The Tenure Turbulence
Original Air Date: Apr 4, 2013
Kym Hoopes – Senior Reviewer
In the midst of a conversation regarding the immortality of certain jellyfish we discover that Professor Tupperman is not at all immortal. He has, in fact, been dead at his desk for two weeks. In lieu of flowers, the university has requested bottles of Febreeze. Kripke’s already planning to suck up the tenure committee now that a new position has opened up and Sheldon has declared the whole tenure setup to be bad for science, suggesting instead that everyone be implanted with a chip that causes them to explode when they say something stupid.
But what about Raj and Leonard? Are they tenure material?
Clearly, Sheldon doesn’t think they’re qualified, but they’re both going for it anyway. This should be an interesting competition, although if you ask Amy, they don’t stand a chance against Sheldon – who feels that it wouldn’t diminish him to accept tenure if offered to him. Of course, he’s also basking in Amy’s adoration – which keeps her in the running on this whole “boyfriend-girlfriend thing”. Sheldon’s chances are hampered by one of the committee members though. None other than Janine Davis – from HR – the one he had to deal with when Alex reported him for sexual harassment. He goes straight for getting her a gift to correct his negative impression of her and gets her Roots on DVD. He really doesn’t get it. He can’t even tell she’s offended and heads off to give Professor Wu the complete works of Jackie Chan. Finally, he cancels date night to attend Professor Tupperman’s memorial service, because Howard – who’s enjoying watching the competition – said that the tenure committee would be there. Amy invites herself along as the perfect companion, since she’s well versed in academic politics and a well-known scientist herself. Sheldon’s okay with it because she’ll drive.
Leonard’s excited by the prospect of the security of a job for life. Who wouldn’t be? And about the prospect of telling his mother that he got tenure at CalTech – assuming she takes his call. He tries to say that he’s not going to suck up like Kripke and let his work speak for himself, but Penny makes it clear that that’s not how things really work and the next day we see him approaching Janine Davis in the gym. Like Leonard can pull off just “happening” to be in the gym. Every time I think Leonard couldn’t look more geeky… He ends up looking even worse when Kripke shows up and is on a first name basis with her and has already given her some banana bread. Leonard tries to give her his recipe, but nearly passes out trying to get off of the stepper instead. Poor guy. He’s going to the memorial too – with Penny to look hot and tease the old guys on the tenure committee. And if any of them die of a heart attack, then they’ll all be able to get tenure.
Raj just sees it as a way to make more money and not need to get money from his parents. So he can have seat warmers in his BMW without needing to justify it. Oh to be so deprived. As he gets drunker at Howard and Bernadette’s we hear a whole litany of things he’d like to prove to his parents though. Growing up wealthy does not always confer happiness. His approach to Janine Davis – a goofy video via email – since we already know he’s not going to be able to talk to her in person. A ninety minute video to get to know him – she looks bored about thirty seconds in. He too goes to the memorial, without a date of course.
So, everyone’s at the memorial, arguing over whether they’re there to suck up or to actually pay respects to Professor “Tupperware”. And the competition has just stepped up a notch. Howard and Bernadette are there too, mostly so Howard can watch the fireworks. Amy’s upset that she can’t compete with Penny’s gravity defying breasts. Raj is putting them both down for using their women to advance their careers – even though he comes right out and confirms that Amy has no sexual appeal. Sheldon tries to fire back with a “your momma” joke, but it falls flat because it’s just not him. Finally Leonard decides that tenure isn’t worth the damage to his friendships and that they should all just leave. Until suck-up Kripke comes by, telling Janine Davis how he’d love to babysit, and they all head in – not to compete with each other, but to make sure he doesn’t get the position.
So, in the end all three of them make the short list for the tenure position. Will any of them get it? I don’t really care – I’m just glad that they didn’t let their friendship be destroyed over it. And I hope that Kripke doesn’t win. Who’s your pick? Who do you think should get the coveted tenure position? It’s hard to say – I don’t think we’ve ever seen any of them actually teach a class….
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