The Big Bang Theory Recap: Father Knows Least

The Big Bang Theory

The Positive Negative Reaction
Season 9 Episode 16
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
The Positive Negative Reaction

The Big Bang Theory

The Positive Negative Reaction
Season 9 Episode 16
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Kunal Nayyar as Raj, Jim Parsons as Sheldon, Johnny Galecki as Leonard, Simon Helberg as Howard. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Previously on The Big Bang Theory, Bernadette and Howard became the first couple in the gang to get pregnant, and in a thunder-stealing move that led to a lackluster episode, the writers let the audience know about the big news before Bernie had a chance to tell Howard.

Time for round two. Howard and the rest of the gang find out a little Wolowitz is on the way, and despite a karaoke set piece that’s meant to be more fun than it proves to be, the pregnancy revelation still turns out to be underwhelming.

Is the thought of a baby joining this close-knit crew without any comedic possibilities? I don’t think so: Jokes about the havoc a toddler’s visits could wreak on the apartment of order-obsessed, change-adverse Uncle Sheldon almost write themselves. But maybe that’s the problem. After eight-and-a-half seasons, we know the characters so well that it’s getting tougher to be surprised by them. The show’s long-running will-they-won’t-they was resolved soundly at mid-season — Sheldon and Amy did (it) — so perhaps, other TBBT milestones will only suffer by comparison.

Are we surprised when Howard’s reaction to Bernadette’s news — which she delivers through a series of Post-its on items related to his morning coffee — is to be excited for a minute, then wildly insecure about his abilities to be a good dad the next? Are we surprised the freak-out portion of his reaction includes references to a nanny and how they can’t hire an attractive one, lest it break up their marriage? And that, without even knowing the sex of the baby, Howard’s fretting about whether or not Junior should be circumcised? That he says it’s a barbaric practice, but he doesn’t want his little man’s family jewels to look like a pig in a blanket?

Nope, no surprises there.

Ditto when Howard tells the guys, only to have Sheldon make it about him, and how a baby will mean they can no longer devote a night each week to comic books or play games together or go to Disneyland. And what about Bernadette’s attempt to tell Penny and Amy? Leonard spoils the happy news with a text to Penny, who, despite the fact that her mama-to-be pal is bummed that she can’t enjoy cocktails for the immediate future, does not show her support with an equally empty wine goblet.

No surprises there, either.

It takes the aforementioned karaoke scene — which happens when the guys invite the women to join them for an impromptu celebration — for the episode’s most memorable (and mildly surprising) moments to occur.

First, Sheldon has a fondness for the fruit-punch-flavored cocktails he’s chugging. He downs so many that he is fooled into thinking the bar’s kitchen is its bathroom — yet, as Raj points out later, after an even more blotto Sheldon quickly drops some scientific knowledge the rest of them couldn’t, drunken Sheldon is still smarter than the other three put together.

Sheldon is also the spark for the evening’s sweetest moment. He and Howard grew up without fathers — Sheldon’s died when he was younger, Howard’s abandoned him and his mother — and Sheldon is sensitive enough to understand that not having his own dad around might add to Howard’s insecurities.

“You and I both know how hard it is growing up without a father,” Sheldon tells him. “That’s why I’m confident you’re going to be the best dad you can be.”

But Sheldon is probably not feeling so empathetic with his friend later that night, when he finds out the secret Bernadette had shared with Penny and Amy earlier in the evening. It seems Wolowitz the sequel was conceived one night when Bernie was going into Sheldon and Leonard’s bathroom. Howard was coming out of the bathroom, then pulled her into Sheldon’s bedroom, where they had a quickie in Sheldon’s bed.

With Shamy’s first-ever — and so far only confirmed — bedroom experience unfolding in her bed, we still don’t know if Sheldon has ever had sex in Sheldon’s bed. Which leads us to another “surprise” that isn’t: learning that Sheldon has spent the next day at the mattress store.

Meanwhile, after coming up with an idea that he can piggyback onto Sheldon and Leonard’s super-fluid helium experiments to potentially earn some extra cash for the baby, Howard tells Bernadette he’s still scared, but also excited about their little bundle of joy. “And I’m not just saying that because your breasts are gonna get bigger,” he adds.

No surprise there.


  • For the record, the songs performed on the karaoke stage: “Bust a Move” (Raj and Leonard); Justin Bieber’s “Baby” (Penny and Amy); “Baby I Need Your Loving” (Howard); “Push It” (Raj and Leonard); “(You’re) Having My Baby” (Howard); and “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (Sheldon, of course).
  • Sheldon, after Leonard refers to him as a baby: “Would a baby have to shave once every 11 days?”.
  • Another Howard fear about impending fatherhood: “And then there’s this nose,” he says, pointing to himself. “I mean, what if he looks like me? Or worse, what if she looks like me?”
  • Proof of the humorous possibilities that come with Sheldon facing changes brought about by a newborn: “My sister has one of those toilet locks in her bathroom. I have two doctorates, and I still had to go in the sink.”
  • Raj: “I’d like to propose a toast to our friend Howard — his big heart, his beautiful soul …”
  • Leonard: “… his tight little pants that, somehow, did not make him sterile.”
  • Sheldon likes the fruit-punch cocktail so much because it reminds him of his “daddy’s secret ‘don’t tell mama’ juice.”
  • Howard thinks he might have a great new money-making idea: slightly bigger versions of drink umbrellas. “All Apple does is change the size of things and we keep buying them,” he reasons. Adds Raj: “It’s true. I like my giant iPad and my little iPad almost as much as my regular-sized iPad.”

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Father Knows Least