Coming off of last week’s wedding proposal disaster, The Big Bang Theory returns this week with another strong installment. Even though it does sort of reset as expected. The proposal is brushed off somewhat quickly at the start of the episode. Fortunately, though, “The Occupation Recalibration” does pick up where last week left off, and builds on the themes from last week’s episode. Penny is still coming to terms with giving up on her goal or not, and Leonard is still trying to tackle honesty vs moral support.
At this point, I have gotten used to Big Bang’s method of dropping a bomb and then getting things back to normal in the next episode. A lot of times when this do this, we are also treated to something that actually sticks. Bernadette and Amy’s introduction to the series are fine examples, and tonight’s plot line of Penny quitting the Cheesecake Factory could make for an interesting game changer, provided they stick with it. We won’t know for a couple of weeks, as the show takes another scheduling break, but this seems like the sort of change up that would stick around.
It was pretty funny and Penny-like for her to just quit her job on a whim without consulting Leonard. His constant back and forth between showing moral support and telling her the truth was one of the running jokes throughout the episode. Penny and Leonard needed to spice things up. We’ve seen them break up so that would have been repetitive. The proposal was a little bit too big at least for mid-season, so Penny’s change of life should have an enticing ripple effect on their relationship.
Paralleling Penny’s new found joblessness, Sheldon has been forced once again to use his vacation days. The last time this happened an entire episode was built around it. Now it makes for a simple yet effective side story. Sheldon and Penny get to spend some quality time together, so that’s always a plus!
Speaking of quality time together, we got to see Stewart and Bernadette together for the first time in, ever. I never really thought of the two of them having stories together, but with this season mixing up the pairings it’s not totally out of the blue. Bernadette is trying to seek out a comic for Howard, and Stewart takes her to a “hip” comic book store. I never thought about it much until recently, but Stewart has become sort of the easy target. When we first met him, he was a fairly successful and laid back artist, but now he is a neurotic failure who self deprecates every other sentence. It sucks because I always liked Stewart and don’t think he deserves all the mean spirits. Josh Peck also made a guest appearance tonight as cool comic store owner Jesse. This is a good example of Stewart doing nothing more than getting told, again, how bad he’s doing in life. It’s slightly annoying.
The other fun coupling was Howard and Raj helping Amy deal with an “off-putting” co-worker, played by funnyman guest star Brian Posehn. This storyline offered up some pretty good laughs and some well placed similarities with Leonard’s dilemma of honesty vs being kind. The Big Bang Theory has been featuring some of its strongest writing in several seasons, and I am bummed that we now have to wait a couple of weeks for a new episode. Maybe now is a good time to do a re-watch of the first 13 episodes to refresh my memory!