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

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.

Comments (58)
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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.
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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.
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hilarious this season is just the best i hope this never ends as long as the quality is like this.
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Not my favorite kind of episode. I don't like it when it gets too absurd and Sheldon gets too unreasonable.
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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.
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SO MANY LOLS! I loved this episode!
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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).
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"...or when someone insults trains."

I'm with Sheldon on that one. How dare they.
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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.
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does this mean howard's scooter is for sale??????
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sheldon looses almost everytime to penny, she is his kryptonite
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it's getting a bit annoying that everybody is always allowing Sheldon to win whatever they argue about. It would be nice to see Sheldon loose from the others every once in a while on which he then has to give in and settle with it.
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Loved Bernadette's fight back, though... she is awesome....
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I think they outsmarted Sheldon at end,that Howard and Raj knew,he was yet "again gonna have to win" argument or whatever they gonna have and tricked him,so that at the end,really Howard won and got his parking space,while they led Sheldon believe he won...ergo Sheldon didn't win
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I had to pause at sofa-jacking and figure out what form of "jacking" was being used there.
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I also had to pause after reading the phrase "naked sofa-jacking" to make sure I actually read that correctly and then discern what sort of turn this article was taking. Haha.
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Nolan-era batmobile and any other bat-vehcile don't deserve to be called bat. Most ugly vehicles I have seen in my life.
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Even the people who think the show went downhill by adding more girls have to admit this was an awesome episode.

And my answer to the Batmobile question is Batman Returns.
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Batman Returns! That's a high quality crime-fighting machine.
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"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? " Lol.
This episode was awesome.
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Merciless and unrelenting Bernadette is the best. I don't think I'd ever tire of seeing her like that. I'd love to be married to that woman.

Although neither were as cool or funny as Bernadette, Sheldon and Howard's little spat provided some laughs as well. The camera revealing Sheldon naked in Howard's car almost made me do a spit-take because I wanted to laugh, although disgust probably had something to do with that too.
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I'm totally into Bernadette. She's crazy, It's hot.
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Great episode. Freaking hilarious.

Sheldon would definitely own the 60s Adam West Batmobile.
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I hope Amy and Bernadette make amends even though their argument was so hilarious. I know Chuck Lorre shows aren't known for their character progression, but I wish something really big happens this season.
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best episode of season yet! I honestly believe people some people just don't watch this show "right" and think they will get all these baby-momma drama scenes between couples and some deep life changing moments,while there is some music playing in the background at the end of episode. Or some jokes are lost on them and just think...why did he do that...why does she act this way...why this,why that,etc.
It's an awsome show(6 seasons in and still AWSOME) and those who said that Amy and Bernadette suck,they carried this episode on their shoulders!
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The setup here drove me nuts, the university owns the parking space and deeds it to whomever they choose, it's a limited resource and must be used wisely - it is in no way similar to personal property like an Iron Man helmet or defiling another's couch, but it is similar to Sheldon's office space and furniture - were Sheldon to have an office or a chair he never used that was only for him, then it'd have been reasonable to take and give to another faculty member. The fact that nobody even tried to make THAT argument to Sheldon undid the whole episode for me, it became TOO childish and petty without that part. I would have rather seen Sheldon try to actually drive a car into the space than watch the tepid war we got.

Mummies return to life because of a curse, zombies originally returned to life because they were cursed by voodoo, so they really were the same thing originally.

