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TV Recaps

The Big Bang Theory recap: 'The Retraction Reaction'

Leonard claims that physics is dead

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Richard Cartwright/CBS

The Big Bang Theory

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
8
run date:
09/24/07
performer:
Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Scott Halberstadt, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Frank Pacheco
Producer:
Chuck Lorre
broadcaster:
CBS
genre:
Comedy

We gave it a B+

When Ira Flatow invites you his NPR studio to discuss funding for the Caltech physics department, you agree, prepare extensive notes, and sing praises of the wonder that is the Hadron Collider. Unfortunately, no one bothers to remind Leonard that this is the drill. He settles for a more honest approach: laughing at the millions of dollars spent with nothing to show for it.

Leonard’s colleagues and friends clearly have issues with his flippant accusations that physics is a struggling field. He balks, offering that the truth is the foundation of the sciences, which Sheldon rebuffs. How can Leonard know anything about the truth when “The Phantom Menace wasn’t that bad” is the gauge by which he measures authentic facts?

To top things off, Leonard is called to the office of Dean Davis (Regina King) to explain why he announced on national public radio that physics is dead. She instructs Dr. Hofstadter to write a retraction, stating that physics is thriving and that the university is nearing a break.

There’s just one problem: Leonard doesn’t believe it. And more surprisingly, neither does Sheldon. After 15 years working together, Leonard finally gets to hear Sheldon say, “You were right.” Sadly, it’s bittersweet, since Leonard may lose his job for speaking his mind.

What are two depressed scientists supposed to do in a time like this? Why, drink a bottle of bright blue Romulan ale purchased at Comic-Con, of course. Penny finds the guys chugging what looks like mouthwash, has a few summer camp flashbacks, and then joins in the festivity of drowning one’s sorrows as Sheldon inspects his tongue, which looks like he “tongue kissed an Avatar.”

Meanwhile, Amy and Bernadette make a pact to brag about their accomplishments to one another since their significant others’ egos are too precious to handle their successes. Bernadette’s lab throws away test tubes instead of washing them. Amy naps in a million dollar FMRI machine. Bernadette has two assistants and doesn’t know their names. Amy works with brains instead of drugs that make your hair itch. An offended Bernadette reminds Amy she is making B-A-N-K. An exasperated Amy argues that she is going to change the world, and an irritated Bernadette announces she is going to enjoy that world from her tricked-out yacht.

Well, that escalated pretty quickly.

Back at Booze Fest, Penny calls for reinforcements. She explains to Raj and Howard that science is dead because Leonard killed it. She’s counting on them to lighten the mood because Romulan hooch has swept the boys further down a deep, blue-tinted hole. Raj takes control and reprimands Sheldon and Leonard for acting like two babies. Howard has a panic attack upon hearing “two babies,” which sends Raj in a downward spiral since his social life consists of watching Netflix with his dog.

Now Penny’s dealing with four scientists hitting the blue sauce. This will not do. She yells at them to buck up because their lives have not been wasted. They need to get up and get inspired. Personally, I might visit a museum or a live music venue for some inspiration, but not our guys. They visit the grave of Richard Feynman and reminisce about all the science homies who came before them, trailblazing their paths.

Leonard concludes that the only way science can die is if they stop being passionate about it. Of course Howard pours Romulan-inspired liquor on Feynman’s headstone while Raj cries and Sheldon pukes, but the sentiment is sweet — not sweet enough for Dean Davis to dismiss the highly inappropriate email Leonard sends asking her to save them from being stranded at the cemetery in the middle of the night, but sweet nonetheless.

Theoretical Laughter

HOWARD: This is public radio. Doesn’t he realize that dozens of people are listening to him?

LEONARD: If we were physicists, what would we be?
HOWARD: Popular?

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