheldon had no idea of her true intentions is spot on for his character.
BTW, I loved that Penny just pulled the fish guts out and the guys basically hurled.

Our reviewer seems to get creeped out quite a bit...

The final scene started out a little awkward but as soon as Amy put that music on I couldnt stop laughing. I can see some people being put off by the spanking but watching Amy's enjoyment and Sheldon once again oblivious to what's actually happening I thought it was hilarious. Now if Amy hadn't been so eager for her punishment THAT would have been awkward.

I liked the Sheldon and Amy scenes until the end. Spanking is not want I want to see Sheldon Cooper do, it hit all my squick buttons. I'm not a prude by any means, and I thought Amy's reactions before the tag scene were hilarious... but as soon as she put the music on... oh hell no. There was no need to show it.

Yup - I pretty much thought you were right on - the Amy/Sheldon story started out as lightly amusing, but the final scene was just way too weird...

The rest of the episode was pleasant enough though.

Maybe it's time to replace Kaci Ferrell
with someone who doesn't hate the show? Or at least a writer who understands BBT? In a media where all characters are wiling to jump into bed at the drop of the trou, it's kinda sweet to see two adults dealing with suppressed sexual urges. There is something downright Victorian about Shamy's relationship.

Reading this review says more about the reviewer than the show sadly. I feel that the Shamy situation is sweet. If you feel that a couple caring for each other (albeit repressed) is creepy then I hope you are not in a relationship.
Also what is wrong with not being disgusted by fish guts. Have you never prepared food? I've prepared fish with my dad that he's caught. I suppose I'm gross now.

All those comments were about Kaci not Tom just to clarify!

Can we please have another reviewer. Ive watched the shows and disagree with the reviewer almost every time.

Clearly, this episode ends by finding fun in Sheldon's sexual naivety, and Amy's exploitation of it. It's not creepy, but it is downright amusing.

I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one fed up by the reviewers opinions on this show... PLEASE find someone better to review! In the words of Amy, her negativity every week is 'harshing my buzz'...

Give a man an episode and you give him something to watch. Teach a man about an episode and you give him a choice as to whether to watch. Many's the time, in recent seasons, that I've laughed uproariously at a TBBT episode, then been disheartened by finding an online review full of hatred for said episode. However, for whatever reason I didn't feel like watching this week, and after reading synopsis and review, I'm not sure I will. Sheldon getting physical? Too out-of-character. Believing in spanking? In character, but too immoral for me to easily sympathise. I feel like some kind of light has gone out of TBBT recently, possibly around the time Howard came back from space and no-one was enamoured of him. We'll see. Right now I feel TBBT and I need some time apart, so I can learn to get comfortable with myself.

Wow at some of those comments. Not surprising that TBBT is doing so well with the ratings, if most of its audience thinks that a guy physically punishing his girlfriend and her turning it into something sexual without his consent is funny. No, Kaci, your awkward metre is not too sensitive, and all the people who think the spanking scene was so cool and impressive should go back to reading 50 shades of grey and stay off the comments section, so that they won't be embarrassing themselves so much. I'm all for things going out of the comfort zone and for a bold, kinky humour, but that was the worst kind of creepy.

Woah! Lay off the reviewer just a little bit... It's just their opinion. Though I've got to agree that all of the reviews so far have been over-whelmingly negative. It tends to be more enjoyable to read if the person writing about the episode is actually a fan...

Kaci I'm afraid I disagree. Most of the Sheldon/Amy episodes (I won't resort to using the word "Shamy" just yet) have been about Sheldon behaving abysmally somehow then making it up to Amy later in the episode. It was good to see that she can hurt Sheldon's feelings too. The spanking thing was a little bit weird but I found it funny. Then again I'm British and most of our humour (my beloved Fawlty Towers) is about coming up with the most awkward situations possible. American sit-coms sometimes come across as a bit tame.

On the flipside I did not enjoy the fishing trip story. It feels a bit like TBBT has crammed in too many regular characters and doesn't know what to do with them all. It would have been to have another side-story with Penny than crow bar her into the episode for five minutes. Raj barely appears.

As a geek myself, with a geek girlfriend, who I have secretly caught reading 50 Shades of Grey hidden in a Star Trek novel cover - and who went red then laughed uncontrollably throughout the Shamey scene, I can relate completely.

This was hysterical, and we both ended up crying with laughter.

And to those of you prudes out there squirming in your seats, get a life people. This happens behind closed doors up and down the country ;)

Does no one else think that, regarding the spanking, Sheldon knew exactly what he was doing? The storyline wasn't creepy to me as I saw it as Sheldon starting to explore his sexuality...I think he was just playing naive, for once. Amy has never been too subtle about her intentions towards Sheldon, and he is aware that she has a sex drive. They are also "dating". As much as Sheldon is, well, Sheldon, I don't believe that he could give Amy a bath, rub her chest and spank her, totally without realising that all of those things could have sexual connotations. I actually liked Sheldon in this episode. Most of the time he drives me crazy and I think they push his lack of social skills way too far for him to be likeable, but here he came across as almost normal. He's starting to realise that what he feels for Amy is more than "respect". The old Sheldon wouldn't have turned back to take care of her. He would have carried on walking the first time. There was a nice undercurrent of sexual tension between Sheldon and Amy in this episode, and it was not totally one-sided as usual.

