REVIEW - The Big Bang Theory - S07E07 - ‘The Proton Displacement’

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This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory sees the return of guest star Bob Newhart as Doctor Arthur Jeffries a.k.a. Professor Proton.

Whilst stocking up at a pharmacy Amy, Leonard and Sheldon run into Professor Proton. This prompts Proton to contact Leonard to read over a paper he has written. Sheldon is offended that Proton did not ask him, and Amy tentatively suggests the reason for this is that Sheldon is annoying. Sheldon goes to Proton’s house to apologise, but Proton still refuses to collaborate with him. Sheldon decides to collaborate with another TV scientist, Bill Nye, as a form of revenge. After flaunting Nye in front of Leonard and Proton, Proton asks Leonard a big question (one Leonard has struggled with on many occasions): why does he put up with Sheldon?

Bob Newhart does a brilliant job in his role as Professor Proton - there’s a reason he’s a comic legend! - so it was good to see him back again. What I loved most about this storyline though was Leonard’s justification for being friends with Sheldon. Leonard, more than anyone, has difficulty dealing with Sheldon’s, err, ‘quirks’, so it was good to finally hear him admit why he continues to ‘put up with’ Sheldon.

Raj is going to have a “girls night” with Amy, Bernadette and Penny to make jewellery. Howard does not have any other plans, so he joins in as well. He is dismissive of Raj’s idea of glue and beads to make jewellery, suggesting instead that he bring a soldiering iron from work. Raj is clearly annoyed with Howard for crashing girls night, but does not say anything. When Howard shows up to the next girls night, Raj can’t take it anymore and lashes out at Howard. Howard does not understand why Raj does not want him there, and Raj explains why.

Hurrah for Raj finally standing up for himself! I was so happy to hear him say “I am comfortable with my masculinity” - it seems he is as over the ‘Raj is a girl’ jokes as much as I am! Just because Raj does not conform to a traditional model of masculinity does not make him any less of a man (or a homosexual), so good on him for sticking up for himself to Howard (the perpetrator of the majority of these jokes). Though these jokes are slightly hypocritical coming from Howard who himself does not conform to a traditional model of masculinity either… though I guess it makes him feel better about himself by making fun of others… Anyway, I loved Raj’s reason for hanging with the girls/this storyline overall, and I hope that he continues to hang with them for a long time to come!

One of the only complaints I have about this storyline was a small joke about Penny being too stupid to use glue. I know compared to the rest of the characters in this show Penny may be the least intelligent (in some ways, not in all), but this was just too over the top. As ‘stupid’ as Penny may seem sometimes, I struggle to believe that she is that stupid. I know it was just thrown in for a cheap laugh, but still…

Next week will mark the return of another guest star: Lucy (whether this is a permanent return is still unclear), another character who is accepting of Raj and his particular model of masculinity. And guess what? I can’t wait!

Review by Heather Bale.


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