Sheldon Cooper, we have all been there: You find the hairstyle you like and the right barber to do it and then that barber ends up in a coma. It’s like the end of the world, right?
Sheldon spent half of Thursday's episode waiting for the earth to fall out of orbit after he missed his annual haircut because his barber fell ill. Another barber at the same shop offered to cut Sheldon’s hair for him, but as soon as he started up with a story about his son, Sheldon was out of the chair and halfway down the block, leaving Leonard to cast the sage advice, “When you tell this story later, we usually use the word ‘quirky’” to describe the socially inept Sheldon.
It’s okay, Sheldon. I understand. I don’t like it when my hair stylist tries to make small talk either. But I usually manage to suck it up and stay in my seat... though, unlike you, I don’t have a sitcom hinging on the hilariousness of my inability to function in society.
From there, it was a downward spiral for the neurotic, PhD-wielding nerd. A week after fleeing from the barber shop in terror, Sheldon found himself enlightened. Penny pointed out that despite breaking his routine, everything was fine. The oceans weren’t boiling. Fire wasn’t raining from the sky. Sheldon expected to suffer severe backlash for deviating from his norm, and the fact that it never manifested was... liberating.
But, like those repressed kids who get to college and lose their minds because they no longer have to be home by curfew, Sheldon's bit of newfound freedom led him to promptly tear a hole in the universe. You know, figuratively (the bongo drums at 3am didn't endear him to anyone). In a haze of confusion, the kind of confusion I’ve only ever seen induced by a night of intense Mario Kart coupled with Manischewitz in a geek-infested dorm room, Sheldon wandered to Amy Farrah-Fowler’s apartment and passed out on her sofa.
Shamed, he agreed to let Penny cut his hair, which she accidentally screwed up when the clippers made the over-educated man-child giggle.
"The Werewolf Transformation" was a story about expectations, specifically, the dangers of unmet expectations. Sometimes, unmet expectations can become self-fulfilling prophesies of sorts. Sheldon missing his scheduled haircut wasn’t a big deal, but he thought that it should be. His discovery that it wasn’t an earth-shattering incident should have been liberating, but ultimately, Sheldon found himself overwhelmed. Sheldon needs his routines because they color his perception of the world, and sure, that’s a bit unfortunate, but it was also unfortunate that the guy had a nervous breakdown over a haircut.
And Sheldon wasn’t the only one struggling with a flawed perception of reality. Howard took a position as a payload specialist with NASA (awesome!) only to struggle through astronaut training, growing less and less excited about his career opportunity each time he Skyped with Bernadette. Whether or not he'll stick with NASA remains to be seen, but Howie will certainly have some ‘splaining to do next week, since Bernadette traveled to Johnson Space Center to take care of him... only to learn that he'd already had his mom show up. Not cool, bro. Not cool.
The Stray Observation Addendum:
– Amy Farrah-Fowler playing Bon Jovi on the harp was amazing. I love Amy Farrah-Fowler, mostly because I love Mayim Bialik, and not because she was Blossom on Blossom but because she was the young CeeCee Bloom in Beaches. That’s right, I kick it old school.
– Howard’s messages to Bernadette, constantly imploring her to send more underwear, were so adorably pathetic. However, I could have done without the vomit comet anecdote. I threw up in my own mouth a little.
– Henceforth, whenever I find myself playing chess, I shall refer to my bishop as “the pointy-headed man.” Thank you, Leonard and Penny.