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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Big Bang Theory: "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis"

Illustration for article titled iThe Big Bang Theory/i: The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis
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Illustration for article titled iThe Big Bang Theory/i: The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis

Noel is at O'Hare right now, waiting to find out whether the midwest ice storm will be conducive to air travel. So I'll be your pithy BBT host tonight. (Pithy because I have to write about HIMYM immediately hereafter.) So let's get right to it, shall we?

Short version: Jealousy sitcom plot 1B, Doublemint twist. Leonard is excited that the hot new physicist in town, a MacArthur fellow who rides vintage motorcycles and knows dirty jokes about Stephen Hawking, wants to work with him. But then said physicist dumps him for Penny, who pretends to be "queen of the nerds" and doesn't notice Leonard's discomfiture at all. Meanwhile Sheldon is distressed by the Christmas gift Penny has gotten for him, and enlists Raj and Howard in a search for an appropriate reciprocation at the local Body Shoppesque.

I wasn't feeling this episode until the epilogue — and then it became so wonderful that it almost spilled over into acts one through three. Well, that's not quite fair; I started to get interested in "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" when Leonard hurts his leg (while the motorcycle was standing still) and suffers unnoticed as Penny and MacArthur Dave get hot and heavy. I was as disturbed as Leonard when Dave started up with the sexual innuendo right in front of him. Am I wrong, or is it really a douchebag move to insinuate in front of a third party that you had sex with the second party?

But the resolution of that half-baked plotline is from the sitcom attic, people. He's married! And he's conveniently out of the way. All the quicker to get to the gift exchange, where Sheldon suavely deploys his excuse for leaving the room to select the appropriate Penny gift ("I'm having a little digestive distress"). When the gift turns out to be a napkin not only signed by Leonard Nimoy, but used by Leonard Nimoy to wipe his mouth ("I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy?!"), the whole algorithm blows up. All the gift baskets come tumbling out, and most sweetly of all, Sheldon gingerly bestows a hug on Penny.

At that moment, I typed "awwwwwww." But I said it out loud, too, to an empty room. Yep, that sweet.

Grade: B

Stray observations:

- Just after I finished writing a snippet for this week's AVQ&A;, Howard mentions that he's more of a Zac Efron kind of guy. These two facts are linked, but you won't know how until Friday.

- There are no do-overs in Wii Bowling.

- Just as I'm creeped out by Dave talking about getting Penny drunk and having sex with her, I'm troubled by the Stephen Hawking phone sex impression. Is that funny now?

- A lot of words sound like yoga. Yogurt, for one, which is what I actually typed when making a note about that line. Thus proving the point!

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