Best episode of The Big Bang Theory this season definitely. Maybe of all time. And I'm gonna say that it is all because of Mayim Bialik and her hilarious portrayal of Amy Farrah Fowler. Amy has breathed new life into Sheldon, and their relationship has consistently been the best part of a particularly weak and sputtering season. "The Herb Garden Germination" put them at the center of all the action, but still allowed space for every character (even Priya, who is a snooze) to be at the top of their game.
"Follow the gossip" is a sitcom trope that has been around for a long time - I'm thinking most notably here of Ross trying to keep Rachel from finding out about the girl from the copy place. But the way TBBT approached it was unique, and truly something that only this particular show could have pulled off. Of course Sheldon and Amy look at gossip from a sociological point of view, and the idea for an experiment was brilliant. At the beginning of the episode, we follow the gossip about Bernadette and Howard from person to person, getting each of their individual responses to it. Then, we follow the scientifically-planted Sheldon and Amy gossip, again from person to person. This culminates in first the scene with Sheldon and Amy in the kitchen, and finally the proposal. The kitchen scene is what makes this episode the best - I'm gonna transcribe it here in full, but you really should go watch it for yourself:
"Bernadette just asked about my sexual encounter with you. The meme has reached full penetration.""Pun intended?""No. Happy accident.""This is remarkable. Less than 24 hours!""I should let you know that she asked for details about our daliance.""Interesting. So it went beyond the mere fact of coitus to a blow-by-blow, as it were.""Pun intended?""I'm sorry, what pun?""Not important. I described your lovemaking as aloof but effective."
"Now I wish you hadn't done that! That's going to make me a chick magnet, and I'm so busy as it is!"
A laugh-out-loud scene delivered with incredible comedic timing by two actors with a great rapport.
Moving on from Sheldon and Amy, who seem to have settled comfortable into their weird relationship, the other characters did a great job, too. Leonard was wittily removed; Penny was fabulously catty; Priya started to show some personality; and Raj was just awesome. They've given Raj this handicap (the whole women-mute-drunk thing) that has painted them into a corner more often than not, but tonight I didn't mind at all, I was all about the drunk Raj. Howard...we don't really talk about Howard around these parts unless it is murderously, and he was mostly incidental to the meat of "The Herb Garden Germination" anyway. I could've used a little more Bernadette, but after the incredibly low lows of this season, I will take the good episodes where I can get them. These actors, when given great material, respond in-kind, because they know and are comfortable with these characters. Fun to watch, at least for now. But Sheldon, and in correlation, Jim Parsons, is the sustaining soul of this show, and episodes like like this remind you why TBBT is still around.
So good job, Big Bang Theory. I keep watching for these moments of greatness - it would just be nice if there were more of them, or if they lasted longer.
Notes & Quotes:
A Sheldon at his best is a Sheldon I love. All of these quotes are him, excepting the last one.
"I believe our nation's tuna cans are safe."
"What an elf I would have made!"
"I must say, Amy, pretending to have intercourse with you has given me a great deal of satisfaction"
"You're a vixen, Amy Farrah Fowler" *clink*
"Sheldon and I engaged in sexual intercourse. In other news, I'm starting an herb garden. Mum's the word! Gotta go!"
"It's amazing what liquor does to guilt"
You tell it, Raj.
Image via Daemons TV