‘Big Bang Theory': Penny and Leonard say ‘I do’ — now what?

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Big Bang Theory': Penny and Leonard say ‘I do’ — now what?.

(The Hollywood Reporter)Following eight seasons of will-they-or-won’t-they, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) officially tied the knot during Monday’s season-nine premiere of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory.An event nine seasons in the making took place on the season premiere of “The Big Bang Theory” last night, though if you were disappointed, you weren’t alone. Sheldon Cooper—B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., Sc.D., theoretical physicist, lovable mega-nerd—first tells his girlfriend that he loves her. “There’s no denying I have feelings for you that can’t be explained in any other way,” he says. “I briefly considered that I had a brain parasite, but that seems even more far-fetched.

Leonard and Penny’s romantic saga ended on a rocky cliffhanger in the Season 8 finale: As the couple drove to Las Vegas to get spontaneously married, Leonard confessed to Penny that he’d kissed another girl awhile back. Vegas weddings rarely end well on TV. “Vegas” tends to be a stand-in for “rash and ill-advised.” Usually, both parties are very drunk and end up breaking it off, or someone walks (or runs) out on the wedding. The duo head home to Pasadena, where they spend their first night as husband and wife in their respective apartments. (Also not helping matters is Sheldon confirming that Mandy is “brilliant and attractive.”) Sheldon (Jim Parsons), meanwhile, can’t give Amy (Mayim Bialik) the space she needs and winds up pushing her to the brink of finalizing their breakup. He turns to his mother in Texas for support and viewers learn that the ring he had planned to give Amy when he proposed belongs to his great-grandmother, illustrating that, in his own way, he really does care.

While the wedding itself didn’t look like a typical wedding (even Howard and Bernadette acknowledged it paled in comparison to theirs) it was not without its sweet moments. The relationship that strains the standard sitcomic formula—unchanging characters in a changing environment—and that, in the process, adds literary dimensions to a show that is otherwise delightful fluff. Leonard wrote his own physics inspired vows and Penny recited the lyrics to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” It wasn’t typical but it rang true to the couple and inspired some goose bumps. And so: While CBS advertised last night’s episode, the season nine premiere, as featuring the eight-years-in-the-making marriage of Leonard and Penny (spoiler: It did!), the focus of the show ended up being Sheldon and Amy.

But their wedding night quickly devolved into post-infidelity cliches, as Penny admitted later she couldn’t stop picturing Leonard kissing the other girl and Leonard admitted he still sees her regularly, as they work together. Leonard could barely carry his blushing bride across the threshold, though Penny was not in any mood for consummating, especially after Leonard let another bomb drop. The trouble came after Amy lost patience with the core dynamic of their extremely slow-moving relationship: her wanting more, and Sheldon resisting, and their settling on some mutually satisfactory, and also mutually frustrating, compromise. Generally, weddings happen in season finales for obvious reason—because TV is a sucker for the classic “marriage plot,” in which the wedding is a nice ribbon to tie up a long stretch of well-they-or-wont-they.

Amy, for her part, has put up with this, not just because “your personality quirks, which others find abhorrent or rage-inducing, I find cute as a button,” but also because she hopes, against all reason, that Sheldon will eventually come around. Late last season, the couple—on the “date night” stipulated by the “relationship agreement” Sheldon has required—decide to build a blanket fort in Sheldon’s living room. (“I’ll get the blankets,” Sheldon squeals, “you Google how to have childlike fun!”) Amy decides to take advantage of the opportunity.

The group pretty firmly allies itself with Team Amy when they gather at Howard and Bernadette’s to watch the wedding via webcam, leaving Sheldon outside to watch from the window. No piece of paper has ever cut me this deep.” This is the stuff, certainly, of terrible rom-com cliché. (You half expect Sheldon to procure a pint of Ben & Jerry’s from the freezer of his perpetually well-stocked apartment, and/or to interrupt Penny during her wedding so that she might provide a long-distance rendition of his favorite soothing song, “Soft Kitty.”) And yet, for Sheldon, this love stuff is the polar opposite of conventional: It is new and weird and unexpected. The show, at first, left open the question of whether Sheldon is truly asexual or whether he simply believes, so deeply that his body has cooperated with him, that sex—like alcohol, like drugs—will compromise the workings of the thing that he values most about himself: his brain. It’s funny, the [live] audience giggled a little bit the first time they heard them because they thought, maybe, they were going to be goofier than they were, but then very quickly, they caught up and realized it was beautiful.

Amy—who is almost as brilliant as, and even more stubborn than, he is—has gradually changed Sheldon’s attitude toward intimacy. (“Amy has made me a more affectionate, open-minded person,” he admits at one point. Sheldon is initially attracted to Amy because at their first meeting, she informs him that, for her, “coitus is off the table.” That changes, though, for both of them.

For Amy—who once resorted to faking an illness so Sheldon would rub VapoRub onto her chest, and who quickly realizes that an offer of Yoo-hoo, a favorite drink of Sheldon’s (“the name literally beckons!”), is the best way to get him to come over late at night—it changes more quickly than it does for Sheldon. I’ve always loved those episodes where she might not be able to relate and certainly doesn’t have the same passion for physics that Leonard has but she loves his passion for it and that’s appealing to her. It was nice to hear the live audience giggle when he launched into his vows being physics heavy and then ending in a very emotional and honest, genuine place. Molaro: It seemed to be the right blend of silly and fun and something she could believably pull out of her head at the last second that also when it was done being silly, actually did mean a lot to him. It gives us a figure in the long tradition of Sherlock and Spock and even Prufrock—characters who are extremely mature in some ways and extremely juvenile in others.

Characters who see the world as a series of systems and structures, but who are at their most compelling when they let their own messy humanity shine through. We understand your passion for this role and you want to evolve the character but these guys evolve slowly, think of molasses in terms of evolving.” There have been moments where if we didn’t mature the characters — like when Leonard told Penny he was in love with her and she didn’t return the sentiment — that changes a person. The show has been interesting for all these years in large part because Sheldon’s own progress, from vaguely robotic to vaguely romantic, has itself been so interesting.

It seemed oddly OK to me — and the way it should be. (Laughs.) But moving forward, we’re flying right to the face of it in the second episode in meeting Mandy and Leonard working hard to try and put this behind them. Galecki: There’s part of me that’s been on the fence about this situation and you try not to ever judge your character but when you’re so close to him, it’s hard not to. As far as Mandy, Leonard is doing his best to rectify what he’s tarnished and is going to put his head on the chopping block for Penny for the relationship. It’s a lot of weird things that he knows he’s a smart guy and he’s used to being able to apply logic and science to figuring things out and none of that seems to be working for him these days.

She’s not in a rush; she wasn’t looking to be with another person — she just wanted to figure out what she’s doing and if a full life of Sheldon is exactly what’s right for her. Molaro: He may try to but that’s all it is for him right now: just trying to make her jealous or do anything to get her to have a feeling or miss him. She might have said, “I’ve got your great-grandmother’s ring, I want to send it to you.” I’m not sure how that conversation went down, whether Sheldon asked for it or if she just gave it to him and that’s what put the thoughts in his head.

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