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Illustration for article titled iThe Big Bang Theory/i: “The Gorilla Dissolution”
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In the history of TV marriage proposals, Penny and Leonard’s is definitely one of the more pathetic attempts, but I’d expect nothing less from this odd couple pairing. Penny loses her part in Serial Apist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Kill, but she gains a fiancée in “The Gorilla Dissolution,” and as should be the case, the engagement is the highlight of this episode. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and Johnny Galecki did great work playing with Penny and Leonard’s marriage anxieties last week, and the engagement starts with them returning to their previous discussion with a new point of view.


After getting fired from her latest acting gig, Penny is having second thoughts about her career (she sure has had second thoughts a lot of times), but she comes to an epiphany when she sits down in her apartment and really thinks about her future. She needs to start thinking smarter and focusing on the things that really make her happy in life, and her acting career hasn’t satisfied her the way her relationship with Leonard has. What’s the next step in their relationship? Well, marriage. She brings this up to Leonard and he doesn’t like being treated like a “smart decision,” once again showing that underneath the glasses and degrees, Leonard is a pretty big idiot.

Leonard doesn’t want to be a bran muffin, he wants to be a Cinnabon or a Pop Tart. He thinks Penny is feeling sorry for herself and acting rashly, not understanding that this is what she really wants in this moment. Eventually he figures it out and shuts the hell up and says yes. Actually he says, “I guess I’m in.” The two actors do really great work navigating the emotional beats of the scene, and the sweetness increases exponentially once they agree that they’re engaged. While Penny sits on the couch in shock at the strange course of events, Leonard pulls out of his wallet a wedding ring that he’s had for years (likely since the first time he dated Penny), then gets down on one knee to do a traditional proposal. It’s the perfect way to have this moment unfold for this pair, beginning with something awkward but building into something emotional and exciting.

Penny and Leonard are getting married and Bernadette and Howard are definitely having a baby in the near future, because this week’s episode is all about the married couple getting a taste of parenthood when a treadmill falls down the stairs and hits Howard’s mother, forcing them to take care of her for 6-8 weeks unless they hire a nurse. This leads to some uncomfortable comedy about hiring someone from a third-world country that is used to suffering and unpleasant smells, and they eventually hire a woman with an accent because they’re tired of being woken up at all hours of the night and driving around town to find Mrs. Wolowitz’s special food. I’ve expressed my dislike of storylines revolving around Howard’s mother, and while there’s some fun exhausted parent material, this thread in tonight’s episode spotlights Big Bang’s tasteless side.

Raj and Sheldon share a subplot this week that takes them to the movie theater, where they discover that Raj’s kind of girlfriend Emily has a tattooed guy as her date. After some casual racism about soothing Raj with some chai tea because he’s Indian, then switching over to English Breakfast because of the history of British colonialism in Raj’s home country, the story actually gets to a somewhat meaningful place when Sheldon talks to Raj about the value of being comfortable alone. Raj thinks that every girl he goes on a date with is going to be the one he spends the rest of his life with, and he needs to adjust his expectations and understand that being alone doesn’t mean that he’s worthless. It’s a rare moment of softness and understanding from Sheldon, and considering how dysfunctional his relationship with Amy is, it’s surprisingly sound advice for Raj.


Emily comes over to Raj’s to apologize for their awkward encounter at the theater and explain that the man was actually her tattoo artist, who had been hounding her for a date until she finally cracked. It was just a courtesy, and she’s not dating anyone else. Like the “Raj dates two women” story, this subplot ends with Emily commenting on how sweet Raj is when he tells her that he wouldn’t mind if she was with another man, because she would be mad as hell if she saw him with another woman. Being his considerate self is working out very well for Raj, and at this rate (with three future seasons on the way), it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the next nerd to put a ring on it.

Stray observations:

  • This episode tries to make a joke about how explaining a joke isn’t funny and none of it ends up being funny.
  • Uh… apparently Raj and Howard had a threesome with a 200-pound girl in a Sailor Moon costume at Comic-Con. For some reason that makes me really uneasy.
  • “There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be the best bisexual go-go dancer slowly transforming into a killer gorilla anyone’s ever seen.”
  • “You think you’re 5-foot-6. That’s funny.”
  • “I bought you a brownie and I ate it in the car!”

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