“The Big Bang Theory” | Season 8, Episode 4: “The Hook-up Reverberation” |
Date: Oct. 6, 2014
Nonromantic relationships between women on sitcoms are a simple business. The women are either best buddies who share everything over wine. Or they hate each other.
“The Hook-Up Reverberation” displayed both styles, neither with much flair or humor. Raj (Kunal Nayyar) introduces his new girlfriend, Emily (Laura Spencer), to the rest of the gang. Emily takes an instant disliking to Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) because Penny once got naked and fooled around with Raj in Leonard’s (Johnny Galecki) bed.
Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Penny confab over coffee. Penny notes no one ever told her to her face that they hated her. This surprises Amy, of course, because she led a miserable existence and was largely unloved. Astounded, Amy says, “I’d say (I hate you) now, but look at those cheekbones.”
Later, Bernadette, Amy and Penny confab again, this time over wine, the alcoholic beverage of choice for kvetching and gossiping. Amy suggests, “What if you just hang around until you wear her down? Next thing you know, you’re in her home, eating her food, drinking her wine.” The joke is lost on Penny.
Bernadette suggests Penny, who is beginning her career as a pharmaceutical rep, try to sell herself to Emily as a potential friend. Penny invites Raj and Emily over for some small talk. Emily apologizes for her initial reaction to Penny. Emily said she thought she would be OK with she and Raj’s past, but “then I saw how pretty you were.”
I think the writer of the episode has a crush on Kaley Cuoco. The story serves to reinforce not only Penny’s shallowness, but that of her friends as well. Amy and Bernadette are so swept away by having an attractive, popular friend that they devalue themselves in order to bask in the beauty of Penny. High school apparently never ends for some people.
Penny, of course, remains obsessed with being liked to the point of forcing herself on Emily, whose jealousy is irrational but believable. The meeting at Penny’s apartment ends with Penny and Emily, on opposite sides of her closed door, saying in unison, “I hate her.”
I kind of agree with both of them.
The subplot involved Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Raj, Howard (Simon Helberg) and Leonard thinking about investing in rebuilding Stewart’s (Kevin Sussman) fire-damaged comic book store. Each discusses with their significant other their willingness to invest. Penny is most permissive, noting she has mounds of credit card debt. Amy suggests Sheldon’s involvement in a store “that sells picture books of men in colorful underwear” would be a waste of his intellectual and financial resources. Bernadette gives the fairest shake, going as far as to meet with Stewart to discuss the business.
Sometimes I read criticism of “The Big Bang Theory” that suggests this is a show about geeks and nerds that secretly hates geeks and nerds. I can see some of that argument in the comic book scenes. The women in their lives are largely unsupportive and disdainful of their partners’ hobbies and interests.
And the men are largely portrayed as so clueless about society that they would consider hiring a van to go around and pick up children at schools and parks to take them to the comic store.
Their both jokes. The van joke is mildly funny. The first — the unsupportive spouses, fiancees and girlfriends — however, is very tired.
I found the episode passable as a whole, but largely lukewarm. To be honest, I enjoyed the scenes in the comic book store the most because I liked picking things out of the background that I thought were cool.