Amy feels shunned by Penny and Bernadette, and, naturally, turns to Sheldon for solace

By Adam B. Vary
Updated August 03, 2020 at 06:53 PM EDT
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The last time an episode of The Big Bang Theory centered on Amy Farrah Fowler, the neurobiologist utterly dominated the show practically from start to finish. I pretty much lapped up every minute of it, but the ep proved to be a bit more divisive with my fellow Big Bang theorists, and I can appreciate that — Big Bang is always at its best when it’s embracing its full ensemble. Well, this week’s episode was also Amy-centric, revolving around the friend-starved scientist’s emotional devastation after Penny and Bernadette went wedding and bridesmaid dress shopping without her. But it also managed to give every single member of the Big Bang family a moment to shine, with some top-notch Sheldon Cooper physical comedy to boot. The episode was a quintessential example of Big Bang at its best — if you didn’t like it, then you pretty much just don’t like this show. (Boom. I said it. What?)

We opened in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment, as the gals discussed those aforementioned bridesmaid dresses and the guys all began wondering when their evenings became dominated by so much lady talk. But the next day Howard let slip that Penny and Bernadette were shopping without Amy, and the poor woman’s world crumbled around her. She turned to wailing R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” while strumming on her harp, and Sheldon, concerned she was not returning any of his various digital attempts to contact her, came sweeping in to her rescue. And by “sweeping in,” I mean “tentatively entering her apartment and asking about whether he should be getting her a beverage because she’s in distress, or she should get him one because he’s her guest.” Finally, Amy made clear what Sheldon could do for her: “At this moment, I find myself craving human intimacy and physical contact.”

And thus followed this fabulous exchange, one I suspect will feature prominently in a megafan’s Sheldon Cooper highlights supercut on YouTube in the not-too-distant future:

Amy: Proposal: one wild night of torrid lovemaking that soothes my soul and inflames my loins.

Sheldon: Counterproposal: I will gently stroke your head, and repeat “Aw, who’s a good Amy?”

Amy: How about this? French kissing — seven minutes in heaven culminating in second base.

Sheldon: Neck massage. Then you get me that beverage.

Amy: We cuddle, final offer.

Sheldon: [Pause] Very well.

Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons played this scene — and their subsequent awkward attempt at snuggling — to perfection. And then separately, both actors took their characters to some surprising emotional places. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Sheldon so angry as when he barged into the cafeteria and practically bellowed at Howard and Leonard, “The two of you need to get your women in line!” The righteous fire in his eyes made me bust out laughing, whereas I found the the stoic hurt in Amy’s eyes, after Penny and Bernadette came to her lab to apologize, to be surprisingly affecting. “It’s like elementary school, junior high, high school, undergrad, grad school, and that semester abroad in Norway all over again,” said Amy. Anyone who’s ever, say, had their supposed friends deny them a seat in the school cafeteria can instantly relate. C’mon, Amy haters. I know you’re not made of stone. That had to make at least some of you warm to her, right?

Amy further drowned her sorrows outside a local liquor store — and, by the way, drunk Amy is definitely going to have to make a repeat visit this season, especially if she keeps calling Leonard “lllil Lllenord.” But this time when she made a blunt pass at Sheldon — “What would it take for you to go into that liquor store, buy a bottle of hooch, take me across the street to that hotel, and have your way with me?!” — Leonard was there to witness it, and press the issue. The look of wholesale befuddlement on Sheldon’s face at this moment was priceless.

NEXT: Bernadette tries to make things better with Amy

Finally, Bernadette made a whopper of a peace offering to patch things up: She asked Amy to be her maid of honor, and the giddy, overwhelmed delight on Amy’s face in response was even a wee bit moving. Of course, she also immediately suggested a bachelorette party involving peyote, a Native American sweat lodge, and painting fertility symbols on Bernadette’s naked body. While I don’t think an episode involving any of that is going to make it past CBS’ Standards and Practices, I am definitely intrigued by the notion of what a real bachelorette party orchestrated by Amy would look like, aren’t you?

BEST GEEKERY

That’s easily the Lego Death Star, which, according to Chuck Lorre’s vanity card and Bill Prady’s Twitter feed, was constructed by seven Big Bang staffers over about a month, originally for the Oct. 20 episode, when Sheldon’s mom paid a visit. “When we cut it,” tweeted Prady, “the staffers who built it nearly cried.”

BEST SCIENCE

On paper, you’d think I’d go for one of Amy’s neurobiology efforts, since it played such a prominent role in the episode. Alas, if I have one unabashed complaint about this week’s show, it’s that Amy’s work is really, really gross. A cooler full of mad cow? A giant clear bucket full of brains? A slightly moist chunk of excised brain tumor? Move over, Penny, and let me share that trash can with you.

So instead, I’m going to go with Sheldon’s very first attempt to turn his group’s conversation into “a conversensation,” namely the faster-than-light particles reportedly discovered by scientists at CERN. Not because I’m particularly swayed by Sheldon’s question “Paradigm-shifting discovery, or another Swiss export as full of holes as their cheese?” But because that was the first piece of deep-dish Big Bang science I knew about before it was mentioned on the show.

BEST LINES AND EXCHANGES:

[Amy shows Bernadette and Penny her dead relatives’ bridesmaid dresses]

Bernadette: I don’t know — dead people’s dresses?

Penny: Yeah, and cap sleeves…?

Amy: [To Sheldon] Sometimes you forget, I’m a lady. And with that comes an estrogen-fueled need to page through thick glossy magazines that make me hate my body.

Sheldon: Sorry, I’m a little distracted. I can’t seem to get in touch with Amy. I tried email, video chat, tweeting her, posting on her Facebook wall, texting her, nothing.

Leonard: Did you try calling her on the telephone?

Sheldon: The telephone!

[Sheldon and Amy cuddle on her couch.]

Amy: I’m just saying, second base is right there.

Sheldon: [To Howard and Leonard] You make [Bernadette and Penny] apologize to Amy and set things right. I am a man of science. Not someone’s snuggle bunny!

Leonard: Why do I have to talk to Penny? She’s not my girlfriend.

Sheldon: You invited her to lunch four years ago. Everything about her is on you. You make it so!

Sheldon: Well, Leonard, be glad you can’t keep a woman. They are a handful.

Amy: [After Bernadette asks Amy to be her maid of honor] Wait, is this some kind of practical joke, like in Norway, when my “friends” trapped me in a sauna with a horny otter?

What did you make of “The Isolation Permutation,” fellow Big Bang theorists? Were you tickled by the notion that everyone (but Sheldon) likely now knows of Leonard’s bedroom predilections? And speaking of Leonard, I guess his offhand remark that he’s “single” means we’ve been spared any hemming and hawing over what to do about Priya’s infidelity — anyone disappointed? No? Didn’t think so. Oh, and do you like the idea of Raj adopting a quirky affectation (like a pipe or monocle or handlebar mustache)? Or would that just make him the Indian Monopoly man? Or would that actually be kinda awesome?

Adam on Twitter @adambvary

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Previously: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ season 5 coverage on PopWatch

Episode Recaps

The Big Bang Theory

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

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