God might not play dice, but based on any number of "professional sports" games, it's clear God places bets.

The spanking thing I thought was a bit awkward like you say for a show that is nowhere near the watershed time but I'm not going to be the twat who complains about the one borderline bit and say it was not beneficial to our children. The episode was good, would have liked to see a bit more with the interaction between Howard and Bernadette's mother but overall was a good episode.

Wow. I read this review and then scrolled down here expecting to see a tonne of comments in agreement with what the reviewer was saying. Instead, a load of people are accusing her of ridiculous things like "hating the show" and not having a sense of humour.

Kaci is a fan of the show. She wouldn't be the one reviewing it otherwise. Quite rightly, she has noted that this series is considerably less amusing than the show has been up until now and she is absolutely right about the ridiculous climax to this episode.

We know that Sheldon doesn't really have a social awkwardness meter, but even he must realise what he is doing for most of this episode and especially at the end. Saying that someone takes themselves too seriously because they don't find a particular thing funny is incredibly silly and shows a certain narrow-mindedness.

If you just want to hear people wax lyrical about how great a programme is, then you should go and read fansites rather than reviews. The point of a review is to be critical of bad points as well as being laudatory of what the show does well. If someone doesn't give their honest opinion, then they're a terrible reviewer and so I think Kaci does her job very well indeed, even if I don't always agree with her.

Wow, a real white night. You should go join Atheism +

Why do Americans have so many hangups about sex. The sexual references here were so extremely mild how can any of you be embarrassed about it. I personally thought the Shamy bits hilarious but Howard in the silly fishing outfit had motts in spades.

Hey guys, you really need to start worrying if an Englishman is calling you a prude.

I agree completely. It was completely off line and awkward. It soured the complete episode for me as well.

The episode itself was funny but has lost its actual geek humor to humor on geeky things. They are 2 different things. Geek humor is based on legitimate concerns about topics with in-depth analysis of them where other people have no interest and an actual obsession with specific knowledge. The parts such as Sheldon's string theory arguments with the child prodigy are some of the fine examples of this.

The show while still funny is focussing on some of the finer elements such as an obsession with comics which cannot be generalized as an obsession of all people classified under "Geeks".

Well I'm not American and I actually love a bit of gross-out comedy. The end of this episode was just entirely out of character. It was an obvious case of the one gag that Shamy has being desperately stretched because they've run out of stuff to do with it.

First of all. Amy is starving when it comes to sex so it is expected of her to enjoy it. But sheldon not knowing why she is enjoying is pretty lame.
All you people who think spanking was bad idea, have a nonsexual relationship with your partner for a couple of years and the you will be yearning for physical touch even if it comes in the shape of spanking.

Whats crazy to me is some of you are disturbed by a spanking when there has been scenes about people having sex and prostitutes but thats fine as long as someones not being spanked!!!! Right on its a funny show,, I hope he spanks her again lol....

Mott means something different in the UK :-)

So what was it that disturbed viewers and reviewers most about the storyline?

Did they believe Sheldon was acting out of character by suggesting the spanking? Though he ostensibly calls Amy his girlfriend, and has talked in the past about fathering a child with her in the future, his psychology and mannerisms and attitude indicate he still treats her as a buddy or even a sibling, and this coupled with his traditional upbringing makes his choice of punitive measures seem realistic for a peer.

Amy meanwhile has a more developed sexuality, has had a long-standing openly-expressed girlcrush on Penny, and has talked about employing battery-operated devices for masturbation (albeit she uses electric toothbrushes). It's clear that she takes advantage of Sheldon's naivete to getting a little attention, and has obviously had fantasies about being spanked, so she's hardly the victim here. Is Sheldon? Perhaps.

Or is it really just a display of sexist double standards, that we can have the male characters with sexual kinks, a love of exotic porn, wearing costumes during sex, even using robotic arms for masturbation purposes, but the female characters must remain more traditional? Because fantasies about being spanked are really pretty tame on the spectrum of human sexuality.

Usually love reading the reviews on her but what a load of tosh this is. Whilst BBT has always had innuendo in it I accept this scene went further than any other but it was also one of the funniest of the recent series since the girls have become main characters. In terms of Shamy moments its up there with the scene where she serves him dinner with the Super Mario theme in the background. Big thumbs down for the reviewer who I hope not to read again.

I am a huge fan of BBT but season six to me seems to be missing something it is trying too hard to be funny and the spanking scene was so out of character for Sheldon(though i am not against harmless spanking myself (but that's another story) personally somewhere along the way they have lost the plot and need to get back to the original format as in seasons 1 to 4 ,but i will still buy the DVD's when released ,i love it

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