Why did CBS have to waste the post Super Bowl slot with Undercover Boss? The show was beyond fake with workers allegedly fooled into thinking this old white guy is somehow a newbie in the garbage world? And that a camera crew would follow the guy around? If this was a 16 year old pregnant little person with a Jersey accent, the workers might buy the concept. And yet somehow 38.6 million people stuck around after the Saints victory to watch this love song to captains of industry? Probably most of those people were in traumatic comas after watching Peyton Manning choke. They just didn’t have the strength to click the remote. They might have been cheered up with a Superbowl special episode of The Big Bang Theory. Maybe 50 million people would have stuck around to see Sheldon and Leonard Nimoy bond if they’d done that as a very special Big Bang. Instead we had to settle for Sheldon being abused in a pop up ad during a break in the action. There’s going to be a break in the action after tonight’s episode since CBS doesn’t want to burn fresh episodes against the winter olympics.
“Large Hadron Collision” opens in the lunchroom as Howard is having a cellphone talk with his girlfriend. Raj is sick of Howard’s public baby talk with his woman. Raj admits he’s miserable and alone. Leonard wants to know what Howard will do for St. Valentine’s Day with his woman. He’s springing for the lovers’ special at PF Changs which includes a couple’s photos in front of the giant horses. Sheldon suggests since St. Valentine was killed to celebrate the holiday is to watch a brutal murder. Raj celebrates the holiday by eating a roasted chicken from a grocery store. This year Leonard will be celebrating by going to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. A Nobel Prize winner was supposed to go but he threw his back out while mountain climber. Howard heard the injury came while the guy was seducing his busty weathergal lover. Leonard brags how he gets to fill in for the Noble prize winner. Sheldon wonders why Leonard gets to hook up with the weathergal. Turns out Leonard is going to CERN and gets to take a guest. Sheldon is excited about the news. He rushes out of the room to get home and start packing. Raj asks why he wouldn’t take Penny. Leonard is taking Penny. Raj thinks it’s going to be an awkward time back at home.
Sheldon packs his suitcase as Leonard enters the room. He breaks the bad news that he’s taking Penny. Sheldon doesn’t think she’ll like seeing the Collider. Sheldon doesn’t buy the romantic getaway aspect. He can’t see how Penny can possibly enjoy the massive science project.
In the living room, Leonard wants Penny to guess his Valentine’s gift with clues that involve swiss cheese, swiss miss cocoa and a swiss knife. She guesses they’re going to Disneyland to ride the Matterhorn. He excitedly tells her about CERN. She gives him a blank stare. He throws in the fact that they’ll go skiing. That excites her. Although he’ll be spending most of his time falling down in the snow. Sheldon pops up and announces, “Not so fast!” He pulls out the friendship contract. There was a clause about the Collider. How if one was invited, the other would get to come along. There was also clauses about winning grants and turning into a zombie. Leonard promised to not kill a zombie Sheldon. How dare Leonard ignore the contract since Sheldon lived up to his parts of the commitment including giving up Tuvan Throat singing. Penny doesn’t take him seriously on that clause. He does some Tuvan Throat singing. It sounds good. There was no clause for what if one of them gets a girlfriend since that was far fetched. Leonard won’t live up to his contract. He won’t talk Leonard to Bill Gates’ house if that ever happens. Sheldon goes to his bedroom to practice his throat singing.
Normally I’m not one to come up with solutions for a sitcom, but this all could have been prevented. We already know that Sheldon has plenty of cash stashed around the house. Leonard could have told him that he could join him on the day he tours CERN, but he has to pay his way since Penny gets the free plane ticket and hotel room. Penny would rather spend her day wandering a Swiss village instead of being stuck in the Disney World for geeks. Of course this would kill the entire episode and has zero humor to it. But if you ever find yourself in such a situation with your best friend and your significant other, try it my way. I have a pact with my cousin about us getting into the Playboy Mansion. Last year I received an invitation to a frolic in the legendary grotto with Bunnies galore. I was going to take him. That was until I realized it was a major fundraiser for a very worthy charity. Tickets were going to run us several thousand dollars. Thus neither of us made the trip. It hurt. But at least I didn’t try to screw him out of the chance to live our teenage dream.
Leonard drives Sheldon to work. It’s a nasty ride. Sheldon wants to play a game called “Traitor” where you put the traitors in order of their heinousness. The first batch is Judas, Benedict Arnold and Leonard. Sheldon admits it’s not an even group since Judas hung himself after the betrayal. The next trio are Darth Vader, Rupert Murdoch and Leonard. Rupert canceled Firefly.
