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The Big Bang Theory Recap: Yin and Yang of The Big Bang

The Big Bang Theory

The Conjugal Configuration
Season 12 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating *****

The Big Bang Theory

The Conjugal Configuration
Season 12 Episode 1
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Michael Yarish/WARNER BROS.

A continuation of Sheldon and Amy’s wedding celebration would have been a good way to open this final season of The Big Bang Theory. I’m still disappointed we didn’t get to see which of Sheldon’s pop-culture obsessions inspired the wedding cake, how many single wedding guests Raj tried to scope out as potential love matches, and whether or not Barry Kripke was allowed to continue his vocal assault on the affair after his off-key crooning of “At Last.”

Instead, we jump in with the newlyweds on the first leg of their honeymoon, as Sheldon awakens Amy Farrah … Cooper? by excitedly referring to her as his wife. He tells her that, according to tradition, they should be hanging their bedsheets outside their window, so the villagers can see they’ve consummated their marriage. Amy points out that wouldn’t be appropriate, since — wait for Sheldon to open the curtains — they’re at Legoland. He’s even ordered a special breakfast, which turns out to be — wait for Sheldon to lift the lid off the room-service plate — eggs, bacon, and pancakes, cleverly crafted out of Legos.

The honeymoon continues as the couple travels to New York City, where Harry Potter and Cursed Child, parts one and two, are on the agenda, as is a tour of Nikola Tesla’s haunts, and making “vigorous, socially sanctioned love.” Amy is surprised not only that Sheldon plans coitus to be more than a one-time activity during the trip, but that he’s scheduled it, right there on his cell phone, either before or after they steam their wizard robes. “Either way, I can check something off my to-do list,” he says.

This enthusiasm for sex would please Amy, you’d think, until she quickly sees that Sheldon seems to be most excited not about the sex itself, but the scheduling of it. Amy’s frustration boils over until she and Sheldon end up in their first fight as a married couple, in front of their fellow tourists on the Tesla tour. It’s spontaneity she craves, but Sheldon points out that, in his own, weird, but endearing Sheldon way, this is his attempt at romance.

“You realize, I’m not a particularly physical person,” Sheldon tells Amy. “When I was little, and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d always say, ‘A brain, in a jar.’ But I want to be a good husband to you, and intimacy is a part of that. I’m just worried that if I don’t schedule our bedroom endeavors, then I may not think about them. And you’ll grow cold and distant, and seek solace in the arms of a heavily muscled longshoreman.”

Amy, touched, offers a compromise. Sheldon can continue to schedule their sex life. He just can’t tell her about it. He’ll create an algorithm that will generate a random schedule. Well, not truly a random schedule, Amy explains, because, “the generation of true random numbers remains an unsolved problem in computer science.”

Sheldon wants them to return to their hotel room, immediately, where Amy will repeat that last sentence, after getting naked.

Back in Pasadena, Shamy’s besties, Leonard and Penny, are having less positive discussions about their marriage. They discover Amy’s dad (guest star Teller) is taking a break from his controlling wife (guest star Kathy Bates) by camping out in Amy and Sheldon’s apartment. After they encounter Mrs. Fowler when she comes angrily looking for her husband, Leonard recognizes that the Fowler marriage mirrors his own in certain ways. Certain ways that piss Penny off, because in Leonard’s scenario, she’s the shrew who tries to control poor Leonard.

Sure, this could be yet another Penny and Leonard fight; they have so many. But I wonder if the writers are setting up something much more interesting in this final run of episodes. From the beginning, Penny and Leonard haven’t made sense as a couple. They have little in common, and despite some overlap of their Netflix binge-watching interests and Penny retaining the random bit of science knowledge, that hasn’t changed much across 11 seasons. With all their friends’ lives moving forward — well, save Raj, and more on him in a minute — maybe the story line for Penny and Leonard is that they will move forward, ultimately, by realizing they shouldn’t do it together. Even Amy’s mom, after seeing a brief interaction between Penny and Leonard, tells her husband, “I don’t think those two are gonna make it.” How do we all feel about that possibility? Is “Lenny” not meant to end the series together?

Oh, and then there’s Raj, still flying solo, and now putting all his energy into sparking a Twitter fight with Tysons: Neil deGrasse and Mike. His faux beef with fellow scientist Neil causes Raj to make a fool of himself during a local TV appearance, ruining the very opportunity that he thought might help him launch a media career, à la Neil.

Later, Neil calls Raj and invites him to an upcoming book signing — complete with a nice shout-out to the great Pasadena indie bookstore Vroman’s — where he can insult him to his face. Raj declines, of course, and Tyson warns him against even thinking about trying to step to him in the future: “Remember, I’m the guy who kicked Pluto out of the solar system!”

Theor-ems

• It’s a brief guest appearance by Neil deGrasse Tyson, but he makes the most of his time. After settling the conflict with Raj, he scrolls through his contacts list to “see who else needs a deGrasse-kickin.” And he calls Bill Nye, Science Guy, who promptly slams down the phone when Tyson says, “We gotta talk!”

• Neil deGrasse Tyson has the best lines of the episode. Sheldon has the worst. While at Legoland, he tells Amy, “When you think about it, Lego is the perfect metaphor for marital congress … two pieces that interlock with a satisfying ‘snap’.”

Amy: “Oh, that’s the sound you were making.”

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Yin and Yang of The Big Bang