The Big Bang Theory's Season 6 Premiere: Date Night

The Big Bang Theory S06E01: “The Date Night Variable”

Howard Wolowitz was living the dream when The Big Bang Theory returned for Season 6 last night: He’s happily married to brainy, geeky, sexy Bernadette AND he’s a freaking astronaut. Life was pretty awesome for about thirty seconds. Then his mom called. No, not even space is free of Mama Wolowitz’s overbearing presence.

It’s part of a sitcom’s nature that though certain details may change, the core of a series must largely stay the same. They just aren’t intended to serve as deep, complicated explorations of complex characters or situations. Sure, you can happen upon the occasional exception, like Scrubs, but for the most part, the fundamentals that are present in the first season stick around until the very end. Sometimes it’s welcome and comforting and sometimes it’s tiring and annoying. I think The Big Bang Theory currently falls somewhere in the middle.

Howard may have “won” in that he got his girl and his dream job, evolving into something more palatable than his early days as the creepiest of creeps, but he’s still incapable of standing up to his mother. If anything, we learned in “The Date Night Variable” that Howard has twice the trouble to look forward to when he inevitably returns to Earth, caught between the iron wills of his mother and his wife.

When Bernadette pressed Howard to tell his mother that they were moving out of the house and getting their own place, Howard assured Bernadette that he would. When Mama Wolowitz accidentally learned their plan from Bernadette and confronted Howard about it, he evaded the subject. While Howard’s life has probably undergone the most noticeable changes out of all of The Big Bang Theory’s characters, he’s still pretty much a giant schmuck and a wuss and by the end of “The Date Night Variable” he resolved nothing.

That same SAMENESS applies to our other couples: Amy and Sheldon and Penny and Leonard. In an attempt to smooth things over after his awful mid-coitus marriage proposal, Leonard crafted the ideal evening for Penny: sports, beer, wings, and burgers. He promised not to bring up the messy state of their relationship, and then in typical neurotic Leonard fashion, he did just that. Poor Penny. But then again, when HASN’T their relationship been ten seconds away from implosion and did she HONESTLY think that he wouldn’t use the opportunity to grill her about whether or not she’s still his ladyfriend? Seriously.

Amy and Sheldon celebrated their anniversary as much as Amy and Sheldon are capable of celebrating anything. Amy forced Sheldon to take her on a nice dinner date by reminding him of the stipulations set forth in their Relationship Agreement. He reluctantly took her out, but cited a loophole in the contract that allowed him to outsource his significant other obligations to Raj. Amy was understandably displeased and came THIS close to quitting Team Sheldon, but Amy is, sad though it repeatedly makes me feel for her, the most compatible woman on the show for Sheldon. Her willingness to take what she can get meant that Sheldon’s half-hearted recitation of a romantic line from Spiderman was more than enough to save the relationship.

Meandering through each botched date was Raj, sad and lonely in the wake of BFF Howard’s marriage and mission to space. After finding himself kicked out of Sheldon and Amy’s date, Raj crashed Penny and Leonard’s awkward-fest. Penny welcomed the distraction from Leonard’s inquisition, but sent Raj away after he tried to facilitate the discussion that Penny had clearly intended to avoid by indulging in his company.

While his friends and their respective partners tripped over the same obstacles they’ve struggled with for several seasons, Raj struck out on his own. He wandered into the comic shop and shared a drink with owner Stu, bonding over their mutual love of bossanova music and beaches and... and then things got rather interesting.

Did Raj ask Stu on a date? The canon and fandom alike have theorized about Raj’s sexuality from the very beginning and the occasional playful detail has been dropped into his characterization from time to time to keep the gay/not-gay debate going. From his accidental kiss with Howard in Season 4 to his admission of once “accidentally” going to a gay bar, the question has always lingered over Raj’s head.

After some initial awkwardness over drinks with Stu, Raj stammered that he had to go, then paused at the last minute to ask Stu if he’d like to get dinner the next day. Stu said that he couldn’t really afford to splurge on going out, to which Raj assured him that it was fine. It would be his treat. While nothing was blatantly confirmed on Raj’s end, Stu’s comment that he “could do worse” certainly implies that at least one of them considers date night confirmed.


What do you think?



The Stray Observation Addendum


– One-liner of the night: Bernadette’s threatening, “You know that thing that I said I would do to you when you got home? You can do it to yourself.”

