Last night’s episode actually did some work on character progression on the series, pushing Raj to finally mature a little more as he wonders about the influence Howard has had in life, even while bringing the funny with the feuding Sheldon and Amy as they realize even they are going to experience some friction while trying to plan a wedding. While the episode may not have been as good as the week prior, it was still pretty entertaining, and I enjoyed seeing the characters examining their interactions, especially Penny and Leonard and Raj and Howard.
The episode opens with Penny and Amy having a ladies night at Amy’s apartment, with Bernie looking on from the computer since she is still bed-ridden. Raj interrupts to ask for some fashion advice as he is about to interview for a gig being a consultant at the Griffith Observatory, lamenting his lack of confidence even as Howard appears on the computer with Bernie and makes fun of Raj for being one of the ladies at girl’s night.
After Raj bombs the interview, he speaks to his father who claims his lack of confidence comes from his toxic relationship with Howard, who is always making fun of him. Raj speaks to Leonard and Penny on the subject, and while Penny does not think it is that big a deal, they all realize the parallels between Raj and Howard and Penny and Leonard, as she is always kind of mean to Leonard. So Raj decides to take a break from Howard, not eating lunch with him, not taking any more of his insults.
And it works out for Raj, as he gets another interview with the Observatory and gets hired. Meanwhile, Howard struggles with feeling isolated from his best friend, finding some solace while visiting Stewart at the comic book shop, who is also alone, and wondering whether he really is too mean to Raj. Penny also thinks a lot about the situation and tries to be nicer to Leonard, but in the end, her compliments just end up freaking him out as he is not used to her kindness. In the end, the gang goes to watch Raj’s first lecture at the observatory, very impressed by his speech, though Howard and him still have not made up, and Howard hides in the back, watching as his newly confident friend is congratulated by the rest of the gang and gets a date with a woman impressed with his lecture.
And while all of this going on, Amy and Sheldon are showing off how great a couple they are by claiming their wedding planning is easy, as they have come up with a mathematical and fair system for making decisions that will make both of them happy. And while they go through their poster board of ideas and begin to figure out how Amy’s dreams of a ‘Little House on The Prairie’ setting clash with Sheldon’s ‘Star Wars’ ideas, they decide to start trading some decisions to see if that will make things work better. Unfortunately, after Sheldon trades to get ahold of the first dance and informs Amy that his decision is to remove it entirely, the whole things gets downright childish as they start making decisions just to anger the other, ending with Sheldon wanting asbestos centerpieces. They finally decide they only really need to get married, and head to the Beverly Hills Courthouse for a “destination” wedding/ elopement. As they are about to go in though, Sheldon realizes that Amy is not truly happy with the decision, and tells her he wants a big wedding and that first dance as he wants to show off to the world that he found someone as wonderful as her.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
HOWARD: (on the computer with Bernie) Is that RAJ there at Girl’s night?
RAJ: Oh hey Howard.
HOWARD: Just remember, if you fall asleep first, they’re gonna freeze your bra!
RAJ: (coming out in a nice black suit) Hey guys.
HOWARD: Oh good, Raj is here to tell us today’s specials.
SHELDON: I’ve decided on our centerpieces, I just hope your family isn’t allergic to asbestos.
STEWART: (as Howard walks into the comic-book shop alone) Hey Howard, where is everybody?
HOWARD: (looking around the empty store) I could ask you the same question.
STEWART: (heartbroken as ever) Wow, this conversation got mean fast.
As stated before, the show has a fine line to walk with trying to keep things fun, but also advance the characters and have some kind of story for the season. The “status quo” as it were, is not good enough anymore, and viewers just aren’t going to keep showing up to see Raj get insulted and fail at everything in life, or see Penny and Leonard continue to fight without ever improving their relationship. And I know I am not the only one happy that the Shamy is still going to get a big sci/fi wedding, as we have waited so long to get these two together and it would have been anti-climactic to shoe-horn their nuptials into an episode like this.