(Editor’s Note: This week we begin a new Friday feature – Steven H Silver’s recap of The Big Bang Theory, broadcast televisions’s #1 rated show (for adults 18-49). Here at Amazing Stories, we’re thrilled about this show that thoroughly engages with geek culture, albeit in a humorous manner. Some dyed-in-the-wool geeks complain that it’s portrayal of highly intelligent engineer and scientist characters who are into everything we’re into – comics, BSG, DR. Who, Star Trek & Star Wars, pulp history and art, anime and all of the rest – is dismissive and negatory; we disagree. Visit a Comiccon or an SF convention and you’ll see and hear Sheldons, Howards, Rajs and Leonards, not to mention Amys and Barrys and Bernadettes, as well as the all important mundane Pennys who strive mightily to understand it all. Some complain that the characters spend too much time with “media” versions of our favorite subjects; we think this just makes their literary references all that more precious and important.
Regardless, we think that the show does an excellent job of opening up the world’s greatest sub-culture to a mainstream audience in a way that makes it non-threatening and comedically appealing.)
The Relationship Diremption opens with Howard, Leonard, and Raj entering the cafeteria at CalTech discussing the latest breakthrough in primordial gravitational waves, which were only announced three weeks ago. As they sit down to eat with Sheldon, they discuss the golden age of science, mentioning the recent discovery of the Higgs boson. Sheldon shows a complete lack of concern about the breakthroughs, which Leonard identifies as jealousy since Sheldon’s field of string theory has not had any breakthroughs. Sheldon blames his lack of a breakthrough on the golden age of television. Sitting at the next table, Barry Kripke mentions that news about string theory had been announced at the Large Hadron Collider. When Sheldon showed excitement, Kripke pointed out how gullible Sheldon was and left the cafeteria. Kripke’s jab hit home, however, and Sheldon began to question his entire career as Howard tossed out a gratuitous Game of Thrones reference.
Returning from the first commercial break, Penny comes out of Leonard’s bedroom to find Sheldon sitting in his spot reading and feeling lost. After she asks him about it and receives a typically condescending response that she wouldn’t understand, Sheldon explains his dissatisfaction with string theory. Cutting through the jargon, Penny compared his feelings to the aftermath of a failed relationship. Sheldon, naturally goes overboard with the idea that he has broken up with string theory, which will drive the remainder of his storyline.
Having Penny lay out his issue, Sheldon turned to the relationship bible, Cosmopolitan magazine, and decides it is time to get rid of anything that will remind him of his twenty year relationship with string theory.
Raj explains that while Emily had no problem being in a non-exclusive relationship, Lucy was less than thrilled with the idea of not being the only woman in Raj’s life, which left him with just Emily. Howard questions Emily’s staying power as a girlfriend and, more importantly, Raj’s ability not to put his foot in his mouth, as he had done with Lucy. The two agree to go on a double date, with Raj laying down ground rules so that Howard won’t sabotage his chances.
Following up with the Cosmopolitan guidance, Sheldon asks Penny to give him a haircut, despite his prior issues with using a barber who doesn’t have his complete records. As Penny teases Sheldon’s hair, Sheldon brings his condescension to bear on Leonard. Amy enters and is horrified by Sheldon’s new look, worried that his sex on a stick appearance will give her competition for Sheldon.
Returning to Howard and Raj’s double date, Howard shares his concern that Raj will blow it with Bernadette, but when Raj and Emily enter, Howard recognizes Emily from a prior encounter. When Emily recognizes Howard, he pretends they’ve never met.
Going through the textbooks in their apartment to find a new specialty, Sheldon comes across a geology book and accuses Leonard of throwing a children’s party during Sheldon’s recent trip to Texas, explaining that geology is the Kardashians of science. Every suggestion made by Leonard or Amy is met with more condescension by Sheldon, who views it as beneath him. Penny convinces him to wait and let his new field come in time rather than rushing it.
On the double date, Bernadette tries to get to know Emily and when Howard begins telling her about his experience on the space station, she realizes that they had been set up on a blind date four years earlier, which ended before it began when Howard had gastrointestinal distress and he snuck out the bathroom window. Once Emily recognized Howard, he was unable to leave the topic behind, leaving Raj and Emily to bond over his various statements which can be heard in reference to his failed date with her.
The next morning, a hungover and mortified Sheldon awakes in bed to find that he is lying next to an open geology book. He carefully extracts his arm from under the book so as not to disturb it and takes a walk of shame into the kitchen, where Leonard is waiting with a big grin on his face and treating Sheldon’s reading the book as if he had an affair. Sheldon further discovers that he had drunk dialing Stephen Hawking.
Back in the cafeteria, Howard and Sheldon further their bonding experience by sharing their embarrassing evenings. Howard points out that Hawking has a good sense of humor and Sheldon attempts to alleviate Howard’s embarrassment with a story which doesn’t quite do the trick. Gossip in universities being what it is, Barry Kripke has already heard about Sheldon’s telephony issue as well as Howard’s experience.
The tag scene returns to Stephen Hawking’s office door, where Sheldon’s continuing drunk calls to Hawking are heard through the door as he tries to convince Hawking to go into geology with him.