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4 stars, Comedy, Reviews

The Big Bang Theory S5, E14: “The Beta Test Initiation”

This is the episode that should have been the 100th of The Big Bang Theory; instead it was relegated to episode 101. It was tremendous fun right from the get go, with Sheldon and Amy’s cute (and extremely geeky) online video podcast, “Sheldon Cooper presents: Fun with Flags”. Surrender to fun, everyone!

The episode was, however, in danger of being redundant, with a few early jokes and concepts lifted directly from the previous week. The “Beta test” idea would have been more clever if it hadn’t have been repeated week-to-week. The plot did manage to move away from rehash territory, and offered an interesting, and fitting, take on fixing relationships in the form of Leonard and Penny “reporting the bugs” in each other. Leonard predictably creates a long – and colour-coded – list, leading Penny to start reading more; namely, “Two Weeks to Rock Hard Abs”. The story-line has a nice moment where they end up on a shooting-range date, which Penny loves, and really makes you go “Aww…” and was perfect for Valentine’s Day!

I loved the Raj and Siri sub-plot, even though a similar idea occurred earlier in the season with Raj being able to talk to a hearing-impaired girl. Nevertheless, it was very humourous all the same. In a nutshell: there was a double date with Howard and Bernadette, Sheldon’ response was complimentary (a “Great evolutionary leap by abandoning human interaction and allowing yourself to romantically bond with a soulless machine. Kudos.”) and the closing fantasy sequence with Raj and the real-life “Siri” was delightfully corny, especially in the fact that Siri has the same computerised voice as the iPhone does. Oh, and I couldn’t help but giggle at Kripke attempting to use the feature to “wecommend a westauwant”. Sorry, Bawwy!

There were also subtle geeky references splattered throughout the episode. The delight in peeling off the plastic on the phone’s screen, repeated mentions of who might not get to go to “Who Con” (unfortunately for Penny, she’s out) and Amy dressed as a pretzel in yet another “classic” episode of “Sheldon Cooper presents: Fun with Flags”. All good fun.

4 out of 5 stars

Episode details

  • Original Australian airdate: 14 February 2012 (7:30 pm)
  • Channel: Nine Network
  • Viewers: 1.126 million (5th most-watched show for the night)
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