Do you know what always makes The Big Bang Theory funnier than normal? Alcohol. I’ll even go a step further. The act of choosing not to partake while others are boozing it up at a wine bar may be the funniest of all. Pairing Bernadette and Sheldon together as the non-drinkers of the group was simply delightful. Add Penny’s ex-boyfriend Zack to the mix and you have an episode of fun-filled frivolity.
The gang gears up for a night of discerning woodsy notes in various bouquets of wine. Leonard consults a scratch-‘n’-sniff wine tasting book while Raj contemplates which girlfriend he will invite. Claire wins the toss, even though she’s extremely intimidated by the thought of meeting all of Raj’s friends. Raj is confused. He met Bon Jovi once, and all was right with the world. Why is this a big deal? He convinces Claire that the night will be super chill. They are just friends.
Amy and Howard are the first to arrive at the wine bar. Both are extremely uncomfortable without a buffer. Hello! Don’t they remember their Neil Diamond bond? Start singing “Sweet Caroline,” and watch the magic happen, people! Alas, Leonard, Penny, and Raj show up before Neil makes an appearance. Raj reminds everyone not to talk about Emily in front of Claire. Leonard makes a “harem” remark, and Raj warns him about karma. As if on cue, Zack approaches the table, fisting the stem of a wine glass. This should be fun.
Zack gets the 411 on what’s been happening with the little band of science dudes. When he hears that they are building a navigation system, he acutely inquires if this invention could be used for war? Howard and Leonard explain that the gyroscope wasn’t invented to be a weapon but it is better than the guidance system the military uses right now. Zack wonders out loud if the physicists are as smart as they think they are.
Before Leonard and Howard can hash out the reality of Zack’s statement, Claire shows up. She casually asks Penny and Amy if Raj ever has any other girls hanging around. Everyone jumps in and covers for Raj. Zack inserts himself into the conversation and questions why Raj hasn’t nailed this one down? Claire is great! And if he’s not going to nail her down, can Zack nail her?
Raj begs Zack to calm down. Could he please suppress his awesome, classic swimmer’s body and just play it cool for once and stop talking about the wonder that is Claire? Zack responds the only way he knows how: He agrees with Raj, in front of Claire, that she is the worst. Then Claire inadvertently tricks Raj into admitting that he’s seeing other people. Like a wine that has gone bad, Raj’s relationship with Claire has officially lost some of its bite.
NEXT: Bernadette and Sheldon’s sober night
Meanwhile, since Bernadette is pregnant and Sheldon prefers his grapes the old-fashioned way (read: juice box), Sheldon announces that he is going to give Bernadette a fetus-friendly night of fun. Bernadette has never wanted to utter the phrase “beer me” more than this instant. First on the agenda? A model train seminar followed by a cooking segment explaining all the different ways you can make toast. FYI, the answer is six.
Sheldon even creates a special Dungeons & Dragons game for Bernadette. In this world, the men are pregnant and stuck at home trying not to pee when they laugh. She can eat sushi, take dips in hot tubs, and drink all the ale she desires out of the skull of a goblin. Bernadette is in! The entire bit was a sweet moment between two characters we rarely get to see interact with one another. And it ended on the perfect note. Sheldon offers to whisk Bernadette away to this enchanted world any time she needs a break from being pregnant. But the offer expires in the third trimester. He can’t risk getting amniotic fluid on his spot, though I’m sure Frank and Alicia could help him figure out what to do if that happened.
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Sheldon: When I was 5, I ingested a Z-gauge locomotive. I spent the next three days saying, “I think I can pass it, I think I can pass it, I think I can pass it.”
Howard: We absolutely know that our invention will not be used to destroy the world.
Howard: Because no one from the future has come back to kill us.
Sheldon: Friends are like toilet paper. It’s good to have extras under the sink.