The Big Bang Theory season 6 episode 20 review: The Tenure Turbulence

The boys are competing for tenure in the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory, against a certain Mr Kripke...

This review contains spoilers.

6.20 The Tenure Turbulence

In this week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, it’s the boys versus Barry Kripke in the race for tenure. 

As always, either you love Kripke or you hate him, and I find myself in the former camp. If you don’t like him, that’s okay! Believe me, I totally get that it’s a fine line between funny and annoying, and if he’s just too much for your taste, then that’s completely understandable. I just want it known that I’m in the former camp so that you’re not reading this review and wondering where the rant about enough Kripke already! is. 

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So apparently, the writers remembered that this university has other staff than our main four guys, because one of their colleagues has died, opening up a spot for a tenured position. Not having a PhD counts Howard out, but Sheldon, Raj, and Leonard all decide to put their names in for consideration, especially since Kripke is in the running. Predictably, despite their best efforts to be gentlemen about it and not get competitive, it’s not long before all of them are going out of their way to impress the selection committee. 

For starters, Raj sends Mrs Davis a ninety-minute video about his life. I majored in film in college, so let me just take this opportunity to commend him for how quick that turnaround was. If I could’ve put my projects together that quickly, I’d have gone a lot better in school, I think. (The alternative is that Raj had at least part of his life story already filmed and edited, and honestly, I love that idea because it’s so very Raj.) 

Leonard, meanwhile, attempts to bond with her at the gym, and as much as it’s a stereotype that nerds aren’t physically fit, I just joined a gym literally hours before watching this episode and let me just say that I, at least, over-relate to his reaction. Elliptical trainers are hard! And this is probably geeky of me, but I love the continuity of Barry being physically active since it calls back to his “friendship” with Sheldon and the two of them going rock climbing. 

Sheldon, on the other hand, decides to give Mrs Davis a gift…a DVD set of Roots. And maybe it’s just me, but I’m kind of tired of the casual racism element they’ve written into Sheldon’s character. I can’t tell if they’re saying it’s because he’s from Texas or because he has Asperger’s, but either way, it’s not funny and it never was. I get that it’s supposed to be an extension of Sheldon not knowing how to deal with anyone, but I just really don’t think it works. 

Anyway. After attending the funeral of their colleague, Sheldon visits Mrs Davis to apologize for his “gift,” and she informs him that she’s put forth all three of their names for the shortlist of tenure candidates. I’m hoping this will be an ongoing storyline as we move towards the finale, instead of being dropped like so many plotlines before it. 

So who do you think should get tenure? I think it’s safe to count Raj out, after that scramble to keep him from getting fired/deported, but I can’t decide who of the remaining candidates should get it. Let me know who you’d chose in the comments.

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Read Kaci’s review of the previous episode, The Closet Configuration, here.

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