TV Show Review

TV Review: THE BIG BANG THEORY: Season 8, Episode 11: The Clean Room Infiltration [CBS]

Johnny Galecki Johnny Galecki Kunal Nayyar The Big Bang Theory The Clean Room Infiltration

CBSThe Big Bang Theory The Clean Room Infiltration TV Show Review. The Big Bang Theory: Season 8, Episode 11: The Clean Room Infiltration, a holiday Christmas opus, was a more strangely subdued entry especially from Jim Cooper as Sheldon Parsons, who decides to punish Amy (Mayim Bialik) for forcing him to celebrate Christmas by buying her a purposefully stupid gift he is sure she will hate.

Cooper has become renowned on the show for his precisely-clipped, perfectly delivered, wise-guy one liners composed of observations on the absurdity of life made with a fay delivery. He thus continues the tradition of instant smart aleck response pioneered by Grouch Marx, Jonathan Winters, and Robin Williams – but is slower on the uptake than usual here.

Is he converting in the show to a Jack Benny-style (the pregnant pause)?

Nevertheless, there are some good moments.

Simon Helberg (Howard) and Johnny Galecki (Leonard) mistakenly let a bird into the university experiments room which must be kept spotless. Joined by their Indian friend Raj (Kunal Nayyar), they must get the bird out, and resort to using a fire extinguisher, which fells the bird. Some good double takes here as the three boobs in their white smock, bacteria-free, space-type suits think they murdered a helpless creature, only to revive it and see another bird fly in as the other one is let out.

Stealing this episode is Bialik whose frumpy Amy character engages her visitors in mindless Christmas games like who can blow a ball of wool off the table, accompanying each meaningless game with an equally inane sing-along.

Guest star Brian George, who has made a career playing Arab types going back to the days when he was the Pakistani Babu Bhatt, a recurring part on Seinfeld (and looking greyer now), has some good moments as a visiting guest making sardonic comments about his relatives.

Also a delight is Melissa Rauch as Bernadette whose tinny voice is so nasal and irritating it can send shivers right up your spine.

The show’s apparent premise about the ridiculous importance gifts and the expenditure of money have come to have in a religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ manages to make the point in a funny way and then does a nicely done turnabout when both Sheldon and Amy give each other presents that turn out to be very special.

In other words, it’s the thought that counts.

This episode is less irreverent than earlier outings, with less sexual innuendo, and one can only guess why that is the case. It must have to do with Christmas. The writers pulled back somewhat from their usual format because of the holiday and its reverence.

This is nothing unusual. If one views the annual obligatory Christmas show every show has had from the days of I Love Lucy, most of them are very different from the regular season because they had to bend somewhat to fit the holiday and its parameters, good will, without offending.

Resulting in less room for the characters to maneuver.

Nevertheless, the sight of fully-grown Sheldon sitting on the lap of a department store Santa Claus to ask him for a tasteless gift was a worthwhile moment.

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About the author

John Sammon

John Sammon is a writer whose experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine writing, personality profiles, interviews, celebrity interviews (Clint Eastwood), historical pieces, investigative and crime. He was selected “Most Valuable Reporter” for California’s oldest continually operating newspaper, and covered the weekend crime beat for a daily newspaper in Nevada. If you beat your wife on Friday, he wrote about it and got you in deep trouble on Saturday.

He covered the Nevada brothel beat and did stories on wild horses. The publication of his investigative pieces led to a dishonest political candidate withdrawing from a statewide elective campaign, while another politician unsuccessfully sued him because he didn’t like an article Mr. Sammon produced. His articles led to government reforms, including a school district performing its first-ever financial audit, and a Nevada State Law rolling back home heating oil prices for fixed-income seniors who depended on it.

Mr. Sammon is also a humor writer of the website Sammonsays, a professional script writer, an actor and member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, a film narrator for the California State Parks system, a standup comedian, and the author of three novels and one nonfiction book.

He worked in his spare time with sick and wounded animals at the SPCA.

Mr. Sammon's latest book, "Sammon Says: Exposing American Empire," a compilation of over 100 political opinion columns written over several years and recounting America's involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, was released in October 2013 by Dictus Publishing of Germany.

He is working on a new historical romance novel.

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