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'Big Bang Theory' recap: Funniest scene of the season

November 4, 2010 |  5:30 pm

This is the show I love, packed with hilarious, wry, character-based moments. It’s worth a half-hour of your life if only for the scene of Sheldon and the shot glass. This Nov. 4 episode proves why Jim Parsons earned that Emmy and that, when he dials it back just a bit, his is the funniest and most original character on television.

The simple but clever set-up for this week’s episode: Howard gets a chance to work on a new space laser project that requires security clearance. An FBI agent shows up to interview his friends individually to be sure Howard can be trusted. One by one, his buddies undermine poor Howard, but the worst of course is Sheldon, who slips and tells the beautiful agent (Eliza Dushku) that Howard is the person who crashed the Mars Rover. Oops. Friendship is such a delicate thing.

When Howard doesn't get the post, Sheldon is haunted by bad dreams. To clear his conscience, he schedules a meeting with the FBI agent to try to win reconsideration for Howard. Of course, he just makes it worse.

What follows, Parsons' drinking session with Penny as the bartender, is probably the winningest scene of the still-young season. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, including Parsons’ terrific line: “I can’t taste the cherries.” (it's a long set-up).

Kaley Cuoco’s Penny also sparkles in this scene, as the straight-faced, world-weary bartender. In trying to assure Sheldon that some things can’t be undone, she offers: “Lisa Peterson has not talked to me since the 11th grade, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t go back and un-dry hump someone’s boyfriend.”

It’s a raucous line, but not as crude as much of what we saw in earlier episodes this season. It also has the advantage of being a sensational line.

In the end, Sheldon makes it all up to Howard by offering him his prize possession in life: the seat at the end of the couch. It’s a sweet gesture and a reminder of how important the concept of friendship is to this show and any successful sitcom. Sitcoms tend to be either about friendship or family (sometimes work families, sometimes real families). "Bang" works best when it stays close to its endearing concept: That, in this fractured age, our friends become our brothers and sisters — and drive us just as bonkers.

— Chris Erskine

Photo: Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco in the best scene of the season. Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.