The Big Bang Theory recap: 'The Emotion Detection Automation'
Who knew we would see the day when Sheldon and Raj figured out solutions for their social ineptitudes? Only The Big Bang Theory writers would think to tackle our favorite physicists’ lack of social skills with an emotion detector and an ex-girlfriend focus group. It’s been a while since I enjoyed both storylines as much as I did in this episode. That’s no bazinga.
When Raj tells the guys that he is back on the market, he wonders out loud what is wrong with his game. Why do women reject him? Sheldon receives the information like a scientist and runs through many possible answers. Raj shuts him down with a simple, “I’m fine.”
Sheldon is irritated when he learns that this obligatory remark is a mask for what Raj is really feeling. It turns out, Raj is not fine. Sheldon whines, wondering why no one just says exactly what’s on their mind. It’s quite annoying for those who struggle with recognizing emotional cues.
Lo and behold, Bernadette recently read about a gizmo that was created for people who have this exact same anxiety. MIT has a prototype, and because Howard is an alum, he can probably submit Sheldon’s name as a beta tester.
Of course this is a real thing. If anyone can build an emotion detector, it’s a bunch of awkward scientists with zero social skills.
Sheldon is on board. Sure, he’ll be a more considerate friend after using the machine, but he’ll also be able to identify his enemies, discover their fears, and use those fears to destroy them. It’s a solid plan.
Later that night, Penny casually mentions to Leonard that her brother is coming to down so she can help him find a job. Selling illegal drugs is the same as working in pharmaceutical sales, right? Leonard is a bit uncomfortable, but he goes with the flow.
Meanwhile, Howard receives the prototype from MIT. He and Amy practice with Sheldon. Amy stares at a picture of a bunch of cuddly puppies. Sheldon reads that she is happy. CORRECT! Amy looks at a picture of her deceased grandmother. Sheldon reads that she’s sad. EXACTLY!
Sheldon hauls his new machine over to the Hofstadters. If you’re happy and you know it, there’s no need to clap your hands. There’s a machine that can do that for you! He holds up the device just as Penny asks Leonard to go over Randall’s resume. Sheldon reads that Leonard is not a happy camper. Suddenly, Penny reads angry, too.
Leonard is mad at Penny for not asking him before inviting her brother to live with them. Penny doesn’t understand. Isn’t it the same as Leonard making her live with Sheldon for an entire year? According to the device, Amy and Sheldon are having a delightful time watching their best friends fight.
NEXT: One very harsh focus group
Knowing that he caused the fight, Sheldon goes through buyer’s remorse and wishes he never tried the apparatus. The machine actually made him feel worse. Amy walks him through all the progress he’s made over the years, including the fact that he can verbally communicate his love for her. Sheldon agrees that it is a big step. Then Amy serves him beef loaf because he’s extremely weirded out by the non-specificity of meatloaf.
Penny and Howard come over later to tell Sheldon they made up, and Randall is not coming to live with them. Penny is going to throw Leonard under the bus and tell her father that her husband forbids it. Leonard is visually upset. Sheldon recognizes the change in behavior, calls it, and deems himself an emotional god.
While Sheldon toys with the side effects of various temperaments, Raj conducts an experiment of his own. He assembles a focus group of all his exes to see if he can pinpoint why they broke up with him and how he can be a better boyfriend.
Howard comes along to take notes and to interpret for Emily. Remember the deaf girl who broke up with Raj because his parents cut him off? Don’t get her confused with the other Emily, who liked weird scary stuff and always joked about killing her roommate. Claire, the one who came along during Scary Emily’s timeline, also joins the group, as well as socially awkward Lucy.
The gang’s all here!
The girls agree that Raj was needy, dominated by his parents, struggled in the bedroom, and often forced them into uncomfortable situations. Like the one they are currently in. Lucy points out that going out with Raj was one of the best things that ever happened to her. She finally knew what she didn’t want in a boyfriend. The other three agree, noting that they all went on to more fulfilling relationships.
They also wonder why Raj never dated Howard.
Once the ladies leave, Howard commends his friend for being so brave. He even tells Raj that if things don’t work out with Bernadette, they can give it a whirl. Raj thinks this is a no-go. If Howard is out of the picture, he will swoop in and take Bernadette. Of course he’ll have to fight Stuart.
I have to admit, I felt bad for Raj. That was a lot of criticism in one evening, and I couldn’t help but think that his one true love was left off the panel. Exactly where was Cinnamon?
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SHELDON: When the robots rise up, they’ll know I’ve been rooting for them the whole time.
RAJ: Maybe I’ll play the field.
HOWARD: The field was just here. The field said no.
Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj, and Wolowitz, Amy, Bernadette—the gang keeps growing. Bazinga!