The Big Bang Theory: The Bandwagon Catalyst

The Big Bang Theory S05E23: “The Launch Acceleration”

Love was in the air this week as Howard and Bernadette’s wedding crawled closer and closer to fruition. Love, or, you know, desperation and experimentation. It’s all kind of the same, really. Weddings (that aren’t yours) tend to have that effect from time to time. It seems like my Facebook news feed is spammed regularly with chicks I barely remember from high school flashing their engagement bling. This, of course, is followed by mild panic and the constant fear of becoming a cat lady before I’m thirty (it was a close call for a while there.)

Inspired by the advanced stage of Bernadette and Howard’s relationship, Amy decided to do a little experimenting in the name of avoiding that fate. She attempted to speed up the development of Sheldon’s feelings toward her by programming him to associate her with things he already loved dearly: Super Mario Brothers, strawberry Quik, and spaghetti with little chunks of hot dog in it.

Sheldon initially dismissed her efforts as “malarkey and poppycock” but they seemed to have work. Sheldon didn’t quite know what to do with his newfound feelings, but was delighted to have one of those bro-mantic conversations with Leonard, commiserating about their “old ladies.”

Leonard, for his part, took the desperate course of action in response to Howard’s impending marital bliss, proposing to Penny during sex, then quickly trying to take it back when her answer wasn’t a “yes” or a “no” but more of a “WTF?”

I not-so-secretly love the fact that it was Leonard, rather than Penny, who was hit with the wedding panic. Certainly, it SHOULD have been Leonard, based on their personalities and characterization, but traditionally (and stereotypically), it’s the female in a TV relationship who ends up desperately throwing herself at a man when her bestie is about to say “I do.” It’s a stereotype that often transcends a mere storytelling trope to become a very real attitude among very real live women. The portion of my Facebook feed that isn’t all “LOOK AT MY RING” tends to swing around to the other direction, their statuses vaguely declaring, “No one cares about your ugly dress” while simultaneously worrying over not having been on a real date in over a year.

So, I love that it was Leonard who panicked. And I love that Penny’s attitude basically amounted to an eye-roll.

Meanwhile, having made peace with his grounding by NASA, Howard blasted ahead toward his wedding day. The men were fitted for tuxedos and his mother decided not to accompany the happy couple on their honeymoon. Life was good.

And then NASA called back and said that he would be going into space after all.

I imagine that typically, a grounded astronaut would be delighted to get this call, but as we all know, Howard is not a typical astronaut. Raj’s dismissive opinion of the Soyuz spacecraft certainly didn’t help. Once desperate to go up, Howard found himself desperate to stay right down here, and decided to use the wedding as an excuse to do so. He argued that he didn’t want to disappoint Bernadette, but that backfired when Bernadette was completely understanding about the whole thing and didn’t want to be the reason Howard didn’t chase his dream.

Remembering that Bernadette’s dad was a total hard-ass and rationalizing that he’d be irate at the idea of postponing the wedding due to the fact that he paid for the deposit on Howard and Bernadette’s venue, Howard clung to the idea that Mr. Rostenkowski would shoot his “dream” down real fast.

Yeah, not so much. He understood Howard’s dream of spaceflight too...and the only thing he really liked about his future son-in-law was his job.

So, it looks like Howard is going to the International Space Station after all. Despite making things weird, Leonard and Penny are taking their relationship a little further—but not TOO much further. Yet. And Sheldon just can’t fight his neurobiological feelings anymore, thanks to Amy’s tampering, so they got down to a game of doctor, “Star Trek style,” with Amy in full TOS science officer attire. Leonard was appropriately horrified when he walked in on the quirky couple.

What did you think about last night’s episode? And what do you expect will happen in next week's season finale?

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