The Big Bang Theory Review: The Bully Versus the Mathletes

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I didn't like "The Speckerman Recurrence."

While there were a few funny moments, I almost felt guilty laughing because it made me feel like a bully. Recently, the plight of bullied kids has become a high profile discussion, so this episode seemed somewhat in poor taste. The Big Bang Theory has always been a show about and for intelligent people and nerds, though not exclusively. Unfortunately, this episode showed the audience that once you are bullied, you will always be bullied.

The Big Bang Theory Trio

Chuck Lorre had an amazing opportunity to be funny, while also empowering those that are being bullied. The end with Sheldon and Leonard running away from Jimmy was unfunny, unoriginal ("just need to outrun you"), and also down right discouraging. This conclusion discounted anything else redeemable in the episode.

Despite that, I'll mention them.

My favorite line was when Penny asked about the Wi-Fi password. This ongoing joke cracks me up each time. It's a little surprising that Sheldon comes up with such witty passwords without being anal about security, but this continuity makes me smile every time.

As has become common, the guys and girls were split up here with very different outcomes. Penny came to realize that she was a bully and wanted to make up for it. Her attempts to apologize seemed only somewhat genuine, as she still had little patience for her victims. In Penny-style, she decided to be charitable, but only if it wasn't too much of an inconvenience. Given my outrage at how the guys' bully storyline was handled, I probably should be more upset with Penny, as well. But, for some reason, she was so charming in her own way. Perhaps, it is because she wasn't mean-spirited, as Jimmy continued to be.

Penny has been rubbing off on Amy and Bernadette and usually it has helped them become more socially adept. This time, she instead corrupted them to steal donated clothes. Fortunately, she realized it was wrong. It was a fun departure for Bernadette when she took the shoes and justified it with her work at the soup kitchen.

I would have liked to see Sheldon's bullying nature to have been highlighted a bit more. His lines were some of the funniest, but at the same time they were demeaning to his friends. This is commonplace on the sitcom, but given the theme, it would have been perfect for any of his friends to call him out about it and make a joke. That could have redeemed the episode by showing anyone can be a bully.

I'm probably over-thinking the episode, because it is a comedy, but the topic could have been handled more appropriately and not have slid by with unoriginal, cliche jokes.

In any case, check out the few funny lines from the episode and sound off with your take on it.


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (97 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


ooooooh... i love "bug bang teorhy"super funny! it was my bf who made me watch it too and like you, i didnt think much of it at first...but the 4 geeks grew on me!and yeah... raj, especially, looked quite hot on that photo!


I normally don't mind gays, but this show takes the cake. These guys may as well just spend a half hour giving blow jobs to each other.


This is the most gay show on TV. I grew up in a college full of nerdy engineering type guys and none were so gay as this crew. Even in the 70's, these guys would have stuck out like sore thumbs. This is more gay than Fez was originally in That 70's Show before he finally scored. These guys never go out looking for poontang, never score with women, never are interested in anything other than the little gay group. Cripes...I can't stand this gay show, the really gay actors or anything about them...especially that they pretend they aren't gay. Get on with it and cancel this big gay fest now.


If the characters are still the same after 5 frickin years, then THAT would be stupid. Characters need to evolve and other characters need to be introduced into their lives, JUST LIKE REAL LIFE. How lame would it be if all 4 guys and girl are STILL doing the same old shtick after all these years...come on, YOU were NOT the same person 5 years ago... btw, I think Amy and Bernadette are GREAT addtions to the show.


Wow, what happened to this show? The characters have evolved beyond recognition. I cringe every time Amy is on screen, and Penney is just a background character. Just like 2 1/2 men, I like watching reruns of the first three seasons.


Boo hoo. Some person who really means nothing in the grand scheme of my life laughed at me. When did people start raising such babies (note, that's not the word I was going for). Get over it. GET OVER IT. Every couple of years there's some new "cause" bandwagon that everyone jumps on and makes it out to be some huge deal. It isn't. Know what is? Women and children being bought and sold in human trafficking rings throughout this country. Kind of makes the wedgy you suffered as a third grader seem kind of silly now, huh?


i am not a native English speaker and I don't really have any experience concerning bullies. They are quite rare and hardly as harsh in my native land. I happen to like this particular episode because of the scene of Jimmy's drunken apology. Appearently it's not enough and what Leonard has endured back then was terrible and not funny at all. IMO, the important thing is now,like how Jimmy puts it as loser becomes winner. I personally think bullies know their problems and are probably hiding behind denial yet deep down they know as bullies they are not getting anywhere at all. Although the ending is rather cliche, disencouraging and many negative things and the episonde in general is quite lame, I do give some credits for the scene of Jimmy's drunken apology.


I love this show, but was quite taken aback by the apparent lack of concern for the gravity of this serious social issue. I know the torment of being bullied, and was very surprised that this was handled with such triviality.


I realize looking back at my comment I said "the girls". I don't mean Penny, all the girls except her.


Another crappy episode in what is the worst season ever! When we look back and ask: "When did it all start to fall apart" this season will be the answer. Of course we could extend back to Season 4 when Amy came in, but Season 5 is where she overtook Penny as the main girl character so I'm going to say that Season 5 has caused the show to crash and burn. First off, it would make more sense for Sheldon to date someone like Penny. you know, someone normal that can balance out ecentric personality. Opposites attract after all. Having Peny and Amy together is so painful to watch. Then again having Sheldon try to be a bf is painful, stupid, ill advised and all together goes against everything we thought his character was. Also what is with all the homo jokes Amy makes about Penny? Date Sheldon and turn gay and date women, but don't date Sheldon and then make quasi homosexual jokes at Penny. It's getting old and it's confusing. Oh and one more thing Amy - get off the show!!!!!!

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The Big Bang Theory Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

Oh, terrific. High school quarterback against four mathletes.


Penny: Hi. Did Sheldon change the Wi-Fi password again?
Leonard: Yeah, it's "Penny already eats our food she can pay for Wi-Fi." No spaces.