CBS‘ The Big Bang Theory The Space Probe Disintegration TV Show Review. The Big Bang Theory: Season 8, Episode 12: The Space Probe Disintegration saw the show’s writers once again split the cast into two separate storylines pursuing separate parallel paths. Though it’s not one of the series best, there are some appropriately Freudian-inspired comments on the basic meaning of life from two sets of nerds who have more substance to them underneath the skin than is indicated by their superficial behavior.
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper has an exotic version of a Risk board game inspired by The Lord of the Rings, and he and his buddy Leonard (Johnny Galecki) are making nit-picky comments about the feelings of boredom that is stifling them while Amy (Mayim Bialik) is telling Penny (Kaley Cuoco) about the futility of trying to coax her to take up recreational sports, based on Amy’s declaration, “My hips don’t open more than 27 degrees.”
The guys finally and reluctantly agree to go shopping with the girls based on the reality they have nothing to do at the moment worth doing.
Meanwhile, Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar), the Indian astrophysicist, is sick with worry that an exploratory space vehicle he helped develop and launch several years before will fail in its mission and break apart.
With his clipped English-Hindi accent he declares his anxiety in a most American way, “I can’t take it dude.”
Nayyar’s delivery is as precise as that of Cooper’s.
Sheldon and Leonard proceed to accompany the girls to the mall for a shopping visit and play imaginary The Lord of the Rings to while their time away, but quibble endlessly on how they let each other down and get on each other’s nerves.
One of the show’s strengths is its presentation of ludicrous paradox. Raj has an accent like the most formal of Sheik Sultans, but his personality is strictly that of a boyish and brilliantly upwardly mobile geek (the American born version of him is Cooper).
This episode seems to make the point that despite the at-times seeming hopelessness of life, despite the emptiness and loneliness the characters often complain about—when all is said and done, they not only need each other, but in the end are forced to defend the legitimacy of their lives to give them meaning.
But they have a hard time admitting it, often putting up a false personality front.
Sheldon responds to a comment he considers contradictory with the statement, “You should point out the hypocrisy of that,” and follows it up in an attempt to be more assertive with a folksy, “How do you like them apples?”
Howard and Raj drive to visit an Indian Hindu Temple to find solace from Raj’s worries about his space vehicle and Nayyar has a nice moment here explaining the lofty purpose of the faith. He extols dramatically and majestically we are all part of an “interconnected” universe, only to instantly return to earth in an all-too-human road rage when another motorist sideswipes him, yelling, “You SOB, you dinged my car!”
Raj learns his fears about the space probe are groundless and Sheldon and Leonard after exhausting themselves complaining about which is the least compromising, are finally reduced to tears, crying in each other’s faces in gratitude for the toleration each has shown the other.
The episode thus makes a fitting parable, that true friendship forgives human foibles, and is also lasting.
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