Oh, fellow Big Bang Theory viewers, look at our little sitcom characters! They’re getting to be all grown up.
Sheldon is learning to take an interest in his fellow humans. Amy is hosting her own girls-night gatherings. Penny and Leonard are addressing early signs of trouble in their marriage before they start to grow apart. Howard and Raj are using Dungeons & Dragons–inspired boards to design a glow-in-the-dark grid by which to traverse the squeaky floors of baby Halley’s room.
Okay, most of them are getting to be all grown up.
It is Lenny’s marital woes and Sheldon’s new commitment to taking an interest in others that form the best parts of tonight’s episode, which opens with Penny coming home after a tough day at the office to find Leonard has decorated the apartment with bouquets of flowers, whipped up a batch of her favorite pizza bagels, and procured her favorite wine. Oh, and he’s reciting the lyrics to her favorite NSYNC song.
In her fantasy.
Back in the real world, Sheldon’s on the couch in his undershirt and boxers, deep into a video game, which he is about to lose because he just burped so aggressively that the motion got one of his players killed. Meanwhile, if romance was once alive in the young Hofstadter marriage, it’s already on life support. What Penny perceives as a problem — Leonard has all but abandoned the idea of romantic gestures — is exacerbated when he gets angry at her for refusing to talk about what’s bothering her. When Penny eventually tells him and he pooh-poohs the issue, she gets even angrier: Whenever she shares her feelings, Leonard either ignores them or denies them. It all leads to the classic communication stumble that has led to many a silent treatment being served up in many a relationship.
In Lenny’s case, the tension in their apartment becomes so uncomfortable that Penny decides to take Amy, instead of her husband, on a weekend spa getaway. Fortunately — and this is not a typo coming — it’s Sheldon who offers advice (and an eventual solution!) on the Hofstadters’ romantic woes. Sheldon. Relationship advice. He offered some. And it was good.
Leonard asserts that he isn’t neglecting his relationship. This is the natural progression of a marriage, he says. You start out with infatuation, and it “mellows” into a comfortable place. Sheldon understands, telling Leonard it’s exactly how he initially felt about the Pythagorean theory. Now, he’s all “meh” about it. But when Leonard takes Sheldon on a road trip to Penny’s spa vacay, it’s Sheldon who asks if that’s a wise move, pointing out that Penny went on the trip to get away from him. Leonard doesn’t want to let their fight fester for two days, though. “Very well. You got married spur of the moment, I don’t see why your divorce should be any different,” Sheldon advises.
He’s right. When Penny answers the knock at her spa door, she is definitely not happy to see Leonard. Only when Shamy give their friends a bit of alone time do Leonard and Penny act calmly. They acknowledge that they need to put in extra work on their relationship, and they decide the best way to do that — and yes, they can’t believe this is the conclusion they’ve come to — is taking Sheldon up on his offer to whip up one of his trademark Relationship Agreements. He is giddy, and recent maturation aside, it is a giddiness born more of his chance to write a Relationship Agreement than his role in helping his loved ones save their marriage.
As for Howard and Raj, they fail to come up with a solution for Halley’s noisy bedroom floor, and there’s certainly no evolving maturity with their antics in pursuit of the de-squeakization. In addition to the aforementioned glow-in-the-dark-floor design, we get to see Howard swing across the room on a rope and crash into the crib, move across the room via pulley system before dropping to the floor (and bringing some of the ceiling with him), and using a giant slingshot to propel himself right through a closet door.
Once again, TBBT’s writers show there’s no one better at concocting a story involving props.
- Article 8, Subsection B from Lenny’s new Relationship Agreement: “Leonard will restrict video gaming in underpants to hours Penny is not home. This includes boxers, briefs, thongs, g-strings, or anything else that calls attention to his pasty little thighs.”
- Article 10, Subsection C: “Penny may not say everything is fine if it isn’t. Other unacceptable responses: ‘It’s nothing,’ ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and ‘I said it’s nothing, don’t worry about it.’”
- The random things we learn about the gang: Howard’s go-to karaoke song is “Material Girl.”
- The random things we learn about the gang, part deux: Penny’s favorite NSYNC song is “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You.”
- Amy, on the happy state of her cohabitation with Sheldon: “He asks about my day, he takes an interest in my life. He’s like my boyfriend in college. Except he’s real, so people can see him.”
- Howard, on why he turned the theme song for The Walking Dead into a lullaby for Halley: “Gotta get her hooked on TV, or someday she’ll want me to play outside.”
- Sheldon asks Amy to bring home any tiny shampoo bottles she gets during her spa stay … so he can demonstrate what it would look like when Godzilla takes a shower.
- Ditto minibar mini-bottles of hooch — he also wants to show her how Godzilla gets drunk.