Tonight’s ‘Big Bang Theory,’ for me, was one of the first episodes this season that really felt like the show was starting to gain the kind of momentum long-running series pick up when they are approaching a planned ending/ finale, most of it having to do with Raj’s storyline for the night. While not the best episode of the season so far, it was better than most of the duds of the year and had enough good comedy and story moments to keep me interested, so all in all not a bad outing for the veteran series.
Jumping right in with the main story, Raj brings Anu to dinner with the gang, which of course starts with him announcing to his friends that they are planning the wedding for Valentine’s Day 2019, followed by Raj negotiating actual seats for him and his fiance in the living room, forcing the rest of the gang to squeeze onto the couch. On the ride home, Anu announces that she thinks they should have slept together to figure out whether they are sexually compatible, and they plan a weekend together at her hotel, which of course sends Raj into a meltdown that he discusses all week with his friends. He speaks to Leonard who thinks his first time with Penny was amazing, then to Penny who says the first time is not always that great but it gets better with time (a fact that later shocks and saddens Leonard), and then to Howard and Bernadette who warn him to just make sure the door is locked as their first time was interrupted by Howard’s mother. By the time Raj makes it to the hotel room, he is nervous enough to call Penny in a panic, and when Anu arrives, he loses enough confidence to slip back into his old issue of being unable to speak in front of a woman, finding his voice completely gone. To compensate, he grabs a bottle of champagne and runs to the bathroom to chug it, knowing being drunk always loosened his tongue before. When he exits the bathroom, Anu demands to know what is going on, and Raj reveals to her that he used to be unable to speak to woman, literally, and she reveals that she literally hates all music, and they end up spending the night talking and getting to know each other better, which they both thoroughly enjoy. In the morning, she tells Raj as much, and while he is ok with them not actually having had sex, she goes to take a shower and invites Raj to join her…
In the B story for the night, Sheldon decides to ingratiate himself with Amy’s family, having learned that his friends have all bonded with their spouses’ families over the years. He decides to start with Amy’s dad, first planning a day of activities for Amy to keep her busy which include going to see the new ‘Grinch’ movie which they both think looks terrible, and then taking Mr. Fowler to the train store, and then the comic-book store. Sadly for Sheldon, Mr. Fowler does not seem to like Sheldon all that much, as Sheldon is doing all the talking and the man does not seem much entertained. At the comic-book store they run into Howard, who starts doing magic for Mr. Fowler (ironic as Mr. Fowler is played by famed magician Teller), and the pair bond, ending up back at the Wolowitz house where Mr. Fowler does not want to leave as he likes Howard, which annoys Sheldon to no end. So Sheldon decides to bond with Amy’s mom instead and arrives at the Fowler apartment to find her mom is not that amenable to him either, but Sheldon persists in trying. Meanwhile, back at Penny’s apartment, Amy arrives in a panic and explains that Sheldon talking to her mom is bad because she had been using Sheldon as her excuse for avoiding her mother, and now her mom might find out what is going on. Of course it all comes out when Mrs. Fowler accuses Sheldon of keeping Amy away from her, and Sheldon and Mrs. Fowler end up bonding after the truth comes out, realizing they have a lot of similarities, and Sheldon ends up having Amy’s parents over to the apartment, where Mr. Fowler attempts a new magic trick he learned from Howard, which ends up slicing open his hands, all of which Amy thinks was part of the trick.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
HOWARD: (comforting Raj) Well if it helps I was really nervous my first time with Bernie, mostly because I was nervous my mom would walk in.
LEONARD: Did she?
HOWARD: You check the dates on these? They’re all expired?
STEWART: You buy candy at a comic book store, you get what you get…
SHELDON: I can go out on a school night as long as I’m in my PJ’s by 10!
AMY: (on phone with Sheldon) Sheldon don’t listen to her she’s crazy!
I really liked the call-back to Raj’s old speech issue when he was in the hotel room with Anu, and based on that call-back, and how things went afterward, I’m pretty sure the show has decided this is indeed the woman he is going to end up with, and I’m pleased they are going to end the series with Raj having found someone. But like I said, this felt like the beginning of the end, as once a show starts doing call-backs and setting up character’s “happily ever afters” in the last season, you know they are on their way out. And even though the show has struggled to consistently produce quality episodes these last few years, it still feels a little bittersweet to see it starting to end. For now though, this was only episode 8 of the season, not even the mid-season break yet, so we can still sit back and see what else they have in store for us in this final year. See you back here soon for the next review!