The Big Bang Theory "The Tangible Affection Proof" Review: Better Than a Box of Bonbons

The Big Bang Theory S06E16: “The Tangible Affection Proof”

Ugh, Valentine’s Day, right? It sucks when you’re single because it’s just a big pink-and-glittery slap in the face to remind you of your lack of desirability. It sucks when you’re in a relationship because of the intense pressure to wow your other half so thoroughly that he or she forgets how apathetic you are as a partner the rest of the year. And that's before you account for complicated relationships like Leonard and Penny's, where one half is getting his romantic ninja action on and the other is binge-drinking red wine like she's at a VD mixer at Delta House.

Still, change is in the air over at The Big Bang Theory, and has been since the show returned from its winter hiatus. There’s always the chance that the show's current storylines are all just some experiment gone horribly wrong, but at the moment, their effects on the core characters are plentiful and generally awesome. So awesome.

But first, a bit more of the same. Enough of the same that I was ready to write off the first half of “The Tangible Affection Proof” as typical Big Bang Theory tropes jazzed up with some candy and hearts for the special occasion. Amy was stoked about the holiday while Sheldon enlisted Alex (HI ALEX!) to do his boyfriend work and buy Amy a gift. One of Penny’s exes almost ruined everything. And Raj and Stu threw a singles party at the comic book store for “people who don’t have dates,” codespeak for “nerds.” Cuz you know, nerds NEVER have dates on Valentine’s Day.

Raj talked himself into an awkward hole when he pointed out that he and Stu would have “solved all their problems” if only Stu was female because they do awesome stuff like read comics and go the movies and play video games and we all know that women NEVER do those things. Ever. Under any circumstances. The payoff to Raj’s storyline was pretty great, though. He’s TOTALLY “that guy.” You know, the one who rallies the troops to reject the holiday, preaching solidarity and positive self-worth beyond a romantic relationship, only to bail as soon as a girl agrees to get coffee with him. Typical Raj.

Typical Penny and Leonard, too, with Leonard like an eager puppy in his enthusiasm to take Penny out and Penny kind of bored and irritated by the whole thing. It must be so hard to be so desirable, Penny. Really. A nice dude is eager to buy you dinner on Valentine’s Day. Your life is so hard. Though the idea that overeager Leonard could whip out another ill-timed marriage proposal was probably plenty to deflate that heart-shaped balloon floating over Penny’s head.

But then The Big Bang Theory made fun of Leonard’s penchant for proposing and it was glorious. And THEN, for a show that occasionally gets some flack for how it treats its women like plot points, TBBT handed the keys to the Leonard and Penny's relationship over to Penny. After an honest discussion about Penny’s commitment issues, Leonard promised to never propose to her again and for a second there, I thought we had another break-up on our hands. Instead, he insisted that the next proposal must come from her. CRISIS AVERTED.

Sure, if we are so inclined to rage about how the whole system of the guy asking for the gal’s hand is antiquated and sexist, we can. It’s there. But at the moment, I’m not so inclined. It was such a great moment for Leonard and Penny, understanding each other on an intimate level and for once, rather than letting their insecurities tear their relationship apart, they just laughed about it. When Penny hopefully eventually gets to the point that she wants to marry Leonard, Leonard expects to be DAZZLED by the display. I’m thrilled that Penny’s fake-out question, “Will you be my Valentine?” was just that—even if the line was kind of lame—because I can’t wait for the eventual ACTUAL proposal episode... if TBBT sticks to its guns and goes there.

Please go there?

Across the hall, Amy and Sheldon also connected in a way that we don’t often see with those two... or rather, haven’t seen much of until lately. I mean, wow, when this show decides to stop screwing around and advance its characters already, it just dives right in and does it. Knowing that Amy would be putting her everything into V-Day—and I’m assuming she made sure there was a Valentine’s Day clause somewhere in the relationship agreement—Sheldon assigned poor Alex to go shopping for the perfect present. Probably not the best approach, but still, good effort. At least he bothered, right? Right.

