Most girlfriends would freak upon learning that their boyfriends have deep-seated issues that manifest themselves in the form of a storage locker filled with every single piece of garbage they have ever owned.
But Amy Farrah Fowler is dating Sheldon Lee Cooper, and not only is his newly revealed possession graveyard not the strangest thing about him — everyone who knows him could make their own list and argue about the order of that collection of quirks — but sharing his secret hoarder’s paradise turns out to be an important bonding moment for the couple.
First, let’s take a thorough inventory of the garbage dump. When Sheldon takes Amy to the storage unit and makes her privy to his collection, she’s taken aback by just how deep his hoarding goes. He kept every book he’s ever owned, every T-shirt he’s ever worn, all of his broken and outdated electronics, VHS tapes, and a bin of pine cones he collected as a child. He has a giant Ziploc bag full of every toothbrush he’s used in his life … and a Ziploc bag full of old Ziploc bags.
Amy does a good job of masking just how shocked she is by Sheldon’s storage habits, and it pays off in an important way. Sheldon tells her the locker makes him feel ashamed. He’s a man of science and most proud of his mind; he sees this as a tarnish on that image. But whenever he thinks about throwing his stuff away, his ears start ringing and he gets butterflies in his stomach.
The very fact that he’s sharing these feelings with Amy — the only person he’s ever told about the storage unit, he says — means he trusts her enough to show his vulnerability. And “vulnerable,” especially with regard to anything that involves his intelligence and his own perception of his intelligence, is not a word often associated with Sheldon.
Amy is also wise to avoid any reaction that would push Sheldon towards changing. Clearly, a man who keeps things like, say, a golf ball his brother once threw at his head or an old teddy bear he wiped his nose on for years, has some issues to confront. Everpatient Amy is aware of that, but also knows that any attempt to push Sheldon towards change would be selfish and counterproductive. He’s decided to open up to her, and that’s a special thing.
Yeah, he’s essentially Fred G. Sanford with a Ph.D. (and without a love of champipple), but he’s her little junk man, and Sheldon tells Amy he appreciates that she allows him to dump his “psychological sewage” on her.
“That’s me, your emotional outhouse,” she replies.
Ah, love among the garbage — that perfectly organized, meticulously bagged and tagged garbage. He is still Sheldon, after all.
On to the supporting story lines. Broken record and all that, but it must be said again: Raj continues to have almost no story line. Not only is he relegated to being the permanent fifth wheel, but the rare plot he does get revolves around his ill-suited girlfriend Emily. In this episode, it’s back to him being the fifth wheel: Penny and Bernadette don’t welcome his aid as they help Leonard and Howard with a science build, and Leonard and Howard don’t invite him out after lying to their wives and faking a flat tire so they can see a movie instead of returning to their science project.
When Howard text-taunts Raj about the flick, he rats his pals out to their wives. A payback plan is formed, but when Leonard and Howard come clean on their own and offer to take their wives out to dinner to apologize, Raj is left once again with nothing to do but whine for an invitation to be the fifth wheel at dinner.
C’mon, TBBT writers! Raj had better story lines than this back when he couldn’t even talk in the presence of women without being liquored up. Give him something: a genuinely interesting girlfriend, some major work project, a new friend … heck, even another performance by Raj and Howard’s band, Footprints on the Moon. Who could forget the super-duo behind such an infectious little ditty?
Give Raj something fun, please.
- One nitpicky thing about Sheldon’s storage locker: It’s tough to buy that no one else knows about this collection of old possessions. Has he really been carting this massive assemblage of castoffs around throughout his life? We know he’s attended several universities. Did he really U-Haul old toothbrushes and old clothing around without raising questions from anyone? Even his down-to-earth mama? Did he ship all those things to Germany when he was a visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg? And what about the fact that Sheldon doesn’t drive? He managed to find this storage unit, stock it, and continue adding junk without anyone ever finding out?
- Sheldon’s hoarding revelation comes about because he needs to add something to the lineup: his old laptop, which died and gets replaced by Amy. The laptop died a slow, painful death; in its last hours, Sheldon had to communicate without the use of functional S, R, and M keys. And yes, he played “Taps” for the dead laptop.
- Amy has a fun way of torturing Sheldon: She threatens to make “Wh” sounds for words that only have Ws. Sheldon says she wouldn’t. Amy: “W-ha-atch me.”
- Sheldon does consider dealing with his garbage problem, letting go of it a little bit at a time. He selects the golf ball for starters, and dumps it into a trash can outside his storage locker before going back to lock the door. When the garage-door-style entry is nearly to the floor, though, the ball drops and rolls across the floor inside the unit … Sheldon had palmed it, and drops it back where it belongs.
- Sheldon and Amy admit they feel closer when they get home from the storage locker, and Sheldon tells Amy he still has a couple of hours left before bedtime. He’s not feeling frisky, though; he wants her to go to her home, so he can chat with her online and admire the screen quality of his new laptop.