Sheldon couldn't be in the Batman & Robin batmobile only because it had no top, but he easily could be in the over-the-top flashy Batman Forever batmobile - the one Chris O'Donnell drove into a curb and ruined by accident, and it too was neon-underlit. Still, Sheldon is a purist and I would hope would eschew anything other than the Tumbler or the '89 Keatonmobile, although he might go for the kitsch of the Adam Westmobile.
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Do you actually work in an academic setting? I do and I can tell you right now that there are professors who are alloted more than one office on campus and only use one of them. They'd fight tooth and nail to keep the unused one if there was even a hint that they might lose it. Sheldon believes that he is top dog and anything taken away from him represents loss of status.
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I could totally see him in the Adam Westmobile. I just wasn't sure if he could appreciate the 60s series for it's cheesy glory or if he saw it as an affront to the mythology.
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In the episode where they found the ring from the Lord Of The Rings, Sheldon was aghast because Penny didn't know who Adam West is, so I'm guessing he was a big fan of the 60's series.
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He likes star trek, pretty sure the cheesy glory wouldn't be an issue,
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Great point, history does have value to Sheldon, but he is very serious about even that. MaryAnn's question is definitely valid, some Batman fans find Adam West's show to be an affront and Sheldon is quite harsh with his opinions, but I think he'd recognize the goodnatured attempt to find Batman's core of that era in the show and watch it. Hell, he watches Doctor Who and nothing is cheesier at its worst.
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Thanks Smorbie. Watch any Doctor Who from before 2005 and I think you'll see cheese beyond imagination. I remember the PBS days with Tom Baker from my youngest days when I'd visit my grandma, and holy crap it could only be aired on PBS in those days.
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Oh my, JT (love your moniker btw), I disagree. Doctor Who is the very best! Love it.
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I loved everything about this episode. The fights seemed childish, but were just so funny on screen. I couldn't help but laugh at it all!! However, Amy and Bernadette fighting definitely took the cake LOL!!! I absolutely loved the line from Bernadette about Amy and Sheldon's sex life being "theoretical"?!! LMFAO!!
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The best part of that whole argument was that Amy couldn't even come up with a decent comeback. So Howard has weird mommy issues-- Bernadette is still getting laid and Amy's not!
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One of the better episodes in a while. This show has been getting stale but this episode was certainly a welcome departure from the comedy by numbers that has been a recent staple.
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I loved this episode because of the one-ups-manship between everyone. That just tickled me. I also enjoyed that it didn't revolve around the romance between the couples. I'm surprised though that Sheldon didn't freakout more about Howard naked on his spot.
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If I were Sheldon, I would have had to get ride of the sofa, and possibly have some hypnotherapy done to make me forget the incident.
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he went to the cleaners to "clean" it. ffs ARE YOU EVEN WATCHING WHOLE EPISODE? and then some people complain this show ain't what it used to be........
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I'm sorry, some of us have busy lives and have to multi task while we watch TV so we don't catch every single second and word uttered.
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I was replying to smorbie's comment
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think his screaming was freaking out
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I don't remember him screaming, I must have missed that. It certainly sounds more like the reaction I was expecting.
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Zombies and Mummies are totally the same thing. The only difference is that which Sheldon pointed out that a Mummy can't turn you into a Mummy via bite. Also Mummies are usually the product of Magic, so maybe you can lump them in with all of the creole voodoo zombies from New Orleans, but end of the day the threat level from a single zombie and a single mummy is about the same. Both are reanimated creatures of formerly living humans. The most distinct difference being that Mummies don't have brains in their heads because it is well documented that Egyptians thought that the mind lay in the heart not the brain. I was frankly a bit surprised at how quickly Sheldon agreed with Leonard, though I will put it on the line that it was born out of a dedication to his best friend. Seriously Zombies come in many different forms and classes and Mummies definitely fall into one of those classifications.

Agree that Amy and Bernadette were the stars of the show last night. Sheldon and Howard were acting like idiots in their fued and it was nice that the tactical psychological warfare came from their significant others, since it definitely had to come from somewhere in order for this show not to lose its appeal because its a show about "whicked smart guys."

I also don't understand why after so many years of dealing with Sheldon they couldn't have come to an agreement like what they came up with earlier in the episode, seriously he is a creature of habit and it would be very easy to learn what to do and say to appease him when he is angry. Also if the matter were just about the parking space, which I too noticed it clearly wasn't, It was a real dick move of the university to take away Sheldon's parking space without making him aware of it. That is straight up not how things work in the real world. Again one line of dialog would have put my mind at ease about it "I received an e-mail saying they were going to be taking away my parking spot, but I didn't pay it any mind, because its my spot. Why would they take it away from me?" Fit something along those lines in and it not only stays in character of Sheldon Cooper but explains away my problem that the University just up and reassigned his spot to Walowitz without informing Sheldon. Seriously, even though it shouldn't be, a parking spot is a big deal. A lot of businesses offer them as a benefit of working for them, so to take it away would wrong, even if its not used.
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Absolutely NOT the same thing. Mummies are created via curse and have no brain, zombies are created via disease and depend on the brain to function. granted both are "undead" but that's like saying cats and dogs are the same because they walk on all fours and have a tail. and considering Sheldon closed down the fight with the bite defense, they were talking current movie zombies, not voodoo zombies. (Which technically aren't even recognized as actual zombies in the Zombie Survival guide)
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The dictionary definition of a zombie is am animated corpse which has been resurrected through mysticism... it is based on the Creole and voodoo culture... Since most if not all mummies are reanimated via magic, which is mysticism, that would mean by the very definition of the word all mummies are zombies.

