overnights

The Big Bang Theory Recap: A Marriage of Convenience

The Big Bang Theory

The Procreation Calculation
Season 12 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****

The Big Bang Theory

The Procreation Calculation
Season 12 Episode 3
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Michael Yarish/WARNER BROS.

Even by arranged-marriage timelines, this seems fast: After 1.5 dates with the woman his parents set him up with, Rajesh Koothrappali is engaged.

Yay?

Lonely, bored, and tired of being the only member of his group of friends who’s still single — even the human Eeyore of a man that is Stuart has found love — Raj had made the impulsive decision to ask his father to set him up with a potential bride. One detailed compatibility questionnaire later, Raj and Anu, the daughter of Koothrappali family friends, go on a date.

Raj reports to his friends that the questionnaire indicated he and Anu had much in common, but sparks are not flying when they meet for their first dinner date. Raj is Raj, sweet, sensitive, a hopeless romantic who — here comes the flip side — unwisely details to his future wife the many ways Sandra Bullock is his dream woman. No undue pressure there, Koothrappali.

Meanwhile, Anu doesn’t seem like the kind of person who has the time or patience to indulge Raj. She’s 34, she wants to get married and have children, she tells him, and she has very specific goals for her career in the hospitality business. They involve moving up to her boss’s position, and she’s hoping his smoking habit will facilitate that happening more quickly.

Raj is, if not excited, certainly willing to continue along this path he asked his family to set into motion for him, until BFF Howard voices his disapproval. Raj is all about the romance, Howard points out, more than any person he’s ever met. Howard thinks it’s sad for Raj to give up on the possibility of making a true love connection, then, in favor of a quickie marriage.

Raj isn’t happy with Howard’s interference, but midway through his second date with Anu, he realizes his friend was right. He does want to get married and have children, he tells Anu, and he’s sorry if he wasted her time, but he is an idealistic guy, and this isn’t the romantic backstory he wants to tell his grandchildren someday. He gets up and walks away from the table, but Anu asks him to stop. She tells him she thinks he’ll be a good father. She says he’s tall enough that she can wear heels, and that’s “something worth fighting for.” So she gets down on one knee, takes his hand, and asks him if he’ll marry her.

Giddily, he says yes. Apparently romance itself isn’t required; Raj just needed a romantic gesture?

In an equally life-changing, less surprising story line, Raj shares his compatibility questionnaire with Penny and Leonard, and one of the queries leads Penny to decide she doesn’t think she wants to have children.

This comes as a shock to Leonard, who’d assumed they would have children. All their friends agree this might have been a subject worth tackling before they got married. Leonard angrily storms out of the apartment, only to return and tell Penny this will just be one of the many things in life he wanted but isn’t going to get, like a Nobel Prize and a working Batmobile. He says it’s enough that he has her, something he never thought he’d have.

Later, Penny surprises him with a Batmobile. Batmobile rental, actually. Apparently, the disappointment of discovering his spouse doesn’t want to have children with him isn’t so upsetting after all; Leonard’s just as happy driving the Batmobile for a day?

At this point in the series’s final season, Raj’s fast and forced engagement is still seeming like a more rational relationship than the continuation of the Hofstadters’ marriage. Especially when Penny gets a call from her father, upset that she won’t be making him a grandfather.

Leonard had called him, because, despite telling Penny he’s fine with not having children, he painted a completely different picture for his father-in-law.

Theor-ems

• Three episodes in and Howard and Bernadette have yet to get a quality story line. Wolowitz portrayers Simon Helberg and Melissa Rauch do have a great moment when Howard and Bernie are caught in their living room while Stuart and new girlfriend Denise cue up Sade’s “Smooth Operator,” in Stuart’s nearby bedroom, a sign that the two are about to engage in some sexy time. The Wolowitzes sit by uncomfortably, happy that their friend is enjoying a new romance, unhappy that they have been made so aware of its soundtrack.

• Howard and Bernie try to convince Penny and Leonard to look at a real-estate opening near them, so they can be neighbors. Penny says she thinks they’d buy a loft downtown instead. Leonard says he always thought they’d buy a house with a yard.

Penny: “Oh, sure, that makes sense, so you could shoot hoops and mow the lawn?”

Howard: “How are you two married?”

• Not to belabor the point, but … when Leonard mocks Raj’s compatibility questionnaire, Raj asks him if he knows what Penny’s dream vacation is.

Leonard not confidently answers, “Malibu beach house.”

Penny: “That’s Barbie’s dream vacation.”

• Amy has her own issue with Penny’s decision not to have kids. She wonders who will be friends with her children if there are no Hofstadter children, since she and Sheldon are unlikely to produce socially well-adapted children.

• Amy’s also more creepily bummed that no Penny pregnancy means they won’t be able to breastfeed each other’s kids and massage vitamin E on each other’s perineums.

The Big Bang Theory Recap: A Marriage of Convenience