The Big Bang Theory: The Locomotive Manipulation

“We’ve only been dating for three years. If we were to share a room, people might talk.”

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The one day of the year when everyone, no matter who they are or what they believe, must be romantic. It doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, the day can throw relationships into sharp relief.

None of the three relationships portrayed in this show is particularly healthy or, for that matter, particularly adult. This episode gave us insight into all three, both good and bad.

Poor Raj. The only one of the crew not coupled up at the moment, probably because he is absolutely clueless when it comes to women. Yvette the vet was obviously interested, and I laughed out loud when he pocketed her note. Of course it had her number on it. And, of course, he will call her with that lame joke. I hope she sees through it and gives him a chance. Either that, or the writers finally couple him up with Stuart, which part of me still believes could happen.

Leonard and Penny are in an interesting place. The gifts were telling. Penny gives Leonard candy that she got for filling up her car, half of which she has already eaten. Leonard gives Penny tickets to the Lakers, something he does not want to do with her. Penny’s gift felt like one she had to give. Leonard’s, while thoughtful on one level, ensured at least one night they will be apart. An odd choice for the day of romance.

They are also making too many snide remarks about each other. Leonard tells the others that he cannot take Penny to where wine comes from, a real dig about her drinking. He clearly believes that Penny might have a drinking problem; this is not the first time he has commented on it. Penny is, understandably, miffed. But, instead of talking to each other about this serious subject, they sidestep it and try to laugh it off. Neither of them looks particularly amused.

Penny makes a snide remark about the length of time they spend in the bedroom. This joke has been a recurring one and, frankly, I’m getting tired of it. Leonard’s self-esteem barely registers on the scale and Penny knows this. The fact that she keeps commenting on his sexual prowess and, by extension, his masculinity is insight into how she views this relationship. I like the two of them together, but I’m beginning to think they don’t belong together.

Howard and Bernadette have a similar dynamic, although I believe that Bernadette truly loves Howard in a way that Penny does not love Leonard. But, Bernadette clearly has the power in the relationship. In a recent episode, we learned that she gives Howard an allowance. Here, she takes credit for his going into space and, when he points out to her that he might have had a part in that success, she negates it by treating him like a child. They are able, however, to have small moments that show us that they care. I can imagine them looking at the stars together and enjoying being together.

The Sheldon and Amy relationship has been bothering me a great deal this season. She is a warm, wonderful woman and he seems to have absolutely no idea how much she puts up with to be with him. The opening scene with the State of the Relationship Summit was a perfect example of this. Amy is trying to communicate with her boyfriend; he is only tolerating this conversation because he feels he must.

Unlike Penny’s and Leonard’s gifts to each other, Amy’s gift to Sheldon was the perfect Valentine’s gift; something they could do together and both enjoy. Until, that is, they arrive at the train and Sheldon starts hanging out with Eric. As Amy sat there, getting more and more upset, I began to hope that this would be the episode in which she finally stands up for herself and breaks up with Sheldon.

I think Amy was there, fed up and hurt. For all his failings, Sheldon does understand Amy on one level and confronts her about her manipulating the weekend. She admits it, but continues to stand up to him, telling him that she deserves romance.

And, then, the moment we have all been waiting for. Sheldon, in a fit of pique, throws romance at Amy, first guzzling the wine, then gazing into her eyes and then -- wait for it -- kissing her. That kiss was worth the wait. In spite of himself, Sheldon gets caught up in it, moving closer to Amy and putting his hands on her. I, literally, cheered.

The aftermath was simply gorgeous. Both are stunned and both are respectful of exactly what that kiss meant. Amy is going to allow Sheldon his space, but he invites her to come with him back to the engine room. What a lovely moment.

For every step forward, there is a step sideways. The final scene with Leonard and Sheldon was one of the funniest this show has ever done. Leonard wants details; Sheldon is oblivious to how everyone else will view the kiss. Amy and Sheldon may have taken a step forward, but they still have a ways to go.


Billie Doux said...

What a great review, Chris. You're absolutely right on with your comments on how negative Leonard's and Penny's gifts for each other were. I have also been hoping that Amy would dump Sheldon and was pleasantly surprised by that kiss. And it was just perfectly done. Amy might finally get what she wants, after all.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris nice review. Do you think the makers of the show will ever go anywhere with Penny's drinking or just continue to make jokes about it?

ChrisB said...

That's a great question, Anonymous. There have been quite a few hints this season that Penny's drinking is out of control and that she is using it as a crutch. As I say in the review, Leonard has commented on it more than once as well.

Alcoholism is a serious subject and I find it difficult to imagine the writers would keep coming back to the subject if they weren't planning to address it at some point. At least I hope so. I would hate to think they just keep going for laughs without looking at the underlying issue.

Anonymous said...

Hey ChrisB thanks for the reply.

I too want them to address it one way or another myself, especially since Leonard wasn't exactly subtle in that scene about it and with the awkward looks from the rest of the group after he said it. Though my guess is that it'll either be season 7 finale or sometime during season 8 at the earliest.