Egging Them On
The Big Bang Theory had a new episode on Thursday that I got to watch on Thursday, as NBC was still in reruns (and the lack of competition made BBT bigger than ever). It was entitled "The Egg Salad Equivalency." Sheldon is unhappy with his assistant asking Leonard out--and thus not concentrating on his own needs-- so has a talk with her regarding how to deal with her sexual urges, after which she files a complaint. Sheldon only gets in deeper trouble in his meeting at Human Resources, and soon has his three male friends in trouble as well.
Oliver Sava at the A.V. Club gives it an A. It was a pretty good episode, but I don't see it the same way as Sava. Here's his opening paragraph:
Sheldon Cooper is not the villain of the show. The show has no villains. Yes, by conventional standards he treats people horribly, but he's done this from the start--in real life, it's doubtful he'd be able to keep any friends. But his saving grace, in addition to being the funniest character, is that he's essentially clueless. He's hopelessly arrogant and high-handed, but honestly doesn't know what he's doing. So we forgive him, and presumably that's why the characters do on the show as well.
But my bigger disagreement is Sheldon finally gets what's coming. As Sava adds later:
The great thing about this episode is that it forces Sheldon to deal with a figure who not only has power over him, but isn’t willing to put up with any of his bullshit. Regina King is perfectly cast as Jeanine, consistently shooting down Sheldon with just a glance, and it’s oh-so-refreshing to see him put in his place.
Sheldon was not making advances on his assistant, nor did he mean to make her feel uncomfortable. He was, in his selfish and socially clueless way, trying to help her. He certainly wasn't treating her any differently from how he treats anyone anywhere. It's just we're so used to the modern regime that we don't bat an eye when people get in trouble for saying the wrong thing in the workplace.
Anyway, I didn't think Sheldon had anything coming to him--at least not any more than in numerous other episodes. In fact, Sheldon's big mouth has gotten him into trouble before, but I don't wait around for episodes where people tell him off, much less one where his job is on the line because Sheldon is being Sheldon. (Actually, they've already had a plot where he lost his job because of what he said, so it's not like this was a long-awaited payoff.)
PS One place where normal sexual harassment laws don't apply is in the writers' room at a sitcom. I certainly agree with the court that comedy writers can't be worrying about what they say when they're brainstorming. But if they did have to worry, I wonder if they'd have found Sheldon's plight so humorous.