– Leonard’s painted “GO SPORTS!” across his stomach was priceless. Too bad he had to blow it by being needy and demanding. Is anyone even cheering for Leonard and Penny as a couple anymore?

– What do you hope to see happen this season?

The Big Bang Theory Photos

Comments (28)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Kingbasil...for a guy to say gays aren't normal in India is odd. Let me ask you this? When you dress up real nice what do you wear? A dress you say! Okay how many musicals are you a fan of? What do you mean Bollywood is all musicals...Alright how about this, do you bath with oils and scented flowers? You do! Wow and all your friends too?



I don't know dude india sounds pretty gay...
Reply
Flag
First of all saying that the Leonard and Penny thing is getting boring is odd. Consider this, after a season of progression in his character Leonard jumps back into old traits in the premier of the next season. Is that regression or a plot device to remind the viewer of their current problems to start the season? my guess would be that he is smart enough to not fall into old pitfalls. Though some folks here brought up the good point that Penny won't find anyone better and i think she knows it now but just hasn't come to terms with it.



As for Amy and Sheldon, I can't believe how people are ragging on Sheldon. Amy if you recall was just like Sheldon when she was first introduced. She was distant, calculating and indifferent to others. Now she wants to be closer to Sheldon then even she would have been comfortable with a few seasons back. And Sheldon is actually changing little by little for her. Those two are the poster children for modern adult relationships. No matter how much you think you have in common in the beginning, someone is going to try and change the other.



Raj is not gay. If he was it would have come up much earlier and i doubt the writers will make him gay to branch off to a new plot. if anything Stewart might be bi or even gay and there might be some hilarity because of it but that is just something fresh to put in the premier instead of just continuing the same plots from last season. Quick imagine the same episode with Raj just sitting at home calling Howard in space. not as fun is it.



This season we can look forward to three things: One, Penny and Leonard will cement their relationship, one way or the other. Two, Raj will get a girlfriend and be happy (for once). And finally, (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!) Amy will seduce Sheldon in the last half of the season...perhaps right near the end.



I can't wait to see how this all unfolds :D
More+
Reply
Flag
I expected so much more from this episode.. It seems that the two couples(Penny/Leonard and Sheldon/Amy) are stuck in a rut. I'm sure the rest of the season will get better. As for Raj, I don't think making him gay is right for the show but I would like to see him and Stu waking up naked together after drinking a little too much.
1
Reply
Flag
Kind of predictable.



Penny should get over herself. Leonard should start pursuing a hotter real blonde.



Amy should begin dating a much smarter dude.
Reply
Flag
I'm glad you guys aren't reviewing that horrible travesty - Two and a Half Men!

Anyway, Sheldon started annoying me 2 seasons ago. So much so that I waited till season 5 was over to watch them at a stretch. Now he's just unbearable half the time.

Raj was freaking hilarious! Loved it when he tried to get Penny to confess her love for Sheldon. At the comic book store, I thought it was just Raj's dorky way of asking Stu to simply hang out. I just hope they don't make him completely gay very soon if they do go that route.

Is anybody even remotely interested in Leonard and Penny's relationship anymore! I'm not! Leonard had a good character development last season and they ruined it all in this episode.
Reply
Flag
I was bored and annoyed by this episode
1
Reply
Flag
As much as i like the show, they are really milking the foreigner being a loser bit. Lets see, all the white guys mature and get into relationships, while raj stays the same, or becomes more of a loser as time goes on. Sorry for the bitter comment, just cant help but notice it.
Reply
Flag
Honestly the only person that has "grown" is Howard. All the other characters have just been Homernized (exaggeration of a character's more defining qualities/what the audience enjoys the most) it actually getting painful to watch.
Reply
Flag
I can write you the Raj/Stu story line right now



1. One thinks it's a romantic relationship while the other thinks it's just a friendship

2. Many misunderstanding moments where hilarity ensues

3. People point out that one of them thinks it's more than a bromance

4. They give it a go but realize they are straight after an awkward attempted kissing scene

5. At some point there Howard is jealous of Stu

6. Stu becomes part of the group

1
Reply
Flag
Not accepted and not normal aren't the same thing. Statistically it makes no sense for India (or China) to have less homosexuals than other countries. I mean those two countries literally make up 2/7 of the world population.
Reply
Flag
You sicken me
Reply
Flag
I think there's going to be something between Raj and Stu for sure, but I think they'll gonna end it before it gets too 'intimidating'. Dating Stu wouldn't make Raj gay (because he likes women too), but bisexual, if that. It's okay to be openminded and experiment, and I hope that's just what theyll do. I think Stu was just joking by himself about the situation, not quite knowing yet what the situation is. Because it sounded like he was asking Stu out when he offered to pay the whole deal..

