Photo: Michael Yarish/WBEI
Well, isn’t it good to be Sheldon Cooper? You get dumped by your girlfriend because, essentially, you’re a self-involved ass much of the time, yet in the post-breakup dating world, it’s you who ends up with a lovely, bright, like-minded potential new love match, while, for her big post-breakup love interest, your ex-girlfriend spends a miserable dinner with a man who is obsessed with … you.
On the one hand in this, another TBBT episode designed to wring every last drop of story line out of the Shamy split, Sheldon’s continuing self-confidence in the wake of Amy’s dissolution of the relationship is admirable, as is his resolve to move on with his life after seeing her on a date with another man at the end of last week’s episode.
On the other hand, when he and Amy do inevitably (please, sooner rather than later, in case it needs to be said) reunite, it is not going to spark warm fuzzies in her to find out Sheldon compared their relationship to a stick of Fruit Stripe gum — “sweet and enjoyable at first, but ultimately a flavorless lump of sadness” — as he does to Howard and Raj.
Howard and Raj are the ones responsible for the Shamy meeting, back in the season-three finale, “The Lunar Excitation,” so Sheldon looks to them to help him make another love connection. Or rather, to find “a new woman in my life to ignore so I can hyperfocus on my work again.”
Never more excited than when they have the opportunity to combine their pop-culture obsessions with their science backgrounds in a project that isn’t work-related, Howard, Raj, and Sheldon decide to forego dating websites and instead concoct a Craigslist-ad puzzle that potential Sheldon mates must solve — by 10 p.m. that day — so they can show up at his front door to meet him. Yes, despite the fact that even the devoted Amy eventually tired of his narcissism, Sheldon’s plan boils down to him sitting around his apartment waiting for a woman to come to him, only after she’s proven herself worthy, by his standards, by solving puzzles that prove her skills in math, and her knowledge of Klingon and international flags. In return, he’ll show her a lifetime of “laughter, love, and best of all, rules.”
Unsurprisingly, because it is Sheldon’s world, his dream woman does arrive, and she is delightful. Vanessa likes archaic religions, she provides a sample of her fluency in Klingon and Sanskrit, and she was able to calculate the distance between Mordor and the Shire, and if Sheldon does notice such things, she’s quite attractive.
She’s also approximately 20 seconds late for his 10 p.m. deadline, and finds atomic spectroscopy boring, so Sheldon bids her adieu and shuts the door in her face. I’m going to choose to believe that his lingering feelings for Amy Farrah Fowler factored into that decision, but Sheldon’s callous treatment of this vulnerable, hopeful stranger who made such a big effort to meet him shows he hasn’t learned even a smidgen of the humility it’s going to require for him to be worthy of a Shamy reunion.
As for Amy’s Saturday night, there’s humility, and humiliation, running amuck. Her date, the previously referred to Dave (guest star Stephen Merchant), is tall and British, traits that impress Bernadette and Penny when Amy describes Dave while her friends are helping her pick out a date outfit. Later, when Bernie and Penny — and the reluctant tagalong Leonard — are spying on Amy and Dave’s date from Bernadette’s car parked outside the Italian restaurant where Amy and Dave are eating, they also decide Dave is cute. (One star for this spying subplot, which dips to half a star when you learn Leonard has to urinate into an empty fabric-softener bottle Bernadette apparently stows in her car for just such a purpose.)
But what Dave has going for him in height and British-ness doesn’t make up for one very big deal-breaker: He’s obsessed with Sheldon. When Amy describes her ex as a Caltech scientist and mentions just his first name, Dave guesses it’s Sheldon Cooper, and the rest of the night becomes about his fandom for Sheldon, right down to a persistent request that Amy arrange for Dave and Sheldon to meet.
By evening’s end, both Sheldon and Amy remain single, which is good news for Shamy fans. Here’s hoping Amy’s disappointing time with Dave doesn’t mean she’s willing to forgive and forget all the ways Sheldon has mistreated her in the past, because, for one, she deserves better, and two, Sheldon has yet to apologize and offer her a better relationship in the future.
- Vanessa was played by Analeigh Tipton, who previously guest starred in season two’s “The Panty Piñata Polarization,” as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model.
- Sheldon, Raj, and Howard carry out their intellectual scavenger hunt/love search on a Saturday night. Apparently that isn’t Sheldon’s laundry night anymore? This is news, as Saturday night at 8:15 has been his laundry night throughout the series, yet there was no fluffing or folding happening in “The Mystery Date Observation.”
- Sheldon’s outfit in the first scene — a teal short-sleeve tee over a macaroni-and-cheese-colored long-sleeve tee — made him look like Perry the Platypus.
- Leonard made French-toast sticks and oatmeal for Sheldon on Oatmeal Day, but Sheldon’s having none of it. “That’s a lot of carbohydrates for a man on the prowl,” he tells Leonard.
- Penny isn’t excited to see the movie Leonard has chosen for date night, a documentary about aluminum-can recycling. But it’s “the movie Big Soda doesn’t want you to see,” he argues.
- Raj suggests Sheldon may want to look for a woman who’s different from him … opposites attract and all that. “By that logic, I should be with someone short, dull, and needy,” Sheldon counters. “Not to cast aspersions, but I can’t shake a stick around here without hitting that.”
- Sheldon briefly wonders if Jennifer Lawrence might be the woman who will solve his Craigslist puzzles and show up at his door. It’s funny and ridiculous, and also coincidently timely, given her new Vogue interview about her lonely, dateless Saturday nights.