Just because in the modern world, due to George Romero, the definition of a zombie has evolved to mean more, does not mean that the original definition and meaning of the word stop existing.

I did really like that one part though where you tried to use a literary work of fiction to support your argument. I had a good laugh at that, and how could I not you basically said that your fiction disproves my fact, which by the way has existed and been a belief for centuries. Yeah your Forty-Four years of fiction really hold a candle to that.
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the entire argument is fiction so I'm glad you enjoyed a laugh at bringing more to an already fictional argument. but, we go back to the point of the argument being infected biting zombies vs. mystical voodoo zombies. that's what they based their argument on, and it's what I'm basing my reply on. you're the one having trouble keeping up with that. :)
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And you realize that by taking this to real world definitions, even going so far as to laugh at fictional references, you're now arguing that the ancient preserved corpses of Egyptians are the same as brain damaged victims of voodoo toxins and herbs right? (you of course realize that they aren't actually reanimating the dead...) the spirit of the argument on the show was cursed mummy vs movie zombies (the bite reference was a dead giveaway) So I stand pat on 2 fronts. the long dead preserved corpses of Egytians are not the same as brain damaged victims of voodoo practices, and cursed animated mummies are not the same as infected zombies with a brain vulnerability and hunger to feed/spread infection.
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I can accept mummies-as-zombies if we're talking "class" of zombie. Certainly.

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What threw me for a loop, was a short while ago someone told me they didn't blame Sheldon for getting all angry and trying to force Howard to give it back. That they'd try to get the space back too. This was even after I reminded them that it was an assigned spot.

Sorry, but w t h. It's an ASSIGNED spot, and not your's/Sheldon's. It's not like you bought/rented a specific spot from the city; the company/university assigned you one. It's their decision who gets which of their resources.

Sure, I can understand Sheldon freaking out because he's Sheldon. The guy is one lab accident away from becoming a super villain.

Meanwhile: Howard often got the short end of the stick. He's often made fun of for being the only one in his group without a PhD. Until Bernadette, he was quite unlucky with the ladies save for some skanks. Dude lived / lives with his mother, I can relate... you are the b*tt of MANY jokes in that situation.

Finally he has some recognition and getting some perks, and Sheldon doesn't want him to get it because he finds himself superior.

I'm not saying I hate the Sheldon character... just that I can relate with Howard a little bit and shake my head at my friend siding with Sheldon.
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Fun fact: when you work for a university, your parking privileges are often considered part of your compensation. For example, a mere parking tag for general staff and faculty parking at a midsize university in a small city might be a taxable benefit of $600. Sheldon losing his parking spot could actually be a cut to his compensation package quanitified at around 3000 dollars. It is not just a symbolic loss of status, Sheldon effectively got a real demotion and pay cut. Of course, this would never happen in real life without being notified.
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Yes, but where was all of the adoration that Howard seems to be receiving now when he first got back from space... Didn't we have a whole episode where he felt underapreciated for being an astornaut. What changed in five weeks for it to have actually started to matter to people?
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What changed? His wife was sick, his mother was busy with a suitor and the rest of the gang were busy in their own games. You didn't hear anything from the head of the university, the staff etc...

Five weeks later you hear people outside his circle of friends give him the praise
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they thought that he will spend his first night with Bernadette when he got back and they had their own plans. so they blew him off
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It was great finally seeing Bernadette going all dark-side. Ever since her early appearances, she's made some menacing comments with a look on her face like perhaps she wasn't kidding. Such statements usually revolved around "Before you mess with me, please remember I work in a lab with military-grade biological agents"

Here we got to see her really cut loose: the whole bit about reacting to Amy freaking out about the car, saying that it wasn't the tow-truck that scratched the car, etc.

Honestly, it just made me like her all the more.
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Bernadette has said she is a "very vengeful person" - she proved it this episode :D
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Lol yeah, it was the same in that restaurant scene in The Recombination Hypothesis. "I'm a very vengeful person. With access to weaponized small pox." :D
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I loved the tow truck line. It was one thing to have Amy's car towed, but to go that extra mile and actually vandalize it really upped Bernadette's street cred. And she was SO DELIGHTED to admit it! "The tow truck didn't scratch your car...IT WAS ME!" She just needed to borrow a super villain's evil laugh to complete the look.
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