For the first time in eight seasons of The Big Bang Theory, Beverly Hofstadter and Mary Cooper are in the same room. Christine Baranski delivers condescending lines with zero emotion as Leonard’s disapproving mom. Laurie Metcalf owns the fact that Sheldon’s mama is chock-full of East Texas charm and righteous judgment. It’s the mother of all episodes.
Both moms are in town to watch Leonard and Sheldon receive an award for their paper. While Sheldon instructs Mary to keep the Bible babble to a minimum in front of Beverly, Leonard asks his mother to try and respect Mary’s beliefs. After a cordial greeting, Mary gushes over the boys, noting how proud Beverly must be of her son.
Beverly: Yes. He recently argued a case before the Supreme Court.
Cue Leonard’s sad face. He will never live up to his siblings—or his roommate. Beverly is delighted when Mary regales everyone with stories of Sheldon Cooper Boy Genius. Whether he was trying to secure free electricity for the entire town or commandeer uranium from a warlord in Africa using his mama’s Visa card, Sheldon has always been a remarkable boy. Even when he was going through puberty, life was a hairy ball of butterflies and rainbows. Only a mother could love that image.
Leonard pulls Sheldon into the bedroom to complain about how Sheldon is hogging all the attention from his own mother. He compares Sheldon to an elephant seal pup who steals milk from two mother seals. Sheldon corrects Leonard. He is not a super-weaner. Two mother seals are clearly seeking to nourish the same pup. The correct term is double mother suckler.
This is why we love Chuck Lorre and the writers of The Big Bang Theory.
Back in the living room, Penny mediates a spirited discussion between beliefs and brains. Sigmund Freud in one corner battles Jesus in the other. Penny tries to introduce a compromise, eagerly announcing to the two mothers that they both have a thing for Jewish guys with beards. The bout ended with several face palms and an agreement to disagree.
When Sheldon takes Beverly out for coffee, she wonders if her decision to show love based on achievement earned might have been an inappropriate way to raise a child. Across town, Mary assures Leonard that his mother loves him in her own cold, weird, vacant way. Then she whips up a pot of spaghetti and cut up hot dogs because that makes everything better. This dish must be the food version of “Soft Kitty.”
Beverly returns to the apartment, ready to bury the hatchet. She tells Mary that she respects her right to believe whatever she thinks bobble head Jesus tells her to believe. Then she invites Leonard into her “warm” embrace, initiating a new protocol where she showers him with unconditional love. They share the most awkward hug of hugs. And somehow I get a little misty eyed.
I have to say that I was disappointed that we didn’t see Amy interact with the mothers. I was also completely uninterested in Howard, Raj, and Stuart acting like lazy teenagers. The bit about Bernadette making them clean the kitchen would have been a wash without the last 30-seconds of the show. Raj starts whistling “Hard Knock Life.” Moments later, the friends belt out Annie’s anthem with the reckless abandon of a thousand orphans. I imagine that even Miss Hannigan, the crazy mother suckler, would have been entertained.
Amy: His mom gets roses. When I want them, they are a bouquet of severed plant genitals.
Sheldon: You act like I didn’t get you that mushroom log on Valentine’s Day.
Amy: He’s right. Roses will die, but a moist rotting log will pump out mushrooms for two or three magical years.
“The floating bodies of drowned sinners.” —Mary’s answer when Sheldon asked what the lions ate on the ark.
Beverly: I’m sorry that I upset your mother.
Sheldon: She’ll forgive you. She has to or she’ll go to hell.