The guys decide to help Stuart reopen the comic store, while Emily and Penny battle over what a "hook up" really means.

Big Bang Theory
Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Lending a friend money can lead to tricky problems. Even more problematic: Lending money to a friend without checking with your wife/fiance/girlfriend. But the most awkward scenario? Finding out your mother—who’s shacking up with your friend—lent a substantial amount of money to said friend.

Has there ever been an off-screen character who’s created as much conflict as Mrs. Wolowitz? We’re only four episodes into the season, but her talked-about, but not seen, relationship with Stuart is already more interesting than Leonard and Penny’s.

That relationship (with her new “bubala”) continues to be a topic of conversation in tonight’s episode, because the guys are missing Stuart’s comic book shop. The new one they must frequent has “loud music and exposed brick”—much like “a rave at the third little pig’s house,” according to Sheldon. Because Stuart didn’t get much money from insurance, he might not be able to reopen the shop.

Leonard floats the idea that the guys all put up the cash Stuart needs to reopen. It’s a foolproof investment, considering Sheldon’s three-step plan—which includes spreading rumors about genital warts and buying a big bag for the dolla dolla bills that’ll subsequently be rolling in. This plan later expands to include a van from which they can pick kids up from parks, schools, toy stores, and puppet shows… maybe also with candy. Again, this is foolproof.

Leonard runs the idea past Penny, who okays it but has some financial news of her own. (Turns out credit cards, not acting gigs, have been paying for all those shoes and wine.) Bernadette, ever the naggy sitcom wife, shoots down the idea even after Howard conjures up an imaginary sappy story about his dad taking him to the comic book store as a kid. Sheldon also broaches the topic with Amy, but he says that anything she says that isn’t entirely supportive will throw their entire relationship into question. Such a collaborative partnership they have.

But the whole idea is a moot point (and kind of a waste of an episode), because Mrs. Wolowitz has fronted the reopening store already. Turns out she’s good for more than fat jokes and seven types of HBO channels.

“The Hook-Up Reverberation” also saw the return of on-screen Emily. Raj finally introduces her to the entire gang, and she’s excited to meet everyone except Penny, whom she gives a chilly “hello.” Despite that, Penny uses the new doctor in the group to practice her pharmaceutical sales repping. (She impressively remembers the language about birth control, and carries a cool briefcase to boot.) Emily continues her ice queen routine, and when Penny pushes her, she reveals that she’s bothered by Penny’s past with Raj. Yeah, remember when they kissed and ended up naked in bed together? Penny doesn’t define that as a “hook up,” but Emily definitely does. And Penny’s looks have her worried. (Emily, don’t worry. Raj slept with long-haired Penny.)

Sadly, the drama between the two women pulls focus from the Raj/Emily dynamic, which was one of the show’s few non-played out ideas. But he does play his part: Raj steps in and makes the two talk it out. They smile and make up, but they not-so-secretly hate each other. As the queen bee on this show, Penny probably can’t tolerate someone in her hive that she doesn’t like. Raj, hope you enjoyed the relationship—because it looks like the countdown clock’s already ticking.

The Laughter Surplus:

“Tell me a dinosaur-chicken-salad sandwich wouldn’t hit the Mesozoic spot.” —Sheldon

“Since when do you read social science?” —Howard

“I go to the bathroom, like everybody else.”—Sheldon

“What happens if she doesn’t like us?” —Leonard

“You’re my dear friends. You’ll get a Christmas card for a few years and then you’re dead to me.” —Raj

“Even if it turns out you don’t have dengue fever, they still let you take a lollipop.” —Sheldon

“I’m with him three years, nothing; she’s with him two minutes, he’s taking his pants off.” —Amy

“Without you, we’re playing fast and loose with the word ‘list.'” —Raj

“Do you know how Penny told Raj he should have left her off his list? Do you think when she and I had that conversation she left people off her list?” —Leonard

“I’m sure she did.” —Sheldon

“Why?” —Leonard

“Because if she hadn’t, she’d still be wading through the list.” —Sheldon

“Can you stay out of this?” —Leonard

“If only Penny had said that every once in a while.” —Sheldon

Episode Recaps

In truth, just about everyone on The Big Bang Theory is an adorable geek — even comparative regular girl Penny (Kaley Cuoco). But Sheldon (Jim…

The Big Bang Theory

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

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