By Natalie Abrams
September 18, 2015 at 08:43 AM EDT
Sonja Flemming/CBS
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Pro tip: When kissing your longtime girlfriend, it’s best not to bring up The Flash. Sheldon (Jim Parsons) learned that the hard way in The Big Bang Theory finale, prompting Amy (Mayim Bialik) to take a step back from their relationship after he had secretly procured a ring.

“This is not a breakup,” Bialik assures the Shamy fans. “My mom kept asking me why all of her neighbors are asking if I’m kicked off the show. [Amy] needs space and the first episode explores how Sheldon deals with that notion.”

In short: Not well. “He’s hurt and confused,” executive producer Steve Molaro tells EW. “This is not a science problem that he can solve by thinking about it. He wants to resolve this and doesn’t really know how to.”

Naturally, an unsolvable problem won’t sit well with Sheldon, who’s “not happy when things don’t go his way,” Bialik points out. “This is really out of his control and that’s definitely not comfortable for him.”

Still, Molaro understands Amy’s frustrations with the glacial pace at which the relationship is moving. “They’re very quirky birds and in some ways they’re made for each other, but also it can be frustrating,” Molaro says. “It’s not just that it’s slow, it’s slow and he requires a lot of patience. You have to put up with a lot and there’s craziness.”

For her part, Bialik believes the couple is far from being ready to get hitched. “Oh heavens, no,” she says. “There’s still a lot to explore for them about what any kind of further commitment would mean, either with intimacy or romance.”

Unfortunately, their relationship issues won’t be an easy fix. “The first episode will remind people nothing is going to get resolved quickly,” Bialik says, noting that Amy’s want for space will affect the group dynamic. “When there’s a rift in a couple in a group of friends like this, it really radiates out and people have to take sides and people have to lend support. That’s where a lot of the comedy is going to come in this first episode.”


But their separation may also afford the show more time to focus on what many fans believe is the core relationship of the show. “I would like to get back to some of the science collaboration between Sheldon and Leonard and that paper and the blowback and success they were having from that,” Molaro says. “I like that relationship and I like that Sheldon and Leonard are essentially married or handcuffed to each other on that paper, and there will be more things about that paper and stemming from the success of that paper later on in the season.”

The Big Bang Theory returns Monday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Want more? EW’s Fall TV Preview mega-issue has the scoop on 115 shows! Pick up your copy on newsstands now, or buy it here.

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Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj, and Wolowitz, Amy, Bernadette—the gang keeps growing. Bazinga!
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