by Aprille Hanson
It can’t be a season of “The Big Bang Theory” without it jerking fans around. But just like a bad relationship, we keep coming back … and laughing along.
At the end of season 8, fans saw Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) riding off to Las Vegas to get married, but on the car ride there came a shocking admission – Leonard had made out with a fellow scientist on his long Antarctic mission a few seasons back. Despite Penny’s anger and sadness, they continue on to Vegas. That in itself was a bad sign.
That came out of nowhere from the writers.
But Amy (Mayim Bialik) telling Sheldon (Jim Parsons) she wanted to take a break to think about their relationship? Now that was coming for multiple seasons. I realize it’s a comedy, but Sheldon’s treatment of Amy was almost becoming borderline mentally abusive, though not intentional. It was always his way, they rarely kissed and he wasn’t really nice to her. It just made sense. Now, what didn’t was the end of the episode where Sheldon, devastated and blindsided, wonders what to do with his engagement ring for Amy. That was the most shocking moment since the two of them first kissed and honestly, probably even more so because we all knew the kiss was coming eventually – the idea of getting married really never had to cross Sheldon’s mind for the show to move forward.
In the season nine opener “The Matrimonial Momentum,” it picks up pretty much where it left off last season. Leonard and Penny are at the Vegas chapel in the most underrated and unromantic wedding they could have dreamed up, from deciding whether or not to get a buffet breakfast at the strip club next door to the chapel being out of rose pedals for Penny’s walk up the aisle. No worries, one of the workers suggests some potpourri from the bathroom as a substitute. The semi-happy couple decline, but agree to stream their wedding online so their friends back home can join in.
As a fan of the show since the beginning, I realize that the lead roles of Penny and Leonard have shifted really to Sheldon and partially Amy by association. But honestly, I wanted a better wedding for the two characters. It might still happen down the road, since Penny was mad enough in their honeymoon suite when she found out that Leonard still works with the woman he kissed, that they two went home … to their separate apartments.
Since the wedding was such a bust, the real story was, and realistically is, Amy’s break-up with Sheldon. Well, “break” but spoilers … it leads to a break-up. When Amy asks for “space” Sheldon is at her door 11 hours later. He has a defense of course – Amy once said watching the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy felt like an “eternity” so that’s about the space he thought she’d need.
Turns out she needs more and the only ones who seem to know about the intended proposal was Sheldon and his mother, another great but brief cameo by Laurie Metcalf. My hope is that she makes an appearance in one of the upcoming episodes and spills the beans to Amy that Sheldon was going to propose to her with his grandmother’s ring.
Amy heads over to Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette’s (Melissa Rauch) where Stuart (Kevin Sussman) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) are waiting to watch the wedding online, Sheldon not invited of course, to cut down on awkwardness. But Sheldon of course goes full stalker, standing outside the window. His persistence forces Amy into a corner where she lets him have it – he’s immature, rude and she’s done. For good. No thinking about it anymore. While sad, it’s a good-for-her moment, one that’s been a long-time coming.
There’s of course typical ‘Big Bang’ humor thrown in to make the very sad storylines not seem as tragic –Penny’s wedding vows being the best.
For his, Leonard explained how the atoms through space and time came together and how they were made for each other. Penny put completely on the spot, explains how he’s not only the love of her life, but her best friend and “you’ve got a friend in me,” she says, and continues to recite the famed “Toy Story” theme.
While the preacher points that out with a “that’s lame” look on his face, Penny explains, “Leonard loves that movie” and he’s almost in tears and agrees. It’s just hilarious.
But no matter how many one-liners or funny/cute moments they threw in, it’s a heartache of a starter for this season. Sure, both couples likely will find their way back to one another – hopefully this time Sheldon respecting Amy more and Leonard and Penny finally just getting it together already.
Until then, we get to sit back and watch the relationships implode … ‘Big Bang’ style.