Sheldon hilariously dismissed each of Alex’s gift suggestions crap, except for the awesome one he kept for himself, and faced with the dire prospect of not having a present for Amy, Sheldon actually managed to give her something sweet, personal, and very Amy-appropriate all on his own. Oh, it totally backfired for Amy because of course it did, but OMG her face when Sheldon told her he'd changed his employee paperwork to make her his emergency contact. HER FACE. The creepy oversharing about her sexual desires for Sheldon aside, all the woman really wants is to be a valued part of his life, and on some level, Sheldon got that. So much Sheldon-growth lately, you guys. I don’t know what to do with it all.

But unfortunately for Amy, Sheldon is kind of a hypochondriac.


What did you think of this episode?



The Stray Observation Addendum


– One-liner of the night: “I know, I propose a lot.” —Leonard

– I’m starting to realize that Howard and Bernadette are kind of boring now that they’re married.

– Poll time! Who gave the best Valentine's Day gift?

Comments (62)
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Staff
I need to get back to watching this show.
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Great episode, but I can't stand Bernadette. She is a witch. Stopped caring for her character since the ep where she forced Howard to take her along on the weekend the guys had planned a Star Wars online game marathon. And then the ep where she tried to ruin Howard's chance to be an astronaut. She has Howard completely under her foot. The Howard character was much funnier before he hooked up with her. Now he's just pathetically whipped.
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I could have done without the return of "shrew Bernadette"
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I think Amy is a lucky gal, not many can say they are fully capable to seduce Sheldon Cooper no matter how long it takes. She's growing on him and that's all that matters.

I even liked Raj speech about not letting a relationship define his self worth ("See you losers" at the end and all)
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When Sheldon handed Alex the money to shop for Amy's gift there was a brief moment that I thought she was so insulted that she was going to just take off with the cash and not come back. Glad she got more air time this episode.
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thank you! finally someone said it! howard and bernadette are boring!
he was sooo much funnier as a creep!

sheldon is a king, as usual.
for me, the most interesting direction where the show seems to be going with all these character developments is the sheldon and amy will-they-won't-they have sex.
that would be the most anticipated episode for me.. can you imagine it? :) so funny!
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Love Amy's valentine gift. They keep moving their relationship, ever so slowly, to where Sheldon may succumb to actual feelings and give Amy some sweet lovin'... well, aloof but effective lovin.'
Also, kudos to Leonard putting the ball in Penny's court. This is the first time in a long time where I haven't hated their relationship (well, Penny anyway for being a selfish bitch when it comes to Leonard) and hopefully they'll keep moving forward too, but honestly stopped caring about them awhile back.
Favorite relationship is Howard and Berny. I don't care if they seem boring, they're adorableness was the only reason I kept watching TBBT earlier this season.
Let's not forget Raj's new love interest tho, love Kate Micucci! Here's hoping Raj stops being the show's sad sack, and hey, was I wrong or was he talking to a girl normally? Or did he have a beer? Can't remember.
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Can anyone tell me the meaning of Sheldon's shirt puzzle in this episode? It had a scull shape with two x's for eyes + a ring = some super hero.
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dead alien + power ring = green lantern
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Green Lantern. Wasn't a skull, was an alien. Ring + Alien powers = Superhero.
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Anyone, when Raj is making his speech at the end, there is a rather corpulent guy with glasses sitting at the table with his back to Raj (opposite Lonely Larry). Is it just me or is that the same guy from one of the SuperBowl commercials (something with a website, he was seen in there making out with a hot blonde)
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Yup, he is the god of extras. He's been on TBBT before as part of Wil Wheaton's entourage, but he's also been in the background on a bunch of shows. Jesse Heiman. Youtube 'world's greatest extra.'
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Also a recurring background character on the now-cancelled series "Chuck"

He's been around
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This episode was pretty much awful in my opinion. Penny was terrible rude to Leonard. Leonard himself wasn't much better either. Constantly screaming something about love ninjas which isn't terribly romantic. My biggest complaint i guess is that Penny said she was really happy, which startled me completely because she didn't look happy at all. And hasn't for a while. When Penny and Leonard first started dating in season 3 you really got a sense of how happy they make it each other. We actually spent some time with them, and the time we did spend with them they weren't constantly bickering or proposing
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Geez MaryAnn, sorry to hear you haven't been visited by the Ghost of Valentines' Future yet. ;-) I hear all what you're saying, but yikes, dark!

