The Big Bang Theory Recap: S9: E14 The Meemaw Materialization

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Beginning with Sheldon’s interpretation of law, he learns that his grandmother, Meemaw, is coming to visit. As he learned the news, he shared every aspect of his grandmother’s letter with Penny and Leonard as they walk up the stairs. Sheldon presents them with his view of his grandmother as the sweetest, kindest person in the world, except towards gophers who get into her garden. His interpretation, of course, sets up the episode for the potential of a juxtaposition between Sheldon’s point of view and the other characters’ points of view.

Following the opening credits, Leonard and Sheldon are waiting for Meemaw at the airport with Sheldon helpfully pointing out everyone coming out of the concourse who isn’t his Meemaw, even the most obvious “candidates.” Eventually as he tries to track her using her iPhone (which she doesn’t realize she has, but Sheldon uses it as a tracking device), Meemaw (portrayed by June Squibb). Leonard takes her bag and Sheldon begins bragging about how wonderful she is, although when Leonard calls her Meemaw, Sheldon clarifies that only he can use that name. Leonard can call her Constance. As Sheldon begins to insult Leonard, Meemaw/Constance berates Sheldon for his treatment of his friend and Leonard realizes why having her around permanently would be a good thing.

At the comic book store, Howard and Raj are arguing about whether Frozen is a good movie and their debate captures the attention of Claire (Alessandra Torresani), a woman browsing through comics to steal some ideas for her screenplay. She sides with Howard against Raj’s opinion of the film, supporting her arguments with facts about the way the film was made. However, she is a pretty girl willing to talk to Raj, so he’s already fantasizing about their life together.

Having shuttled Meemaw back to the apartment, it becomes very clear why Sheldon loves her so much. He is completely unable to recognize her sarcasm and takes it for love and affection, such as her comment that it is good to rest after climbing the 800 flights of stairs to their apartment. For Sheldon, the high point of the visit is Amy knocking on the door so she can meet his Meemaw. Amy notices that Meemaw is very stereotypical of grandmothers and even is allowed to sit in Sheldon’s spot, a liberty that Sheldon confirms Amy will never be able to take. Sheldon has Amy ask her for a tissue and Meemaw pulls one out of her sleeve, causing Sheldon to refer to her as “Grandma Spider-Man.” Meemaw explains that he’s been doing that his whole life, but she doesn’t know what it means, which clearly shows that she doesn’t care enough to learn the basics of Sheldon’s interests (or pop culture).

As soon Sheldon leaves the room to get Meemaw’s room ready and rifle through her luggage for gifts, Meemaw turns on Amy. She explains she’s there to check Amy out because she doesn’t trust Mary Cooper’s opinion. As Sheldon comes in excited about the toy train his grandmother brought him, Amy gives him a weird look, not really enjoying the present, and Meemaw stares back at Amy, apparently developing a dislike that Amy doesn’t worship Sheldon.

Back at the comic book store, Raj and Howard site down to read, where Claire is already flipping through a copy of Saga. Raj strikes up a conversation with her by pointing out that there aren’t many comics with winged women breastfeeding a baby on the cover, showing that he has picked up some of Stuart’s creepiness. When she reveals she’s a screenwriter, she also admits to being a bartender and almost living in her car. Raj explains that he’s a scientist and also a party planner and small dog enthusiast. Clearly not good at flirting, Raj realizes it, but doesn’t realize that when Claire asks if she can pick his brain about astronomy for her screenplay, she isn’t necessarily flirting back. Given Raj’s inability, until recently, to even speak to girls, his inability to conceive of having a completely platonic relationship actually seems somewhat realistic. It doesn’t help that Howard tells him that Emily probably wouldn’t approve.

Penny and Leonard are getting to know Constance, who turns down Penny’s offer of wine while Sheldon brings her a glass of whiskey. When Constance thanks her “Moonpie,” Amy asks why she calls Sheldon that. While Constance explains where the name comes from, she also notes that Penny and Leonard know about his nickname, but Amy doesn’t. Rather than be honest, Amy tries to bluff her way through, but Sheldon won’t let her. Constance then compliments Penny on having both a husband and a career, but when Amy points out that she has a boyfriend and a full time career, Constance is concerned that it is too much for her to handle. Meemaw explains, correctly, that Leonard doesn’t need as much tending to as Sheldon does, but also that Leonard’s job is more a hobby than real work, clearly getting her information from Sheldon. Amy starts to push back and Meemaw explains she doesn’t like Amy. When Amy informs her that the feeling is mutual, Sheldon gets concerned. When Amy decides to leave, Meemaw tells Sheldon that he is not to give Amy the engagement ring, which is the first Amy’s heard about it. Penny and Leonard decide to give them some privacy, especially when Amy realizes that Penny knew about it. Amy and Meemaw continue their argument through Sheldon, who realizes that he doesn’t want to be in the middle of the argument. Meemaw sends him out of the room despite Amy sticking up for him.

Howard and Raj, meanwhile, have brought Raj’s predicament to Bernadette for adjudication. Bernadette says that Raj getting together with Claire to help with the screenplay is fine, although Howard points out that Raj was really flirting with her. Bernadette does ask Raj where his relationship with Emily is. Raj thinks their good, but the fact that there might be another woman available makes him question if she’s right for him. This sort of “grass is greener” mentality is what caused him to lose Lucy in season 7, episode 20 “The Relationship Diremption,” although he wound up with Emily as a result. Raj asks if Bernadette and Howard ever had doubts and Howard says no while Bernadette says that they did, calling out her eye rolling whenever he did magic. Of course, in Bernadette’s first appearance in season 3, episode 5 “The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary,” their first date almost turned out to be their last date. Raj has decided to call Claire and be upfront about his relationship with Emily, although he’s also decided to dump Emily, date both of them, and suggest a threesome. When he calls Claire, she’s all business about talking to him about the screenplay. She tries to make it clear to him that she really isn’t interested in him beyond his knowledge, although Raj seems to be unable to comprehend this.

Penny and Leonard’s discussion about Penny’s grandmother is interrupted by Sheldon’s three knocks. He wants one of them to go across and get his new train. In the boys’ apartment, meanwhile, Amy and Meemaw are discussing Amy’s suitability for Sheldon. Meemaw explains that Sheldon’s grandfather. Pop Pop, was also stubborn and egotistical. Meemaw is concerned that since Amy hurt Sheldon once, she might someday do it again. Leonard and Penyn burst in and bring Sheldon in to have him face his Meemaw and defend Amy. Sheldon reveals that he actually understands that his Meemaw made Pop Pop a better man, and he claims he’s doing the same thing for Amy, making her a better woman. Meemaw agrees that Sheldon could give Amy the engagement ring, but Sheldon is slow to take the hint, complaining that she can wait since he just gave her his virginity. Strangely, Meemaw doesn’t have any reaction to this statement.

Raj meets up with Claire at the comic book store and explains how to make her screenplay work. As she tries to solve a problem, Raj begins to dream that the two of them are married with two children and Raj still hasn’t told Emily about Claire.

While June Squibb is adorable and does a wonderful job as Meemaw, the episode, overall, isn’t one of the better episodes. Allowing Raj to actually use his astrophysics degree is a nice touch and the only real nod towards the nerdiness with which the series originally reveled, but all too often seems to forget about now that it has become a successful show.

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