WARNING: This review contains spoilers
The Big Bang Theory celebrated its 200th episode by celebrating a big party for Sheldon’s party. ‘The Celebration Experimentation’ brought back nearly all the characters that have appeared in the series at some point with the addition of Adam West.
Sheldon Cooper has always been a key character in The Big Bang Theory. Even though the story follows all friends equally, Sheldon’s character has always been treated with special care and his charisma and one-liners have earned him a place in modern pop culture. The decision of celebrating this incredible milestone by dedicating the episode to Sheldon makes a lot of sense, but there were some things that this episode could have done much better.
Sheldon doesn’t like celebrating his birthday. We already knew that he didn’t enjoy people and parties (especially surprise parties), but he does enjoy the attention. In ‘The Celebration Experimentation’, the only conflict the characters had to face was convincing Sheldon that his birthday was worth celebrating and that they did care about him. And convince him they did (and it was lovely that it was Penny who got to do it while Howard and Amy were arguing about it). The only problem I found with this episode is that… it was a little too much.
I understand certain characters returning for the celebration of the series’ 200th episode, but not for Sheldon’s birthday. I love Leslie and I loved seeing her back, but would she really come to Sheldon’s birthday party after years of not keeping touch? She didn’t even know Leonard was married! The presence of so many characters, including celebrities like Adam West (it was nice to see some DC superheroes since it always seems to be about Star Trek and Star Wars!) and the return of Stephen Hawking could have made for some comedic exchanges among characters. Instead of that, the episode decided to focus on the emotional side of it. Don’t get me wrong, The Big Bang Theory knows how to do emotional. It’s rare, and it doesn’t happen very often, but that’s why it hits you harder whenever it happens. In this occasion, the round of speeches for Sheldon felt more forced than anything because the celebration of the series became the celebration of Sheldon, so they had to make it extra emotional.
Obviously, it wouldn’t make sense for fictional characters to celebrate the series’ milestone in a meta way, but that’s when the interaction between characters in the party or bringing some classic jokes back would have come in handy. Hell, even having a final minute with the cast looking at the camera and sending a message to the viewers would have helped the episode feel more cohesive. It could have been better in many ways, but if the episode served for Sheldon to acknowledge that he is loved and that his birthday is worth celebrating, it was already worth watching.