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'Big Bang Theory' recap: The can't-miss idea misses the mark

January 6, 2011 |  4:39 pm

This episode sort of gags on its own geekiness. It also points out that too much Sheldon is not necessarily a good thing. As talented as Jim Parsons is, the show seems more successful when he’s not the center of attention for 22 minutes.

This week, the boys are out to develop a new phone app to help scientists quickly solve routine equations. At least, they’re routine for geniuses.

This is treacherous territory already. The guys spend long nights penciling out the new application, and while these guys can be pretty entertaining in almost any activity, watching them do homework feels like homework. The fireworks begin when Sheldon tries to take control of the project, which was Leonard’s idea. Leonard ends up firing him. Penny tries to console Sheldon, and pretty soon he is driving her nuts as well.

By the time it’s over, I think even the audience is pretty annoyed with Sheldon. Few laughs here, though there is a nice kicker of Sheldon and Penny trying to develop a shoe app. There was more to mine in a show like this: lessons in teamwork, the elusiveness of the Big Idea, how money subverts friendships. This storyline managed to miss any of that.

All in all, one of the weaker episodes of the season, just when the show seemed to be finding its feet again.

Hey, is there an app for that?

--Chris Erskine

Photo: Jim Parsons’ character is often better in smaller doses; file shot by Sonja Flemming/CBS