Was 'Big Bang Theory' app-ropos?
January 7th, 2011
12:52 PM ET

Was 'Big Bang Theory' app-ropos?

Sometimes a formula just doesn't really work the way you might expect.

Such was the case with this week's "Big Bang Theory." It had all of the elements (yes, pun intended), but something was off.

Our guys try and design an app that is equal parts handwriting recognition and differential equation solving. (And let the geeks say amen.)

In theory (I can't help myself!) it should have all been crazy hilarity as Leonard, Sheldon, Wolowitz and Raj try to work together. But it didn't have nearly the same energy as an earlier episode where Raj became Sheldon's research assistant.

Not that it didn't have its moments of alchemy. There was the revelation that Sheldon wears "bus pants" when traveling via public transportation, and Wolowitz trying to help his mother figure out e-mail over the phone.

And then there was Raj's dream that the group hits it big with the app, and he and Wolowitz move next door to each other in mansions with "a secret tunnel connecting your front yard to my back yard."

Wow, Raj. Just wow.

But in the words of Penny, "bored." It just didn't move me, as much as I enjoyed Sheldon being super-annoying (as always) and getting fired from the project by Leonard. The episode just didn't tickle my funny bone like I thought it would.

Your thoughts on this week's "BBT"?

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Anita

    jeannie...no one is laughing? Really? Maybe you don't laugh at it but my husband and I both do and I'm most definitely a geek. My brother is an uber-geek as well, so many of these characters (esp Sheldon) remind me of him or of people I work with. I would agree they need to throw in some new stuff, a new character to the dynamic would be interesting (like someone mentioned David Hyde Pierce...as someone maybe who could poke fun at Sheldon's ways while he was growing up), but this show is still funny! If people weren't laughing they'd stop watching, the ratings would then drop and it would be cancelled...that doesn't seem to have happened, AT ALL.

    January 28, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ralph

    Sheldon is my dream big brother. I love him. Even if the writing is terrible I just love that character. He could just walk into a room and make a cup of coffee and it makes me giggle.

    January 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ardith

    I liked it. The very end (the shoe app) didn't make much sense, but overall it was a solid episode of the best comedy on TV. But the one in which everyone is on a panel at a scientific conference & start talking about their personal issues? Way sub-par.

    January 23, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. kate

    Wow, I'm sorry that not every episode deserves 5 stars.... as long as you enjoy it and it makes you laugh then really isn't that what matters?

    January 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeannie gallaway

      NO!!!! Not Really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's getting worse by the week and no one is LAUGHING!!!! No show gets 5 stars, by the way

      January 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sol

    you are good at your prt

    January 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Keven

    Total respect for those who actually enjoy this "show" but, well, I have never seen something so horrible in my life. What is up with the canned laughter at every word said during the show? I am amazed this dribble is on TV. I am even more amazed there are human beings who find this even a little bit amusing. Better to spend my time getting a root canal.

    January 15, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Ralph

      Honey, it's for smart people. It's okay for you to not like it. You have to have an IQ of at least 210 to even turn it on.

      January 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank


      The millions of people who get the jokes and love the show wouldn't waste any time trying to explain it to you.

      But I'm sure there'a an American Idol of Jersey Shore rerun on somewhere.

      January 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nimuetre

    A slightly below par BBT is still better than 99% of the shows on TV

    January 13, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. hf74

    The least technically accurate episode I have seen in a while.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. sealchan

    As a computer programmer (nerd) with a 'Penny' for a wife (heck my mom's name is Penny!), I thought that the app writing premise was good but they overplay Sheldon's character a little bit. I think he is too iconoclastic and he, as in this episode, ends up drawing too much drama to himself in many cases. I also thought it extremely funny when they discussed how much they would have to sell the app for to become rich. There are so many junk apps out there that get $5 a pop...

    January 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nighthhaaawk

    It was funny and true to the characters.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rob

    I think you guys should just watch and enjoy the show and quit trying to pick it apart.

    January 10, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Thea

    As a 'Penny' who is married to and manages tech guys, I love the show – but I did think they missed a golden opportunity in this episode to compare Penny to Hedy Lamarr the 30's actress who co-invented and had a patent for an early technique for spread spectrum communications.
    The story is she got her early training when her jealous military industrialist husband insisted she attend his business meetings so he could keep an eye on her.

