The Big Bang Theory Season 8 Episode 21 Review: The Communication Deterioration

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What's the best way to communicate with aliens?

On The Big Bang Theory Season 8 Episode 21 the group explores that question and others, including the best choice for Penny's career.

It's interesting to me that Penny and Leonard have no interaction with each other in this episode. Still, the story line from The Big Bang Theory Season 8 Episode 20 continues as Penny asks Sheldon for advice about whether or not to take the audition for a part in an upcoming movie.

Penny and Sheldon's friendship has evolved so much over the course of the series, and I love that it's Sheldon who Penny decides to go to for advice. She still has girl talk later with Bernadette and Amy, but it's almost as though she thinks Sheldon knows her a little better.

Penny: [knock, knock, knock] Sheldon! [knock, knock, knock] Sheldon! [knock, knock, knock] Sheldon!
Sheldon: I bet that started off as a joke, but by the third one, you realized there was something strangely enjoyable about it.
Penny: Yeah, I kind of want to do it again.
Sheldon: I don't recommend it, you'll be doing it the rest of your life.

Sheldon's advice is perfect. He tells Penny she should take the audition, but wait on making any major decisions about her career. As for why Penny isn’t asking Leonard for advice, she does an impression of him that Sheldon finds hilarious. She knows Leonard isn't supportive, which is a major conflict I hope we'll see them deal with more soon.

Penny goes to the audition, empowered and ready to pursue her dreams. Then, she realizes why she stopped doing this in the first place. The room is filled with other women hoping to get the same part, and those women are all out to get one another.

The contrast with Penny talking to her old acting friends, then talking with Bernadette and Amy, mirrors the changes Penny has gone through. She’s grown in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to her priorities.

Meanwhile, Raj has been asked by NASA to develop a way to communicate with extraterrestrials. I actually think a lot of comedic potential is lost here (communicating with aliens, you guys!) but it still offers some pretty great moments.

Exploring the group dynamics between the four men is the most important part of this episode. Having Raj and Leonard work together is a nice change, especially since they end up pointing out to Sheldon and Howard how overbearing they can be.

Just this morning, Sheldon wouldn't let me put almond milk in my Grape Nuts because he said it was a theoretical nut conflict.


I’m disappointed that they end up seeking help from Sheldon and Howard for the project after all, especially since they do reach a conclusion about how best to approach the project on their own – even if it is the same conclusion Sheldon and Howard had previously suggested. I’d have much rather seen them complete the project successfully on their own.

Sheldon even manages to be the star of the “completed version” we see at the very end, which is a final laugh out loud moment. We see an alien looking at him like a delicious meal, while Sheldon does the classic Spock sign for “live long and prosper.”

What did you think of "The Communication Deterioration"? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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The Communication Deterioration Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.2 / 5.0 (62 Votes)

Ashley Bissette Sumerel was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in September 2017. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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The Big Bang Theory Season 8 Episode 21 Quotes

Sheldon: [singing] The itsy bitsy spider is not an insect at all. Because it has eight legs and two body parts.
Leonard: That’s pretty cool, Sheldon.
Sheldon: Thank you. Do either of you know Beyonce? I’d love her to get behind it.

Just this morning, Sheldon wouldn't let me put almond milk in my Grape Nuts because he said it was a theoretical nut conflict.