The Big Bang Theory season 7 episode 6 review: The Romance Resonance
The Big Bang Theory is all hearts, flowers, and cellos this week. Here's Juliette's review of The Romance Resonance...
This review contains spoilers.
7.6 The Romance Resonance
In this week’s The Big Bang Theory, Howard pulls out all the stops to make a big romantic gesture for Bernadette, prompting Penny to make a slightly less successful attempt to do something romantic for Leonard. Meanwhile, Amy earns herself a place in Sheldon’s tree-house by demonstrating that she really does know him better than anyone else.
It almost feels as if Valentine’s Day has come early to The Big Bang Theory, with an episode dedicated entirely to the series’ on-going romantic relationships (Raj’s chief on-going relationship, as far as we can tell, is with his DVD collection).
Howard and Bernadette’s story isn’t so much a story as a vignette showing how much they love each other, but it’s very sweet. This is a show that, seven seasons in, really knows its characters, and this episode uses that knowledge to great effect in all three of its romantic threads. In Howard and Bernadette’s case, of course she would end up spending their anniversary in quarantine (our favourite laugh-out-loud moment of the night was her delighted announcement that, “Great news! A racoon virus just crossed the species barrier and now it can infect humans!”). And of course Howard would show his love through song, with lyrics that are equal parts science-geeky (Watson and Crick) and geek-culture-geeky (Whedon’s Avengers) and even include some Klingon.
Leonard and Penny’s story starts out with a nice role reversal of a fairly old sitcom trope, as Penny wants to make a grand romantic gesture for Leonard – too often sitcoms assume that big romantic gestures are the guy’s job and it’s lovely to see Penny trying to reciprocate and do something properly romantic for him instead of vice versa. The resolution isn’t especially interesting or original (it’s touching, but Friends did almost the exact same thing about fifteen years ago), but at least she tried (and if Leonard has a spare first edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, can we have it?).
Sheldon and Amy’s story offers an interesting mirror to the humiliation Sheldon experienced when his friends tricked him into thinking he’d made an important discovery back in The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation. Here, Sheldon’s own mistake has led to a genuinely important discovery, and while his initial euphoria is arrogant Sheldon at his worst, his realisation that his discovery was an accident brings out the genuinely humble side of him. He may be self-satisfied and arrogant, but he doesn’t want credit where he doesn’t feel it’s due. Amy is the only person who understands what Sheldon really needs to hear, because she’s the only one who really gets how his mind works, and that’s a nice reaffirming of their connection.
The only downside to all this is that the episode is very, very sweet – possibly to the point of sickly. How much you enjoy it probably depends at least a little on whether you’re in a stable, loving relationship or whether, like Raj, you’re looking on while playing the ukulele. There’s nothing wrong with a little romance, but maybe Howard’s song went on a bar or two longer than it needed to.
The final joke also returns to a well to which this show goes a bit too often, the daydream that’s presented as real on first viewing. Considering this is a show that decided an entire imagined episode was the best way to commemorate reaching the big 100, this is getting pretty old by now and the audience are wise to it. To reference a great Patrick Swayze movie almost certainly in Raj’s DVD collection alongside Dirty Dancing, if Sheldon ever died, came back as a ghost and had to communicate through Whoopi Goldberg, “I’ve been distracted since the moment I met you” would be the point at which Amy would walk away saying “Sheldon would never say that.” The series has done genuine milestones in Sheldon and Amy’s relationship very well, particularly in the Dungeons and Dragons game in last season’s The Love Spell Potential, but it really needs to stop constantly teasing the audience with make-believe, which just cheapens the real action.
Overall, this was a sweet episode and a nice continuity-fest to reward long-time viewers (Leonard’s cello reappears!), particularly in Leonard’s gently teasing Penny with, “You’ve broken up with me so many times, which first date are we talking about?” There was a nice spread of more geeky humour – I’m sure many who work in this sort of area can sympathise with Sheldon being ‘in the zone’ – and traditional sitcom material, and while the show’s central relationships may not have been moved on in any way, they were reinforced following last week’s apparent breakdown of two of the three romantic pairings.
Read Juliette's review of the previous episode, The Workplace Proximity, here.
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