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The Big Bang Theory: “The Tangible Affection Proof”

Illustration for article titled The Big Bang Theory: “The Tangible Affection Proof”
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A bad Valentine’s Day has the potential to ruin a relationship. When Robyn had to reschedule her Chicago concert for Valentine’s Day in 2011, my boyfriend went to the show without me while I served tables at the Grand Lux Café. We were broken up a week later. As Penny says, there’s so much pressure on couples to make the holiday a special experience that it becomes especially miserable when things go wrong. There’s a reason Penny worries about the holiday, and when Penny’s ex-boyfriend shows up at the same restaurant she and Leonard are at and proposes to the girl he cheated on Penny with, the night takes a nosedive that the couple isn’t able to pull out of.

It’s fitting that a Valentine’s Day episode would spotlight all of this show’s relationships, and the entire cast is utilized this week, including Alex and Stuart. Alex’s last appearance was in one of this show’s funniest stories ever, and Margo Harshman has great chemistry with Jim Parsons that makes it easier to watch him be the worst boss ever. Once again, Penny and Sheldon have the same goal, although their circumstances differ greatly. Penny wants to avoid Valentine’s Day because she’s afraid of meeting the expectation, while Sheldon doesn’t want to participate because it’s something that irritates him. In both instances, Penny and Sheldon are the villain, but by the end of the story, both of their relationships have grown in their own unique ways.

Sheldon is back to being insufferable this week, treating Alex like shit and being completely unthankful when she puts a lot of work into finding the perfect gift for Amy. She buys a harp music box that plays one of Amy’s favorite songs, a Canterbury Tales map, and a signed print of a brain cell drawing by Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Sheldon scoffs at the first two and decides to keep the last for himself because he’s a horrible person. When Amy comes over, being a great girlfriend, she gives Sheldon the best gift of all: not celebrating Valentine’s Day. She decides to give up all the romantic stuff and just order a pizza and watch one of his movies, and it’s the kind of forfeit she’s gotten used to making since she’s started dating Sheldon. Despite their new plan to ignore the holiday, Sheldon gives Amy a Valentine’s Day present that is the closest to heartfelt that Sheldon gets: He makes her his emergency contact at the university. This sudden responsibility fills Amy with joy, but the tag reveals the downside of her new job as she deals with a constant stream of calls from the hypochondriac Sheldon. “Brain tumor would explain a lot,” Amy says as she leaves the lab to pick up her boyfriend, and Amy’s growing frustration is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this season.

The writers have made the parallels between Bernadette and Howard’s mother clear in the past, and as their marriage continues, she’s becoming more and more of a parent to her husband. He’s in the doghouse because he’s spending his days playing Assassin’s Creed and not doing the one load of laundry she asks him to do, and she hides his X-Box before they go to dinner with Penny and Leonard. Last week, she cut off his money flow, and now she’s taking away his video games, and as of now, the joke of Mama Bernadette still hasn’t gotten old. And the writers pull a nice fake-out as a quarreling Bernadette and Howard show up for dinner, but the conflict gets passed to Leonard and Penny.

Penny may think that Leonard is the reject in their relationship, but she’s the one that’s crippled by her insecurities. She turns into a raging bitch when she sees her ex, lamenting the loss of her happy ending when she’s out celebrating Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend. Leonard has the right to get angry, and he calls her out on her behavior, but he also sets a new rule for their relationship that helps set some of Penny’s fears at ease. She’s afraid of their relationship moving too fast, so Leonard tells her that he won’t propose to her, and that it is going to be her responsibility if they ever get to that point in their relationship. Penny appreciates the gesture, although it’s probably going to mean that Leonard is never going to marry the hot blonde that moved in across the hall.

Stuart and Raj don’t have Valentine’s plans, so they decide to throw a party in the comic shop for all the single people. Raj proposes that the theme can be the greatest love a man can have is the love he has for himself, and Stuart tells him to go for something less masturbate-y. While setting up for the party, Raj tells Stuart that if he was a girl, all their problems would be solved, and they would have the best relationship ever. Then things get creepy when he talks about slipping off Lady-Stuart’s little black dress and pile-driving her into oblivion. When the party gets going, Raj gives a rousing speech about how all these single folks are a community, and then he finds the Lady-Stuart he’s looking for in Kate Micucci. They have some awkward dialogue before they decide to leave the party together, and Raj shouts out “Later losers!” as he goes to spend Valentine’s Day with an actual girl. Kate Micucci joining the cast as Raj’s girlfriend would be pretty awesome, and hopefully, this is her first appearance of many.


Stray observations:

  • Sheldon talks about the rectum having a sense of taste so that he can avoid making Valentine’s plans with Amy, so never try to engage Sheldon in a conversation that he might not be interested in.
  • Alex turned down an opportunity to work at Fermi Lab to work with Sheldon. She really should have taken that job.
  • “Sometimes, I think I’ve made you so much cooler than you used to be, and then you go and do that.”
  • Howard: “A micro Valentine for a microbiologist.” Leonard: “From her micro husband.”
  • Leonard: “Two can play this game. Penny—” Penny: “Get up.”
  • “This is the most thoughtful gift that anyone has ever given me. And that’s including an amazing gift I gave myself earlier today.”
  • “If I had a stroke or a kidney stone, who would I want to share that with?”
  • “Usually, I spend Valentine’s Day sad and alone. This year, I’m just sad!”
  • “Yes, you can eat your ice cream too fast and still have a brain tumor.”