'The Big Bang Theory' Of Time Travel

Jimparsons_bigbangtheory_240 The opening sequence of The Big Bang Theory left me baffled this evening. While I agree that proper sandwich construction is important, it didn't fit with the episode's central plot about time travel. Unless we were to attempt to go forward in time to when turkey artichoke paninis are available to be delivered to my home each day. Sadly, that is not the case.

Things really get rolling when Leonard reveals he placed an $800 bid on an online auction to win a miniature time machine. Which sounds silly even to me, but as Leonard explains, he figured it would go for thousands and he just wanted to be a part of it. However, no one else has bid and the rest of the guys count down the final 15 seconds until Leonard wins the auction. Unable to truly afford an $800 piece of memorabilia, the other guys agree to a time-shared time machine, with each of them putting in $200 towards the cost. They speculate why no one else bid but it isn't until it arrives that it is clear. It's not miniature. Not by a long shot.

They try to figure out how to get it upstairs but given the elevator has been broken for two years, stairs are the only option. However, as their huge time machine is coming up, Penny needs to get down. Sheldon recommends that she go to the roof, jump to the next building and use their stairs while Leonard mentions that if she waits around until they get the time machine set up and he will drop her off at work yesterday. Which she finds far less amusing then I did.

The guys spend a goodly amount of time congratulating themselves on their purchase and how cool they think it is. Rajesh is glad he will finally having something more awesome on his balcony then his jacuzzi-owning neighbor. Howard thinks it is a chick magnet, which leads to the formation of some ground rules on what can and cannot occur in the time machine. There are several time-travel paradigm conversations, which frankly all make my head hurt. Even when they are amusing ones that transverse space, time and fiction, taking us from Alexander Graham Bell and his deaf wife all the way up to Capt. Kirk stealing a cloaking device form the Romulans.

Less interested in the paradigms of of the space time continuum is Penny, who storms in looking rather disheveled. It seems that the "little gap" between buildings is a 3 foot span that caused her to scrape her knee. Which is when she found out that the door to that building's stairwell was locked. Being a resourceful girl, she took the fire escape. Which unfortunately halted at the third floor, leaving her to crawl into an Armenian family's home, who insisted she stay for lunch. Which was eight courses. While they tried to set her up with their son.

In the end, she missed work entirely and was none too happy about it. And she lets the guys know in no uncertain terms, by telling them that their obsession with toys and costumes and comic books is ridiculous. Which is about when I yell at my television, Hold it right there, sister! Comic books are not ridiculous! She ends her tirade by yelling that they are all completely pathetic. And they all stand silently a moment, before Rajesh shouts, "My turn!" and jumps in the time machine while Leonard goes emo on us.

Late into the night, Leonard is still contemplating what Penny said, which leads to a brilliant exchange between him and Sheldon. It manages to be just as much about Sheldon's social awkwardness in a completely humorous way and really proves that the writers are getting into a good grove with these characters. It seems Penny's words really got under Leonard's skin and he's come to believe that a girl like Penny will never be interested in a guy with a time machine. Sheldon points out that Penny's disinterest in a relationship with Leonard predates their ownership of the time machine, but Leonard is not swayed.

Leonard falls asleep and dreams of a time when instead of making a joke about time travel when Penny needs to get down the stairs, he pulls the security tape off the elevator, pries open the doors, grabs her around the waist and grasps a cable, kissing her as she delivers her downstairs. When he awakes, he has been inspired to get rid of all of his collectibles. At first, they guys all try to outbid the local comic book store, but when they realize he's serious they do everything to try and stop him.

They have been reduced to physically blocking his way down the stairs when Penny comes out. Sheldon turns his attack on her, calling her as a hypocrite for criticizing them for their hobbies, while she collects Beanie Babies, Care Bears, My Little Ponies and is wearing Hello Kitty shorts. Penny admits that she was wrong to come down on them so hard. Leonard, however, tells her that he thinks he needed to hear it... and that he thinks he needs to move on with his life. Penny congratulates him and he smiles and looks at her nervously. He awkwardly says "Penny, would you like to... maybe sometime... get" and we all know this is the moment where he is about to ask her out!

Which is when random hot guy bounds up the stairs and asks Penny if she's ready to go. She smiles and says she just needs to get dressed. He offers to help and she giggles as they both run into her apartment. Ouch. The guys all stand silently for a moment and I wonder if this is the moment Leonard breaks. When he yells out "My turn!" and runs towards the time machine, I know how resilient nerd-dom is.

The Good:
The deepening relationships.

The Bad:
The opening sequence about sandwiches and the closing sequence about Morlocks attacking Sheldon, while funny, felt disjointed.

The Funny:
Rajesh: "Stuff that in your speedo, Jacuzzi Bob!"

Leonard: "No shoes in the time machine. No eating in the time machine. And pants must be worn at all times in the time machine."
Howard: "I was going to put down a towel."

Penny: "It looks like something Elton John would drive in the Everglades."
Sheldon: "It only moves through time, it would be worse then useless in a swamp."

Leonard: "Yes, I'm upset."
Sheldon: "Oh. I don't usually pick up on those things. Good for me!"
Leonard: "Yeah. Good for you."
Sheldon: "... Wait... did you want to talk to me about what's upsetting you?"
Leonard: "I don't know... maybe."
Sheldon: "WOW! I am on FIRE tonight!"