TV Show Review

TV Review: THE BIG BANG THEORY: Season 8, Episode 17: The Colonization Application [CBS]

Johnny Galecki Kaley Cuoco Jim Parsons Mayim Bialik The Big Bang Theory The Colonization Application

CBS The Big Bang Theory The Colonization Application TV Show Review. The Big Bang Theory, Season 8, Episode 17: The Colonization Application might be described as trying to do comedy with too little depth, grasping at straws, or just plain limp and lame. The show’s producers chose three sub-plots that may have seemed on first thought to have comic potential.

Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) announce they have decided to take their relationship to the next level when Amy piously declares to Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco), “We have decided to buy a turtle.”

Spoken in the deadpan, overly self-serious, expressionless manner representing the show’s idea of an over-educated nerd, on the surface this achieves some laughs—-the problem is—where do we go from here?

Nowhere in this case.

Not much more successful was the second plot where Leonard and Penny decide to engage in body-painting love-making after Leonard confides he visited a “Dirty Store” (adult X-rated sex toys). All that can be squeezed from this figurative script lemon is the condescending manner in which Penny constantly tells Leonard she has bested him in whatever activity the couple undertake.

“Sweetie, I beat you in this too,” Penny tells Leonard after the body painting session.

Ironically it was the weakest of the three plots that achieved the few memorable moments of the show.

Raj (Kunal Nayyar) is visiting his girl friend Emily (Laura Spencer), and when she steps out, he snoops around her apartment, accidentally breaking the lid off a drawer. He must fix it to prevent her from knowing he was snooping upon her return.

The show was pretty much a failure, but even so it managed to come up with something redeeming. The sight of Raj holding his cell phone in front of the broken drawer so he can broadcast the sight of the damage to his friend Howard (Simon Helberg) in an attempt to gain repair advice must rank as another one of those classic, symbolic televised moments of the cyberspace era.

Funniest in that scene is when Howard loses patience with Raj and tells him (over the phone) to fix the drawer the old-fashioned way, with an angry retort “Try a hammer!”

“Did that feel good?” The wounded Raj asks. “Do you feel like a big man now?”

Sheldon’s confession to Amy he signed up to become a colonist on Mars and Amy’s anger that he did not include her in the plans was an interesting idea that went nowhere beyond some lifeless jokes about procreating children on the red planet. Sheldon’s demonstration to Amy of a video he created to announce his Mars plans in an audio-tweaked boom-box voice achieves mild amusement.

Likewise, a sub-sub plot in which Emily jokes to Raj she is a murderess, leaving body parts in closets, and which has Raj nervously looking toward the closet door at show’s end, failed to achieve any humor worth the effort.

The show seemed almost as if they picked the ideas (let’s do a bit about a turtle) out of hat without thinking how much comedy could be gleaned. Or perhaps, with season eight winding down, the producers and their 15-hour days are simply tired.

When I said the episode was limp, it demonstrates two brutal facts of TV life. Sometimes what seems funny on the page doesn’t translate that way before a camera. The sheer strain of maintaining a funny edge week after week in a sitcom translates comedy into an experimental trial and error process.

This time it erred.

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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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