The Big Bang Theory: The Zazzy Substitution

Not sure where the left turn happened for TBBT, but in our first three outings this year there seems to be a lot of bathroom talk. Just an observation that it’s a bit off for a show about geniuses to play to the lowest common (comedy) denominator, but whatever gets viewers goes, I guess. This week we got bathroom humor and menses jokes. Yay? In other news, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady last week received honorary memberships in The Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science. Bravo!

“The Zazzy Substitution” focuses on a temporary breakup of the not couple, Shamy, after a series of gatherings with the larger gang go sideways and Leonard suggests that maybe Amy doesn’t fit them. The episode starts with Amy and Sheldon in the living room, playing some sort of posit theory game and then belittling Leonard when he can’t play it. Later, they have dinner at Penny’s work, and that goes south when Penny tries to be conversationally chatty and Amy belittles Wolowitz for only having a masters (the ongoing joke about him).

So, things look like they’re going to stay as they are, but Sheldon and Amy do actually split. The weird thing was that when they threw down their philosophical disagreement about whose career was more important (in the middle of the cafeteria at a table with the boys), they were so matter-of-fact about it that I thought it seemed a plant and not an actual fight. But it is, and they agree to dissolve their friendship right then and there, so Sheldon retreats home and begins to find comfort in many, many cats (one of whom he calls Zazzles because he’s “Zazzy,” while the others are named for physicists) as a replacement for Amy’s companionship. When one cat turns to four and then scary many, Leonard initiates a momervention, and Mrs. Cooper (the always-welcome Laurie Metcalfe) swoops in and puts Shamy back together.

The side arc has Leonard, Wolowitz and Raj gathering at Penny’s as an alternate hangout when they feel out of place around Sheldon and Amy. Out of that we get a drunk/obnoxious Raj telling Penny to clean up her place once in a while, and Wolowitz showing Penny the finer points of pumicing her feet (in the living room, mind you). The coda of the episode has Sheldon and Amy back together (but not that way) as they tag-team disburse the kitties to a line of children (along with $20 bills).

Not a great episode, but it did have a couple of good moments in it. One odd thing, especially given the timing, was Leonard’s dig at Sheldon and Amy that they were the Yoko and Yoko of the group, which seems to be a point of reference too old for these characters (i.e. a writer-imposed reference), but it also popped up in Hellcats last week, so maybe they are more aware of it than I thought.

I’m not sure where we’re going with Sheldon and Amy. One of the early interviews about the show had the producers very committed to the idea that Sheldon has “opted out” of a romantic life, which I thought was a very bold thing to put in a sitcom. He’s got a full life without it, so there’s no “there” there. There are people in the world who live that way, very happily, so I hope they’re going to stick to that idea of Sheldon and not flip a switch and have him decide he wants to actually date Amy. For now, she’s just a new friend in the group mostly closely aligned to Sheldon’s psyche, but I’m not sure we needed that. The show’s worked for three seasons with the core five characters. It’s awesome to have Mayim Bialik back on TV. I’m just not in love with her character here.

Photo Courtesy of CBS

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