The Big Bang Theory "The 21-Second Excitation" Reaction

Let's get this out of the way quickly: Evil Wil Wheaton is one of the great recurring characters on television today (and yes, it's accurate to say "character" since Wheaton is playing a twisted version of himself, much like Neil Patrick Harris in the "Harold and Kumar" movies). His appearance in Thursday's "The Big Bang Theory" was flawless.

However, the episode itself was flawed, if only because it seemed to end too early, as if they had more script to film, but ran out of air time.

The Wheaton-infused story featured the guys all getting excited about seeing a re-release of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", with 21 seconds of new footage (thus the title). They stop for dinner, then get in line for a midnight screening, but Wheaton and his buddies show up and skip the line. When Sheldon and crew get to the front of the line, they're stopped and told the theater is full. This leads Sheldon to steal the reels for the movie, causing everyone in the theater to run after him, Leonard, Raj and Wolowitz.

Since Bernadette had no interest in joining Howard and the guys at the movie, she joined Penny for a girls' night, and Amy asked to come along too. However, Amy seemed very confused about the concept of girls' night, proving that her lack of social skills easily matches that of Sheldon. This led to a game of Truth or Dare, in which Amy started asking Penny some hard-hitting questions about her relationship with Leonard, leading Penny to hide in her room.

The latter story was the one that seemed to lack a satisfying conclusion, though the former should have at least earned the post-final-break spot (instead we got a mediocre off-screen joke about Amy engaging in a "harmless experimentation in lesbianism" with Penny). The questions raised by Amy were valid ones, and at some point Penny is going to have to confront the answers. While I appreciate that they may be saving that for a future episode, it left this one without a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, I'd probably give this episode a B-. I'm not saying the episode itself was bad, but at the end I said to myself, "that's it?" I think with five more minutes, it would have bumped up a grade level, and to be fair, those five minutes could have come out of earlier parts of the episode (the restaurant scene, while only three minutes long, seemed about twice as long as it needed to be).

For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the TV Reviews home page.