This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
10.12 The Holiday Summation
When is a Christmas episode not a Christmas episode? When it’s a The Big Bang Theory episode aired in January, that flashes back to December with very little reason to back it up.
I’m torn on this episode. On the one hand, I enjoyed the format change and the peek into what the gang’s lives might be like when the fictional cameras aren’t on them. On the other, it’s nothing we haven’t seen a million times before and is, as always, concerned primarily with only two of the eight-strong cast. The Christmas theme is also confusing for an audience who is watching almost a week into the new year.
The action is sectioned off into three separate vignettes – one for Sheldon and Amy, one for Penny and Leonard and one for Howard and Bernadette. The first shows Amy inform Sheldon’s mother about their new living situation, and Sheldon reacting poorly when she doesn’t throw holy scripture and judgement at them. The second is the least fun, with Penny and Leonard having a bad experience with a Christmas tree, and the third – showing Howard and Bernadette as new parents – my favourite.
Frontloading the episode with the Sheldon and Amy portion hurt more than helped the general sense of apathy in that, as always, it seemed to have had the most care put into it. It has shades of nerd-hating in Sheldon’s mother’s assumption that no woman could ever love a man who’s into ‘toy trains’ (insert any geeky passion here), but it attempts to comment on his and Amy’s relationship, albeit in a clunky, half-baked way.
It’s your standard ‘Sheldon is upset about a perceived slight and acts immaturely as a result’ structure, but its predictability – and the fact it more or less appears to succeed – just demonstrates how low expectations for this kind of episode are at this point in the show’s life.
That’s most evident with Leonard and Penny’s share of the runtime, which manages to be utterly forgettable while still being quite annoying. More than anything, after time away for the holidays, it reminded me of how little the writers seem to give to these two anymore. Let’s not forget that they’re supposed to be the male and female lead of this show, and it’s been months since they had a storyline of note.
Bernadette’s baby blues and the attempts of Howard, Raj and Stuart to co-parent benefit simply from being something we haven’t seen before, since baby Wolowitz is a new addition to this dynamic. Whether you enjoyed seeing Bernadette struggle is probably a matter of perspective, but the moment in which she reaches a moment of peace with a sleeping baby and proud husband is genuinely touching (if not entirely safe).
I’ve enjoyed the pregnancy storyline from top to bottom, and if the show decides to move forwards with Raj and Stuart as live-in nannies then I just hope they can make it about them as well as the new parents. Both of them deserve more than what they generally get, but I’ve long given up on expecting them to get their own storylines.
At this point last season, I was praising the success of Sheldon and Amy’s break-up storyline, and now it’s Howard and Bernadette who are making the most impression. If nothing else, that shows how Big Bang Theory can be genuinely good when it shakes off the shackles of its status quo, and this season has done lots of that. Let’s hope we get a little less business as usual in the months leading up to the possible series finale, and more time devoted to characters who haven’t been served in a while.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Birthday Synchronicity, here.