On the twelfth day before Christmas, the universe sent to me a Rajtastic episode of The Big Bang Theory.
After a string of storylines centered around the BBT lovebirds in which Raj was reduced to the role of cast jester, our favorite astrophysicist returned with a bang tonight. While the boys played up the geek stereotype while simultaneously playing Dungeons & Dragons, Koothrappali joined the gals, who were reaffirming some stereotypes of their own by sporting scant apparel, for a girls night out. Southern California – where women can dress down all four seasons of the year. This Christmas-themed episode was no “Bath Item Gift Hypothesis,” but it was hilarious and heartfelt, nonetheless.
It opens with Leonard, Howard, and Sheldon breaking the hard news to their womenfolk that they, as men, need to fulfill their primal, animalistic instincts … by playing Dungeons & Dragons. If rolling dice and playing make-believe with figurines isn’t savage, then I don’t know what is. None of the girls are happy with the news, especially Bernadette, who’s been working long hours all week and hasn’t spent much time with Howie. So Howard, being the loving husband that he is, insists to Bernadette that the gang will hate her if she prevents him from playing. Their following exchange is a true gem: “You see, I have to play Dungeons & Dragons … for the marriage,” Howard says via video chat. “You’re an idiot,” a matter-of-fact, deadpan Bernadette responds. “I’m your idiot. Forever,” Howard retorts in Gollum’s gutteral voice as he brings his ring finger closer to the laptop screen. Visual gag? Check! Timely Tolkien reference? Check! Everybody Loves Raymond Ray and Debra nostalgia fest? Check! The only partner happy about the DnD (that’s what the cool kids call it) match is Raj’s bro Stuart, who I though Raj had dumped after he took advantage of him on Halloween night.
Once the five guys assemble in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment, Sheldon gives his roommate a Christmas gift. Of course, Sheldon hates the holiday because of the overuse of words ‘tis and ‘twas during that time of year. Leonard hands him one stocking (another Christmas peet peeve of Sheldon’s) that contains a scroll with instructions to a Christmas-themed DnD game with Santa as the damsel in distress. Then come Raj’s series of Tobias Fünkeisms. “Oh, man, the first monster I see, I’m going to sneak up behind him, whip out my wand and shoot my magic all over his ass,” he says. Once a cannon blows his face off a minute into the game, he delivers another delight, “Doesn’t anyone have a rod of resurrection? Because if you’ve got one, I need it bad. Get in here with your rod and give it to me.”
The game is interrupted when the girls walk in, dressed to kill. Penny describes their outfits as they strut into the apartment. Bernadette shows off her ribs in a red hot cutout dress from Forever 21, Amy shows off her ankles in a floral-patterned dress from “Forever 63,” and Penny shows off everything in a number that got her out of two speeding tickets and jury duty. Raj tags along to girls night and treats them to champagne (just like he spoils his dog with foie gras). The girls are flattered by the gesture and decide to play matchmakers. And Amy wants to get him laid. When the “low-hanging fruit” he’s talking to dodges his advances, Raj begins to wallow in self-pity. After all, if he can’t attract a drunk, vulnerable girl whose favorite movie is Slumdog Millionaire, who can he find? He mentions his crushes on Penny and Bernadette and offends Amy by saying that he was never attracted to her.
Back at the apartment, Sheldon is singing a never-ending Christmas song in response to a DnD riddle. The music (which later includes a “Jingle Bells” jam session with hand bells) and a cup of eggnog seem to revive his long-dead holiday spirit. The guys begin to reminisce about Christmas and we learn that Leonard hated the holiday as a child because his parents celebrated like scholars. They even left Santa research papers to grade. Sheldon also had a traumatic holiday experience, but unlike Leonard, never learned to like Christmas as an adult. In a rare instance of self-disclosure, he reminisces about visiting Santa at the mall as a five-year-old. When asked what he wanted for Christmas, he said he told Claus he wanted his pop pop, who had recently passed away. Sheldon’s grandfather was the only person who encouraged him to pursue science. Still angry about that incident, Sheldon decides to paralyze his teammates Howard and Stuart in the game and go after Santa. He kicks him in his bowl full of jelly. Kris Kringle gets the final jovial laugh though when he haunts Shelly in his dreams that night.
Amy eventually forgives Raj at the bar and the two proceed to share war stories about their lonely lives. “In college I passed out at a frat party and woke up with more clothes on,” Amy says. “Sometimes I get so lonely, I sit on my left hand until it goes numb then I put it in my right hand and pretend I’m holding hands with another person,” Raj one ups her. Amy wins the competition though when she says, “I do that to. Sometimes the left hand tries to cop a feel … and I let it.” The feisty Amy Farrah Fowler reels Raj in with her charm, leaving him smitten by the end of the episode. “He wants me, I’m good. We can go now,” she tells the girls. With a little help from her friends, it looks like Amy’s blossomed into a true vixen.