Well it was bound to happen sooner or later, and three weeks in to its final season, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ delivered a sub-par episode after giving us the first two episodes of the season that gave us hope the show could perhaps end its run with a season more similar to its golden days. The episode just felt very plot heavy, definitely doing a lot of the heavy lifting for the stories of the final season, with the jokes somewhat forced and labored, and Sheldon and Amy, the couple nowadays with the best storylines and humor, relegated to the sidelines while we had yet another “Penny and Leonard have a bad marriage and don’t see eye to eye on something” episode.
Jumping in, as the group comments on Raj’s first date with the woman his father has arranged for him to marry, the topic of getting to know your spouse comes up. Raj agrees to send Penny and Leonard a form that he and his date filled out to help them get to know each other. As Penny and Leonard later fill out said form, they begin discussing the future, and children, and where they would like to live, agreeing on very little but making jokes about it all as usual. Penny speaks to Bernadette who assures her that eventually she will want to become a mom, and be a great mother, but Penny is not so sure. She tells Leonard that she does not think she wants kids, which makes him storm out of the apartment in anger.
Later, Sheldon is little comfort to Leonard, though he does point out that Leonard’s name would live on through the children of his siblings. Meanwhile, Amy bursts in to yell at Penny, sharing her own dreams of them being pregnant together and their kids being friends one day, especially since Amy assumes her children will be awkward and need those friends. Penny assures Amy she will still be there for her with or without having kids and Amy seems okay.
Penny knows Leonard is still upset, so she makes him his favorite dinner, In-N-Out on a plate, and they make up later that night, with Leonard realizing that he is happy to have Penny. Although, he does inform her father of her plans, and Penny gets an angry phone call from her dad demanding to know why she does not want to give him grandkids.
Meanwhile Raj and Howard are feuding as Raj intends to move forward with his arranged marriage and Howard believes Raj, being a romantic, will not truly be happy with a woman he barely knows and has no romantic story with. Despite meeting and liking his arranged bride, Raj eventually realizes Howard is right and explains as much to the woman. She, however, decides she likes Raj enough to fight for him and proposes on the spot, dropping to one knee, making for a romantic story that Raj seems ecstatic about, and he immediately accepts her proposal.
As for Howard and Bernadette, between giving advice to Leonard, Raj and Penny (because as the most stable couple with good jobs, a house, and two kids, they know best apparently), they have been dealing with Stewart’s sexual escapades. Apparently he has no qualms about bringing his new love back to their home and getting busy in his bedroom, signaling the house to what is going on by turning on his lovemaking music, a recurring joke in the episode that is slightly funny but not amazing.
In the episode close, Penny makes ones of Leonard’s life wishes come true by renting him the Adam West Batmobile for the day (thank God for the show’s WB connections), which he happily jumps into and they ride off into the distance, in what has to be one of cheesiest, and frankly unearned, happy endings of the series.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
LEONARD: (filling out relationship questionnaire) ‘How are you with pets?’ Well, I had to take care of Sheldon for 15 years and he only bit me twice.
SHELDON: You’re awful quiet.
SHELDON: No I like it.
PENNY: (calming down an irate Amy about her future children) They will find other friends!
AMY: Oh sure! Because Sheldon’s DNA plus my DNA equals a kid who knows how-t0-make-friends! GROW UP!
Disappointing to see the show falling back into old, unfunny patterns, including this obsession with showing how bad a marriage Penny and Leonard have, but I’m hoping this episode was just a quick misstep in the season and they’ll come back soon with another solid episode, and not dwell all season on Penny and Leonard UNLESS they actually pull the trigger and break them up for good, which would at least show forward momentum.