The Big Bang Theory "The Love Spell Potential" Review: Let's Talk About Sex... Dungeons & Dragons-style
When Amy broke a TSA worker's nose during a pat-down at the airport and landed herself on the No Fly list, the ladies' awesomesauce weekend in Vegas ended prematurely... and they wound out with front-row seats at the guys' D&D night. The situation could have been bad. And it definitely got awkward. But like so many things that happen on The Big Bang Theory, there was love among the awkwardness—not that there was ever any doubt.
Okay, there was a little bit of doubt.
After a somewhat lackluster-aside-from-the-wonderfulness-of-Bob-Newhart return to the worst aspects of TBBT in last week's "The Proton Resurgence," this week's quest in "The Love Spell Potential" pulled us back into the sudden love of character development the show has apparently developed during its sixth season. Raj ditched game night with Howard, Leonard, and Sheldon early on, and sure, his departure was a humorous jab at the stereotype that dudes who play Dungeons & Dragons don't get laid, but it was also symbolic of just how much effort and care Raj is putting into his relationship with Lucy. He's invested in it not just because he's desperate for a ladyfriend, but also because he genuinely likes Lucy as a person as opposed to the personification of an idea. The pair talked over drinks, and Lucy admitted that some of her greatest frustrations with regard to her anxiety are her inability to tell her hairdresser that she doesn't like bangs and her terror at the thought of sending food back to the kitchen at a restaurant (though that last one is a totally valid fear, Raj).
Lucy's endless neuroses put Raj in the odd position—for him anyway—of being the more "functional" one, but his eagerness to help Lucy overcome her nerves backfired when his insistence that she send her funky crab cakes back to the kitchen overwhelmed her and sent her right back out the nearest restroom window. Despite the general failure of the experiment, on the positive side of things, Lucy called Raj for help when a locked gate trapped her in the alley she ended up in—even though it meant admitting to him that she ran away again. It was a marked improvement over that time she ran away and just let him think she dumped him because she was too scared to face him again. They even kissed! Sort of!
Our other hopelessly hopeless couple, Amy and Sheldon, ended up having a delightful evening at Leonard and Sheldon's apartment despite the initial reluctance—from both the men and the women—to include the women in their D&D quest. Sheldon in particular took the broad changes to their usual format in stride; not only did the ladies join the fun, but Howard replaced Leonard as the dungeon master, the die-rolling responsibilities were shared, and the group's imaginary world was brought to life with sound effects and some delightful celebrity impersonations from Howard.
All in all, it seemed like a pretty pleasant evening... so leave it to Penny to muck it up: "YOUR CHARACTERS SHOULD HAVE SEEEEX!" Drunk on Penny's pitcher of boozy magic potion, everyone quickly and enthusiastically agreed because LOL Amy and Sheldon doing it is teh funniez. Somewhat surprisingly, Amy wasn't thrilled with the idea.
When Sheldon got off the wild ride of knocking on his own door, Amy explained that she didn't want their characters to have sex in the game because it would only be for the amusement of their friends, "They think our relationship is a joke."
For a while, it seemed that TBBT itself thought of Sheldon and Amy's relationship as a joke. Amy's seeming obliviousness when it came to the reality of an intimate relationship with Sheldon and her apparently unwavering faith that SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY HE WILL LOVE HER provided ample laughs for people who enjoy laughing at the misfortunes of unconventional women—which is honestly rather problematic and gross but in the name of not getting into that argument, I'll just say that despite past transgressions, I do think that the show has generally made a good effort this season to address its flaws, and it's come a long way. Sheldon and Amy's frank discussion of what their relationship is illustrated that progress beautifully.
Amy is the butt of a lot of jokes on The Big Bang Theory, and her friends poking fun at a very personal aspect of any relationship, including the one between her and Sheldon, was the final straw. She's not nearly as oblivious and blind as she's sometimes been portrayed in the past, and for the first time, her belief in Sheldon was shown to falter—and not because they've been dating for years without having sex. It wasn't about the sex at all, really, and thank heavens it wasn't about the sex, because for one brief and horrifying moment I was worried that we were going to end up with a reluctant Sheldon doing the deed solely to appease Amy—which would have been a whole new flavor of problematic and gross to lament.
However, Amy understands Sheldon. Sometimes she does want more from him—which is totally okay—but she also understands why their relationship is what it currently is. When she asked Sheldon if they would ever be intimate, Sheldon explained that before Amy, he had absolutely no interest in intimacy with anyone ever... but now he's open to the idea at least enough to not rule it out of his life entirely. Despite Sheldon's issues, Sheldon gets Amy, and Amy gets Sheldon. She understood his statement for the olive branch that it was and she understood that while their progress toward intimacy has been moving at an incredibly slow pace, progress has been made—which shows that Sheldon is trying and that he does truly care about her. For all of her unchecked arousal that sometimes manifests itself in creepy, creepy, oh-so-creepy ways, Amy understands that sex and love are not the same thing.
Since it wasn't the act of making their D&D characters have sex that bothered Amy so much as it was their friends' sentiments, the decision to have Sheldon and Amy finish the round in the privacy of Sheldon's bedroom was a nice gesture from TBBT's writers, in that it drove home the point that Amy and Sheldon's sex life is just as personal and valid as those of any of the other couples without being forced to turn the act of RPS (role-playing sex) into either a completely serious or a completely comedic activity. Because even real sex can be both. And let's face it—when/if Sheldon and Amy ever get to the point of real sex in their relationship, it's totally going to be both.
THE STRAY OBSERVATION ADDENDUM
– One-liner of the night, "I got a brand new bikini so drinks at the pool are on on these."
– Simon Helberg's impressions were pretty great. Which one was your favorite? Nicholas Cage Tree was pretty great, but I think I'm leaning toward Dragon Christopher Walken.
– "This isn't alcohol. It's a magic potion that makes me like you."
– Leonard constantly using Zachary Quinto as Spock against Sheldon and his hatred of change is brilliant.
What did you think of "The Love Spell Potential"?
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