Ah, Big Bang Theory. The show I started out hating because I used to be defensive of my lifestyle, but overtime I started  to notice its charm. It wasn’t making fun of geeks, well it was. Though the people behind you were, in fact, geeks themselves. It no longer seemed as offensive as I first witnessed the show. Instead it has become a thoughtful show that chose to honor the geek; all the while making fun of the extreme moments that do occasionally take place. Sure it does use some of the old geek archetypes for the characters, but it’s a sitcom after all. So I won’t hold it against it.

Now why am I talking about Big Bang Theory today? Well, in case you didn’t hear, Stan “The Man” Lee was a guest star and a central plot element. Needless to say I was giddy. Stan has gone a little off his rocker in recent years, but dang it this guy is the master of the cameo. I wasn’t about to miss  my favorite TV show when it has the Marvel Legend as its guest star. Now was I pleased with the episode? Short answer: yes. Long answer: Yes, and here’s why.

First, let me summarize the whole episode. (Please keep in mind that this is indeed a sitcom and as such some of the plot points are silly. The stuff is often formulaic and you really just need to have a taste for the stuff. I am a connoisseur of sitcoms and I know the good from the bad.) The episode starts off with the gang in a comic shop where they find out that Stan Lee is doing a signing at that very shop in a few days. They rush home to their collections to decide what comic they will have Stan Lee sign for them. It is there that Howard (for a full summary of characters go here) receives a paper cut and searches through Sheldon’s drawer for a band-aid. While in the drawer Howard finds an un-opened traffic ticket  in Sheldon’s name  that Sheldon received in the mail (presumably) a few weeks ago. He refuses to pay the ticket as he feels he shouldn’t be charged for driving Penny to the hospital in a time of crisis, and he decides to go to court to defend his case. It suddenly becomes apparent that the court date is exactly on the day that Stan Lee is doing the signing (See, I told you it does have some sitcom plot points).

Sheldon still refusing to simply pay the ticket, even after learning he will most likely miss Stan Lee day,  goes to the court and defends himself. Unfortunately for him the judge doesn’t agree with his defense nor likes the insults Sheldon spouts off to the judge. Sheldon’s “truth”, as he put it, put him in contempt of court and sent to the jail for the night, or till he apologizes. After a brief stint in jail (however long it takes for Sheldon to have to use the bathroom) Sheldon apologizes to the judge and heads home to find the rest of the gang sharing the story about their wonderful day with Stan Lee. Sheldon is jealous and blames Penny for this whole mess. Seeking a way to repay Sheldon she acquires Stan’s street address and takes Sheldon to meet The Man himself. Sheldon mistakes Stan’s sarcasm and gets a restraining order against him. He returns home proudly displaying his restraining order and hangs it next to his restraining order from Leonard Nimoy.

That’s the basic gist of the episode’s plot. Nothing too spectacular but it’s a solid plot when compared to other sitcoms (According to Jim, I am looking at you). The beauty of the show is in the characters, the dialogue, and, oh yeah, the references. The characters in this episode were primarily Penny and Sheldon, and you can tell that the writers were playing off the interesting dynamic between the two. Sheldon, the OCD physicist  who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, clashes perfectly with the more messy waitress who also isn’t afraid to speak her mind. This sets up some genuinely  funny moments where the two take turns jabbing each other. This episode had one of those moments. Sheldon tells Penny not to wear the pants with “Juicy” written across them, as he doesn’t want the judge to be distracted. He then proceeded to write-up Penny’s testimonial before the trial in order for her to remember the “facts”. The scripted testimonial does nothing but make Penny out to be a defenseless valley girl from Nebraska. Penny responds to the biased script by hamming up the lines where she is supposed to shed a tear. After a small pause Sheldon replies back, “Maybe you should put on your “Juicy” pants again.” I loved this interaction between the characters and the general dislike they have for one another.

Still one of the more underrated characters on the show is Raj, who played a couple of minor comedic roles in this episode. The episodes starts off with Raj messing around with a sound system shirt that would start playing certain sound bites when he pressed a certain button. He did not speak much during these scenes leaving the sound bites to be his voice.This plays greatly for the comedic timing. The next thing Raj played was a vehicle for a running gag where he lists off all the Marvel characters Stan created that had alliterated names in the usual order of w, x, y, and worst of all, z. The final role he played was that of the Charlie Brown “I got a rock” type character. This took place after he angered Stan Lee by asking him about the alliterated names and resulted in his comic getting signed “To Raj, Stan” in contrast to the others “To my friend, (x). Excelsior!” Raj is, like I stated earlier, the underplayed character of the show and his subtle use of comedy is, at times, more funny than Sheldon’s over the top antics.

As for the dialogue in the episode, it was quick and witty. The bulk of it is used by Penny and Sheldon during the court case plot. The other best bit was in the court case itself between the Judge and Sheldon. The two clashed and Sheldon tried to assert his “superior” intellect over the Judge. Ultimately costing Sheldon $400+ in fines and a once in the lifetime meeting with Stan Lee. I wish I caught all of the banter between the two, but alas, I am only human. I recommend this episode just for this scene alone.

Now the one thing almost every geek watches BBT for and that’s the references, besides the countless references Raj makes while listing the alliterated names (Notable ones include: Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Victor von Doom, and worst of all Fing Fang Foom), there were few obvious ones. The biggest one I saw was the name of the Judge: J. Kirby. He is named after the late, great Jack Kirby. How Sheldon didn’t notice that is beyond me and the fans of the show. Still a great visual reference for the comic fan.

Overall, the episode was fun and enjoyable. It’s not a deep show with hidden meaning. It’s a sitcom and is meant to be enjoyed. Next time it comes on TV you should check it out.

Oh yeah there was a flub by the script writers. Stan Lee did not write Thor’s first appearance. His younger brother, Larry Lieber, did. Thanks go to Ed Brubaker for pointing that out on Twitter. I did not catch that as I am not too keen on everything comics.

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