In the lunchroom, Raj and Howard eat. Howard apologizes for not being around. He was with Bernadette. Raj says he saw his Tweet. When asked what he did last night, Raj prayed to a Hindu God to mess up Howard’s bowels. Leonard joins them. Howard swears he’d take Sheldon to Switzerland…and leave him. Sheldon comes over and slams down a tray filled with 30 pieces of silverware.
Sheldon has a right to be angry at Leonard’s screw job. It was his dream. Leonard really has become a major jerk since he’s hooked up with Penny. While it might sound romantic, the simple fact is that she won’t appreciate the entire trip. It’s like taking a loved one to Rome only to have them insist eating every meal at the Olive Garden. Penny will have that “when is this tour going to end” look on her face as they get past the security entrance to CERN.
Leonard sleeps while Sheldon plays the recorder over his bed. Sheldon has made him breakfast including pancakes that look like Frodo. This is his apology. He realizes friendship is not a contract. He’s willing to watch Babylon Five‘s final season with Leonard even through he hates the show. It just what you do for a friend. Leonard still won’t take him to Switzerland. Sheldon takes his breakfast away.
Penny folds her clothes in the laundry room. Sheldon arrives. He thinks she knows why he’s here. She thinks it is to report back to the mothership. He plugs in his computer and projector for a Powerpoint presentation. He mocks her desire to go to Bath and Bodyworks instead of CERN. She turns on the light. She declares Leonard wants to take her. He only hopes she will appreciate the magnitude of what the Collider means. She gives in. She’ll tell Leonard to take Sheldon on the trip. He’s overwhelmed with emotion. He hugs her. “Since I rarely hug, I’m relying on your expertise for duration,” he says. She lets him know it is time.
Penny understands that this isn’t merely a dumb business trip or conference. She realizes that this isn’t her trip. Sometimes you have to be a pest to make people understand the magnitude of what they’re going to do. Or their stupidity in not taking full advantage of the situation. It’s like taking a vegetarian to a pig picking. They’re not going to enjoy the moment just picking at cole slaw and potato salad with all that luscious pork in the smokers.
At the apartment, Raj swears he can have a good time on Valentine’s Day. He’s going to a spa and then a pet store to get licked by puppies. Sheldon offers Leonard a traditional Swiss meal so they can adjust their diets for the trip. Leonard still won’t take him even with Penny’s blessing.
In the bedroom, Penny confesses to Leonard that she bought special undies for the occasion. He wonder if they’re thermal. She doesn’t plan on wearing them on the slope. He catches on. Penny sneezes. She thinks it’s allergies. He offers her pills. He’s not sure what works. Leonard wakes up to sound of Penny puking. She’s in the bathroom with the fear she either has the flu or the plague. He wonders if she’ll better before the flight. She will since she’ll be dead shortly.
Leonard bangs on Sheldon’s door to let him know the good news. However he hears Sheldon being sick in the bathroom down the hallway. Sheldon opens the door with a sickly excitement about getting to go to CERN. He’ll finish packing as soon as he finishes his next trip to the bathroom.
The plague won’t stop Sheldon’s dream of seeing the collider. He understands that this is the best chance. Maybe the air circulating in the plane will kill the bug inside him?
An extremely sick Sheldon sits on the sofa. The coffeetable is full of pills and medicines. Penny brings him chicken soup. Sheldon doesn’t know how he got sick since he avoids people. We get a hotzone flashback to Sheldon embracing Penny. She was Patient Zero. His one act of human kindness cost him a visit to the geek promised land.
The hotel room in Switzerland looks ready for a honeymoon with the snow falling outside the window and a roaring fire. Leonard opens the door. Raj enters as the special guest. He’s excited to see the champagne flowers and chocolates. Leonard forgot about ordering up the romantic special. Raj promises he won’t forget.
Has Leonard become just a snide jerk in the series? It’s hard to tell if the producers wanted us to think that Sheldon was being unreasonable with his demand to go. Leonard just didn’t come off as the guy who was being victimized by an overbearing friend. He came off as a complete weasel who would shaft a friend in order to impress his date. I felt worse for Sheldon coming down with a cold and missing out on the trip. Will the producers be addressing the question if Leonard realizes that he’s a jerk on the level of Kripke? We won’t know for another three weeks since CBS doesn’t want to run any original episodes while NBC runs the Winter Olympics.
Tags: Sheldon, The Big Bang Theory