Here’s what I love about The Big Bang Theory: In a single episode, we are treated to chemistry puns, thoughtful soliloquies about Aquaman’s toilet regimen, sex jokes made using statistics (or maybe it’s statistics jokes about sex), and sight gags featuring a sophisticated aerospace robot being used as a masturbatory aide. It’s a laugh-out-loud smorgasbord of high-low geek humor, and I am so, so, so happy it’s back.
The season 4 premiere zipped us ahead four months from last May’s finale and Sheldon Cooper’s first rendezvous with Amy Farrah Fowler (Blossom’s Mayim Bialik). Apparently, it took all summer for the Big Bang boys to finally get around to telling Penny about Sheldon’s new, well, I’m not sure what to call her, since Sheldon refuses to acknowledge Amy as his “girlfriend.” Even though a text from her – making the aforementioned chemistry pun, “I don’t care for p-chloro-ethylene, and I don’t like glycol ether” – evoked a warm smile and gawky chuckle from Sheldon faster than I think anyone or anything else on the show. Even though the two are so alike, and apparently e-mail, text, and Twitter at each other so often that Leonard, Raj, and Howard have taken to calling them “Shamey.” (Which I do admit is a far better portmanteau than “Pennard.”) And even though most recently, Shamey have been e-mailing, texting, and Twittering about, in Sheldon’s parlance, “producing the first in a line of intellectually superior benign overlords to guide humanity to a brighter tomorrow.” Or, in plain English, breeding. Cue a most-excellent spit take from Penny.
To be clear, Sheldon would not be procreating via sexual intercourse, which he regards as “messy, unsanitary, and based on living next to [Penny] for three years, involves loud and unnecessary appeals to a deity,” but via in vitro fertilization. Still, Penny insisted that Sheldon should at least spend some time with Amy in person if she’s going to bear his child. (It’s telling testimony to Penny and Sheldon’s relationship that she did this after Sheldon had proposed renting her womb.) Naturally, Sheldon countered by insisting Penny drive him to his date. Oh, and pick up Amy too. And eat with them. (The car ride inspired my favorite interaction between Sheldon and Amy thus far: Sheldon shrugging at an exasperated Penny, and then simply saying to Amy with a knowing smirk, “Muggles.”)
At dinner, I enjoyed watching Penny suffer Sheldon’s statistical breakdown of her love (and sex) life – if you do the math, she’s evidently dated 193 men, plus or minus eight, and had 30.96 sexual partners. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a twinge disappointed with the way the scene unfolded. Other than Amy revealing that her participation in “a scientific experiment in which orgasm was achieved by electronically stimulating the pleasure centers of the brain” means she’s had 128 sexual encounters to date, we barely got to know her at all. Maybe all we need to know is that she’s a female Sheldon, but given that her presence has pushed our dear Dr. Cooper leaps and bounds closer to holding a genuine human relationship (relatively speaking), I remain pretty deeply curious as to what makes this lady tick. Amy’s due to appear in at least one more episode, so perhaps we’ll get that chance soon.
NEXT: Man walks into a hospital emergency room…