Anyhow, I hope they have fun.



I started crying when Sheldon made that little speech about how he feels about Amy..

It was beautiful. I don't even care that it was from Spiderman :D , because that is simply as romantic as Sheldon Cooper will ever get. So that was something. <3



Leonard should grow a pair and stop pressuring Penny about saying 'I love you'.

There's nothing worse than being pressured into important thing like that.

Maybe they should travel separately a little bit and Penny could see if her feelings towards Leonard clarify in time.



Howard seemed a bit..slow.. and sort of weird in this episode and not very funny or amusing. The writers need to create something new and interesting for the character because atm its just one big YAWN.



Can't wait for the next episode to see where the things go from here.







More+
Reply
Flag
Here's an idea. What if Raj and Stu are gay and move to San Fransico to explore there new identities. They open a "Pride" store. It'll be a total spin off show which would be awesome because you could get all the regulars to guest star. Also make Will Wheaton a recurring guest star as he's friends with Stu. I could see NPH doing a show, Lance Bass, Clay Aikan, Ricky Martin. The possibilities are endless...Chuck Lorre could make it work. Even Alan Harper could show up one week. This could be gold. What if in one episode Alan was in the store because he thought it was a medical marijuana shop and instead found Charlie in there buying "penis lolli-pop's". You see Charlie Faked his death because he realized he was gay. Now he is living a new life. This has so much potential!!! Wow. This year for sweeps Raj and Stu.. Big Bang, 2 and 1/2 Men cross-over!! Ratings bonanza!! I wish I was in Show Biz.. I would rule!!! LOL.
Reply
Flag
I thought this was a pretty solid premiere, and YES I got the exact same vibe from the Raj/Stuart scene. I was like hmmmm are they really going to go the gay route with Raj? It was always in the back of my mind, but after actually seeing that scene I was like, nah I don't see it working. If it happens, I'll be surprised and curious to see where that goes, but at least give Raj a steady "significant other" this season. He can get some happiness! As for Wolowitz, you're married now, it's time for you to man up. If he actually continues to stay with his mother, I sense a storyline where he and Bernadette are going to have a massive falling out.
Reply
Flag
Let's not forget Dimitri's follow-up to the one-liner of the night...



"Just like you've been doing since you got here."
Reply
Flag
I'll quote one word from this article to portray my thoughts on this episode and the show:

"SAMENESS"

Also, I don't think they're going to go the gay route with either Raj or Stu. I think both Raj and Stu were taking it as "hanging out" rather than a date... which will then result in Stu hanging out with the gang more and cementing his new "main cast" credit.
Reply
Flag
At this point in a series of this nature, one that deals with people leaving thier lives with all the relationship and proffessional issues, the show must now look to develop these guys more.



First, Penny and Leonard need to actually have a far more meaningful relationship one that will end the season with them either leaving together or a proposal, otherwise end it for good, we dont want another Ross and Rachel.



Second, Its time for Sheldon to change in a meaningful way, the tussling between him and Amy has been fun but another season of it and people will hate them because at the end Sheldon will almost be unlikable, there is only so much Narscisism people can take before they hate a character. A kiss for sheldon's character, heart felt and romantic, will be massive. A season that builds to that kiss will actually work. I dont expect him to become Leanard over night.



i hope and dont think that Raj will be revealed as gay, at this point it doesnt make sense. They might go for the Bi-sexual angle, but aside from his codependancy relationship with Howard, He actually has never shown any sexual attraction to a man and often went after women not for appearence sake but out of genuine interest. Turning him gay will almost fell like a blatant attempt to have a gay character on the show. I hope that this season he can actually have a relationship, it doesnt have to be a happily ever after one but at least one that is meaning one that will allow him to grow.



As for Howard, Hew has developed a lot in the past few seasons and my guess is this season will be about him overcoming his overbearing mother.
More+
Reply
Flag
rubbish.
Reply
Flag
It probably doesn't matter if Raj is gay since no one ever gets to have sex anyway. Someone always screws it up at the worst possible time.

