You just knew the Shamy engagement would provide no end of story lines this season, and the first Big Bang Theory episode of the 2018 milks the subject for some good Sheldon/Amy bonding, plus a pivotal Amy/Penny friendship moment.
On Sheldon and Amy’s “I do” to-do list: choosing their best man and maid of honor. They don’t want to alienate anyone in their group, but more importantly, they see these wedding-party positions as duty-filled jobs rather than merely honorary titles. So they devise a series of tests, with points given (and subtracted) based on how their subjects perform. Sheldon says they’ll let the “empirical metrics” make the decisions for them. Their friends, meanwhile, don’t know they’re being tested.
“So, we can hurt our friends’ feelings without taking any of the responsibility?” Amy asks. “Me likey.”
When the missing fried rice in the group’s takeout order prompts Shamy to note Howard’s deft handling of a call to the restaurant to procure the “pile of fat rice” Raj preemptively SoulCycled to work off, the couple deems Howie most likely to respond well to a wedding-catering crisis. Their friends don’t even comment on Sheldon literally noting the call when he whips out a notebook and pencil.
When Sheldon suggests making a toast during dinner, then says he can’t think of one so someone else will, his friends are none the wiser. When he and Amy later ask both Penny and bedridden Bernadette to deliver a sewing kit to them, they time the deliveries, and even Sheldon’s panicked explanation of why he’s timing them is chalked up to the everyday shenanigans involved with being a FOS or FOA.
Tests of their friends’ knowledge of them, and abilities to keep secrets, be punctual, and react appropriately if either of them (read: Sheldon) should get cold feet on the big day soon follow. But it’s not until Howard, Raj, Penny, and Leonard find out Sheldon and Amy have given them each a brainteaser designed to test their wits about how to arrange a seating chart so that no one at the table will fight with each other that the crew realizes they’re being tested. They’re offended, and let Shamy know they don’t want to be considered for the best man and maid of honor jobs.
Hapless Stuart briefly gets the best man spot from a desperate Sheldon, but after Mr. Cooper apologizes to his other friends, they point out he should choose someone he truly wants to be his best man, not someone he selects by default. “You don’t need to worry about anyone else but yourself,” Leonard tells his former roommate. “You’ve kinda been training for this your whole life.” The advice — and Leonard pointing out he actually solves the brainteaser, while Raj and Howard gave up — is only part of the reason Sheldon chooses Leonard to stand beside him on the day of his nuptials.
The Shamy games also lead to an incredibly sweet moment for Amy, who long ago, and frequently since, deemed Penny her “bestie.” Penny has been less effusive about her affection for Amy Farrah Fowler through the years, and there have been times when it appeared she didn’t even truly appreciate the loyalty and friendship Amy has shown. But after Leonard gets the top spot on the groom’s side, Penny becomes particularly peeved that she isn’t automatically Amy’s first choice.
“It’s just annoying. We talk every day, we see each other all the time, she’s always there for me … oh my God, Amy’s my best friend!” Penny tells Leonard before stomping across the hall to Shamy’s apartment.
“Look, I know this is your wedding, and you can do anything you want, but if you think anyone but me is gonna be your maid of honor, then you’re an idiot,” Penny tells Amy. “Because you are my best friend!”
Howard (probably) doesn’t break anything when Amy shoves him into the refrigerator so she can run and hug Penny.
• Sheldon’s best-man dilemma goes beyond his circle of friends. His mother also wants him to consider his older brother, Georgie, for the gig, and he doesn’t want to disappoint her: “I’ve already rejected her savior and her LinkedIn invitation.”
• We’ve met the teen version of Georgie on Young Sheldon, but could an appearance by adult Georgie be on the horizon for The Big Bang Theory? Sheldon has referenced Georgie on several occasions, and a wedding would be the perfect time for a guest appearance by the man Sheldon says “has fake testicles hanging from his truck.” Who do we think would be the perfect Georgie? Michael Cudlitz? Vince Vaughn?
• On the way to a gathering at Casa Wolowitz, Amy asks Sheldon to avoid talking about their wedding with their friends, because she’s still deciding whether she’ll ask Penny or Bernie to be her maid of honor. “I’ll do you one better,” Sheldon says. “I’ll avoid talking to our friends entirely and play on my phone.”
• Sheldon’s next suggestion: “How ‘bout this? I dominate the conversation so hard, no one has a chance to get a word in edgewise?” Amy, in a deadpan delivery that Mayim Bialik continues to perfect as Amy and Sheldon’s relationship rolls on: “I don’t know, they might see that coming.”
• When Amy tests Raj’s ability to keep a secret, he ends up confessing that Howard wears special underwear with a charcoal filter. Apparently that’s a real thing for those with filtering needs in that arena.
• Sheldon, meanwhile, reveals a secret of his own while testing Bernie’s trustworthiness: He can control the thermostat in Leonard’s apartment with his phone, and when Leonard pisses him off, he changes the temperature a few degrees. From anyone else, that would sound like lame revenge, but Sheldon makes it sound just sinister enough.
• For the two days he has them, Stuart is excited about his best man duties. First, because it means he’ll receive a gift, which he hopes will be Claritin. And second, because it means he’ll get to plan a bachelor party, which would have taken place, according to Sheldon, at “Costco, and the theme is ‘browsing.’”