The never-ending saga of Penny and Leonard continued this week, when Sheldon hired an assistant who got along swimmingly with Leonard, and Penny’s green-eyed monster showed up to drag him into the bedroom. See, even though Penny is on the fence about whether or not she wants to be with Leonard, she’s absolutely certain that no other woman should be allowed to even consider going near him.
The saddest part is that Alex—Sheldon's beautiful, friendly new assistant—actually seems kind of awesome. She’s the bridge between Amy Farrah Fowler and Penny, like a brunette Bernadette. After being introduced to Alex, Leonard responded with “Congratulations, and may God have mercy on your soul,” but to Alex’s credit, she just seems to “get” Sheldon and the other scientists. She mentioned that her father is a scientist, an astronomer who hunts for aliens, and sure, that sounds a little wacky by Sheldon's high standards, but even in other fields of science there is methodology, discipline, and the occasional obsessive-compulsive character. We saw Alex handle Sheldon’s quirks with grace, and she clearly thinks highly of Leonard both professionally and personally.
The arrival of Alex could've been the perfect out that Penny lacked in her attempt to break things off with Leonard last week. IT COULD HAVE BEEN BEAUTIFUL, MAN. However, even though it's easy to cast Penny’s insistence on keeping Leonard to herself in a selfish or immature light, there’s another approach we can take with regard to her actions.
Sheldon explained that his need for an assistant stemmed from his mission to study all of the old journals he kept as a child in search of a possibly overlooked scientific breakthrough. He was inspired by the case of the Higgs Boson, a subatomic particle also known as the “God particle,” that was postulated by scientist Peter Higgs in the '60s and, at the time, thought to be hilariously wrong by his peers. More recently, scientists have come to learn that Higgs was actually quite right, and he's on his way to winning a Nobel Prize for his work. Good job. Gold star.
Penny’s true feelings for Leonard can be compared to the Higgs Boson in the sense that although she previously rejected them, upon further exploration of those feelings—specifically by considering the possibility that Leonard could leave her for Alex—came to embrace and accept her true affection for the nerd next door. Maybe Penny really loves Leonard after all. However, until they manage to have a serious conversation that doesn’t devolve immediately into avoidance sex, I remain unconvinced. Leonard clearly wants more out of their relationship than Penny has previously been able to give him, and they need to reach a better understanding of what they’re willing to be to one another. It’s not fair to either of them if Penny only indulges in the girlfriend territory when it suits her or when she feels like her territory is being threatened by another woman.
Speaking of territory, how about Amy Farrah Fowler spreading her scent all over Sheldon’s office? I guess that’s kind of sweet. For them.
Howard is still in space, blissfully sedated by his fellow astronauts. I hope he comes home soon, if only to give Bernadette something to do besides sit in front of a laptop every time we see her. Where are her legs? Have they gone missing?
The Stray Observation Addendum
– One-liner of the night: “Looks like something used by Tinkerbell’s gynecologist.” Amy Farrah Fowler on eyelash curlers, ladies and gentlemen.
– Did anyone else catch Sheldon’s Downton Abbey reference? I wouldn’t have initially pegged him as a fan, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.
– Which team are you on? Alex or Penny?