This post is a direct response to the super awesome Stephanie K and her blog titled BIG BANG BUST. I just got a bit too wordy in the comments. Read hers first for any kind of clue as to what mine is kinda about. You can watch the episode here and judge it yourself. Tunnel Bear it if you are outside the country.
Big bang bust was a bad episode all around, that I had quite a few issues with. I'm just going to type this out at work and hopefully it all makes sense.
Firstly, this line here: "Raj suggests that the men partake in an forty-eight hour gaming marathon playing The Old Republic."
Technically they just played "star wars MMO." I find it more insulting that they had to explain what the Star Wars MMO was to a person like Sheldon Cooper who I would argue knows quite a bit about the game. This irked me because these people have hobbies that shouldn't need to be explained this half assed. That alone made this episode reallllly annoying to me. Anyway, on to your fine points.
I think the show has hit its pushback point. They set up a major plot twist as the finale to season 3 when Penny "slept" with Raj in Leonard's bed, and they've since been attempting to work around a lot of the issues the show creates. Penny's an alcoholic now, Amy's a stalker and Bernadette is now the strong female, without any alpha personality. I'd argue it's more character assassination than anything these past two seasons, but still I actually enjoy watching the show.
The ladies on the show are actually played to the ideal female for their gents. Penny is the hot girl a guy like Leonard could never get yet does. Amy is the girl Sheldon would date, because she essentially is Sheldon (note this has been changed recently to give Amy more personality quirks for better and worse). Bernadette is Howard's mom. Able to take care of Howard and boss him around whenever she wants.
These are the roles the women fulfill. When Bernadette went to the playdate, it was akin to somebody's over assertive mother coming in to see what her boy was doing all this time. It set up the fact that the lone guy just wanted a guy's weekend. I'd argue with the way that Bernadette played this out, she did exactly what a mom would do. Pew Pew Pew and all. The rest was just noise.
What was more insulting was the way they handled the Amy/Sheldon relationship at that moment. Amy was hurt by Sheldon's complete and utter disregard for her and when the show ended, she was never really satisfied. She never got what she wanted, she settled in to the submissive abused wife role which frankly irked me. This is a character that should be akin to Sheldon in terms of what she brings to the table. Sure she needs to be submissive to him as he's the bossy one of the 4 focal characters, but to be as dismissive to her feelings as he was was terribly played out. A simple phone call from Amy to his mother could have been one of many situations that would have fixed this in a jiffy. Instead, he was never wrong about being a selfish ass. That kinda annoyed me.
Also, about the whole nerd girl under representation. Big Bang Theory is all about 4 nerds and their girlfriends. That's what the pilot brought forward and that's the basic overlying theme running throughout. The show brought a girl on who was nerdy, cute, and funny earlier this season. However, that was played to counter Leonard's long distance girlfriend. She was an ideal fantasy girl that could not last on the show. Reason she couldn't last was putting a normal personality on a show about people who are absurd archetypes is counter productive.
I'd also argue against the fact that Chuck Lorre can't write women. This dude wrote Roseanne, Grace Under Fire and Dharma & Greg. All strong female lead shows. Out of all of his shows, the prevalent theme is to match up odd pairings and see what kind of fireworks appear from this. I think that's why they attempted to bring Bernadette in to the guys night. Sometimes this all works and some times it goes horribly wrong. This time, it was just a bit dumb.
However, I will posture that demographically speaking, having a girl gamer on TV isn't worth the risk writing her. At least not without a guide to bring her in to the fold. I mean this as a public image thing. Girls are smart, attractive and are usually played either to comedic stereotype or true ideal. It sucks, but guys are usually stupider in respect. This is still the case with the Big Bang Theory, though the guys are stupider socially. I said above what this show does, but I think there is an overall disdain for gaming in public consensus. It's a guys hobby would be the cheap and dirty way to describe it.
It essentially is a waste of time in a decent enough group of people's eyes. This is CBS so the show is trying to hit the 14-65 year old range, and perception I would argue is geared towards trying to hit those older notes. My mom doesn't want to see normal guys and girls staring at a TV and pressing buttons. That's not entertaining. What seems to work in formulaic fashion is guy gets girl to enjoy his hobby and girls response is played to laughs.
This works because most people can correlate doing something new with their date that they don't want to do. With perceptions of gaming still being male dominated, I understand the logic of this. It's an easier theme to produce for laughs, which is why they do it here. It's lazy, don't get me wrong, but it does the trick all the same. This segment would be akin to the old shopping at the mall gag.
Obviously this could all have been alleviated with a female "nerd" that came in to the group. That's unfortunately not possible in this case. The core 4 are the focal points and the new girl member would be akin to Poochie. I'd welcome her on, but she's unnecessary. Meanwhile, Penny as a character still needs help and I'd throw someone her way instead of the other.
The only possible way is to have Raj get the only normal girl the show has produced, but he can't since he has an impairment (and he's the most feminine of the group). So, we're stuck at a friend because obviously a normal girl wouldn't stick around these people. See: anybody that has ever dated Leonard.
I guess I wrote this all up because I didn't see anybody else that watches the show reply to you, so here is my long winded response.