When “The Santa Simulation” separates the group into girls versus boys, two quests are launched on The Big Bang Theory. Will Raj’s inclusion in girl’s night help him find love? Will the guys complete their quest to save Santa?

The Players:

  • Director: Mark Cendrowski
  • WriterChuck Lorre, Bill Prady
  • Cast: Johnny Galecki, Jim ParsonsKaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, Kevin Sussman, Melissa Rauch, Dakin Matthews

Episode Title: “The Santa Simulation”

While playing Dungeons and Dragons, Sheldon recalls the Christmases of his childhood. Meanwhile, Penny, Bernadette, and Amy go out for girl’s night. When Raj’s character dies early on, he attends girl’s night instead. The girls attempt to find him a date. Back home, Sheldon dominates the game in his own act of revenge on Santa.

The Good:

  • The Abominable Christmas Episode: Handling a theme as old as Christmas and making it fresh and exciting is a daunting task. But we liked how traditions were renounced by Sheldon, upheld by Leonard, and sheepishly participated in by Howard. The diversity of the characters’ ways of celebrating was a mini-model of how the whole country does. It’s tied to our consumer culture and Puritanical roots and we can’t ignore it’s presence.
  • Eggnog and Innuendo: Raj’s innuendos and the fact that he seems completely ignorant of his own homoerotic phrasing really stood out. It’s an interesting new avenue because it replicates Sheldon’s inability to comprehend sarcasm. Both are unnoticed by the speaker, but are blatantly obvious to the viewer. We get the joke when Raj doesn’t, so we inadvertently feel like a part of the rest of the group.
  • Sheldon Meets Santa: Sheldon, made a boy again wishing for trains, has his hopes crushed. We feel it’s a good comment on how buying into the idea of Santa Clause can be disturbing. We recognize in Sheldon’s nightmare our own former horror as children realizing popular culture lied to us. It can be unsettling to realize that a particular person, like a parent for instance, told this lie. But to find out an entire culture has shared in it is almost devastating.
  • Saving Santa: Leonard’s desire to cater is a nice addition to the episode. We like how his desire to save Santa mimics our desire to retain holiday traditions of caroling, presents or a holiday-themed mocha at Starbucks. It’s nice to see Leonard do the same in his own funny way.

The So-So:

  • Dungeons and Dragons: Can we address the Dungeons and Dragons game in a good light yet? It’s widely considered a false “moral dilemma” of the 1980s, but it’s worth considering what weight that brings to the show. On the other hand, a great correlation lies within the structure of the game that is easily compared to the mini-battles of our characters. Even the occupations associated with D&D, such as Fighter or Wizard, speak to the exchanges between Raj and Amy or Sheldon and Santa to provide more insight into their relationships.

The Quotes:

  • Santa: “Ho, ho, ho, you big dork!”
  • Amy: “You think that’s bad? In college, I passed out at a frat party and woke up with more clothes on.”
  • Raj: “I bought her a couple drinks and she gave me her email address.” Bernadette: “jennifer@notevenifyourethelastguyonearth.loser”
  • Raj: “Wait, doesn’t anyone have a-a Rod of Resurrection? If you’ve got one, I need it bad. Get in here with your rod and give it to me.”
  • Stuart: “What’s wrong with Christmas?” Sheldon: “Where to begin? Trees indoors, overuse of the words “tis” and “twas,” and the absurd custom of one stocking. Everyone notice socks belong in pairs. Who uses one sock?”
  • Leonard: “Okay, so Wolowitz and Stuart are paralyzed, Santa’s dead, and I picked this over sex with my girlfriend.”
  • Howard: “You see, I have to play Dungeons and Dragons … for the marriage.” Bernadette: “You’re an idiot.” Howard: “I’m your idiot.”
  • Amy: “By rolling dice and playing make believe with little figurines?” Sheldon: “Like a bunch of savages!”
  • Penny: “Is having a real-life girlfriend that has sex with you getting in the way of your board games.” Leonard: “A little bit, yeah.”

Overall:

The “The Santa Simulationwas a thought-provoking and humorous Christmas-themed episode. Big Bang Theory did not disappoint when exploring Christmastime, gender roles and innuendo.

The Rating: 9/10

The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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