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The Big Bang Theory: “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation”

Illustration for article titled iThe Big Bang Theory/i: “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation”
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“The Pulled Groin Extrapolation” begins with the entire cast sitting around the living room table after a typical Thai dinner, and the image is like the Earth-2 version of Friends. Raj barely appears this episode, splitting the groups evenly between boys and girls, and both plots are relationship based. Remember when this show was just a bunch of nerds trying to deal with their ditzy neighbor across the hall? The expansion of the female cast has opened a lot of storytelling opportunities, and the focus on Amy and Bernadette this episodes leads to some fascinating insights about the men of the cast.

This episode puts Howard’s Oedipus complex in overdrive when Bernadette moves in to his mother’s house for a week, and when Amy invites Leonard to be her date to a wedding, a love triangle begins to take shape that Sheldon will not allow. After Thai food, Penny goes to work, Sheldon to the train store, and Raj, Bernadette, and Howard to the movies. Amy stays on the couch and reads because Leonard is too spineless to ask her to leave. Amy’s role this episode is to teach Leonard how to have some fun, and the scene with her loitering on his couch shows how Leonard is incapable of making any sort of committed decision, even telling someone to leave his apartment. He calls Priya his kinda-sorta girlfriend, but Leonard has become a kinda-sorta character, and Amy is there to bring him out of his fun.


Amy refers to herself as “delightful” at the wedding, and that really is the perfect word to describe Mayim Bialik’s lady-Sheldon with a libido. She has the same commitment as Jim Parsons to her tactless, awkward character, making her aggressive attempts to be sociable all the more laughable. Amy desperately wants to be interesting, but she’s a girl who can spend a day sitting on the couch, staring into nothingness, thinking about a book she read, and feel completely active. That’s basically the definition of boring.

There’s some fun information this episode about Amy’s past, which is shaping up to be a pretty tragic upbringing for a young girl. Her cousin was paid to take her to prom and ended up spending the money on drugs instead; that’s got to leave some profound psychological scars. It’s suggested Amy has the same kind of mother as the rest of the group, the complete opposite of herself, in the sole note in Amy’s yearbook: “Dear Amy, self respect and a hymen are better than friends and fun. Love, Mom.” Taught to be sexually repressed for most of her life, suddenly it makes sense that Amy would take pleasure in knowing Penny and she have been defiled by the same person. It’s still creepy, but it makes more sense.


After the wedding, Amy fears that she’s made Leonard fall in love with her, vowing to send him a strongly worded e-mail expressing her regrets that she cannot pursue a relationship. He’s just not her type. Penny and Sheldon are her type, and two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Amy is such a fascinating character. Turns out she’s also kind of right, and when Leonard begins to wistfully reminisce of his evening to Sheldon, he gets a rare violent response out of his roommate. After karate chopping Leonard in the shoulder, Sheldon utters three chilling words:

“Not for you.”

Is Sheldon developing emotion or is that just his obsessive, possessive need for control? Could he have actual feelings for Amy? Is this the start of Bizarro Phoebe and Joey?


While Amy is dealing with adult things like weddings and feelings, Bernadette is an arrested development magnet this episode, and not just because of Howard’s ripped off “they’re not tricks, they’re illusions” joke. There’s a sincerity in her voice when she asks, “What are you getting at the train store, Sheldon?” She’s the only female that doesn’t judge their juvenile behavior, and even though she initially has problems living with Howard’s mother, she even adjusts to that.

Howard is at his most pathetic this episode, and the exaggeration of his relationship with his mother is a little much this week (nothing says love like poop jokes). His mother still cuts his meat for him and he expects Bernadette to do the same, and the sad part is she probably will. In the final scene, Bernadette wakes Howard up with breakfast in bed, and he calls her mom. With that, Bernadette’s transformation is complete, and she becomes possessed by the spirit of Howard’s never-seen mother, her voice shifting into a raspy shriek as she updates her future in-law on how their son feels about his pancakes. When Bernadette charges out of the room to get butter, Howard stares at his pancakes in confusion. Does he really have to cut these himself? Suddenly, the reality of married life sinks in and Howard is an adult. He has to cut his pancakes on his own now, and he's afraid.


Stray observations:

  • Amy overstays her welcome at the gynocologist.
  • You never realize how antiquated laugh tracks are until you hear that goddamn “woooooo” when a character walks out in a tuxedo. Leonard Hofstadter would never get a “woooooo.”
  • Howard plays with his lightsaber before bed. How appropriate.
  • Would Sheldon really stick a toy train in his mouth? That thing is probably covered in germs.
  • “I’ve seen your mother, keep eating.”
  • “I have no interest in model trains, stores that sell them, nor their heartbreaking clientele.”
  • “The tinier the train, the more concentrated the fun.” “It’s better than James Bond, because he’s tinier.” Jim Parson in a train conductor’s hat is sure to score him an Emmy nomination next year.

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