The Big Bang Theory "The Parking Spot Escalation" Review: Clash of the Titans

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Nov 30, 2012

The Big Bang Theory S06E09: “The Parking Spot Escalation”

In case you haven’t noticed it over the past six seasons, Sheldon Cooper is kind of an ass. After six seasons of being an ass, his temper tantrum over Howard being given his parking space—which Sheldon never used, btw—was expected. It would have been easy to dismiss his ego-fueled stubbornness, and the ensuing war between Team Cooper and Team Wolowitz, as typical Sheldon B.S., if not for Sheldon’s underlying rationale for putting up such a fuss. The president of Howard and Sheldon’s university awarded the parking space to Howard because as a former real live astronaut, Howard’s association with the university brought a degree of prestige... and it’s not like Sheldon was using it ANYWAY.

Sheldon’s response was immature and his clash with Howard resembled one you might see when two children squabble over the same toy even though one of the kids doesn’t really want it, but fights solely to keep it away from the other one. It RESEMBLED that, but there was more going on in Cooper’s brainmeat than simple spite. Howard and Sheldon’s battle for the parking space represented a changing of the status quo, and it’s been well-documented that Sheldon Cooper doesn’t like change.

As the sole member of our nerd quartet who doesn’t have a Ph.D., Howard has been the target of friendly and not-so-friendly jabs in the past, particularly from Sheldon. However, despite his “lower” academic caste, Howard has managed to accomplish something pretty impressive and awesome—regardless of the fact that he whined, sulked, and generally acted like a giant wuss the whole time. Space is still “the final frontier” and while astronauts don’t seem to enjoy the rockstar reputation they had in the '60s, it’s still the sort of job that captures the public’s imagination—you know, when they aren’t having mental breakdowns and driving across Texas in a diaper. Or maybe ESPECIALLY when they do that?

By going to space, Howard achieved some level of professional esteem that matches and/or rivals Sheldon’s. Sheldon didn’t like it and reacted accordingly. It wasn’t about a parking space, it was about his position on the food chain. Today, the president gives away his parking space, maybe tomorrow it’s his office, and maybe later on, Stephen Hawking will realize that he isn’t the top dog among his peers anymore, and he’ll stop playing Words With Friends and Sheldon’s life will just be OVER. Irrational panic on Sheldon’s part? Sure. But even with the stolen Iron Man helmet and the naked sofa-jacking, Sheldon and Howard’s fight paled in comparison to that of their ladyfriends.

Fresh off the bonding experience of Amy’s First Bikini Wax of Horror (ow ow ow), Bernadette and Amy almost immediately picked up the banner of their significant others and started battling on the guys' behalf. While Howard and Sheldon’s attacks grew increasingly weird and gross, Amy and Bernadette’s got bitter and personal. When Sheldon got Amy to leave her car in the coveted spot—after tagging it like total BAMFs while hiding from campus security—Bernadette had the car towed, AND she keyed it. Girl is cray. Amy countered with some straight-up assault, but missed her target and ended up breaking Penny’s nose instead. Holy hell, hit up a Coinstar, Amy.

When the dust settled and someone took Miss Collateral Damage 2012 to the ER to fix her face, Howard and Sheldon called a truce. Howard said that if the parking space meant that much to Sheldon, then fine, he could have it. Sheldon was delighted, but then surprised everyone by offering to let Howard park there until he either A: learned to drive or B: got a Batmobile. Their fight was never about the space itself, it was about Sheldon being the “better” of the two guys; Sheldon made Howard vocalize this before he would formally allow him to use the space, but hey, everybody won. Except Penny.

What did you think of the episode?

The Stray Observation Addendum

– Exchange of the night: Bernadette’s theory about the origin of Amy’s hostility, “Is it maybe because, like Sheldon’s work, your sex life is also theoretical?” And Amy’s eventual comeback: “Well at least when we do make love, Sheldon won’t be thinking about his mother. And yes, that is a cleverly veiled reference to Howard’s lifelong obsession with crawling back into her spacious womb.”

– Zombies and mummies are NOT the same thing, Raj. How dare you make that kind of proclamation.

– I never want to hear the phrase “anal autograph” again. Just typing it made me gag a little.

– Which Batmobile do you think suits Sheldon Cooper the best? Frankly, the thought of Sheldon in a Nolan-era Tumbler is terrifying. I nominate that neon-encrusted nightmare from Batman and Robin just to see him try to justify why it didn’t suck, because you know he’d NEVER admit that it was an abomination if he was stuck driving it.

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  • itsmemadie01 Dec 02, 2012

    I love the episode one of the best they've done in a while. Amy and Bernadette smackdown is so funny and Penny said 'to this day I can't look at a box of crayons without crossing my legs!' referring to her first bikini was using crayola and duct tape. Also Amy complaining that she cannot understand Sheldon because he was wearing that stupid robot mask. Lastly, Raj saying that reason why mummies are wrapped because it's a fashion choice, nice one. So many LOL not enough time to fit in the episodes.

  • Shauny89 Dec 02, 2012

    Also.. considering how intelligent and geeky Lennard and Raj are supposed to be the 'conundrum' of the zombie biting a vampire and then the vampire biting a human.... well obviously the human would become a vampire. Vampires are supernatural undead, IE immune to the zombies charms.

  • hell693 Dec 02, 2012

    hilarious this season is just the best i hope this never ends as long as the quality is like this.

  • tvjunq Dec 02, 2012

    Not my favorite kind of episode. I don't like it when it gets too absurd and Sheldon gets too unreasonable.

  • redmenace8 Dec 02, 2012

    This episode absolutely reminded me of an I Love Lucy type of scenario, which is not a bad place to start. The initial problem, then escalation, then wildly extreme responses fit the mold. Loved the episode.

  • MirandaPartri Dec 02, 2012

    SO MANY LOLS! I loved this episode!

  • SarahHagen2 Dec 01, 2012

    This has been one of the better eps this season. We all needed a break from the Penny/Leonard drama which is way past its expiration date... the best was the wicked banter between the girls, and Bernadette's vindictive badassery was great.
    In Sheldon's defense, he is the show's constant and without him there is no conflict- and while he can be an ass it's always reactive to what he believes is an injustice or when someone insults trains. He will always have this childlike mentality, so the only way Amy will be able to jump his bones is slipping valium in warm milk.
    Also would have liked to see Leonard stick up for Sheldon even if he thought he was wrong. I like the eps that focus on why their friendship works (and not just in Sheldon's favor).

  • radiumgirl Staff Dec 01, 2012

    "...or when someone insults trains."

    I'm with Sheldon on that one. How dare they.

  • Jando4ever Dec 01, 2012

    I'm really tired of Sheldon... And it is not Jim Parsons, he's great, I mean the character. I prefer when the episode it's center in any other.

  • icemike333 Dec 01, 2012

    does this mean howard's scooter is for sale??????

  • spriggan1985 Dec 01, 2012

    sheldon looses almost everytime to penny, she is his kryptonite

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