Genius extraordinaire Stephen Hawking lent his voice to tonight’s episode of The Big Bang Theory, adding another notch on the show’s already porous belt of landing extraordinary, geeky guest stars. The theoretical physicist made a guest appearance last season and has evidently since moved on from assessing Sheldon’s math skills to testing his vocabulary knowledge … wait for it …. with Words With Friends. Yup, that’s right, even the most brilliant scientist in the world is susceptible to Zynga’s influence. While Shelly obsesses about his new “friendship” with his idol, Leonard and Penny go from making love to making war.
Every single line out of the the characters’ mouths tonight was a gem (equivalent to a doubled triple triple on WWF). The episode opened with Howard and Raj playing a dance video game to the tune of “YMCA” and closed with Hawking mocking Sheldon (complete with a “Neener, neener, neener!”). What more could you ask for?
Sheldon breaks up the Howie-Raj dance party with news that the Stephen Hawking has accepted his Words With Friends request. Of course, Sheldon being Sheldon, equates his acceptance to play the game with an acceptance to be friends. He finally shows up Wolowitz, who worked alongside the genius last season. Unlike his romantic relationship with Amy, Sheldon is eager to skip several steps in the relationship development process and jump to giving each other pet names (a.k.a. the affective stage of the social penetration theory of interpersonal communication — Amy would appreciate that reference). Coop and Wheels doesn’t fly with Hawking, but Coop and Rolling Thunder eventually sticks.
Bernadette didn’t have many lines in tonight’s episode, but anytime she stepped up to bat, she knocked it out of the ballpark: the few jokes she told were perfectly timed and delivered (this was no surprise after last week’s MVP performance). After she tells the girls an endearing anecdote about accidentally using Howard’s mother’s granny panties to dry off after a shower, she finds a history textbook that Penny was unsuccessfully trying to hide. Penny spills the beans that she’s enrolled in a class at Pasadena Community College, but hasn’t told anyone about it yet, including Leonard, for fear of complicating matters and putting more pressure on herself.
Amy finds out about her boyfriend’s blossoming friendship with Hawking, which makes her even hotter and heavier that usual. She helps her BF with a move, but the morally upright and sexually uptight Sheldon scolds her for cheating. Of course, Sheldon being Sheldon, comes up with an even “better” word: “extract” — the noun version of the same word Amy suggested. Just as Sheldon doesn’t want help from Amy while playing WWF, we soon learn that Penny doesn’t want help from Leonard with her coursework. She works up the nerve to tell him about her decision to return to school over a dinner of homemade raw spaghetti only to regret it the following morning. As soon as Leonard realizes that she’s about to turn in a history essay about slavery solely arguing that “slavery is bad,” he can’t help but intervene, despite Penny’s insistence that she doesn’t want his help. His worst fears are confirmed when he sneaks out of bed in the morning and reads her paper. Let’s just say that “she writes like she cooks.”
Back at the guys’ apartment that same night, Raj and Howard start an accent-off, with Raj delivering a perfect American accent (it starts off in the South then heads to the Valley) and Howard countering with an even better Indian accent (as he talks about elephants and curry, of course). I personally think that Raj won that round. Their silliness in interrupted again by Sheldon, who’s now taken on the identity of obsessed/scorned lover. Hawking hasn’t made a WWF move in three days! After Howard tells him about Hawking’s tendency to be a sore loser (Howard once made the horrible mistake of proving Hawking wrong regarding a film fact about Johnny Depp and The Matrix), Sheldon realizes that he’s been playing too aggressively. In his most un-Sheldonest move to date, he ultimately throws a match (he played the word “at”) to spare Hawking’s ego and win back his friendship. That’s right, he was tired of waiting by the phone, yearning for Hawking’s validation.
In the funniest scene of the night (a close second to the battle of the accents), Leonard and Sheldon use a chess clock to allot time to airing their grievances. Leonard tells Sheldon his dilemma about reading Penny’s paper behind her back and not wanting her to fail the class, while Sheldon ignores him, hogs the chess timer, and rants about his trouble in friendship paradise. Neither of them get the advice they seek. And after failing to control Hawking with Jedi mind tricks (“Play, play, play!”), Sheldon resorts to knocking on his tablet (“Stephen Hawking, Stephen Hawking, Stephen Hawking!”).
So Leonard re-writes Penny’s essay, which, as predicted, upsets her (both despite and because of his worker elf analogy) and confirms her worst fears that Leonard wants a college-educated girlfriend, not a blonde waitress. He apologizes profusely and finally understands that Penny prefers to fail on her own two feet than succeed with his support. She forgives him (read: rubs it in his face) a few days later when she gets a B- on her essay. We then find out that Bernadette and Amy, who have regressed to their high school roles of bullied geeks, wrote the essay for her. They drummed it down so no one would get suspicious.
