I know a lot of you have issues with Big Bang Theory, and much of the time I totally share them, but I just watched the hundredth episode from two weeks ago and sweet damn, that pushed my biggest, least-satisfiable competence narrative button like crazy.
Spoilers under the cut -- major ones, so if you haven't seen it yet you definitely want to wait.
Here's the thing, it's not like I can just say "go watch that episode" because you kind of have to have watched the rest of the show, in particular the Leonard-Penny arc, to see the progression. And I know it was all in Leonard's head. But it was so fucking satisfying. And not because I particularly ship Leonard/Penny, even.
Leonard was so grown-up! Not in the "giving up my geek toys" sense, but in the sense that he could go after what he wanted, make it clear what he wanted, risk rejection even after he'd thought the whole thing through. And they went on the date and even though it was a fantasy we still got to see Leonard being charming and confident; even when he and Penny fought, it was about actual personal compatibility and not Leonard's massive insecurity. I kept mentally comparing it to their first date and waiting for Leonard to make some smooth joke about the olive trick he pulled last time.
AND PENNY WAS SO COOL, all assertive without being an asshole and not taking Leonard's shit, which is especially cool because it was in Leonard's head, like he wouldn't even give himself a break on being a dick to her in his own mind. She was like, sure, fuck my relationship hangups, I'm going to say yes, even when it wasn't in his head. She was smart and totally enjoyed his dork jokes and had perspective on her life. Oh, satisfying, how comfortable they were in themselves.
It's so hard to do this arc well, the arc where you go from insecure or shy or a minor character to an assertive badass, because it's so easy to go overboard; it's hard to write convincingly about growing up.
It's one of the stories I love best -- we got it with Ianto, I came so close to getting it with Lupin, and it's something I'm constantly writing about in my own work. Nameless is sort of about it, and tons of my fanfic is: Sweet Home, Man With Fedora, to some extent the Rulesverse. The only time I've really written it to my own satisfaction is in Dead Isle, with Jack's arc about coming out of his Mad Inventor shell, but it's been a theme I've worked hard to explore. So seeing a great example of it in a show I've been watching and alternately crowing at or cringing over for four years was like twenty-five minutes of pure joy.
Also, the penis jokes were funny.
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