    January 10, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. PDXSerric

    Yes, the episode was off. But we all have off days, don't we? I won't start to gain genuine concern until there's more "off"
    days than "on". The problem with any show is to keep the characters entertaining and believable without falling into the 'predictable trap' that so many sitcoms do: bad on-the-nose jokes (like Raj's dream).

    When something like BBT runs for so many consecutive seasons, there's the risk of a stale factor. We, the audience, expect to see something familiar but new each episode. Like the early episode when they all ride by train, much to Sheldon's delight. Or when we are introduced to Penny's father, who all but begs Leonard to get back with her after suffering the onslaught of her usual suitors. Small gems like that are great, but can only take a show so far.

    My recommendation: explore the characters' backgrounds a little more. In the writing world, to 'throw stones' at a character means placing them in some uncomfortable situations in an attempt at forcing them to evolve or overcome some great hurdle that they, themselves, may not even know they're facing. Just how miserable was Sheldon at home, Leonard's relationship with his mother... let's get Howard into something HUGE that might actually make him an intellectual threat to Sheldon. And Raj... sweet, neurotic Raj. There's just so much we can do to make him as uncomfortable as humanly possible. What would their alternate parallel universe look like? (Would Sheldon change at all or is he the ONE constant in the universe? (so help us God))

    In the end, the show is working, but a few red flags for staleness have popped up this last season. My advice: don't be afraid to throw some pretty big stones. Surprise the characters and the audience as well.

    January 10, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Marty Flicmy

    I just don't get this show. I love comedy but this show seems to be lacking it at almost every beat. A lot of people I know also like it, but when I compare it to shows like Arrested Development, Malcolm in the Middle, Fawlty Towers, Seinfeld, 30 Rock.... it just pales so horribly in comparison. BBT is a shlock forumla, delivered in the "set up joke, deliver joke, set up joke, deliver joke" except that the jokes aren't funny and can be seen from a mile away. I understand this show, Two and a Half Men, According to Jim and Home Improvement are created for a reason, for an audience that would watch Arrested Development and not get it, but man, some people will literally watch ANYTHING. The characters are one dimensional and that tall gay guy is the worst of the bunch. Ugh.

    January 10, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • ON Steve

      You lost my sympathy when you started referring to Malcolm in the Middle and Home Improvement as shining examples of comedy writing...

      January 10, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Then don't watch it.

      January 10, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • sealchan

      It is very good if you are immersed in a high-tech job and live with 'Penny's at home.

      January 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph

      Soft Marty, Sweet Marty, Little ball of fluff. . . go eat your kibble.

      January 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brine

    I hold degrees in chemistry, physics and math. I also develop apps for smartphones. I thought the episode was hilarious.

    January 10, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  16. vicky

    Seems to me that Penny is showing up less and less – and she is a main part of the show. I know she broke her leg (in real life), but looks fine now. What's up with that?

    January 10, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • jj

      Penny is still visibly limping, so doing the show is probably still fairly difficult. Hope that she will appear more when she is feeling better.

      January 19, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  17. jimintexas

    "App-ropos"? Do you mean "apropos"? If so, not only is the word mispelled here, but misused. Apropos is not simply a fancy synonym for appropriate. It means something completely different. Websters':
    1: at an opportune time : seasonably
    2: by way of interjection or further comment : with regard to the present topic
    Examples of APROPOS

    January 10, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Milf Biggenson

      Uh, I don't watch BBT but even I understood why the writer used it. They were building an APP...so the writer of this article decided to use that word (in the wrong context as you stated).

      January 10, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

      It's a play on the word given that the episode was about their creating an App.

      January 10, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • PDXSerric


      Sometimes if we take things too literally or look too closely, they lose their beauty or humor.

      January 10, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • sealchan


      January 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jc

      Thank you Sheldon

      January 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  18. wolfmamma

    i liked this episode because Leonard got to "fire" Sheldon – twice. It has gotten old that Sheldon just takes over....

    I think that this story could go on and see what happens with Penny's App. I think it would be wonderful if it took off and SHE made lots of money! I think the geeks could use a little lesson in real world retail. I think it would be wonderfully funny for Penny to shine and give the boys something to think about.

