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.