Not since the season-eight finale breakup of Shamy has a relationship change so threatened to rock the world of The Big Bang Theory. Yes, Raj and Howard have called it Splitsville.
Actually, it is all Raj in the dumper seat, as it suddenly occurs to him — with a lot of instigation from his father — that the needling that is a regular part of his friendship with BFF Howard has chipped away at his confidence, leaving him a timid, risk-averse, straight-haired man who has stagnated in his professional and personal lives. As for his hairstyle, it turns out he was only copying the flat-haired Howard, the first “cool” guy he met when he arrived in America. Raj has a beautiful head of thick, wavy hair, which he rediscovers post-Wolowitz.
About the breakup: Raj’s introspection comes when he’s presented with the opportunity to interview for a cool new side hustle at the Griffith Observatory. He asks Penny and Amy — okay, really just Penny‚ for fashion advice on his interview duds, and when his clothes fail to impress his friends, he says it doesn’t matter; he wouldn’t get the gig no matter what he wears. They preach self-confidence, but when Howard interjects with a joke about Raj interrupting Girls Night and how he shouldn’t fall asleep first lest Penny and Amy freeze his bra, well, we’re starting to see the answer to the question Raj has just asked himself about why he is no longer the supremely confident guy he was when he moved to California from India.
Raj has shown himself to be sensitive, and though he can give as good as he gets when it comes to tossing shade, it’s possible he’s internalized the insults more than Howard has. That’s Raj’s takeaway, it seems. When he tells Howard they need to spend some time away from each other because 15 years of constant insults from Howard have turned their friendship toxic, Howard makes a crack about whether or not he can see other “needy Indian men” while they’re on a break. (Can any TV fan ever even think the words “on a break” relative to a relationship and not immediately go to Ross and Rachel?)
Howard is stunned by Raj’s announcement, and the shock turns to sadness when he realizes his friend means it. Even more so when Raj’s decision to cut Howard out of his life is rewarded with that job at the observatory and a coffee date with a friendly woman he meets there. Howard witnesses a confidence-boosted Raj in action, and instead of sticking around to congratulate him, Howard slinks away.
Is Howaj dunzo for good? A preview of coming attractions that finds the pals duking it out in a bouncy castle suggests no, but even the temporary break that led to the newly confident Raj could prove to be a pivotal bit of evolution for the member of the group whose life continues to move forward at the least speedy rate.
Meanwhile, in one of the first recent instances of a Sheldon-related plot not being the obvious A-story of an episode, Shamy is planning a wedding and things are going quite smoothly. So unstressed are Sheldon and Amy, in fact, that Sheldon chalks it up to yet another instance when they are simply just better than other people. It’s one of those times when his arrogance is charming because he includes Amy in his superiority complex.
But in the history of wedding planning, real or fictional, there has never been a couple that pulled off nuptials without any stress, so even Shamy’s mathematical-based division of the duties and decision-making don’t make them the exception. He wants what amounts to a Star-themed celebration — both Wars and Trek, naturally — while Amy’s tastes run less futuristic and more back to Prairie days, as in Little House on the. When their peaceful planning turns to constant quibbling, Amy suggests they chuck their whiteboard and move the action to City Hall for a quickie wedding.
And off they go, Sheldon in his suit and tie and Amy Farrah Fowler in her pink-lace skirt-suit, license in hand and their names just called as next in line for the officiant when … Sheldon decides Amy is his dark matter. Like, his dark matter. Like, he wasn’t looking to get married, but he found her, just as someone might discover dark matter when they’re not even looking for it. And that would be obviously a good thing, just like finding Amy as his mate is a good thing. And if you discover dark matter, you don’t go to City Hall to announce it or celebrate it — you want to tell the whole world about it! Because finding Amy as his love match is as rare as finding dark matter, Sheldon also reasons that it should be announced and celebrated in front of the world, too, or at least in front of their little corner of it. If that sounds convoluted but sweet, it really, really is, and the formal Cooper-Fowler wedding is back on.
Not that we ever really doubted it. It’s season 11, and TBBT has done birth, death, weddings, breakups, and makeups already. A Shamy wedding and possible Shamy pregnancy is what’s propelling this ship forward.
• Penny: “I love the observatory. They tell you your weight on all the different planets. It’s always bikini season on Venus.”
• Howard: “You and Amy having fun planning your wedding?” Sheldon: “We’re employing a mathematical approach called decision theory, so, heck yeah.”
• Raj tries to tell his dad that Howard’s constant insults are just a cultural thing: “His people come from a very sarcastic village called Brooklyn.”