This episode started before 8pm here in LA, my DVR confirmed this by cutting off the cold open aside from its last line.

Anyway, this was an interesting episode in that the first half was standard lazy sitcom fare while the second half backed slowly out of the pit it dug itself into. Penny at some point I think needs to address her life as a whole, it seems utterly stuck in a rut and incapable of moving forward until she addresses it, and her unhappiness with her relationship is a big factor - is she settling for Leonard, or is her inability to move forward with Leonard to the next level merely another symptom? When the writers figure that out, I think the show will have earned the right to have her play the proposal card, but to be honest I don't think I even want to bother to see that anymore, just hint at it in the final season but don't make us watch any of it because it'll be cocked up for sure.

Sheldon meanwhile had a bit of a backslide as a human being, but at least made something out of it, although his gift might end up costing him Amy if she doesn't get something more out of it. Alex is finding out that it's time to move on in her career, that smart people aren't usually worthy of worship and one has to become one's own master. Will she be able to get out, or will her growing unhappiness with Sheldon doom her? This episode at least made me curious to watch what happens next.

Howard and Bernie were a pathetic, hollow sitcom couple - you are so right that they're boring now - but at least cracked me up with the way their story played out on the revelation of the xbox. Raj's storyline was interesting, and it was great to see The Gooch (although who are these women who appeared in the comic shop party?) and Raj's little awkwardness about making his big speech felt very authentic, well-acted even if it set up the dopiest punchline ever.

You know, Leonard's was the best gift because of the potential ramifications that come with it, that he's willing to give up something so important to their relationship's future to make Penny happy, that gift affects their future considerably and changes their dynamic quite a bit. I had been thinking it was Amy for giving up her romantic demands but it was just for that one night.

Penny should dump Leonard, either they're compatible or they're not, she's living in between and stringing them both along. Shit or get off the pot, woman!
More+
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How about Sheldon's perception on what Amy likes? "I think she likes monkeys and the color grey". I know that is her work and clothes, but when he said "color grey" I couldn't avoid thinking about Fifty Shades of Gray and that episode when Sheldon spanked Amy...
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another great episode of TBBT and another great review!
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The highlight of the episode for me was when Sheldon pulled a wad of cash out of one pocket, another wad of cash out of another pocket and an even bigger wad of cash out of his desk drawer and said here's about $2,000 go buy a gift. I don't know why but it just made me laugh
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It was a nice throw-back to an older episode. The running gag is that Sheldon is flush with cash: because most of what he wants to buy hasn't been invented yet. He hides wads of cash around the apartment, such as in the butt of his Green Lantern action figure.

Which always annoyed me about a past episode... where Sheldon wanted to go see the Large Hedron Collider and thus tried to get Penny to give up her plane ticket and hotel room. Dude, you're flush with cash and they FINALLY invented something you want. Buy a ticket!
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I did remember that episode and I finally figured out why it made me laugh: for all his anal-retentativness, when it comes to money he's just like "eh". While most of us laugh at all the stuff he's uptight about when it comes to money, I don't know anyone that would be so laxidazical about it. He is truly a unique individual.
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Very good episode. I liked how Leonard confronted Penny on her wrongness during their Valentines day date. I especially liked the idea of him negotiating that Penny should be the one to propose - not only putting the pressure on Penny, who we all know has a lot of trouble using the word "love" with Leonard out loud, but also like the reviewer mentioned, flip-flopping the stereotype of the man proposing to the woman. LOVED IT!!! With this direction, Penny would have to assert her feelings first and loudest! Big change up.

