The Big Bang Theory Recap: Relax, Don’t Do It

The Big Bang Theory

The Relaxation Integration
Season 11 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Robert Voets/WARNER BROS.

This may be the best proof yet that Sheldon Cooper has become a more self-aware dude: He has decided to grant full control of the planning of his upcoming nuptials to his bride-to-be, Amy Farrah Fowler.

On the one hand, this is a major disappointment, because for me, the potential of Groomzilla Sheldon was at least half the fun of a Shamy engagement. But in this week’s episode, we find out that the mere thought of wedding planning is turning Sheldon into such a stress monkey that he’s dreaming he’s actually a chill fella who doesn’t care if the Apple Jacks box is empty, who loves smooth jazz, and who says “whatev.”

In the light of day, “whatev” is so annoying to Sheldon that he makes Amy say “er” before he can go on with his life. So, she knows the Sheldon who’s suddenly talking in his sleep about friending a seagull at the beach and picking up a hitchhiker for some good conversation is worried about something. When Amy tells him about his sleep chatter, he takes the matter to Penny, who helps him decide this may be his brain’s way of encouraging him to relax. He’s likely nervous about the changes marriage will bring, so maybe he should try something new — something small, she says, like yoga or meditation. She doesn’t want to freak him out with the suggestion of a bigger adjustment, like when Skittles updated its green candy flavor from lime to apple. “That is not the rainbow I grew up tasting,” he points out.

Sheldon’s solution: He’ll wear flip-flops one day. He’s always been “intrigued” by them, and they are the “official footwear of the laidback fellow.”

This, predictably, does not go well for the germophobe. The flip-flops expose the tops of his feet, so he puts sunscreen on them. That makes his feet slippery, and one of the shoes falls off into a sewer grate. When he reaches for it, he feels something furry, which he chooses to believe is a “damp toupee.” Because, you know, he’s a relaxed guy now. The toupee licks him, which makes him scream, and he hops away on his one remaining flip-flopped foot. He sits on a bus bench and uses one of his shirts to fashion a cloth shoe for his naked foot, but it is not waterproof. This he finds out when he steps into an ankle-deep puddle of what he chooses to believe is warm apple juice. Then, as he’s relating to Amy, there’s the matter of the other flip-flop, which he loses in an event that involves him stepping on something he’s choosing to believe is a melted candy bar. That’s why his other foot is enclosed in his messenger bag, and why he’s about to go bathe in Purell.

Clearly, Sheldon recognizes he’s nervous about marriage. The prospect of having everything his way may appeal to him, but the process of making that happen via the million little decisions he’ll have to make while planning a wedding may just break his brain. He tells Amy he will go along with any wedding decisions she makes, including her dream of a June celebration, on a cliff, overlooking the ocean at sunset. As long as he can wear a Star Trek uniform underneath his tux. Sheldon’s still gotta be Sheldon.

In the romantic lives of the rest of the gang, Bernie has a new co-worker, and when Howard learns his wife is taking the newbie out for a drink after work, he tells Raj and Stuart to “coincidentally” show up at the bar for a possible love match. Bernie’s new co-worker isn’t really looking for a date, especially when she later learns the two friends are also rivals who are employing childish tactics to get time alone with her.

Both sad sacks are left dateless once again, but the story line does point out one of the most reliably winning parts of TBBT: the performance of Kevin Sussman as Stuart. Sussman can take the most simple bits of dialogue and turn them into laughs. He can go from a human version of Eeyore to a relatively confident would-be Romeo, ready to outmaneuver his buddy and earn the attention of an interesting woman.

In a cast filled with sitcom millionaires, here’s hoping Sussman is getting every penny he’s worth, too.


• Wedding planning also stresses Sheldon out because he can’t find the scientifically perfect date for the Shamy ceremony. Many of the 80 options he’s narrowed it down to are ruined by the fact that they also happen to be death anniversaries of celebrities. “Why can’t there just be one week each month for famous people to die?” he wonders. Says Amy, in her most pop-culture literate moment ever: “They’ve already arranged to die in threes … what more do you want from them?”

• Stuart to Raj while they’re fighting about Bernie’s co-worker: “You wanna play a game of ‘who’s more desperate?’ with me?! Because you’re in the big leagues now, bucko!”

• Sheldon still isn’t totally chillaxed with the changes afoot in his life. That’s why his latest dream reveals there’s a Council of Sheldons: a gathering of all the aspects of his personality, including Science Sheldon, Texas Sheldon, Fanboy Sheldon, Germophobe Sheldon, and Humorous Sheldon. Laidback Sheldon is seeking admission to the Council, but it looks like he doesn’t get the votes.

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Relax, Don’t Do It