Bert is the sort of character on “The Big Bang Theory” who we tend to root for, even if he’s not exactly someone who we see on a regular basis. He’s a lot like Stuart in that he’s an awkward, fairly-lowly guy who doesn’t get a lot of attention from anyone — men or women.
Therefore, to see him get a spotlight tonight was pretty delicious, even if it came at the expense of Sheldon. Over the course of tonight’s episode he learned that Bert received a major grant, and it made him insanely jealous because he doesn’t like anyone who gets something and he doesn’t. It was even worse for him when he realized that Bert’s work in geology, a field that he doesn’t respect in the slightest, was actually good and deserving of the prize.
What happened from here was pretty much vintage “Big Bang Theory” — Sheldon of course required a high degree of maintenance in order to feel better, and that included having a heart-to-heart with Leonard. (It also had the best line of the night, as Sheldon proclaimed that rocks aren’t so great because paper beats them.)
After Sheldon kicked a rock in the middle of a full-on rage fit, he started to realize that he was being ridiculous. It took some convincing, but it just so turns out he found it within himself to go over and congratulate him — at least before Bert told him that he was considering recommending Howard for an award next year. In the midst of another rage-fit, Sheldon hit his head on a water fountain.
What does this tell us? Sheldon can show some compassion, but his default move is to freak out and care about himself first and foremost. Ironically, he ended up bonding with Bert a little bit more after he eventually paid him a visit at his office and admitted that he was jealous after seeing a plaque on his wall … at least before Bert dissed Amy. After that, he apparently tried to karate-chop him and found himself getting hurt … again.
This entire story was pretty ridiculous, but at least we laughed about it at a few points and we like to think that Sheldon learned something from all of this over time.
Howard and Stephen Hawking – Every now and then we get a subplot on the show that’s a real clunker, and this is a prime example of that. Howard made the decision to make a remote-controlled version of the famed scientist, which Bernadette found immediately offensive. Certainly, to us it was in poor taste, and if you’re going to go here, you better hope that it’s funny. This really wasn’t, other than a brief appearance from Barry Kripke.
Ironically, Hawking himself appeared during the end of the episode, but more for the sake of helping to make Sheldon feel better than anything else. (He did claim that he thought a miniature version of himself would be cool, but nobody wants to tell Howard about it.)
Overall – It was nice to have a story about Bert, just like it was also nice to see the return of Barry even for a brief second. Unfortunately, the Hawking subplot was a miss and there’s not really anything that was in this episode we’ll remember for any substantial period of time to come. Grade: B-.
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