The Big Bang Theory Review: Friendship Explained

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Why is Leonard friends with Sheldon?

I can't believe it's taken until The Big Bang Theory Season 7 Episode 7 for someone to ask Leonard that question. And, surprisingly, it didn't take Leonard long to answer.

He realizes that Sheldon often is not an easy person to be around, but his quirks are worth it.

Dueling Science Guys

When Sheldon's childhood idol, Dr.  Jeffries, selected Leonard to help him with a project, Sheldon's competitive and possessive side went into overdrive. His irritation at being passed over made sense, but so did Dr. Jeffries' reasons for not wanting to work with Sheldon.

Sheldon's just not an easy person to be around. And, when science and his intellect are involved Sheldon can be down right intolerable. In and intriguing twist, Sheldon sort of acknowledged that he could be annoying. His rant with Amy was hilarious with his continual repetition of "I'm annoying" proving his point. 

He's not one to let anything go though. In order to overcome the slight, Sheldon brought Dr. Jeffries nemesis to the University, Bill Nye the Science Guy. The confrontation between the two television scientists was funny to witness. I give the win to Dr. Jeffries who refused Bill Nye from getting a good look at their project.

Plus, Bill Nye was stuck having smoothies with Sheldon. Dr. Jeffries was much better off back in the lab with Leonard. The smoothie trip didn't end well, as Sheldon shared, "I've been informed that he's now Bill Nye the Restraining Order Guy."

Leonard's support of his friendship with Sheldon provided Dr. Jeffries with a different perspective. And, Dr. Jeffries showed up at the apartment to ask for Sheldon's thoughts on his scientific paper. It was a touching moment, which was followed up by some creepy, yet hilarious ogling of Penny. 

While Leonard and Sheldon were working through their Dr. Jeffries issue, Raj was dealing with his overbearing friend, Howard. Those two have always had a very close bond. Raj doesn't have a strong record of standing up for himself, but he did here and it was awesome to see.

Raj's overlapping interests with the gals has been a continual joke on him. Finally, he stood up for his interests when Howard's presence took away his safe haven. The girls accept Raj and let him be himself without the fear of ridicule. Howard took that away when he joined jewelry night.

They resolved their issue without much trouble and Raj even make Howard a gift. A light saber belt buckle. I lost it when Raj demonstrated how they could duel with them. "You can wear yours and we can have little sword fights whenever we want," oh, yes, you can!

Overall, "The Proton Displacement" had plenty of touching and funny moments. The return of Bob Newhart and the appearance by Bill Nye both were highlights of the hour. It may have been stunt casting for ratings, but their use in the episode was well written and worked.

Check out some of the funniest lines in our The Big Bang Theory quotes section.


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (82 Votes)

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


Ah, Professor Proton…
It was good to see Bob Newhart guest starring again as the faded star of a children’s TV show. The dry one liners and his equally dry and deft delivery are a fresh relief from the usual mayhem. His first appearance was memorable and this fully continued the thread of his bafflement and eventually neatly expanded the depth of Leonard and Sheldon’s interdependency. The episode featured a series of very amusing scenes, all of them revolving round the guest. Right from Amy being introduced as Sheldon’s girlfriend and Arthur reacting with a bemused waddle of the head to his sudden acceptance of coffee and Sheldon’s bemused expression, Bob Newhart was spot on.
The rest of the cast rose to the occasion and the writers also hit a fine vein of form. Even the slightly mawkish scenes between Raj and Howard came off unscathed, thanks mostly to the acting, although the testosterone exchange at the lunch table was brilliant. The range of Simon Helberg’s facial expressions is getting bigger and better. Indeed it was his astonishment that levered Raj’s phallic light sabre belt from a mere smirk inducing moment to being an outright belly laugh. Other than a few wince inducing moments making jewelry, the girls are sidelined in this one. It’s all about the boys and felt very much like the early episodes, where the geeky stuff took centre stage and the bonding was all about four odd-balls, not about romantic couples.
Finally Sheldon admits he’s annoying! In fairness he only admits that people find him annoying, not that he actually is, but it is a start. He respects Arthur enough to be genuinely hurt when the door slams in his face. Occasionally Sheldon’s petty side rears its head, but this time it is kept nicely under control and between them Arthur and Amy make him see a skewed version of sense, even if hacking an old man’s email account is both extreme and a bit creepy.
That minor point aside, I can’t thank the producers enough for toning down the Sheldon-act for this one. While he was annoying – when isn’t he? – it wasn’t overbearing and at no point was there a suggestion he came out on top. By the end it was enough to have Arthur sitting in his lounge and listening to him babble on and on and on. So the humour stemmed less from Sheldon’s own ideas of friendship and propriety than with Arthur’s incomprehension at his activities, which was how the series started with Penny as the outsider looking in. It dips occasionally, but thanks mostly to its guest star I’d happily call this a vintage episode, probably the best in Season 7 so far.


