The Big Bang Theory Recap: 'The Convention Conundrum'

The Big Bang Theory: The Convention Conundrum, Season 7, Episode 14 - CBS transforms The Big Bang Theory into a "Very Special Episode of Blossom," complete with Mayim Bialik and two special guest stars: James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher.
The Big Bang Theory Recap: 'The Convention Conundrum'

It was only a matter of time before the stellar presence of Mayim Bialik inspired CBS to present us with a Big Bang Theory Very Special Episode, complete with two special guest stars: James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher.

The Convention Conundrum went the extra mile with homilies to hammer home these special messages for today's youth:

"Comic Con Ticket Scalping: It's Not Worth Your Future."
"Virginity is Cool: Sex Is Not What Makes You a Grown Up."
"Twitter Danger: Tweeting Your Location Is Not To Die For."

Our Very Special Episode opens on the fab four preparing for battle: To enter the online queue to buy tickets for San Diego Comic Con. After desperately hitting refresh for 10 minutes, Leonard manages to get into the queue but it's still too late. Thousands of geeks and nerds (like me!) got there before them.

Leonard, Raj and Howard decide to buy scalped tickets, but Sheldon won't. "You guys are the ones who are going to get in trouble!" CBS and Sheldon go a long way to reiterate exactly what could happen in the worst case scenario of buying scalped tickets to San Diego Comic Con.

- Ticket Scalper Stranger Danger
- Banishment for life from Comic Con
- Arrest and charges of Petty Theft

Still the guys decide to shake off their nerdy fears and be "bad asses". Howard has already contacted a guy. They may as well get the scalped tickets.

Sheldon, who doesn't know the meaning of the words "half-measure," decides that since he won't participate in "Petty Theft" and he can't get to Comic Con on the legit route, he will start his own Comic Convention. His venue of Marie Callender's may be small, but his list of Sheldon-Con possible guests is grand indeed.

(Side Note: I couldn't help but wonder if the Marie Callender's reference was a CBS nod to Conan O'Brien's refuge when his Tonight Show ended. Is Conan going to get The Late Show if and when Letterman retires? I know. I'm thinking way too hard into a reference about Marie Callender's pie.)


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While researching possible guests, Sheldon figures out where James Earl Jones will be via Twitter and a Google search. The voice of Darth Vader tweets that he'll be dining at his favorite sushi restaurant. Sheldon, knowing when and where Mufasa will be, decides to show up to ask him to be on the guest panel at Sheldon-Con. Sheldon also wants to let James Earl Jones know that Tweeting his location is dangerous.

"There are a lot of weirdos out there."

Most of Sheldon's celebrity encounters end in a restraining order. Sheldon's version of weird is definitely not understood although he's quite harmless. The other guys are worried that this encounter will end up like all the others.

Fortunately for Sheldon, James Earl Jones sees that our resident genius is a Star Wars fandom, kindred spirit right off the bat. He gets to join James Earl Jones in an epic adventure that even Sheldon could never have dreamed - from being asked to join James at his favorite sushi restaurant to shouting from the top of a ferris wheel that Darth Vader is really nice.

They share an ice-cream sundae while Sheldon gets to confirm if all the things he's read about James Earl Jones are true. In a hilarious and priceless moment, they sing In the Jungle, Lion King style, at a karaoke spot. The laughs keep coming when Sheldon and James play Ding-Dong-Ditch at Carrie Fisher's house. At this point, we've had it put to a question by Sheldon and confirmed by James Earl Jones that Carrie Fisher is a bit nuts. When she comes to the door in her cameo spot- in a bathrobe, hair askew, carrying a baseball bat- it's an over-the-top moment of surreal fun.

Carrie Fisher: "It's not funny, James!"
James Earl Jones: "Then why am I laughing?! Ha ha ha!"

The other three guys have had a last minute change of heart about buying the scalped tickets. They started out making fun of Sheldon's fears of being caught but they realize that he may have a point. Since all the guys are professionals, if they get caught, this also means that they would have to disclose any past crimes, however small, on any future applications. This could cause them to be denied future grants and in Raj's case, he could be denied American citizenship.

Just about then, the very special episode gets scary. The ticket scalper pounds on the door while the guys turn off the lights and cower in fear. Is it really a ticket scalper out there? Is it the cops? Is it a Comic Con official come to banish them for life? We never find out. See what could happen kids? Don't let this happen to you.

While Sheldon's out with James Earl Jones and the other guys are trapped with Leonard in the apartment, the girls are looking for something "grown up" to do, since their guys are "acting like teenagers." The girls obviously haven't learned anything from their own venture into comic books and still seem to think that the guys are participating in a childish past-time.

The girls decide to go to High Tea at a local fancy-schmancy hotel, with a side trip to Target to get Penny some clean underwear. This bit of information really serves no purpose other than to get us to imagine Penny in her underwear (that Victoria's Secret has been out for a long time now) or going commando, since they couldn't think of a reason to have Penny half naked in this episode. I'm just saying, it happens. A lot.

Once the girls get to High Tea, they find it's really a mother-daughter or group event for little girls. So much for feeling "grown up." They head for the hotel bar where the discussion gets "grown up" really fast because there are two things this show cannot go a single episode without: A reference to Amy's virginity and a reference to Penny's drinking, either one of which, I highly suspect, is going to be the topic of another "Very Special Episode" really soon.

The adventurous evening with James Earl Jones quit being so much fun for Sheldon after the karaoke stop, although he's still pretty content just to be hanging out with Darth Vader. They wind up in a steam room, clothed only in towels, which, I'm surprised germophobe Sheldon went for, even as Darth Vader's sidekick. Sheldon drifts in and out of sleep while James tells a crazy story about the time James, Beau Bridges, Jeff Bridges, and Marlon Brando all crashed the pool at Angie Dickinson's house.

Again, fortune favors Sheldon when James Earl Jones remembers that there was something Sheldon wanted to ask him back at the strip club. It's obviously been a helluva night. Sheldon finally gets to ask, sans strippers, if James will be a panelist at Sheldon-Con. James comes to the same conclusion that the other guys did; that starting a whole new convention is too much trouble. How about Sheldon and his friends just go along with him to San Diego Comic Con?

Head. Explode. Highest Geek-Out Level Achieved.

In the end, their frightened virtue pays off - they don't know it by the end of the episode, but the guys will not only get to go to San Diego Comic Con - they'll get to go with none other than Darth Vader himself.

As James Earl Jones said: It was the perfect end, to the perfect day.

About Deborah Nesbit

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