The Big Bang Theory’s “The Conference Valuation” Review

*Spoiler warning for The Big Bang Theory, season 12, episode 17.

Bernadette and Penny on The Big Bang Theory
Bernadette and Penny attend a conference for work on The Big Bang Theory. Photo courtesy of CBS, screenshot by Linda Maleh.

On this episode of The Big Bang Theory Penny and Bernadette go to a conference in San Diego to promote their new anti-inflammatory drug. Meanwhile the guys and Amy stay behind and babysit Bernadette and Howard’s kids.

First, let’s acknowledge that Penny’s been turned into just as big of a monster at work as Bernadette is. She has her employees stay at work till midnight, and is basically treating them like shit. So, Bernadette taught her well on how to be a scary boss. Penny’s also over-compensating because she’s nervous about the conference going well since this is the first time she’s ever headed up the marketing team for a new drug.

She needn’t have worried, since she did such a good job, that a competitor tries to poach her while at the conference. Even though, Penny tells the guy right off the bat that she’s happy where she is, Bernadette sees her take his card and gets pissed. The two have a major fight, with Bernadette telling Penny that she made her, and she’s not as great as she thinks she is. To get back at her, Penny goes downstairs to have a drink with the competitor. He’s ready to offer her a huge salary to get her, when Bernadette cuts in. She tells him that Penny’s incredible at her job and that she’ll never let her go, so he should just give up right now. Heartened by Bernadette’s speech, Penny tells the competitor that she’s happy where she is, and she and Bernadette leave together. Considering how many seasons they made Penny a waitress to support her failing acting career, it’s nice to see her be great at her job, even if she could stand to be nicer to her employees.

While watching the kids at home, Howard invites his friends over for a day of boardgames. He’s not expecting Sheldon to show up when Sheldon and Amy walk through the door with a book of experiments you can do with babies. Basically, it’s a book of all these little tests to see what your baby can do. Sheldon gets so into doing the tests on the kids, that he doesn’t even notice that Amy manipulated him into it. Raj has though, and he’s unimpressed with her plot to trick Sheldon into wanting kids. He’s also, however, underestimating how gullible Sheldon can be. Joke’s on Amy though, because that night while in bed, Sheldon expresses a wish for the insane number of children he wants, and her eyes just about pop out of her head. I wish her good luck on this one.

Leonard, meanwhile, realizes that all of these tests are similar to the ones his mother (Christine Baranski), a psychologist, did on him growing up. He confronts her via Face-time, and asks whether his entire life has been one giant experiment. His mother responds that it’s been a series of experiments over the course of his life, and that time spent with him has been a treasure for her. Leonard is touched, considering this is about the nicest thing she’s ever said to him, but then he asks when she stopped experimenting, and she replies with a “who says it’s over?” So that freaks him out.

The babysitting part of the episode was funny, but nothing so special. The Penny and Bernadette portion of the episode, however, was pure gold. I can’t wait until the show comes back on April 4.

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Author: Linda Maleh

Entertainment writer, feminist, and New York City native. Personal blog is tvtotalkabout.com.

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