Six weeks into the new season and we’re given a rerun. Here’s my entry for last December when “The Vartabedian Conundrum” originally ran:
“The Vartabedian Conundrum” keeps the focus on Leonard’s love life. The episode opens with Dr. Stephanie looking inside Sheldon’s ears. He hears a ringing and she can’t see anything. Sheldon fears its a tumor. Leonard thinks it might be from all the swirlies Sheldon received as a youth. Stephanie leaves for Leonard’s bedroom. She’s eager to play doctor properly.
Sheldon declares that Leonard’s girlfriend has now moved into the apartment. He activates their roommate agreements when it comes to live-in lovers. This involves division of fridge space, more vacuuming from extra dead skin cells and bathroom schedule. Sheldon wants to ignore this agreement.
While Sheldon looks like a dork with this agreement, I’m in agreement with the ubergeek. There’s nothing worse then when a roommate’s girlfriend moves into the house without being on the lease. Most of them act like you’re supposed to do twice as much work to make it worth his part of the rent. This also goes for any boyfriends of your female roommates, same sex partners or large dogs. I still remember the roomie’s girlfriend who was hoarding my CDs in their room because she thought they were his. Worse is when they take over the bathroom because they think any bare counter space is up for grabs instead of there to be uncluttered. Worse is when they use up all the toilet paper and expect you to provide new rolls. They can’t buy their own toilet paper cause that’s admitting they live in the apartment and thus owe rent.
Sheldon begs Leonard to let her give him a prostate examine. He’s dead set against his lady touching his roomie’s junk. When she emerges from the bedroom, Sheldon asks if Leonard sexually satisfied her. The guy has no “off” button. Penny shows up as Leonard mixes the pancake batter. Penny says how she’s heard so much about Stephanie. She knows nothing about Penny. Stephanie wonders why Penny has wandered into the apartment in her pajamas. It’s really uncomfortable. Sheldon points out that his roomie has never slept with Penny, but he tried. Stephanie leaves to remove a gal bladder.
Penny inspects Sheldon’s room to see if she’s living with him. The closet has women’s clothes. The bed is in a floral pattern. There’s a picture of strange old people at Disney World that he can’t identify. He has to admit they’re living together.
This is always a strange moment when you deduce the critical mass that separates sleeping over with shacking up. In my world, this is defined by my entire DVD collection appearing in her living room. When guessing if a roomie’s woman has moved into my apartment, the major clue was feminine hygiene products being stashed beneath the sink. That’s when you have to have the “is she paying her share for the cable” chat.
Sheldon eats at the lab cafeteria with Howard and Raj. He’s wearing new pants that Stephanie bought him. They itch. Howard bemoans how his buddy is now enslaved in a relationship with one woman while he gets to play the field. But when given a chance, Howard however doesn’t hit on a nearby girl. Raj gives him the business.
Leonard shows up at Stephanie’s hospital. He gives himself a blood pressure check with his own medical stuff. He doesn’t want her to touch his prostrate. He wants her to sign off on getting a series of medical tests. Deep in the building’s laundry room, Leonard does his best to ruin the itchy pants with Penny’s help. He confesses to his former flame that the living together thing isn’t working for him. Penny suggests he say that they need to slow down the relationship to a pace he’s comfortable with. He wonders if Penny could talk to her with him. She won’t.
The key to a great live in relationship is making sure that you are able to maintain your space without it looking like a turf battle. The big problem in trying to slow down a relationship is that you really don’t have any control over the speed. There’s no such thing as a control burn when it comes to the heart. If they’re overwhelming you, it’s just that way. I’ve never met anyone who has “slowed down the relationship” didn’t turn into the beginning of the end. It’s almost as bad as the myth of “let’s just be friends.” That just means “I might need you to move my sofa down the road.”
Stephanie uses the tongue depressor and flashlight to look in Sheldon’s mouth. She thinks he’s in bad shape. She warms him that he needs to stop talking immediately. She has performed a “Sheldonectomy.” Leonard is happy at the roomie silence, but then unloads the “we need to talk” on Stephanie. He screws up the talk. She decides to tell him what she’s thinking and drags him into the bathroom. He’s a little lapdog.
He returns to the laundry room and Penny. His pants are ruined. She asks how the “slow it down” talk went. He kinda explains he was mildly distracted, but it went well. She knows he’s had sex with her. He’s got big time JBF hair. It’s a miracle his glasses are in one piece. Penny says that he doesn’t have to do what the woman wants. He’s shocked at that revelation. But even with such knowledge, he can’t ask her to move out with a fear that she’ll dump him.
Stephanie and Leonard are gasping in bed. They’ve done the nasty. He’s not wearing his glasses. He says, “Stephanie, I really like you.” She finishes his speech with the we need our space story. She goes overboard explaining what happens to her when it all goes down. He tells her that he really likes her. She wraps herself around him. He’s got the star that declares “is this the right thing?”
Sheldon arrives at the lunch room. He has a weird sweater with a big blue crow. He talks about all the stuff “they’re” getting for his room. Howard suggests he text her his message. He texts that it’s better for them if she moves back to her place. He fears he’ll never have sex again. His phone rings. He was wrong. He grabs his bookbag and heads out.
The final segment has Leonard knocking on Penny’s door. He uses his laptop to speak to her like Stephen Hawking Jr. He still thinks he’s sick. It’s a good computer gag. We programmed a computer to have a Stephen Hawking singing the love songs of Barry White.
The episode taps the comedy that from the truthful points of what happens when you discover your girlfriend has occupied your space. It’s a bit of a shock, but the trade off of getting laid can make up for the lost of personal space. Sheldon is being used right as the semi-speed bump in this relationship. His ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong moment is gold. Actor Jim Parsons is able to drop those improper bombs with such a straight face. He’s beyond Tony Randall’s delivery as Felix Unger on The Odd Couple. There’s no a single tell in his face as he steps over the line. He owns this role. Sara Rue’s also doing great stuff with the cast. She’s got enough goofball in her eyes to show how she can roll with the geeks.
Tags: Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory