overnights

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Break Out the Benadryl, Baby

The Big Bang Theory

The Meteorite Manifestation
Season 12 Episode 14
Editor’s Rating *****

The Big Bang Theory

The Meteorite Manifestation
Season 12 Episode 14
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

They help narc on their neighbor, they build illegal additions to their house, and they drug their infants so they can get freaky in their backyard hot tub … let’s hear it for Howard and Bernadette Wolowitz, parents of the year!

If only the Wolowitz shenanigans were even interesting enough to earn that title. But the aforementioned does pretty much summarize what they get up to in this installment of TBBT, with the alternate title, “Oh, God, the Final Season Is Half Over, When Will Big Things Start Happening?!”

Instead, this episode is all about our characters, the ones we’ve spent nearly 12 seasons with, learning lessons about themselves, like they’re Stephanie or DJ at the end of a dad talk from Danny or Uncle Jesse. Am I saying this was like watching an episode of Full House? Ha! I wish. Even then, there was always a chance of Joey busting out his Bullwinkle impersonation or the Olsens dropping one of their cute catchphrases. If you’re looking for even that much fun in this adventure, you’re in big trouble, mister!

Howard and Bernie’s attempt at some backyard alone time (after Benadryl-ing the kids) becomes anything but when they discover their new neighbor has installed a balcony, equipped with motion-detecting floodlights, facing the back of their house. That means he can see everything happening in their yard, including the fact that they’re about to disrobe. Or, were about to disrobe. This new development has them wondering what they can do to counter their nosy neighbor’s home renovation, and when rules-loving Sheldon finds out the solution will take them to the local planning and zoning office, he wrangles an invitation to join them.

So, yeah, okay, we know Sheldon loves him some forms and any other documentation spelling out commandments for exactly how things should be done, but he lives in a rented apartment and owns no property in the area. Why would he care so much, specifically, about zoning laws, or be so familiar with them and the staff at the local office where they are processed?

But he does, and he is, and after a trip to “the zone zone” to try to help Howie and Bernadette figure out what recourse they have in trying to reclaim some privacy in their backyard, Sheldon discovers his friends have some building breaches of their own. Sure, Andy the neighbor’s balcony is an encroachment, but the Wolowitzes didn’t have a permit for the deck on which their hot tub of love is perched. Nor did they get approval for the renovations they undertook on their bathroom (the one Sheldon had to use once, after they asked him to hold their children).

Sheldon’s horrified — horrified! — at these flagrant violations of the zoning regulations he holds near and weirdly dear, and he returns to the zone zone to squeal on his friends. At the last minute, he changes his mind, visiting them to say he decided that, even though they’re as guilty as Andy when it comes to unapproved home additions, he has come to realize that “the unwritten rules of friendship are more important than the written rules of the city of Altadena zoning and planning department.” Awwww!

You’re expecting Kimmie Gibbler to pop in with a sassy greeting for the Tanners, while they all prepare to join Michelle around the kitchen table for bowls of owce cream, right?

Because this is not Full House, things end on a much more cynical note, especially if you’re Andy. Sheldon doesn’t blow the whistle on the Wolowitz infractions, but he’s so angry about rules being broken that he has to let out his “pent-up snitch energy” and report the balcony and lights. As Bernie and Howard sip wine at a backyard table, and Andy is demolishing part of his home, he asks them if they know a Sheldon Cooper. They deny they do, and imbibe happily with the knowledge that someone else did their dirty work for them.

Theor-ems:

• So many lessons being learned: when Raj works with Bert on a meteorite project and doesn’t include Leonard, Leonard is offended and jealous. In the end, he realizes he’s actually upset because all of his friends have big projects in the works — lest we dare to forget about Sheldon and Amy’s super asymmetry — and he does not. Awwww!

• Leonard’s jealousy, along with his head cold and a dose of medicine from Stuart’s giant caddy of pills, causes him to have a nightmare about using his laser to cut open Raj and Bert’s meteorite, only to have the matter inside splash him and turn him into a purple-eyed zombie who eats Bert and Raj, and later, Penny. Yeah, this episode had it all.

• Bert, responding to Raj’s dream about Gal Gadot: “I don’t really have dreams. In sleep, or in life.”

• Bert does name his power tools. The one he’s using to cut open the meteorite: It’s Terry Bradsaw.

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Break Out the Benadryl, Baby