So Sheldon makes the “intellectually dishonest” and “phony” move of losing a WWF game on purpose. The “Hollywood poser” is overjoyed when Hawking falls for his trap and continues their Words With Friendship. In the final minutes of the episode, Hawking calls Sheldon and mocks him un-apologetically. Poor Shelly goes from being a “poser” (as he calls it) to a “loser” (as Hawking calls it). “What do Sheldon Cooper and a black hole have in common? They both suck. Neener, neener, neener,” he says. Touché, professor Hawking, touché.
Here are tonight’s best lines (there’s a lot of them!):
I wish we looked as cool dancing in clubs as we do right now. –Howard
I’m afraid that’s exactly how you look dancing in clubs. –Leonard
You’re welcome, ladies. –Raj
That somewhere out there, Stephen Hawking is saying, ‘Damn it, I meant to click no.’ –Howard
All I need is a bunk bed with a slide and I’ll get everything I wanted since I was a little boy. –Sheldon
All right, crank up the AC boys; it’s going to get hot in here [takes his sweater off]. –Raj
I had to take another shower. It wasn’t enough. Nothing will ever be enough. –Bernadette
I once looked in Sheldon’s underwear drawer and he yelled at me. But now I know what it looks like and no one can ever take that from me. –Amy
Not to mention your acting career is going south like Sherman. –Amy
You guys have got to be the weirdest couple I know. –Amy
Really? You can’t think of anyone weirder? –Penny
I can, but she’s sitting right there. –Amy
That’ll let the air out of your tires, Stephen Hawking. –Sheldon
My boyfriend is friends with Stephen Hawking and my dandruff shampoo doesn’t smell like tar. Everything really is coming up Amy. –Amy
I’m spanking him so hard that his grad students won’t be able to sit down. –Sheldon
That’s right, I call him Stephen now. Because I checked with him and he doesn’t like Wheels. –Sheldon
This is my paper and my perspective is slavery is bad. Oh, my professor is black so I’m pretty sure that’s the right answer. –Penny
It’s like when I started doing chin ups, I didn’t want you to see me until I could do one. –Leonard
I think the next time I speak with an Indian call center I’m going to use an American accent. –Raj
When I use my regular voice, I feel like I’m making fun of them. –Raj
Stephen Hawking is a big baby. Forget the wheel chair; he should be in a large stroller. –Howard
And he was like ‘your invitation must have gotten lost in the matrix.’ –Howard
I can’t sit on that elephant. My ass is on fire from all the curry I ate [in an Indian accent]. –Howard
Okay. She writes like she cooks. –Leonard
Play, play, play, play. –Sheldon
What are you doing? –Leonard
Trying to use a Jedi mind trick to control Stephen Hawking. Ugh, he must be wearing a tin foil hat or something. –Sheldon
I did a bad thing. –Leonard
Does it affect me? –Sheldon
Then suffer in silence. –Sheldon
Is it possible that we’re having two different conversations? –Leonard
How do I know? I’m not listening to you. –Sheldon
It’s all Amy’s fault. She told me to play it. I’ve got to cut her loose. –Sheldon
You need to give me some advice. –Leonard
Fine! Women, huh? –Sheldon
Specific to my situation? –Leonard
Blonde women, huh? –Sheldon
Leonard come back, Leonard come back, Leonard come back! –Sheldon
Oh, of course. It only works on the weak-minded. –Sheldon
Leonard? It’s 8 a.m. It’s like the middle of the night. –Penny
Elves? Come on Leonard, it’s too early for Lord of the Rings! –Penny
Don’t ask me, a little elf did it. –Leonard
You changed every single word. –Penny
That’s not true. ‘Slavery,’ ‘1619,’ your name at the top; that’s all you. –Leonard
Give a man to fish, he eats it, teach a man to fish, he sells it … or something. It’s a lot better than what you did you stupid jerk. –Penny
Stephen Hawking is a genius and he talks like a robot. It’s everything I ever wanted in a friend. –Sheldon
I guess I have to make lemonade out of the two of you. –Sheldon
Coop and Rolling Thunder are together again. He was okay with that name. –Sheldon
That’s right, my paper. Not yours, you punk ass elf. –Penny
She sounds exactly like you! –Sheldon
I know this goes without saying, but if either of you tell him you helped me with this paper, I’ll beat you upside the head with a bag of oranges. –Penny
I feel like we’re in high school again. –Amy
I know, doing the prom queen’s homework so she’ll finally like us. –Bernadette
I know, it’s finally working. –Amy
I really enjoyed out game, Dr. Cooper, or should I say, Dr. Loser? –Stephen Hawking
What do Sheldon Cooper and a black hole have in common? They both suck. Neener, neener, neener. –Stephen Hawking