TV Club: The Big Bang Theory: “The Fortification Implementation”

When I look back on the episode’s of The Big Bang Theory that I’ve enjoyed, that I think represent the best version of this often spotty show, there’s something that most of them have in common: narrative economy bolstered by a focus on either one or two storylines. By streamlining the stories, the show gives the characters room to work with each other, to really stretch out (in a good way) the emotional and comedic beats. This formula works because these characters work better as people, with feelings and insecurities and moments of triumph, than as punchline machines. Thus, an episode like “The Fortification Implementation,” which tries to juggle three separate storylines, and fails to connect them thematically in any meaningful way, ends up falling flat.

Three storylines is a lot for any 22-minute sitcom episode to balance. When you add in the fact that this episode …

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