'The Big Bang Theory' of displacement
The world of the intellectual elite is a landscape marked by brutal competition, backbiting and displays of the principles of evolution at their most stark. I am not speaking from experience (some might say that's obvious. Those some would be disliked), but rather regaling what we learned tonight from The Big Bang Theory. Nerds are tough.
Our show starts out with a friendly debate about the problems with teleportation. And who hasn't had that debate before in their lives? Sheldon is of the mindset that he would never agree to be teleported since it is not possible to send matter instantaneously. As he explains, one Sheldon would have to be destroyed and another Sheldon recreated at the destination. Leonard asks if the new Sheldon would be an improvement over the old, and is told they would be exactly the same. Which is when Leonard starts to agree that there is a fatal design flaw. And it may seem like a pithy little geek exchange, but what they've really done is lay down the foundation of Sheldon's fear of being replaced.
Which means it's a perfect time to introduce a 15 year old wunderkind who has applied to the graduate program all the boys work around. Sheldon attempts to flex his superiority complex by informing Dennis that he managed to begin his graduate work a year earlier than 15, but Dennis smashes his attempt by pointing out that he lost a year of time when his family was tunneling out of North Korea. I believe that's check. Dennis continues that the string theory research the lab is conducting is a dead end. Sheldon goes on high alert to defend his work, only to be shut down again with a knowing smile and the words "Obviously you don't see it yet...but trust me, you will".
It is downhill from there, as Sheldon and Leonard are entrusted by their boss to convince Dennis to join their program and Dennis remains as unimpressed as possible. The last straw is when they get to Sheldon's office and Dennis notices that Sheldon had previously won the prestigious Stephenson Award. Sheldon boasts that he was the youngest person to ever win it, at age 14 1/2. Only to have his sense of primacy dashed when Dennis chuckles and adds "You were the youngest". And we have checkmate!
This quickly sends Sheldon into a downward spiral of rapidly depleting self-esteem, given that he no longer has his intellectual supremacy to buoy him. Apparently, it never occurred to him that someone younger and smarter would come along in his lifetime. As he explained, he figured he would have been dead for hundreds of years and the person who eventually did surpass him would have an asterisk by their name, because they would be part cyborg. And I don't think he was referencing Cameron from The Sarah Connor Chronicles (but he totally should have been).
Sheldon looks for a way to keep going and decides that he needs to collaborate with other lesser minds to give his life purpose. Those lesser minds, however, are Leonard, Howard and Rajesh, none of whom have any interest in collaborating with him. Especially not after he insults each of them, such as calling Howard (who is an engineer designing platforms for the space program) a "noble semi-skilled laborer" and the other members of his lab "Oompa Loompas of science". As such, it's not long until he has alienated everyone to the point where they are ready to consider having an accident happen to Dennis if it means things can return to their status quo.
Which is when Howard hits on the idea that they have to find Dennis a girl. They decide the easiest way to accomplish this is to send out a selective e-mail based on a search of the insurance forms to find staff members with age appropriate daughters, inviting them to participate in "bring your daughter to work day". But that's as far as they can plan, since none of them know how to get a girl themselves. As such, we end up learning more about what they've done wrong. Howard points out one girl's inappropriateness by explaining he knows her type: the cheerleader who won't give anyone in the gifted program the time of day, and after 2 years when she finally does agree to go out with you it's all just a set up and the whole football team is in on it. Followed by him crying. Leonard has a story of equal woe, when he nixes another girl because he is certain she is the type to get trashed on fat free white russians while you do her homework for her, who will ask why all guys can't be like you as you hold her hair back when she pukes, who will get into Cornell based on the entrance essay you wrote for her only to act like she doesn't know who you are when you come to visit.
And it is during this time that the little Lothario gets himself a girl and walks out of the program. Sheldon scampers forth to assure the assembled that social relationships will "continue to baffle and repulse" him, while the rest of the boys are left standing around wondering how Dennis managed what they cannot.
The writers went back and readdressed how Rajesh can't talk to Penny unless he's drunk, as well as more completely utilizing their cast in tonight's episode. Thus, they handled my two occasional peeves. Bravo!
Howard's wardrobe. He's a geek, he's not completely colorblind.
Other than Sheldon's plan to build an exact replica of the holy land in the Mexican desert, calling it Nuevo Jerusalem (based on the premise of Field of Dreams...If you build it, they will come)? These were my favorite lines:
Leonard: So, Dennis, how long have you been in America?
Dennis: A year and a half.
Leonard: Well, you speak English very well.
Dennis: So do you. Except for your tendency to end sentences in prepositions.
Leonard: What are you talking about?
Howard: Penny, we need to find a hot 15 year old Asian girl with a thing for smart guys.
Leonard: Now, Howard, that's racist! Any 15 year old girl will do the trick!
Penny: *slams door*
What did you think of tonight's episode? What was your favorite moment? Anyone else want Howard's Batman belt buckle?