Yesterday’s episode was surprisingly fitting given all the hype going around The Dress. Is it gold and white or black and blue? Maybe the writers of “The Big Bang Theory” will reveal the answer to us in a couple of weeks when they address the problem. If someone can answer that question, it is definitely Sheldon Cooper. However, yesterday they put another social media experiment that went viral a couple of weeks ago to the test. The one about falling in love with someone after only a couple of hours made its way onto this week’s script, and it was a great use of science tacked with emotion. Especially when it’s Sheldon and Penny testing the love experiment.
At the apartment, Amy shares an article she read online with the group. There is a social experiment that can allegedly make two people fall in love in only a matter of hours. After answering a series of intimate questions and looking into each other’s eyes for four minutes the two people will be taken with each other according to the study. It sounds like rubbish to Sheldon, and he is the first to shoot down this hypothesis. He’s proclaimed his love for Amy before and the last time he looked into her eyes was when she had conjunctivitis, so no, he doesn’t believe in it. There’s some debate about whether or not two people can fall for each other within hours, but Sheldon proposes actually conducting the experiment. They are scientists after all. His plan to hold two strangers captive is quickly rejected, and instead Raj suggests Sheldon actually do the experiment himself. Sheldon answering uncomfortable, personal questions about his innermost feelings? Penny is in too. Thus, begins the most interesting experiment.
While Penny and Sheldon are, as Raj believes, ‘tempting fate,” he, Emily, Amy, and Leonard decide to go out. Emily suggests a cool new interactive experience called The Escape Room. The objective is to solve a series of puzzles to escape the room they’re trapped in all while a zombie tries to “eat their brains.” Due to the fact that they all have advanced degrees, they solve the puzzles in literally six minutes. Like the puzzles they solve, we don’t spend much time with this foursome during the episode. The focus is, instead on, as the title suggests, the intimacy acceleration.
Before I get started on the love experiment, however, let’s visit with Howard and Bernadette. We don’t spend much time with them either, but it’s just enough to earn us a couple of laughs, especially since mean/scary Bernadette emerges. At the airport, they’re in a bit of a conundrum. The airline seems to have lost their luggage, but Howard is freaking out and having a mini meltdown because his mother’s ashes are in one of the suitcases. He’s all nerves, while Bernadette is being calm and patient. He eventually shares with her that the day his mother left for Florida, she had asked him for a ride, but he was too “busy” and made her catch a cab to the airport. He feels awful and heartbroken. Exit sweet, calm Bernadette and enter mean/scary Bernadette. She threatens the airline agent that one way or another they’re leaving the airport with a dead woman. Yikes. Not surprisingly, the luggage appears not long after.
On to the experiment! We’re excited to see the results, and so is Sheldon because if it turns out that Penny does indeed fall in love with him, she promised to not only drive him to GaryCon, but also buy him all the dragon t-shirts he wants. Sounds like a win for Sheldon. So first question is: “Given anyone in the world, who would you want to have as a dinner guest?” Sheldon naturally wants to dine with himself, while Penny would want to dine with Robert Downey Jr. This one was easy, and not that intimate of a question. The second one also lends itself for a light, humorous answer: “What would constitute a perfect day for you?” Penny would love to sleep in, do yoga, lie on the beach while cute cabana boys bring her drinks, get a massage, and end the day with a night of dancing. Sheldon, on the other hand, would enjoy a hearty breakfast on a typical morning. He’d be enjoying his toast with butter and syrup when suddenly a wormhole opens beside him and he’s whisked away into a land far far away into the future. Pretty typical answers for both these characters, but we finally enter sensitive territory with the last two questions.
“If you could wake up tomorrow gaining any quality, what would it be?” Penny opts for humor again and answers that she’d want the ability to turn water into wine. Sheldon picks up on what she’s doing, and accuses her of using humor to hide her true feelings. Ironically, Sheldon would want the ability to read people’s minds. He’s not good at telling whether or not someone is sad or bothered by him, or if they’re laughing at him or with him. He isn’t good at reading people, so he wishes to read their minds so as to have a clue about them. Penny finally starts to take the experiment seriously and answers that she’d wish to be as smart as them, as her friends, but after hearing Sheldon’s answer she changes her response, and wishes she’d have the ability to take away the difficulty he has socializing with others. It truly is a tender moment between the two friends, and it is evident just how much these two care for each other.
The final question is: “If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone?” Pondering the question, Sheldon reveals that he would be dying on his birthday. Shocked, Penny asks him why he’s telling her the secret that no one, not even Amy knows. The point of the experiment is to be honest with each other, and so he chose to tell her. She, in turn, promises to keep his secret safe. If there’s one thing he hates more than the words “George Lucas Director’s cut” is people jumping out and yelling, “surprise!” for a birthday occasion.
Finally, all that is left to do is stare into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes. The silence doesn’t last long, both revealing that it’s kind of creepy staring at each other. Still, an evening together has made these two realize just how relaxed they are with each other, so soon they’re reminiscing about the first day they met…and how much money Penny owes them for all the food she’s eaten since then. The results are plain and simple. Penny is not in love with Sheldon, and neither is he with her, and most importantly to Sheldon, psychology has once again proved itself the doofus of the sciences. Although they’re not in love, they obviously love each other like family…and like family, she instantly blurts out his secret in order to throw him a surprise birthday party. Happy Birthday Sheldon!
“I just read about an experiment designed to make two people fall in love in a matter of hours.”—Amy
“That doesn’t sound right. My research has shown it takes about 3 to 5 years of shameless begging.”—Leonard
“Can you describe the bag?”—airline agent
“Um, well its, uh, black. There’s a red ribbon tied to the handle.”—Bernadette
“The world’s greatest mom is in the shoe compartment!”—Howard
“You better find my husband’s mother because one way or another, we’re walking out of this airport with a dead woman!”—Bernadette
EPISODE RATING: 10/10