    January 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Fishdoctor

    What would adding David Hyde Pierce to the show as a relative of Sheldon's ( long lost father, uncle, etc.) Adding some more depth to his already very popular character could also add more life to the show. "Niles" sure helped his other show.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Diana

    I agree we are getting way too much Sheldon though he and Raj are my favorites. I want a little less of Sheldon and more of Raj and Howard and his mother.

    January 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  21. Robin

    I agree Leonard looked tired. Maybe he is sick of Sheldon getting all the acclaim. Sheldon used to be funnier when he wasn't self-aware. Now I agree that he is getting mean. You have to have the straight men to have the funny men work. Penny used to be the straight man to all of the others, but now it is everyone else and Sheldon. I love Jim Parsons, but the others are excellent too. They need more to do.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetReal

      True. Sheldon may be the center of the show but he's not the only player. A little of him goes a long way.

      January 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Hidden

    I didn't understand the Raj and Howard joke. Can someone explain it to me?

    January 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      It is a lame gay joke. The writing is usually better than that. 😦

      January 8, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Nicole

    I read something where someone commented that while season one Sheldon was annoying and mean without realizing it, season four Sheldon knows that he's acting like that. So I was a litle disappointed in him. But I did really like the ep-at least for season four, which has felt off to me, with a few exceptions, of course.

    January 8, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  24. BrianR

    There were good points and bad points. As a techy, I have worked with my share of Sheldons, smart, but socially inept and unable to understand why others fail to follow along. It wasn't great, and while "Taking it new places" may be harder, hopefully, the writers will find new ways to take things there.
    I'd like to see Howard's and Penny's stories expanded some. I think it would be neat to see Sheldon confront one of his role models that used to be like Sheldon but is now completely different. Take Sheldon new places, make him change and grow a little bit.

    January 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  25. HeyCarrieAnn

    I totally agree with Elizabeth Q...Sheldon was waaay out of hand, and kind of deserved a beat down. I really like the show, but the constant selfish and belittling ways of Sheldon are starting to wear on me. It was about time that Leonard stood up to him, and I hope it happens more. As for Howard and his mother...cracks me up every time. And I want that shoe app!

    January 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  26. six8conmullet

    I liked that this is the first time in a while where there was math/science/engineering humor that took a calc class or 2 to understand. Those jokes are why I started watching the show in the first place

    January 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Elizabeth Q

    I enjoyed this episode less than I have others in the past. I thought Sheldon went too far. Yes, Sheldon is quirky, anti-social, unaware of his effect on other people's feelings, and insensitive, but in this episode, I thought he also bordered on mean. It took some of the pleasure away for me. I usually like rooting for the characters.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • TLKTS

      I dont think Sheldon was mean, I just think it showed another side, one of many, of him and confirmed just what a control freak he really is. The humor was still there but the story line was a big snore. This is my absolute favorite show to watch. I DVR it every week. Last night about 15 minutes into it, I switched over to watch WipeOut, shows how interesting it was to me. Still I will watch it next week and the week after that. Just gotta love that Sheldon.

      January 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  28. sasha

    I enjoyed it. I honestly had that texas song stuck in my head all day at work. By the way, random clapping without singing the words aloud tends to scare co-workers. Anyway what seemed evident to me is Galecki looked incredibly tired. Not in a dealing with sheldon way, but just his face looked exhausted. He had no energy throught the entire ep and I found that it really thrown off the flow of the show because he was always the sort of perky optimistic one.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  29. IronCelt

    I had been watching the first season DVD I got as a gift, so the difference between the "app" episode and the early ones was really obvious to me. The writers simply seem to be running out of places to go, which is normal but still disappointing.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Jennifer B

    I agree with cheefsfury....just didn't measure up to the usual BBT quality, but still watched it. I would like to see in the future how Sheldon and Penny's Shoe App does...

    January 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Tracy Hudson

    Being a huge fan of the show I like it because it showed new stuff. like Sheldon's humor, and Lenoard over riding Sheldon. I love this show and I had a few burst of laughter in spots and the only thing that is getting old is the idea that Raj and Howard are gay, but still the best show ever.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  32. cheefsfury


    January 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |

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