The Big Bang Theory Review: A New Thanksgiving Tradition

at .  Updated at . Comments

I laughed ... out loud ... a lot!

The Big Bang Theory Season 7 Episode 9 is the episode I've been waiting for all season long. Not only did I laugh at more jokes than I didn't, I burst out laughing more in this half-hour than I think I have so far during The Big Bang Theory season 7.

With one notable exception, I loved the episode.

Thanksgiving Dinner

The only disappointment from "The Thanksgiving Decoupling" was the inclusion of Sheldon's slavery comments. Those were not only unnecessary, they were insulting and weren't even funny. Perhaps I missed the point. At least Amy spoke up and told him they were inappropriate, but still ... writers, why go there?

I also wasn't entirely thrilled about Penny being portrayed as an idiot, but that set up some hilarious moments. Penny and Leonard's relationship is lop-sided and this was a perfect example. He's super-smart and she's ... not. Should he have made her feel less than worthy about it? No, but given their history it felt realistic.

It is kinda ridiculous that drunk people can get married on the whim like that by an Elvis impersonator. In college, I met someone who actually did that. Hmm ... wonder if they are a writer on the show now? It seems crazy, but it happens. Though, she at least realized it was a real wedding. 

This long exchange cracked me up from start to finish. Kaley Cuoco did a great job of playing clueless, while the others portrayed the appropriate amount of dismay over the situation. Loved it!

Penny: We had one of those silly fake weddings.
Leonard: Penny ... you know those are real, right?
Penny: No, they're not.
Leonard: Yeah, they are.
Penny: No, they're not.
Leonard: Yeah, they are.
Sheldon: He's right.
Amy: They're real.
Penny: But, it didn't seem real.

And Zack's arrival at dinner and interaction with Penny and Leonard just proved how much better off she is with him. And despite Penny's ill-advised decisions at times, they really are a good match.

The other over-the-top situation was when Sheldon got drunk. He's hilarious when he drinks. He should definitely get drunk more often. He's much funnier after a drink or two than he is when he acts self-righteous or is ignorant of social norms. 

His knowledge of football is nothing new since he's mentioned before that he's from Texas where everyone knows football. It was sad to see Bernadette's father bonding with the normally socially awkward Sheldon and not Howard. At least by the end of dinner, he warmed up a tad to Howard.

Sheldon burping Pi should be the new "Bazinga!" Okay, maybe not but it was hilarious. Though, my favorite drunk Sheldon line was when Bernadette walked into the room and reprimanded them for being mean to Howard.

She's so tiny. It's funny when she's mad.


Good job, Sheldon. Since Thanksgiving was at Mrs. Wolowitz's, I wondered for a second if we would finally meet her. We didn't and I'm glad about that. I hope we never do. Seeing her in person would never live up to the image that's been built up over the seven seasons. Though, she did make her presence known.

The closing exchange was a funny way to end the Thanksgiving feast of family and friends.

Bernadette's Dad: Hey, Sheldon, what do you say we go outside and throw around the old pigskin.
Sheldon: This is a Jewish house. I don't think they have pigskins.
Mrs. Wolowitz: Did someone say "pigskin"?

There were lots of great lines. Check them out in our The Big Bang Theory quotes section. Share your favorite lines and moments in the comments.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (106 Votes)

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


We don’t do Thanksgiving in the UK, but I guess it has all the trimmings of Christmas, including the traditional dreaded family dinner.
This was a fairly enjoyable episode. We saw Bernadette’s father again, a great character who has hidden admiration for his son in law yet understands none of his humour and fails even to recognize his unease. The dead pan expressions were marvelous, matching Howard’s own exasperated disbelief at proceedings as Sheldon hijack’s an opportunity to bond with his scary relative. That was one story line and for the most part it worked well. Sheldon is always funny when he’s drunk. Here it was also mixed with a little pathos as his behavior mutates into something like his own father’s, enjoying football, drinking beer and treating his woman (and everybody) mean. Jim Parson’s plays a great drunk. In contrast the earlier scenes where his character compares being dragged to Mrs Wolowitz’s to the plight of African slaves seem very out of character. While we know Sheldon lacks tact, he doesn’t lack knowledge. He’s more likely to identify himself with an individual than a race and I suspect, in the past, he might have drawn a Star Trek analogy, for the perils of Kirk and Picard have always been his bench mark for human behaviour. The script writers appear to have forgotten this facet of his make-up and the substitute is ill-thought and hardly amusing.
I enjoyed the banter between Amy, Raj and Bernadette. Some of the best lines came in the kitchen scenes. An episode like this must be hard to choreograph but this was an excellent way of giving each actor something constructive to do in the story. There was even room to fit in an appearance by Penny’s old boyfriend Zack, who featured in the best scene as Leonard attempts to unravel a ‘fake’ wedding (‘We couldn’t afford a real Elvis.’)
This latter story had the legs for a whole episode or more (they’ve made movies on the theme) but I expect the producers didn’t want to tout comparisons to Friends, which is a pity as the situation is slightly different. Where the plot devise failed was once again in the character arc. I know in long running comedy shows time lines and backgrounds shift, alter and get ignored, but there is a worrying trend which developed last season and continues apace here: Penny is being portrayed as a some sort of pseudo drunk, who when intoxicated is incapable of coherent thought, who when sober acts dumb, who has become eye candy for the boys and no longer provides the realistic worldly centre to the group. She’s probably more outside the world now, as Bernie and Amy are more than a match for their partners, and full fill the role she used to perform in the boys’ lives. This is disappointing. Penny has ceased to be focal to the geeks’ personal development and, to add to her diminishing effect, the comic potential of Bernie and Amy is only ever half-heartedly explored. In fact though Bernadette is quite funny in this episode, she’s probably the least humourous character in the show, and the suggestion she will one day morph into a new version of Howard’s mum is joke we all know will happen [one day, long after TBBT has ceased transmission…]
So what did I make of the idea Penny accidentally married Zack during a drunken Thanksgiving trip to Las Vegas? Not a lot. I think it undermines her persona again. In the early seasons, while there were occasions when Penny drank (remember the fancy dress party in Season One?) she rarely gave the impression of being a drunk. There is a fundamental difference. From the off, this episode portrayed her as reckless and rather dumb. All this does is allow Leonard the opportunity to do his injured party thing. A far better storyline would have her get messy watching the football game with Sheldon and Mike then embarrass Leonard in the same way the men rip into Howard. That would be more in keeping with her character, a pretty down to earth person who drinks and likes sports – much like Howard’s father in law.
The short coda resolved everyone’s differences in an unsatisfactory manner and felt like an after-thought. Overall this was not a Thanksgiving feast of comedy.
Apparently we’re having a mid-season break in the UK. I can’t see why. They haven’t even reached mid-season yet. Back with more reviews in April!

