Michael Ansell/CBS
Dalene Rovenstine
October 31, 2014 AT 03:41 AM EDT

Last week it was gender roles and finance in relationships this week it was gender equality in the workforce: Big Bang Theory is really going for it on these social issues… kind of. The topic was brought up only with the ladies and didn’t really have a conclusion. The guys—who had no idea the women were debating with such weighty issues—were just up to what they know best: being nerdy. Let’s break it down.

The Women

During ladies’ night, Bernadette mentions that she’s been selected to be in a magazine as one of the 50 sexiest female scientists in California. Amy immediately bristles at this: She says women should be celebrated for their achievements—not her looks. Bernadette wants to be thought of as both smart and pretty. Penny says it’s no big deal; it’s what she does in her job!

This recap does not need to discuss who’s right and who’s wrong, but I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: Sitcoms can cover issues such as this one in ways that are both smart and funny. This is not smart or funny—it’s just awkward.

Later Amy gets the magazine to pull the article idea; and Bernadette insults her when yells at her. This thread was left unresolved, so it’s unclear whether this will come up in a later episode or simply fall into the well of lost BBT plots. Unless they just let Bernadette get drunk every week, the ladies’ group needs a big comic makeover; they should take a lesson from Sheldon, who seems to be very self-aware of his humor now.

The Men

The guys’ storyline is helped out tremendously by the inclusion of their trusty, old nerd stuff plus Billy Bob Thornton, as Dr. Oliver Lorvis. Sheldon runs into the guest star in the apartment building; the doctor is there to see Penny. She flirted with him while trying to make a sale for her job. So he stalks her, but Leonard stops it. As Dr. Lorvis gets upset, Sheldon whips out the one social convention he knows: a hot beverage for sad people.

As the guys talk to Dr. Lorvis, they realize he’s just like them (perhaps a Leonard 20 years from now if he had never met Penny?) As the “doctor to the stars’ urinary tracts,” Lorvis has built up quite the collection of film memorabilia, comic collectibles, video games, etc.—which the guys jump at the chance to go see. It’s Sheldon’s heaven, basically.

Eventually they get locked in there while Dr. Lorvis goes back to stalk Penny, Leonard’s proven method of wooing her, according to Sheldon. The women set him straight; and the guys play a great game of Donkey Kong. Everyone’s happy… except probably Emily (who isn’t even mentioned this episode).

The guys have been at their best this season when they’re together as just the guys, being nerdy as we used to know them. Billy Bob was a great guest star, whose timid, awkward doctor blended perfectly with the group (so much so I didn’t even recognize him at first). Maybe the ladies’ should be taking a lesson on how to fit into this ragtag gang from him.

The Laughter Surplus

“Delivery men are the unsung foot soldiers of our nation’s commerce.” —Sheldon

“No one wants to see Neil Degrasse Tyson in a wet T-shirt bent over the hood of a Porsche.” —Bernadette (speak for yourself, honey)

“In urology terms, he was a drug-resistant staph infection, and she was a urethra that could not shake him.” —Sheldon

“What other celebrity genitalia have you touched?” —Sheldon

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