The Big Bang Theory: ‘The Anxiety Optimization’ 1/29/15

By on January 30, 2015

Following the emotional growth our nerds reached in the last episode, this one drops in with career standoffs and inappropriate relationships with pets in ‘The Anxiety Optimization.’


Sheldon willingly eggs on his buddies to increase his anxiety after learning that he works well under stress. The others, however, play a secondary role to Sheldon’s anxiety as well as hilariously dish on the highly similar relationships Raj has with his girlfriend and dog.

This wouldn’t be the first time Sheldon reaches a dead end in his research. His previous study on string theory crashed due to his lack of definitive proof. Small wonder that his need to succeed in something is everything for him. Working with Raj has led him to go down this new path in researching dark matter and now he’s just as close as before when he was enveloped in string theory.

Ironically enough, he spent years ribbing at Raj for his research in space – though not as arrogant as his efforts to humiliate Wolowitz for being an engineer – now he struggles with reaching that optimal level to make a discovery proton decay that can forever change our understanding of the universe.

Sheldon’s impasse may be in part to his recent growth emotionally. As we’ve mentioned before, Sheldon has grown in his social and physical relationships and this could be a factor to his struggle solving scientific notions. One can debate on this, but it’s only logical to conclude that the writers want to shed light on the idea that the smartest (and arrogant) person on the show struggles the most in social and scientific settings.

What this episode does is present the actual crazy side to scientists, just before they go mad if you will. Sheldon refusing to sleep, eat and engage in anything other than working at his optimal levels is a classic look at how much pressure these geniuses are under to discover something empirical and life changing for all. Granted, this isn’t the first time he acts this way, recalling that time Leonard chased him in a ball pen as Sheldon repeated ‘Bazinga!’ before going under like Jaws.

What brings this all home, however, are how the others, who passively react to his initial craziness (as usual), comply with his request to irritate him at all costs, an act that none had a problem with doing.

He in turn irritates Amy on there weekly date night leading her to kicking him out of her place. Cut to the next scene, Sheldon tells what happened to a stranger on the bus home when he looks over and it’s Sir Isaac Newton with a head of an armadillo. He did admit to Amy that he was hallucinating, but this funny take on his love for Sir Isaac Newton and his Texas background was just another déjà vu; if you recall the time of his Gorn infested dreams and tiny Spock giving him orders in earlier episodes. You can’t have Sheldon without the crazy. Eventually, he falls asleep to the sounds of Penny and Leonard’s rendition of ‘Soft Kitty.’

The others however played on Raj’s ‘come hither’ phrases to Emily (his girlfriend) and Cinnamon (his dog). Though very funny jokes, said so eloquently by our very own Wolowitz, these were mere background occurrences that didn’t hold much ground other than to couple Sheldon’s ‘nuts’ factor with light quirky humor. Emily does follow up addressing their jokes saying that she finds Raj’s sensitivity sexy before kissing him. She then pulls away and finds dog hair in her mouth, setting the tone for their initial jokes.

Bernadette still doesn’t manage to get a word in edge wise in yet another episode. Maybe next time, Mrs. Wolowitz!

Favorite Quotes:

“You guess, if Raj is talking to his girlfriend or his dog” – Howard

“She’s trying much harder to stay attractive in this relationship than you are.” – Sheldon to Leonard about Penny

“I tried including Taylor Swift in the mix, but it turns out I love her.” – Sheldon

“Maybe it is, Maybe it isn’t. I have been hallucinating.” – Sheldon to Amy about Sir Isaac Newton’s head as an armadillo

“When he’s lying here asleep like this I just think… I can put a pillow right over his face.” – Leonard to Penny about Sheldon

“Ugh… why is there dog hair in your mouth?” – Emily to Raj

“I turned the heater on in my car on and vomit blew out so my anxiety levels are right up there.”  – Leonard

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