REVIEW - The Big Bang Theory S06E18 ‘The Contractual Obligation Implementation'

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This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, ‘The Contractual Obligation Implementation’, is all about women... Well, sort of...

The first storyline this week continues the Raj/Lucy saga, with Raj and Lucy going on their first date. Raj organises for them to meet in a library and have a texting date, since they both struggle in social situations. 

Their date is very cute, as typos are made, laughs are shared, and they get to know one another better. I really enjoy seeing these two together, and cannot wait to see what they do for their next date.

Meanwhile Howard, Leonard and Sheldon give a talk at Howard’s old middle school to encourage young women to pursue careers in science.

Predictably, many jokes were made about how these guys were picked on in school, and that now, even though they are successful scientists/astronauts, they can still be intimidated by anyone acting aggressive, and are still really ‘uncool’. I felt this was a bit over the top - we get it, they were bullied for being ‘nerds’ in school, and since they are still ‘nerds’ they are still bullied sometimes. We’ve seen this from the show many times before, we don’t need such emphatic reminders. Besides, what about geek chic?

Anyway, Amy, Bernadette (two women who did pursue a career in science) and Penny decide to skip work for a day to go to Disneyland and get princess makeovers (oh, the irony). These two stories dovetail nicely when Sheldon decides the best way to encourage the middle school students to pursue careers in science is to let them listen to real female scientists speak. He calls Amy and Bernadette on speaker phone, and Amy gives a speech about how from a young age women are taught to value how they look more than what they can do (this is again laced with irony as Amy is saying this while applying lipstick and dressed as Snow White).

Although these two story lines were juxtaposed for a laugh, I found the end of this episode to be quite troubling: when Leonard sees Penny dressed as Sleeping Beauty he immediately starts undressing because he finds her so attractive, and does not listen to what she has to say about her day. To me, this makes the whole storyline of encouraging women in science even more superficial than it was, as the episode seems to be leaving us with the message that it is all about looks for women. I don’t know, maybe my inner academic is reading too much into this, but what did you think? Was the episode making a serious comment about the (lack of) women in science and the messages the media (and other sources) are giving women today, or do you feel it was purely played for laughs? Leave a comment below!

Review by Heather Bale.


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