I loved Amy's reaction to Sheldon making her his emergency contact. Well done!

Could Raj possibly develop something with this new girl? Love the possibilities.
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Did anyone notice that one of the guys at the comic book store pary was the guy who was lip locking with Bar Raffeli in the Go Daddy commericial?
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I also noticed there was no Captain Sweatpants, who's usually at the store
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that guy is everywhere lucky SOB
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I thought Howard hit it out of the park with his original gift and groand when he was moving the slide it was on knowing what was coming.

Very glad to see Leonard setting Penny straight. she was saying things that were incredibly insulting towards him without even thinking twice about how it was making him feel, and was kind of disappointed at the end when he caved and went to her apartment. he had every right to be ticked and should have held on to that a bit instead of just giving her free passes especially considering she'll cut him off at the drop of a hat and for any reason his fault or not.

Sheldons gift of an emergency contact was inspired, but still took a back seat to Amy giving up her dream night of Valentines Day out with a date to sit in and do whatever he wanted instead. her stock went up in my eyes with that simple act.
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amy is always gives more than she gets and in my opinion thats just not fair. she and sheldon have been dating for how long and he has yet to do something she REALLY wants? taking her out to dinner AND making her his contact person would have made everything even.
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Well he WAS taking her out to dinner, she cancelled that as HER gift... but Sheldon making her the emergency contact showed that he's really thinking of her.while it was a simple and humble gift, it really showed that Sheldon gave it more thought than Sheldon would have done for anyone else.
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Fun little Internet nerd fact: When I thought I recognized that girl Raj left with, I did a little digging. I did. That's Oates of the semi-famous (on Youtube) group Garfunkel and Oates, someone I've listened to a few times while playing on Youtube. She got work off of that I guess - good for her. :)
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To me she's the pixy eared girl from Bored to Death.
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She's also the day-care chick on 'Raising Hope'
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Kate Micucci - hilarious and so very talented. Also played "Gooch" on Scrubs. She's marvelous, and would make an interesting lady for Raj. Riki Lindhome has appeared on TBBT too, as Ramona Nowitzki in Season Two (episode six). Both terrific young talents!
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Sad note...Ted appeared on Cougar Town and revealed that Gooch left him. For Hooch. Wrong on so many levels, not just because it's sad or because it rhymes, but because HOOCH IS CRAZY!
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Personally I thought getting Kaley's sister to play her love rival was a nice move...
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I'll be curious to see if they develop the character of the girl Raj left with. She was quirky, nervous, and had wonderful big dark eyes--she seems like a great match for him.
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Howards gift was the best for the reason it was the most thoughtful. Also it was selfmade, especially pulling an all-nighter
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Staff
It really was a sweet idea! I was super bummed when he broke it. :(
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i thought that Bernardette was about to announce in middle of dinner she was pregnant and that was the reason of her crankiness
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Staff
Me too!
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I feel like the previous episode was one of the best in the series so far and this episode just felt flat. I'm not sure as to why Lenard and Penny are a couple. They are not fun/funny together, I prefer it for Penny to be paired up with Sheldon but it hardly ever happens now!

I'm the biggest Penny+Sheldon fan XD. Every conversation they ever have is hilarious! The soft kitty song/Sheldon always mocking Penny for not being smart. <333 I wish they get more screen time together. Raj was just meh...

P.S. I love Amy, but I don't like Bernadette. :)
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Thumbs up for the Penny observation.

I like Bernadette but I don't like THIS version of her, they've taken the personality out of her and installed generic sitcom wife v.1.7 instead.
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Yeh, which is why I LOVED the semi-recent episode where Howard and Sheldon are fighting over the parking spot.

