This week, Sheldon was forced to work with Barry Kripke in Big Bang Theory‘s “The Cooper/Kripke Inversion.” But when Kripke’s research is better than Sheldon presumed, he must fight feelings of inadequacy and be competitive. What will happen when Sheldon lies about sleeping with Amy?

The Players:

  • Director: Mark Cendrowski
  • Writer: ChuckLorre, Eric Kaplan & Anthony Del Broccolo
  • Cast: Johnny Galecki, JimParsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, John Ross Bowie, Melissa Rauch

Episode Title: “The Cooper/Kripke Inversion”

Sheldon and Barry Kripke must join forces for a theory assignment. After an initial hold-out, Sheldon agrees to work together. Meanwhile, Howard and Raj decide to get expensive action figures of themselves. This causes a riff between Howard and Bernadette. Sheldon’s attempts to best Kripke lead to him lying about Amy.

The Good:

  • Kripke is Killer: Forcing Sheldon to work with Kripke is good. Forcing him to work with Leslie Winkle could have been even better since she’s his ultimate enemy. But Kripke’s rhotacism and perverseness are so unlike Sheldon that it’s a good mix.
  • Self-Reference: Self-reference is oftentimes a fatal romance. However, the couple moments in this episode bearing references works for us. We’ll focus on one: when Leonard tells Sheldon that Einstein spent decades studying a theory that was lackluster, it is reminiscent of “The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation,” where Kripke humiliates Sheldon for a mistake he deems comparable to Einstein’s mistakes. This adds another level of humor for those who remember the former episode’s tension that mirrors Sheldon and Kripke’s current situation. For those who didn’t notice the detail, it was still funny.
  • Sheldon’s Inadequacy: It’s good to see Sheldon in a weakened position. He can be so self-confident that he’s overbearing. It seems that Leonard and Penny are taking the role of his parents again. For example, Penny deems it necessary to talk to him and Leonard demands he gets showered and ready for work. This is a theme that we’ve visited before. This time, though, Sheldon listens and follows their orders instead of playing one against the other. That shows character development that’s progressive and entertaining.

The So-So:

  • Shamy Sex: Yes, Penny gets too personal when it comes to Sheldon and Amy’s relationship. It almost kills the laughs we’re having over Sheldon telling Kripke that they have sex every night. Surely Sheldon’s eccentric character wouldn’t be compromised by a romantic relationship. We weren’t feeling the seriousness of the scene because it felt out of place. Or maybe it was just Penny’s over-enthusiasm as she beat up Leonard’s shoulder.

The Quotes:

  • Sheldon: “Welcome to the Thunderdome, Kripke.”
  • Howard: ‘I blew my food allowance on Pokemon cards.”
  • Howard: “My wife came with both fun bags and money bags.”
  • Leonard: “Maybe it’s a shipping problem. Maybe Wesley Snipes and Toucan Sam just got action figures that look like you guys.”
  • Sheldon: “I’m not interested in being published in Mad Magazine.”
  • Amy: “Sheldon, I wish there was something I could do to make you feel better. May I offer you a consoling hug?” Sheldon: “What do we have to lose?”
  • Raj: “Great. Now, I can look like Val Kilmer as Batman, instead of Val Kilmer as he looks today.”
  • Kripke: “My work would suffer too if I was getting laid all the time.” Sheldon: “Yes. That is the reason. My work is suffering because of all the laid I am getting.”
  • Bernadette: “$5,000 for a couple dolls. Are you out of your mind?” Howard: “Not just a couple of dolls. All the dolls we want.”
  • Bernadette: “No, here’s how love works. You’re gonna return the machine or you can print out a working set of lady parts and sleep with those.” Howard: [silent]
    Bernadette: ‘Oh, my God! Are you actually thinking about it?”
  • Sheldon: “Penny, all my life I have been uncomfortable with the sort of physical contact that comes easily to others — handshaking, hugging, prostate exams.”

Overall:

“The Cooper/Kripke Inversion” is a well-balanced episode that revisits old themes in a new manner. We see how much the characters have grown and gained new elements of humor in the process. 

The Rating: 9/10

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

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How do you feel about Sheldon and Kripke working together? Let us know in the comments below!