overnights

The Big Bang Theory Recap: The Last Halloween

The Big Bang Theory

The Imitation Perturbation
Season 12 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating *****

The Big Bang Theory

The Imitation Perturbation
Season 12 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Well, the last Halloween episode until a few years from now when the inevitable Big Bang Theory reboot season happens. Kidding. Sort of.

In the final season of this original series run, the Pasadena crew puts on their finest costumes and gathers at Penny and Leonard’s apartment for a Halloween party. The occasion reminds Leonard of the first Halloween he celebrated with Penny, when she was his neighbor, and her giant doofus of a boyfriend, Kurt, hurt her feelings. Leonard comforted her, on the couch in his apartment, and they shared their first kiss. Penny insists their first kiss happened during a different soirée, and here we go … another Lenny fight, another instance of Leonard seeming a whole lot more sentimental about their relationship than Penny.

But, a twist: Penny did in fact remember that first Halloween party as the night of their first kiss. She reveals to Leonard that she wants to pretend it happened differently, because that night, she only kissed him to upset Kurt. Leonard is touched, and agrees they should revise history and call Penny’s alt-memory their official first smooch. It’s a sweet enough moment, but because it’s all too rare with this couple, it stands out as an exception, not the rule, in their relationship. I remain unconvinced that Penny and Leonard should remain a couple through this series’ end.

On to the most fun stuff in an episode I expected more from, especially when the promos teased Howard’s costume: He dresses up as Sheldon, complete with neatly combed hair, and a The Flash short-sleeved T-shirt with a long-sleeved shirt underneath.

Sheldon, dressed as Doc Brown from Back to the Future (specifically, Doc from Back to the Future III, with Amy donning a very uncomfortable corset to costume herself as Doc’s love, Clara Clayton), initially doesn’t realize that Howard is spoofing him. Even when Howard imitates several of Sheldon’s trademark behaviors — like going on long, explanatory tangents and continually correcting those around him, Sheldon doesn’t recognize himself. Leonard and Raj find the gag hilarious, though, and only when he insists his friends tell him what is so funny does Sheldon realize Howard is poking fun at him.

This makes Sheldon sad, which makes Amy sad and angry, and she visits Bernadette to ask her friend to ask Howard to apologize to Sheldon. Bernadette refuses; firstly, she made the Sheldon costume for her hubs. Secondly, she points out that Sheldon has mocked Howard — his appearance, his field of study, and his MIT education — for years. She also points out that Sheldon said her (female) baby looks like Winston Churchill, so there will be no apology forthcoming.

As Penny and Leonard’s party is in full swing — or as full-swing as it can be with just eight people, including Stuart (dressed as a butterfly using wings he swiped from one of the Wolowitz kids’ toy box) and Bert Kibbler (guest star Brian Posehn) dressed up as geophysicist Maurice “Doc” Ewing — Sheldon and Amy enter in new costumes: they’ve dressed up as Howard and Bernie. Sheldon’s wearing a giant belt buckle, a dickey, Howard’s bowl haircut, and pants so tight he later worries it’s going to cause a testicular hernia, and Amy’s showing off a trademark Bernadette dress, cardigan, and headband combo, and imitating that high-pitched voice. Words are exchanged, tempers flare, and the party ends with the Wolowitzes and the Coopers ticked off at one another.

It doesn’t get resolved; Howard asks Sheldon to apologize to Bernie, and with the use of a Star Wars Wookiee metaphor, gets Sheldon to agree. He goes to Casa Wolowitz to say his sorries, but instead offends Bernadette again, by calling her short, and reiterating that little Halley Wolowitz strongly resembles a certain legendary U.K. prime minister.

If there was a point to be made here, it fell flat. Sheldon has regularly insulted everything about Howard for years. In general, the whole group regularly insults each other. What made Howard’s impersonation of Sheldon, and Shamy’s impersonation of Hernie, so different and hurtful? This isn’t the first time Sheldon has been made aware that people find his behaviors annoying. This isn’t the first time Bernie’s voice and height have been the subjects of jokes, which she tells Sheldon about. Was the point that the group has always accepted Sheldon’s sharp, often condescending and reductive remarks, so he should be thicker-skinned when he’s the butt of the jokes? Or is the point that, because they’ve accepted Sheldon’s behavior lo these many years, they should understand that he doesn’t see his behavior as equal to Howard’s behavior when he’s dressed up in a Sheldon costume?

Again, it all fell flat, and the very best takeaway of the final Big Bang Theory Halloween is this: Raj was dressed in a robe, lace collar, and earrings, i.e., as “Kooth Bader Ginsburg.” And his bride-to-be, Anu? She’s wearing a sandwich board with the Constitution on it. Underneath, she’s sporting the “Bill of Tights.”

If nothing else, there’s always room for a good pun.

Theor-ems:

• Sheldon is bravely trying to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Halloween by watching the movie with the fellas in Leonard’s apartment. Amy bursts in and demands he come home, because she doesn’t want him to get too frightened. In the hallway, we learn, of course, that he’d texted her to come save him from the horror flick.

• Leonard is dressed in a very elaborate Inspector Gadget costume, complete with head-helicopter. P.S.: Directions on how to make your own can be found here.

• Raj says he and Anu have no secrets from each other, other than the fact that he crocheted himself that lace collar for his “Notorious KBG” costume.

• Tone-deaf joke of the night: Bert wonders if Raj’s arranged marriage to Anu is just an Indian thing, or can he “get a piece of that”?

Anu: “You know the woman has a choice, right?”

Bert: “There’s always a catch.”

Ew, Bert.

The Big Bang Theory Recap: The Last Halloween