Well, well, well! For a crew that includes one incredibly awkward adult son and one super judgey, religious mama, the family Cooper has had a pretty frisky season. For Sheldon, that meant losing his virginity to Amy Farrah Fowler on her birthday. And for his mom, Mary, it apparently means a Westin hotel romp with a man she just met … who happens to be Alfred (Judd Hirsch), Leonard’s recently divorced father.
Imagine the possibilities of Sheldon and Leonard, stepbrothers. Think of the Stepbrother, Stepfather, and Stepfamily Agreements that Sheldon could create, all printed out neatly in his Shelvetica font. But as much as his inner contract lover might be pleased, he still has to contemplate his widowed mother having coitus with his BFF’s father. The potential familial co-mingling scenarios are less than palatable, at best.
At episode’s end, as Penny cackles at the idea of Sheldon’s mom and Leonard’s dad having a boots-knockin’ party because they left for the same hotel together and have since turned off their phones, Sheldon and Leonard can only look ahead with worry.
Unfortunately, as rife with possibilities for future story lines as the Mrs. Cooper/Mr. Hofstadter hookup is, “The Convergence Convergence” makes for an underwhelming end to the ninth season. It’s the most underwhelming Big Bang Theory season finale ever.
We’re already quite sure the hookup will happen, since the two single ’rents are chatty and flirty on the car ride to the restaurant where everyone is gathering to celebrate Penny and Leonard’s second wedding. (Penny offered to execute a second ceremony in the interest of pleasing Leonard’s frosty mom, Beverly.) Mr. Hofstadter made the trip from New Jersey to Pasadena, too, and as disgusted as he is to see his “hateful shrew” ex-wife, he’s thoroughly charmed by Mary. Despite their diverging philosophies on religion, they are united in their dislike of Beverly. “I’m agnostic, but I have prayed many times to God to turn my wife into a pillar of salt,” Alfred says.
“Well, he came close,” Mary replies. “He turned her into a giant block of ice.”
It all happens so quickly that we almost don’t notice, and certainly don’t have the chance to savor any blossoming romance. And not in the same way that their clueless sons don’t see what’s happening, either. That’s simply self-preservation of a child’s mind, regardless of age, to avoid witnessing his parents in let’s-get-it-on mode. No, the alleged hookup — alleged because it doesn’t happen onscreen and obviously won’t be confirmed until the season ten premiere — wasn’t satisfyingly mined for all its comedic potential.
Although that seems by design — a sly way to to jump-start the next season with some delicious discomfort for the roommates of apartment 4A — a smidge more hookup humor could have been spread around this episode. If that were the case, the finale would have been memorable enough to get us excited about next fall’s premiere.
Meanwhile, in equally meh subplots, Howard gets an email from the U.S. Air Force, and spends the rest of the episode panicking that his quantum-guidance-system invention is going to be usurped for government use. And Raj, the man who just two episodes ago was juggling multiple girlfriends, ends the season reduced to doing nothing more than pledging his allegiance to America via Howard’s laptop camera — just in case, as paranoid Howie suspects, the government really is spying on him.
At least Howard’s paranoia may also pay off in next season’s premiere. As for the continuing inconsistency with the quality of Raj story lines, the character deserves better, and here’s hoping the further evolution of Raj is a priority for season ten.
- Leonard says his dad is happier since his parents’ divorce: “He’s stopped twitching, and I think he grew an inch and a half.”
- Penny says her family — including her brother, who just got out of jail because of overcrowding — is coming for the second-wedding ceremony, so Mrs. Penny and brother Penny are casting choices to look forward to. Any guesses?
- In addition to his mom, Sheldon takes the liberty of inviting a few more people to Leonard and Penny’s wedding: Stephen Hawking, Robert Downey Jr., and Ernő Rubik. Yeah, the Rubik’s Cube dude.
- Sheldon’s mom tells Amy to call her Mary instead of Mrs. Cooper, but Sheldon objects. He’s more comfortable with “Mrs. Cooper,” because, as he says, “That’s what I called you until I got to know you better.”
- When Mary hears Beverly’s in town for the wedding, she rearranges her cross necklace to be visible on top of her shirt. “She’s an atheist, not a vampire,” Sheldon scolds, but Mary wants to stop for some garlic, too.
- Howard worries that if the government does want his invention, he can’t object, lest he disappear. “Like every American Idol winner since season four,” he says.
- Beverly, annoyed that Mary is quoting from the Bible again: “Oh, dear woman, can you please read another book?”
- Mary’s response: “When God writes one, I will.”