The Big Bang Theory, "The Zazzy Substitution": in which Sheldon becomes a crazy cat lady

Quick Take: The Big Bang Theory, "The Zazzy Substitution"
Now if you'll excuse me, the father of the atomic bomb wants a saucer of milk" - Sheldon

Sheldon and the cats

Review, The Big Bang Theory, "The Zazzy Substitution"
(S0403) Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler (a repeat performance by Mayim Bialik) are getting along swimmingly, and by swimmingly, I mean they're so intellectual that no one knows what they're talking about (including the other geeks), and they're even more obnoxious together than they are individually. Then there's a disagreement about whether physics or neurobiology will be the first to explain everything in the universe, and they mutually vote to call off their relationship, even though Sheldon has spent all this season, short as it is so far, telling everyone that she isn't his girlfriend, "she's a girl who is a friend." He thinks he's fine, but then he immediately goes out and buys a cat. Then some more cats. Then, all at once, there's 25 of them, all except Mr Zazzles, named after scientists, and Leonard has to call in his mom to get him straightened out. Mrs Cooper knows exactly how to make it better, and reverse psychologies him into making up with Amy Farrah Fowler, and it all ends with Sheldon giving away his cats at $20 a piece... which goes with the cats.

Once again, a funny episode. Sheldon hanging out with ever-increasing numbers of cats (a glaring of cats, apparently), talking to all of them like they're people, somehow makes perfect sense for the character. But there's a problem, and my lingering pre-teen love of Blossom doesn't want to admit it, but it's Amy Farrah Fowler. Now, she's not a deal breaker for the show or anything, and she, too, makes sense for Sheldon, but she's worse than him. And, like Leonard says, we already have him for all the condescension we need. When she's on screen, the show becomes ultra-dense, uber-jargon-y, and it becomes about them trying to out-Sheldon each other. Plus, Amy has no attachment to the rest of the cast, so she doesn't care about them, and she's mean to them, without Sheldon ever defending them against her, even in a backhanded way. Which is sad. Because, again as mentioned in the show, she's going all Yoko-type on them, splitting up the group, and upsetting the balance of the show.

Now, this is okay if the writers eventually intend to bring it back, and if that eventuality is sooner rather than later, or at least is really funny getting there. Everyone needs a little shaking up every now and again, and it was very funny -- it's just that everyone else hardly had anything to do in this episode except stand off to the side and react to the two of them, and that defeats the purpose of having so many really fun and likable characters. There was a moment of light at the end, though: after Sheldon and Amy make up, he asks if she wants to go see his cats, and she gets excited and actually smiles. All we need is for her to relax just enough to be likable, to fit into the group, even if she doesn't fit into the rest of the world. And even if everyone sort of continues to dislike her, and she can happily join the crew, but right now, with everyone antagonistic, it's awkward.

But, I want to stress again, no less funny. There wasn't a minute this whole episode where I wasn't laughing my head off. The show somehow keeps getting funnier every week. And that, really, is the bottom line the writers and actors have to keep supporting.

Further thoughts on "The Zazzy Substitution":

  • "In a world where humanity is ruled by a giant sentient beaver, what food would no longer be eaten?" - Sheldon
  • "In a world where rhinoceroses are domesticated pets, who wins the second Worls War?" - Amy
  • The point is made that while Leonard was dating Penny, everyone had to put up with it... but there was build-up there. We already knew her and were rooting for them before-hand. Maybe the discomfort here is only that none of us know Amy?
  • Drunk Raj is always fun. Also, non-drunk Raj and his baby words was such a silly subplot, and totally worth it.
  • "Amy is judgmental, sanctimonious, and frankly just obnoxious.…We already have you for all that." -Leonard
  • "... and night after night of uninformative TV documentaries about the Jersey shore." - Sheldon
  • "Yes, I get it. You got a lot of cats and you gave them cute, Jewish names." - Mrs Cooper
  • "Well, we can quibble about what to call it, but I think we all agree, it's creepy." - Mrs Cooper
  • Video: The Big Bang Theory, "The Zazzy Substitution"
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    By Samantha Holloway

    About the author

    Samantha is a freelance writer, editor and book and TV reviewer. She's currently in gradschool and working on her first novel, and one day she'll rule to world. Or marry her TV. Whichever comes first. Follow!

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    On: Saturday, October 9, 2010
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    zazzy review ;-) 

    On: Friday, April 20, 2012
    icebergey said:

    have you seen this before 


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