The Big Bang Theory The Collaboration Fluctuation

Not a terrible episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ but felt like a bridge episode for sure. The Wolowitz’s did not have much to do storywise besides be a sounding board for Leonard, and it was odd seeing Raj going shopping with Penny when the whole point of him moving in was that he was trying to be more financially responsible (though technically one could argue we only saw him purchase one shirt, so not that big a deal). The best storyline again went to Sheldon and Amy, who seem to be the only couple the writers seem capable of coming up with fresh ideas for every week, which is why when their story does not involve everyone else the other stories tend to feel a little stale.

bbt leonard confides in the wolowitzsAnyways, tonight’s episode opens with Raj and Penny doing yoga in the living room, having a discussion about the names of various poses as Leonard enters, disappointed as he thought he and Penny were going out to breakfast that morning. Instead, he gets tasked with taking Cinnamon for a walk so she can do her business, which she unfortunately does almost as soon as Leonard takes her out the door, all over his pants. Thus begins a sad episode of Leonard being the third wheel to Penny and Raj’s burgeoning friendship. as they bond over being roommates and their shared interest in work gossip, shopping, face creams,  yoga, and eventually, similar matching tops.

Understandably Leonard is made very uncomfortable by the situation, and eventually he escapes to become the third wheel to the Wolowitz couple as they make a trip with baby Halley to the supermarket, sharing his frustrations with the couple while not even realizing he is butting into their time the same way Raj has interfered with his and Penny’s time. Bernie counsels him to share his feelings with Raj and Penny, even if he is worried about sounding like he is whining, while also commenting that Leonard is lucky that Penny has someone to do all these things with that Leonard does not enjoy, even going so far as to say she wished she had to the same for Howard as she does not always enjoy the trips to the magic shop or things like the International Belt Buckle Collector’s Convention (which sounded really odd to me because Raj is closer to Howard than anyone else on the show, and it seems like Raj would already be doing those things with Howard.) Thusly encouraged, Leonard returns to the apartment to speak with Raj and Penny, finding them in matching shirts (the ones they had tried on together during the shopping montage), and after expressing how he feels, Raj and Penny discuss Leonard’s thoughts, as though he was not even in the room, which annoys him, but he admits they got it pretty spot on.

The Collaboration FluctuationAs for everyone’s favorite couple this season, Sheldon and Amy, after an awkward car exchange where Sheldon attempts to tell her about his military work by redacting parts of it using the car horn, Amy shares some of her work research with Sheldon, and for once he finds it fascinating, and later decides they should work together to try to come up with something new. However, they both realize the situation could get messy since they are in a relationship, and after Sheldon drafts up the first set of self-serving “collaboration rules” (which Amy promptly throws out a window, literally), she writes up some mutually agreed upon rules that they are both happy with, just as a “good citizen” returns Sheldon’s notebook to the apartment, albeit with a penis drawn within (Sheldon knew it would find it’s way home because, like his underwear, his name, and address were written inside).

They work for hours and fill up many whiteboards, but in the end, they find their work basically sucks, and they turn on each other and start arguing. But in that moment, they hit upon some ideas and enhancements to their work they had not thought of earlier, and every time they start fighting they think of another innovation, eventually hypothesizing that the adrenaline from their arguments might be what is getting their brains to churn out the good ideas. Amy realizes they might have to choose between working together with their friendly collaboration rules and protecting their relationship or fighting and advancing science, and she immediately chooses their relationship, while Sheldon of course, blurts out that he chooses science, which angers her greatly. By episode’s end, though, we find the couple writing out new collaboration rules which seem a mix of the two ideas, allowing them to fight and insult each other within certain parameters so they can still churn out good work, but hopefully still protect their relationship.


The Collaboration FluctuationPENNY: If you give me five minutes I can get ready.
LEONARD: Ah, it’s cute that you think that.

RAJ: You mind taking Cinnamon for a walk?
LEONARD: Well you’re living here for free, I guess I owe you.

SHELDON: Biology and physics coming together, its like the peanut-butter cup of the mind…. OH! I know what I want my treat to be!

AMY: (as they stare at their work on multiple whiteboards) Wow look at that.
SHELDON: It’s remarkable.
AMY: So we’re agreed, it’s complete garbage.
SHELDON: By the way, your name can go first.

SHELDON: Can you stop breathing so loud, I can hear your nose whistling!
AMY: I can hear your mouth talking so we’re even.

SHELDON: (as he and Amy discuss their new list of collaboration rules, right after the approval of insults which includes mama jokes) That list is strong! (whispering) Like your mother’s urge to be promiscuous with sailors….

Things are definitely not looking good for Penny and Leonard, as the Raj situation has once again revealed how messed up their marriage is, as Penny very quickly latched onto the new roommate and seemed to disregard Leonard and his feelings, proving yet again how she seems to need/ crave another person in their relationship, as though Leonard is not enough for her. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but maybe not, and I would not be surprised if something major happened to the couple soon. Then again, they say the writers of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ rarely plans things that far ahead so it could just be that they like writing Penny and Leonard’s marriage with a lot of issues, which while annoying, is at least consistent.

Here’s hoping they have a better episode planned for next week and the weeks after that, as we are nearing the end of the season when shows usually step up their game, and if this is how ‘The Big Bang Theory’ launches into their home stretch for the season, things may not be looking that great leading into the finale.


horizontal lineNick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.