The Big Bang Theory – The Collaboration Contamination
By: Jennifer Vintzileos
After Howard’s (Simon Helberg) minor meltdown last week, we were witness to Sheldon (Jim Parsons) actually showing kindness towards Howard in his time of need. Of course, that doesn’t last long as this week we get to see how Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Howard working together on a project affects the group dynamic. I promise it shall be interesting!
The episode begins with the group at the Hofstadter residence and little Halley is asleep in Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard’s (Johnny Galecki) bedroom. At work, Amy is faced with a work issue involving her research with neuro-prosthetics. Unfortunately, in her research she has been unable to find a way to use a computer interface for using robotic limbs through use of brain waves. When Howard proposes a potential solution to her problem it prompts Amy to ask him for some help in bringing her research to fruition. Sheldon makes a snarky comment about Howard’s engineering abilities, but Amy is not deterred from her request.
The next day Leonard walks out to Penny reading a parenting book that Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) left at their apartment. Leonard believes that this may be Penny saying she’s ready to have children, but that is not the case. As they discuss Penny’s reading of a parenting book Sheldon enters the apartment looking for a ride to the university. Amy left earlier in the morning eager to keep working on her research with Howard, leaving Leonard the unlucky task of chauffeuring Sheldon to and from work as he has created a new and annoying car game for their ride.
In the lab Howard is transfixed by the equipment that Amy receives for her department, even down to the hi-tech coffee pot that Amy finagled through university funds. Later, as Howard and Amy are working on computer coding, Sheldon decides to swing by. Earlier in the car with Leonard he had expressed how he was prepared for Amy to return home from working with Howard and complain about him, as she always does with her co-workers. But when Amy expresses how much fun she was having with the project it throws Sheldon for a loop. He begins to blink in Morse Code as a way to talk about Howard without him knowing, but this backfires as Howard does understand Morse Code and asks Sheldon to tell him what he said. Instead of just talking it out Sheldon attempts using his blinking code to convey the message, even after Howard makes him repeat his message out of spite.
As Amy continues to work late Sheldon is now forced to hitch another ride with Leonard back to the apartment. After his interaction with Howard and Amy earlier, Sheldon shows frustration over the situation. Penny utilizes the skills that she had read about in the parenting book and gets Sheldon to calm down, even going back to his apartment to freshen up and join Leonard and Penny for dinner. Strangely enough the parenting tactics work and Leonard is amazed at Penny’s skills, even questioning whether or not she’s a witch.
At the Wolowitz residence Raj (Kunal Nayyar) decides to go hang out with Bernadette, who is currently working on a proposal for her job. Without Howard around to hang out Raj feels a little lost and looks to Bernadette for some help. In an effort to get Raj to stop annoying her she suggests Raj help her do chores instead, but Raj is onto her game and refuses to do so.
Amy returns home from work to Sheldon waiting for her. He even has a gift for her after her long day, the notebook with all their notes from their collaboration of work. Sheldon tries to hide his jealousy by suggesting that he and Amy continue working on their project, but Amy is tired from all the work on her current project with Howard. While not meaning to come off as sexual, the banter between Sheldon and Amy has that undertone as Amy is tired and tries to tell Sheldon that he will have to do all the work as she is tired from her current project.
With another day of work ahead for Amy and Howard, Sheldon decides to text Leonard to bring him over to Bernadette’s house. However, intrigued by the parenting book, Leonard decides to try one of the tactics in said book by making Sheldon choose to use an Uber to go see Bernadette rather than wait two hours for Leonard to drive him over. Leonard is impressed by how the parenting book works.
Over at the Wolowitz residence Bernadette continues to work on her proposal for her job as Sheldon complains about their spouses working together. Bernadette notices how Sheldon wants to make Howard jealous and uses Sheldon’s vulnerability in the situation to get some chores done around the house. Sheldon believes Bernadette when she says that this will upset Howard and he takes to task, performing chores such as replacing batteries in the detectors and doing the laundry. By the time Sheldon gets around to cleaning the oven Raj enters the kitchen and blows Bernadette’s perfect plan. This does not deter Sheldon as he is already prepared to clean the oven anyway.
As Sheldon relays the story about what happened with Bernadette, Leonard decides to blow Penny’s cover of using the parenting book. This upsets Sheldon even further as he realizes that he has been manipulated by not just Bernadette but by Penny as well. He storms out of the apartment and an argument ensues between Penny and Leonard about what they believe are vital parenting skills.
At the lab Amy and Howard continue to work on their project, receiving texts from their significant others about the chaos that has ensued while they have been working. Raj being upset that Howard isn’t around to hang out and instead has been annoying Bernadette as she works for her job. Sheldon is upset about being manipulated by Bernadette, Penny and Leonard to do what they wanted. But both Amy and Howard are undeterred and continue to work, even with Howard incorporating his magic tricks into their time together.
In the last scene of the episode Raj and Sheldon decide to hang out. As they are both annoyed by their friends and by the situation at hand, this is their chance to bond. They put on a movie and immediately Sheldon gives away the story to Raj, instantly frustrating him.
Join me next week as The Big Bang Theory moves to its new Thursday night line-up! With the Professor Proton position up for grabs, Sheldon and Wil Wheaton will fight for the role. Who will emerge victorious? We’ll find out!