In hindsight, it’s actually kinda surprising that it’s taken four seasons for The Big Bang Theory to transform Sheldon Cooper into a robot. As Penny pointed out multiple times, the guy’s practically a walking android as it is, so a Short Circuit makeover isn’t exactly that much of a stretch. That said, um, did anyone else feel like Shel-bot fell a little flat (pun completely intended and instantly regretted)?
It’s not like the concept was ill-conceived. Determined to live long enough to reach the projected point in history when humanity and robotics are one and the same (i.e. The Singularity, which sounds like name of a prog-rock band from 1978), Sheldon first strove to eat healthy and exercise, the former through “cruciferous vegetable night,” the latter through jogging with Penny. Sheldon’s hilariously feeble attempts to touch his toes was all you needed to see to know that physical exertion of any magnitude is never going to be a viable solution to his problems. (I’m a big fan, meanwhile, of Penny’s jogging regimen: “I just run until I’m hungry, and then I stop for a bear claw.”)
I was slightly surprised, though, to see the show so boldly dip into the pungent comedic well known as the fart joke. I mean, just last week we had Raj waxing philosophical about a superhero’s bowel movements, so I know the show’s not exactly a stranger to the finer points of potty humor. And when Sheldon appeared at Leonard’s door clutching his midsection in agony, I knew instantly from sad experience that the gaseous remains of his Brussels sprouts were to blame and certainly not cholera or appendicitis. Still, hearing the robust sound of Sheldon farting not once, but twice – and the second time seemingly in the face of poor Penny – caught me a bit off guard. I love me a good fart joke, let’s be clear, and I laughed heartily last night at Sheldon’s vigorous tooting; I just hope the show only breaks out the flatulence sound effect files once in a blue moon. A little breaking wind can go a long way.
With diet and exercise ruled out, Sheldon’s campaign to make it to the Singularity folded in on itself, and he fashioned his own rudimentary robot to serve as his personal Mobile Virtual Presence Device. Kudos to the Big Bang production crew, who for the second week running created what appeared to be a fully-operation robot. Looks like that move to Thursdays came with a wee bit of a boost in the show’s bottom line; that, or look for a lot of one-set episodes come February sweeps.
NEXT: Shel-bot less funny than Sheldon? Discuss!