So, as I am sure you have gleaned from my Love Letter to Sheldon Cooper, I am a fan of the television show ‘The Big Bang Theory’. It’s a cute show with funny episodes, cool guest stars, and lots of geeky references that make me giggle unabashedly to myself while Kevin sits next to me on the couch raising an eyebrow and shaking his head.
It’s a good time.
But the episode last Thursday, October 30th, was not one of my favourites.
In fact it made me extremely uncomfortable and caused me to lose quite a bit of respect for the show.
The show has always been a bit on the edge for me, exploring the fine line between persistence and creepiness, and I genuinely dislike the character of Penny who I find self-absorbed and just plain mean, but for the most part it’s forgivable and the good has outweighed the bad allowing me to still tune in every week (even on the rerun days).
But last week they went too far.
“The Misinterpretation Agitation”
Synopsis: Dr. Lorvis, a middle-aged doctor, tracks down Penny when he misinterprets her flirting as true love. Hijinks ensue.
I didn’t have a problem with Penny’s flirting as this is not a new concept in the show, and is actually very in line with the character.
No, my problem was with Dr. Lorvis.
Dr. Lorvis, who is basically depicted as an older version of the main gang (socially inept, awkward and inappropriate, with a huge obsession for geek culture and a great memorabilia collection), misinterprets Penny’s flirting for love and decides to stalk Penny so he can profess his undying affection (see also: Obsession).
Let me expand on this just in case it’s not completely clear: Dr. Lorvis looks up Penny’s address online and then goes to her home uninvited with flowers ready to profess his love after only a few brief encounters with her. He even carries with him an “unnecessarily graphic love note”.
Now, dear reader, please note that I am completely aware of how hypocritical I am about to sound. Yes, I know I am no stranger to inappropriate jokes. My love letters are always creepily intense and I have honestly told hundreds of night-vision stalking jokes, but that’s all they are. Jokes. And yes, one could argue that last Thursday’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was also just in good fun, and had they just left it at Dr. Lorvis showing up at Penny’s house I may have been able to let it slide.
But instead he later locks up the boys in his home while he once again goes off to pursue Penny, even after finding out she is engaged to Leonard. Enroute he falls for Amy and later Bernadette, always putting the blame on the women for stirring his feelings whether it be because they maintained eye contact, sold him an iguana habitat, or tried to comfort him with completely socially acceptable physical contact (a comforting hand on the back).
This behaviour is not funny. This behaviour is terrifying.
We are meant to think Penny was in the wrong for flirting with Dr. Lorvis and that he is just a lonely, successful man looking for love. His sudden obsession of women he does not know is portrayed as creepy yet the character is still meant to be likeable
Penny later explains to him that he can’t chase every girl who is nice to him and the three girls march Dr. Lorvis back to his home to free the boys who are too preoccupied with video games to care about the situation around them.
When the episode ended I was left completely uncomfortable.
And I didn’t like it.
Smarten up, Big Bang.