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‘Big Bang:’ Is it a ‘Wonderful Life’ without Sheldon?

The gang wondered what their lives would look like without Sheldon
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Amber Dowling, December 13, 2013 8:42:46 AM

I’ve looked forward to The Big Bang Theory‘s Christmas episodes ever since the second season’s “The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis,” in which Penny floors Sheldon with the gift of Leonard Nimoy’s napkin, resulting in the couple’s first ever hug and yet another heartwarming moment to chalk up to the writers’ genius.

Thursday night’s “The Cooper Extraction” might not have been Sheldon-hugging good, but it was funny in a whole new way that involved the entire group.

Getting into the characters’ state of mind, I’m sure more than one of them must have wondered what their lives would have actually been like without Sheldon, and as peaceful as that probably seems for a minute, Amy was right when she pointed out the whole group dynamic was contingent on his involvement. Otherwise Leonard and Penny wouldn’t be together, Howard would never have met Bernadette, Raj and Leonard would apparently be fat, and Amy may or may not have a stalker in the form of Stuart.

The dream-sequence type set up allowed for some fun mini stories and situations that the crew otherwise would never be able to play, and gave us not one, but three fat suits. I don’t know why I love seeing TV characters in those as much as I do, but watching Leonard and Raj mow down with their bellies made me happy in the way that Fat Schmidt on New Girl would be my BFF. I’m weird, and a little off topic here.

I also loved the thought that went into bringing back the original boys to their former state of minds. You know, like how Leonard would have never been able to actually talk to Penny, or how Raj thought he was going to be a ladies’ man. Even Penny was targeted, when they looked at how she would have probably ended up with someone like Zack. When you look back at the characters that way, you can actually see how the writers have allowed the characters to grow and learn from each other over the seasons, which is (I think) one of the key reasons it continues to resonate with so many viewers.

Of course, we didn’t know Bernadette back then so we couldn’t get in on her backstory, which made me a little sad, and Stuart seems to be a character that the show wants to keep in their world, but they haven’t quite figured out what to do with him outside of the comic book store. I’d love to see Penny somehow help his confidence or to have him spend more time with Raj like he did in past episodes so that they can explore some non couple storylines. I just wish they weren’t so depressed all of the time because for me it’s something that only works in small doses. How sweet would it have been if someone had just gotten him a present in Thursday’s episode to boost him up a little?

Sort of the way Leonard boosted Amy up by showing her that she’s the one who has potentially had the biggest impact on Sheldon’s life of all of them. She was the one person who actually got Shelly to go hang with his sister and her new baby, and it was super cute to watch her reaction when she learned she was in the rotation of Sheldon’s screen saver pics. I love how those two keep progressing in the smallest of ways, and knowing how these writers work, I think we’re going to get a nice little payoff in the near future. Baby steps, as they say.

‘Bang’ on:

  • Speaking of babies, I love the way Sheldon treated the whole his sister having birth situation, and the fact that he kept calling the gang in between to give them updates. I only wish we had seen Sheldon’s mom and sister, because that would have been one of the best Christmas presents ever.
  • Is Stuart actually going to get “fat” now? He was going to town on that piece of cake at the end … maybe there’s something planned for him after all.
  • Mayim Bialik deserves every award nomination nod she gets. She’s toned down on the creepiness of Amy and made her very endearing. At least to me.
  • “I wish there weren’t a rat living inside of Rice Sheldon.” – Another Amy gem.
  •  The guys out there were probably thrilled with the half-naked Kaley Cuoco what-if scene, but it was lost on Sheldon: “A tad asymmetrical, but nothing to be concerned about.”
  • ‪”I hope it’s just a sprain. I can not walk into that ER with another video game injury.” OK, but come on, it would have been another little present for fans to see Vernee Watson-Johnson as the resident Chuck Lorre world nurse again?

What did you think of the Christmas episode? Sound off below!

The Big Bang Theory returns on Thursday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV and CBS.

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