We got to see a side of Bernadette that we haven't seen in a while. Fun and dangerous... do NOT mess with her :-)
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Good post. Penny is with Leonard because he is the only guy she's gone out with that truly cares about her; I don't know why Leonard is with Penny though. Amy is spot on and I agree about Bernadette. The problem with her is that the show has never showed us her insecurities unlike the others. We can't feel or sympathize with her if we don't understand her vulnerabilities.
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Best gift: Howard's 12-hour-in-the-making micro valentine for a microbiologist. I was sad to see it go.
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Staff
Ditto!
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Sheldon making Amy his contact person= now you have to grand privilege amy of picking me up whenever i call like the slave that you are. not nice, but true: lolol sheldon is so damn arrogant.
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Yep Amy(Mayim) knows how to deliver each emotion. I love her just for that:D
Sorry,but that's the one liner of the night? :D
As every episode of season 6,I loved this one as well as others and love character development in this season. Howard and Bernadette aren't boring.
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Staff
Lol, it was that one or Amy's "Happy Valentine's Day!" and Sheldon's "Ok." Idk. I shot iced tea through my nose and called it a win.
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Another good episode.

I really liked how at the end of the date, when Penny and Leonard were about to go their separate ways, Leonard decided to confront Penny (which wouldn't have happened in their first relationship). And Penny to her credit, told Leonard the truth (which also wouldn't have happened in their firat relationship). I like how Leonard handled the situation, but more importantly it gives the show an event to build towards, which will be nice. Penny and Leonard have had their ups and downs, but they have somehow managed to grow into a mature couple.

Sheldon was Sheldon, but I thought how he handled Valentines Day was pretty good. Amy sure seemed to appreciate it.

Looks like Raj may be getting a girlfriend. That's nice and long overdue, but it kinda diminished his speech, which I thought was very well said. O, well.
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I liked how Leonard seemed to finally hear Penny (especially that she thinks not that she doesn't want it to happen, she is just freaked out by the fact it would be forever) and I think it might be funny to next season have Amy or Bernadette catch Penny reading the Lord of the Rings to try and set up a situation.

I thought Raj's storyline was a little, well, liked tacked on feeling. Like, we have a storyline for him and we just need to start it.

I kind of agree with you about Howard and Bernadette, I think they need some forward event to reestablish them (like not as dramatic as a baby or anything, but maybe buying a house?). And honestly, Bernadette fits in better with the girls half the time.
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IDK what you felt forced about the Raj storyline? He's been spending a lot of time this season with Stewart and in the comic book store. So I think it made sense that he met a girl over there. And I'm glad they didn't wait any longer, because I really thought they were going a little too far with the gay angle with Raj..
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Why would Howard and Bernadette buy a house? They already live together. They would need a house,if they got baby,because that place would then be to small for them.
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I was just trying to think of big life events that might make them work together or need help from some contingent of their friends. It kind of seemed to be the thing most of my married friends were doing soon after getting married (if there wasn't a baby in the near future) was looking for and buying a house. I mean, I don't think it is a good idea or anything but they need to think of some storyline for them that feels natural that isn't just Howard isn't responsible with money (which I wonder about because wasn't he the income stream when living with his mother? unless she has some sort of income that we have never heard about).
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Bernadette didnot hide a gift she hid is X-Box in the laundry.
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If only Alex would hook up with Raj... Oh Raj...Why won't you see a therapist and get over your hang ups...
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I think Alex is going to hook up with Stuart
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But Alex has never been to the comic book store, or has she displayed any affinity for comic books.. I wanna see Raj happy someday..
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I don't understand, wasn't he happy with the comic book girl in the Valentine episode?! Hence the "See you losers!" once he got himself a date.
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Yeah, he was happy for that second.. I'm talking about long term.. Besides, do you even know if that girl is coming back to the series?? It could have just been a one time deal..
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I approve of this direction for the show. Now, please, continue it, and don't go back to excessively stupid tropes. Also, more use of Alex.
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Of course Amy's gift was the best!
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you need a 12 oz bottle of self esteem.
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