I really thought Leonard had moved forward from his massive insecurities to just saying stupid things at the wrong time, so this is a giant step backward for his character development, which makes me not care what happens with him and Penny. Still an amusing episode, but I don't want them all to be stuck in reverse simply because the writers have nowhere for them to go moving forward.
Reply
Flag
Stewart has been upgraded to a main character, if my memory serves me correctly.

Also, I hope they don't make Raj gay. He's never really felt that way, but merely lonely.

-No comment. But yeah, I'd say that too if I were Bernadette.

-Yes. But only because he deserves to be with her because of how much he cares and loves her even if she might not quite deserve him. But that's just my take on it. Plus, I don't really think she'll ever find better, so I hope they lock that down sooner rather than later. (Also, I know about as much about sports as Leonard, and I thought that he did rather well, but what do I know,.)

-I think I already covered part of that with my last comment, but I would also like to see more development in Raj's ability to talk to women. (A further proof in my book that he is not gay. If he was, it wouldn't terrify him as much. But again, my opinion.)
Reply
Flag
Staff
I always thought of Raj as more lonely than anything too. Stu's comment just seemed kind of odd.



I LOOOVED Leonard's "GO SPORTS." Outside of hockey, that's pretty much me too.
Reply
Flag
I fully support your hockey fanaticism. Support may be rescinded without warning if you happen to be a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
Reply
Flag
Cute episode, but really a wheel-spinner, nothing new, nobody evolved or dealt with their own issues, and at this point in the show people either have to grow up or move on because it's boring to watch the same exact situations over and over without any movement.
Reply
Flag
Staff
EXACTLY!
Reply
Flag
The number one thing I hope happens in this season is someone punches Sheldon in the face. Or failing that, Amy MOVES THE FRICK ON. That relationship is so unbelievably unhealthy it's actually starting to become hard to watch. Honestly, it's board lining on emotional abuse.



I get Sheldon's character is suppose to be this socially awkward person that doesn't realize his behaviour is alienating the people around him and haha even though he's super smart he can't really function in the real world. But here's the thing, that shtick gets annoying after awhile. The super smart donkey's behind character only works in the long run if there is some redeeming quality about them. Take Sherlock or House or even Bones, all people that are so smart they end up alienating the people around them, but what makes these characters watchable, even likeable, is they all try to reach out in their own way. There is something for the viewers to connect to.



Sheldon on the other hand has been homernized that I can't actually remember the last time he did anything remotely nice that wasn't narcissistically motivated and he's never really punished for his behaviour.



TBBT has always been one of those shows I just watched even though I don't know why, but the more the show seems to be homernizing the cast to their stereotypical extremes the more I don't even know why I bother.
More+
Reply
Flag
I wouldn't say Raj is gay, but maybe he and Stuart are getting to that time in their personal journeys when they might be "flexible".
Reply
Flag
I really hope that they don't make Raj gay. I thought that might be where they were going when they started the scene between him and Stuart. Then as the scene went on I realized that they are just two lonely guys who are looking for a single friend because all of their other friends are in relationships. I don't know why we always jump to "They must be gay" when two men make plans. Personally I think it is a nice way to deal with the Howard is in space thing for the beginning of the season. It gives Raj someone to get into hijinks with like he used to with Howard when the show began.



Heck if it wound up that Wolowitz is going to be leaving the show. Which is the kind of vibe that his story gave off at points during the episode. I would be more than happy if they stepped up Stuart into a a main character role.
Reply
Flag
I thought the episode was hilarious. Laughed out loud on multiple occasions. Raj really was the main character and he didn't disappoint. Loved his little speech about Penny and Leonard, and his pressuring Penny to say those 3 little words (she will say by the end of the season...i think). Classic Howard, he's safer in space...lol. Also loved Sheldon's "heartfelt" speech, it perfectly described his relationship with Amy, but made it classic Sheldon...Spiderman 1...awesome.



As for what I want to see this season...character progression and making me laugh. That's all I expect, and if the premier was any indication I should be pleased.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook

  • 8:00 pm
    People's List
    NEW
    ABC
  • 9:00 pm
    20/20: In an Instant Murder in the Maternity Ward
    NEW
    ABC