Getting girls excited about science is one of the issues I am most likely to get up on my soapbox for. (Getting anybody excited about science is up there as well.) So, when Leonard told Howard and Sheldon that their committee job was to find a way to get more women interested in science on Thursday’s Big Bang Theory, I just about jumped up and shouted, “Hallelujah! Preach it, brother!”
It’s unnerving how Sheldon, as clueless as he is, still managed to come up with the most sensible course of action: talk to the girls at the middle school level and encourage them. It is a sensible course of action, but I disagree that nothing can be done by the time women hit university level. I, for one, got over my math phobia while working on my undergrad degree…
Uh, like this is supposed to be a substantive discussion of women in science. It’s a freaking sitcom, for Pete’s sake. But herein lied the genius of this episode — it took a meaty issue, embroidered it with a few jokes, but it did it to get you thinking about the issue.
And speaking of meaty issues, poor Raj was trying to figure out a good date for himself and Lucy. I concede that there is part of me that really wanted to see Raj find himself as a gay person. On the other hand, it seems he truly is more metrosexual than actually homosexual, and if he has to be straight, then the relationship with Lucy is practically perfect.
I’m really loving Lucy. Yes, she’s terrified. Yes, she has some serious issues. But durn it, how can you not love a character who is burdened with all these fears and yet, keeps pushing herself to get past them? I just want to wrap her in my arms and hold her tight. Except that would terrify her into oblivion. And who better to play against than Raj, who can’t even speak in front of a woman unless he’s had a nip or two.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, because Raj’s visit to girls’ night with Penny, Bernadette and Amy (wine and fondue in hand — he can come to my place anytime!) was about figuring out how to best entertain Lucy, with her specific challenges. Smart move to ask the women. This is something only Raj would think of (see: the other guys playing a sexist video game while trying to think of ways to get women into science). Too bad the women got fixated on a trip to Disneyland instead.
Moving on, Sheldon, Leonard and Howard wandered the halls back at Howard’s old middle school, reliving his miserable existence, including getting bumped by an oversized middle schooler (yes, Helberg really is that short). Of course, Leonard totally blew his talk to the middle school girls by trying to be cool. Sheldon was just plain out of touch. And Howard, as usual, didn’t measure up.
Meanwhile, ladies set off for Disney, with Amy going into exact detail about how she got away with playing hooky from work — another new experience for her — and Bernadette going all militant over getting to be Cinderella for her princess makeover. I’m trying to figure out if that’s really an option at the Magic Kingdom. If it is, it’s a fairly recent thing there. (It’s been a while since I last went.)
Ah, but Raj’s date. How sweet, caring, utterly romantic and funny. And how many guys do we know who totally need knocking upside the head until they get it, like Raj did? First, he set up a picnic at the library, which is quiet and just public enough. Then he set it up so that the two could text each other instead of talking, starting with some horrible puns and two autocorrect jokes. And when her battery died, she was finally able to talk, even if he wasn’t. In fact, she even tried to kiss him. How cute is that?
Back to the middle school, what scares me is that, again, it’s Sheldon who finally got it. Girls don’t want to hear about science from more guys. They want to hear it from other women. So Sheldon got Bernadette and Amy on the phone. I totally loved how Amy was in her Snow White get-up, talking about how women are often pushed to focus on caring about their looks rather than their brains, even as she was putting on more lipstick. Oh dear, are we sneaking in some more substance here? Keep in mind: Bialik really does have her PhD in Neurobiology.
However, gotta love the reaction the guys had to the costumes, with Howard and Leonard all about the sex and the fantasy and Sheldon missing the point, as usual. If it weren’t for those kinds of sophisticated jokes, I’d say this episode should be required viewing for all seventh-grade girls. This is one of the few shows that allows women to be smart, sometimes even smarter than the guys. And Penny, while she isn’t as educated, can still keep up with this crew, which says a lot about her native intelligence.
And OK, the show is just plain funny.
The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV/CBS.
Anne Louise Bannon is the editor of YourFamilyViewer.com. You can follow her on Twitter @YrFamilyViewer.