The Big Bang Theory, Kaley Cuoco, ...
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

For four seasons on The Big Bang Theory, Howard Wolowitz has rarely been much more than a charmingly skeezy horndog mama’s boy with a fetish for skin-tight day-glo trousers (and a cluelessly homoerotic relationship with his best friend Raj). Even during his courtship of and eventual engagement to the sweet Bernadette Rostenkowski (gesundheit), Howard’s changed his ways by mere microns. So it was startling and refreshing in equal measure to witness the man grow emotionally in this week’s episode by a full centimeter, possibly even two. And all it took was the promise of a trip to space!

Yup, that’s right, thanks to his engineering team winning the right to design the deep-field space telescope on the international space station, our dear helmet-haired Howard had been chosen to accompany the device into space, for three whole weeks. Bernadette, however, had some reservations. First, she was simply hurt that Howard hadn’t included her in the decision, a concern that the old Howard would have dismissed or laughed off, but the new Howard sweetly took to heart. So he started over. He told her about the opportunity, and asked what she thought. And she shot him down. And then relented. And then told his mom on him. So Howard kicked her out.

Granted, that wasn’t the most mature reaction to Bernadette’s betrayal, but, still, as Raj pointed out, Howard actually kicked a woman out of his bed, and for a justifiable reason! Eventually, the couple made up — Bernadette even called Howard her soul mate (I’m with Penny: Really?) — but Howard’s mom still has to be convinced to let her son launch into space. Which of course she will, because, c’mon, who doesn’t want to see that episode?

Meanwhile, after Leonard accepted Wil Wheaton’s invitation to a shindig at his home, Sheldon spent the episode in a Sheldon-esque tizzy over his roommate’s collusion with one of his 61 mortal enemies. But then Sheldon learned that his mortal enemy’s party featured one Brent Spiner (a.k.a. Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Lt. Cmdr. Data, and if this parenthetical was really necessary for you, then might I suggest you meant to click on the Grey’s Anatomy recap instead), and the lure proved too great. But here’s my question: Do you think Wheaton planned for Spiner to ruin his magnanimous gift to Sheldon of a signed Wesley Crusher action figure? Or did Spiner act alone, and should now be referred to as Evil Brent Spiner?

The Big Bang Theory, Kaley Cuoco, ...
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS


You’d think it would be the Wesley Crusher action figure, or the 5 1/4″ floppy disk drive Sheldon uses to keep track of his mortal enemies list. Instead, I’ve got to give it to Sheldon and Leonard’s geek-out over starting a fantasy sword collection with a regal blade from Game of Thrones. Although, hmm. You’d also think that at least one of them would have cared enough to note the sword is Jon Snow’s “Longclaw” — or that Bilbo Baggins’ “hobbit’s dagger” is named “Sting.” So maybe it is that floppy disk drive after all. At least Leonard’s hard-nosed negotiation for the $210 price of “Longclaw” did appear to win them a small discount.


Since not knowing whether Leonard was attending Wil Wheaton’s party placed their relationship in “two mutually contradictory states,” Sheldon decided to refer to the phenomenon as “Schrödinger’s friendship.” Exec. producer Bill Prady has insisted multiple times that if anything, the studio audience’s laughter on Big Bang has to be toned down for television. So I can only conclude that the explosive outbreak of laughter caused by this joke meant that that week’s audience was stacked with quantum physicists.

Long time Big Bang fans, meanwhile, were likely just as impressed as Sheldon was that Penny still remembered when he used Schrödinger’s cat as a metaphor for her relationship with Leonard back in the first season. Basically, what everyone is saying is that Leonard’s familiar is obviously some kind of abstrusely doomed feline.


Leonard: There’s Bilbo Baggins’ sword over there.

Sheldon: Two grown men with a hobbit’s dagger? Wouldn’t we look silly.

Stuart: That [Iron Man] helmet is signed by Robert Downey Jr.

Leonard: So?

Stuart: Okay, if you’re going to question the importance of an actor’s signature on a plastic helmet from a movie based on a comic book, then all of our lives have no meaning.

Amy: Sheldon, I know you’re a bit of a left-handed monkey wrench, but you really have a mortal enemy?

Sheldon: [To Amy] Would you like to see the list [of my mortal enemies]?

Penny: Oh, say no, say no, say no, say no.

Sheldon: [To Penny] You just got off the list. Would you like back on it?

Bernadette: [Howard] can’t go to space! He’s like a baby bird! Do you know he once got an asthma attack from reading an old library book?

Leonard: Can we get autographed [Data] dolls?

Brent Spiner: Sure! [Pause] 20 bucks.

Leonard: 10

Brent Spiner: 18

Leonard: 12

Brent Spiner: 16

Leonard: Two for 30. And you come to my birthday party.

Brent Spiner: [Pause] Done.

Follow Adam on Twitter @adambvary

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.

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