I agree with most of the commenter that the best part was Newhart and the rest sucked. Of-Course Raj being over sensitive and Penny as a dumby is played so often it is becoming intolerable to watch. I liked the part where Leonerd answered the ultimate q of why being friends with Sheldon though.


The best part and the only part was Bob Newhart, what a brilliant funny man he is - The rest sucked big time as usual! For the gazillion time they played with Howard and Raj gay tendency - That got old seasons ago you moronic writers/producers! Penny was the once again the town drunk almost constantly holding a wine glass and was playing a simpleton that couldn't handle glue, something that my 6 year old niece could do easily - It's not funny, it's sad how bad you write Penny and with zero character grow. And for the others, why bother? Has this show been renewed? Because this shit should be canceled already and put on a warning label for the dvd's to only watch season 1 - 3.

@ Jonas

If that's what you think, why are you still watching/commenting? Don't be a troll.

@ Jennifer

Agree wholeheartedly. If they don't like it, the "OFF" button does the trick.


I liked this one even more than the first Professor Proton episode. Great to see Bob Newhart still has it.


Not my favorite episode in the season but it had some really touching parts. I loved that Raj finally stood up to Howard regarding all the teasing. Some of the things Howard says are really hurtful and so many times, Raj just brushed them off. It's nice to see that Raj finally took some action and that Howard was able to understand him. Also loved Sheldon's "I'm annoying" and "Wow that hurt". Oh Sheldon Cooper, you have my heart <3


Bob Newhart had me literally LOL last night. The rest of the characters sucked though. Raj and Howard were so many times are they going to go to that well? Sheldon was over bearing last night. Penny's character has become nothing more than a dumb drunk. But Newhart was hilarious.

@ a

Y'know, I've noticed that about Penny too. She always seems to have a glass of wine in her hand.


"...followed up by some creepy, yet hilarious ogling of Penny..." I'll second that, but with the emphasis on "creepy"--Newhart deserves better than playing some dirty old man.


The thing that surprised me was that Leonard explained how Sheldon needed him, and he said he kind of needed Leonard too, but they never let him explain WHY he needed Leonard. That's an explanation I'd like to hear.

@ Stoneinfl

I know, that struck me too. I really wanted to hear why Leonard needs Sheldon as much as Sheldon needs Leonard. My opinion - Leonard gets a brotherly relationship with Sheldon that he didn't get in his own family growing up.


Leonard didn't just defend Sheldon's quirks. Leonard recognizes Sheldon's genuinely good qualities, and acknowledges that there's some personal satisfaction from helping Sheldon.


I would love to see Bob Newhart as a semi-regular on the show. His comic timing is incredible. I also wish they would include his classic phone call routine on the show. Having him responding to any of the characters on the phone would be comic gold.

@ newdeal

You're right about the phone calls. The good news is that Prof Proton is a recurring role. I saw an article recently that said when they approached Newhart about the appearance last season, they weren't sure he would agree, but he told them the only way he would is if it would be a recurring role. I think he said a couple of times a year, but I'm not sure about that.

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The Big Bang Theory Season 7 Episode 7 Quotes

Sheldon: No, go ahead, say it. I know what it is. I've heard it my whole life. The word's "annoying." Go ahead, say it. Say it. Say I'm annoying.
Amy: Sheldon...
Sheldon: Oh, it won't hurt my feelings. Go ahead, Amy, say I'm annoying. I'm annoying. I'm annoying. I'm annoying.

Dr. Jeffries: Hold on. You ... you have a girlfriend?
Amy: Hey look -- we're wearing the same orthopedic shoes. I can't believe I dress like a celebrity.
Dr. Jeffries: O-Okay, I get it now.