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'Big Bang Theory' recap: Leonard and Sheldon (almost) break up over the Large Hadron Collider

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Now that is more like it. After a string of episodes that were simply overloaded by Sheldon Cooper’s shenanigans, last night’s Big Bang Theory managed to tip the show’s balance back into rib-tickling equilibrium, and yet still keep the spotlight affixed on its breakout star. Leonard’s announcement that he would spend his Valentine’s day traveling to Switzerland to visit CERN and the Large Hadron Collider — which I would spend this aside explicating if I didn’t fully trust that anyone reading a recap of The Big Bang Theory is already intimately familiar with CERN and the Large Hadron Collider and/or is happy to click on Wikipedia links — left Sheldon thunderstruck after he learned Leonard planned to bring Penny, and not him. This led, inevitably, to the reemergence of the famed, and improbably slender, Roommate Agreement.

First Sheldon tried to shame Leonard, comparing him unfavorably to such vile villains as Benedict Arnold, Darth Vader, and Rupert Murdoch (because Fox canceled the superior sci-fi series Firefly). Then he tried to cajole Leonard with Frodo-shaped pancakes and promises to watch the inferior sci-fi series Babylon 5. (I’m with Sheldon on that show, btw. Flame away, Babylonians.) Finally, he went directly to Penny, and successfully guilt-tripped her into talking with Leonard about letting him go in her stead, ending with what turned out to be a fatefully overzealous hug.

Leonard, though, was having none of it, and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t satisfying to see someone refuse to bend under the weight of Sheldon’s standard recalcitrance. That is, until Penny came down with a sudden and, by the ookie sound of it, rather wicked case of stomach flu the night before they were due to leave, and Leonard caved and asked Sheldon to take her place.

Now, I can’t be the only one who instantly began wondering whether Sheldon would be so devious as to intentionally sabotage Penny’s health and infect her with the flu, right? Alas, we learned, courtesy a witty CSI-like flashback, that instead, Penny unwittingly infected Sheldon with the flu during their aforementioned extended embrace. Dateless Raj was the lucky recipient of Penny and Sheldon’s viral misfortune, a terrific payoff on the episode’s ongoing Raj-is-totally-jealous-of-Howard’s-romantic-entanglement subplot. All told, it was the quintessential example of how the show can make the best use of its ensemble cast after one of the characters achieves Fonzie-level fame. I hope hope hope they can keep it up.

Great Howard Wolowitz line No. 1

Given a choice, Jews always go with Chinese Food.

Favorite exchange during Penny’s attempt to guess Leonard’s Valentine’s day plans

Penny: We’re going to Disneyland and ride the Matterhorn?

Leonard: How does that involve air travel?

Penny: We’re going to Disney World and ride the Matterhorn?

Great Howard Wolowitz line No. 2

I’d take Sheldon to Switzerland, absolutely. And I’d leave him there.

So were you happy with last night’s episode, Big Bang Theorists? Was anyone else a little bummed that they didn’t actually show Leonard at the Large Hadron Collider, or is… that… just… me? And do you think Jim Parsons actually is really great at throat singing, or simply really great at lip-syncing throat singing?

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