Gregory jay valent

Sorry folks, BUT, the scene where Bernadette's dad was willing to share a father/son beer with Sheldon, and not his own son-in-law was shit ! I've been in a similar situation, and IT'S NOT FUNNY !


The episode had, in my opinion, some funny and some not so funny moments. I really enjoyed Zack, and I think he should be back on the show, Howard's mom, and Raj. But...I really didn't like Bernadette's father (he is a horrible character), Sheldon's spanking and unfunny jokes, Penny's stupidity, and of course Leonard. I know that many people really enjoyed this episode, but to me it was just an imitation of many episodes of Friends. The actors were fabulous, of course, as always.

Douglas ritter

There was an episode years ago where Leonard needed to learn all about football for a party he was going to at Penny's to watch a game and he discovered that Sheldon knew the game because of his father -- and was willing to give him pointers. Glad that info was put to (hilarious) use in this episode. Right up there with the famous Thanksgiving Cheers episode. Gobble, Gobble! And yes, the fact that Amy likes to be spanked by Sheldon makes its second appearance. Well done.


I didn't like the references to slavery. Perhaps the writers should have used references to the Holocaust instead. Maybe something like being forced to go to dinner is like being curved into a concentration camp? I wonder how many viewed would have found that reference hilarious?


Wow. That episode had me laughing from start to finish ! Awesome ! Raj was my favourite !Hilarious he was . Then you had Bernie's dad and Sheldon bonding. It was bad for Howard though... And YES, Mrs Wolowitz is BACK !!! Gosh I missed her looool.
Penny and Leonard fighting was okay, however the exchange mentioned in the review was hilarious. Also, Amy's face when Sheldon slapped her butt was indeed priceless. Great episode overall.


The look on Amy's face when Sheldon smacked her on the bottom was priceless.


I liked the slavery meme, too. I think the whole "racist" "n word" thing is way overblown and needs to be put on a back burner for a while. I was thinking the other day that our freedom of speech has been slowly whittled down and back by people objecting and taking offense to pretty much EVERYthing, to the point that now what we have is sorta kinda freedom of thought only.


It was the funniest show of the season (so far) and will be hard to beat. Zack was at his best ever -- he was hilarious ("it will be hard on the children).


Best friggin episode for this season and everyone was great/funny except for Leonard, what a whiny tool he truly is and how the hell can Penny be in love that tiny whiny hobbit is beyond me or that some people think they're great together - I guess ignorance is a bliss like Sheldon said. Sheldon being drunk was the best thing ever on the show along with Bernadette's father, talk about a priceless hysterical scenes between them. I loved that Zack was on this episode and that guy was funnier than Leonard with his short scenes than Leonard has been so far this season and if I were Johnny Galecki I would be pretty disappointed how Leonard has been written this season and Johnny shouldn't ask for raise because that guy could be replaced easily - Leonard is the least funniest of them all, hell he always was. So please for the love god end Penny and Leonard's relationship, it's so cringeworthy to watch it.

@ Jonas

There is a wonderful new invention called a "period". It looks like this: " . " It's used to indicate the end of one thought and the beginning a separate new thought. If you use "and" over and over and over again so that all your thoughts are one long inchoate mishmash, it is a definite symptom of the "ignorance is bliss" theory.

@ NanGee

Oh snap! - But the fact remains, Leonard is boring as hell.

Tags: ,

The Big Bang Theory Season 7 Episode 9 Quotes

Leonard: It'd actually be nice to not hear Sheldon complain about my cooking all day.
Sheldon: Yo ... uh, excuse me, but every year you prepare a terrible meal and every year I criticize it. Do our traditions mean nothing to you?

Raj: That's horrible. Why would you push a cow over? They're sacred.
Penny: Oh, stop it. I've seen you eat, like, a million hamburgers.
Raj: Hey, an animal can be both sacred and delicious.