The Big Bang Theory
Episode 20: The Tenure Turbulence
By: Carlos Uribe
The Big Bang Theory is about a group of friends who happen to be nerds and the girl next door.
A tenure position opens up at the university so Howard basically gets his three friends to try and brown-nose the tenure committee to get it. The three of them try their best to impress one of the members: the human resources lady, Mrs. Davis, from the hilarious “The Egg Salad Equivalency”. Sheldon tries to get on her good graces from the time she called her a slave to giving her a DVD boxset of Roots. It should have been obvious to even Sheldon that this would be an inappropriate gift but I imagine this was a joke they cut from “The Egg Salad Equivalency”. Leonard goes to the gym to try and connect to her. He fails miserably. Raj sends a ninety-minute video about himself that doesn't interest Mrs. Davis at all. They're not the only ones sucking up as Barry bakes her cake. It doesn't seem to be going well for them but they have a final shot to impress the board at the funeral. Even though they all promised themselves they wouldn't go, they all do. They don't go alone. Howard brings Penny because she's pretty. He's using her sexuality to get the board members excited. Sheldon brings Amy along because he needed someone to drive him but she's also good at playing academia politics. She goes as far as to help him memorize what to say so that he's socially acceptable. Raj doesn't really bring anyone since he's single. The three of them realize that this competition is tearing apart their friendship so they decide to leave but then Barry shows up. They unite to ensure that Barry isn't the one who gets tenure. In the end, the university decides to offer tenure to all three of characters. They might be terrible socially but their valuable to the university. It's a decent episode but it suffered from some problems. The first is that it often felt like they were putting in jokes that were cut from previous episodes. The Sheldon “Roots” DVD gift and even Leonard's elliptical machine gag quickly jump to mind. The second is that Sheldon was particularly unbearable this week. It even got to the point where he was actually annoying without any of the redemptive qualities that can make him bearable. The third is that it never really creates character-based comedy as it goes for the easy jokes. The Tenure Turbulence was funny at points but it wasn't a very strong episode-it felt like the writers had to rush this episode to stay on schedule.