The Big Bang Theory recap: ‘The Opening Night Excitation’
‘Big Bang Theory': How Will Coitus Change Amy and Sheldon?.
The proton torpedo has been fired. It was masterful timing, really, that helped The Big Bang Theory execute an episode that contained a moment fans will be talking about for seasons to come.In the early days of “The Big Bang Theory,” series co-creator Chuck Lorre spoke about the Sheldon character being asexual – or really, just choosing not to participate in the rituals of dating and mating, preoccupied as he was with science and related pastimes, from science fiction to comic books. On one hand, the CBS comedy provided closure for one of its most highly hyped story lines as Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and longtime girlfriend Amy (Mayim Bialik) finally lost their virginity to each other.
So the long-awaited, much-ballyhooed consummation of his unorthodox relationship with Amy is either an intriguing evolution or a betrayal of the show’s roots and byproduct of “What do we do to keep things fresh in Season 9?” desperation, depending on one’s point of view. The episode featured Sheldon putting girlfriend Amy above his need to see the new Star Wars movie in a fine example of love for the emotionally stunted character. Yet after more than five years of his peculiar courtship with fellow scientist Amy Farrah Fowler, the producers felt they had organically reached the juncture to make Thursday’s much-ballyhooed episode a logical next step. On the other, the entire episode was about “Star Wars.” In fact, the show — currently the most-watched sitcom in the country — started by comparing what would be more important: “Star Wars” or sex. Rather than see Star Was: The Force Awakens on opening night with the gang, Sheldon opts to spend Amy’s birthday with her and deliver perhaps the best gift she could have ever wanted: coitus.
Consider it the Chuck Lorre, multi-cam laugh-track version of Donna Martin finally getting laid. (Tori Spelling managed to hold out for seven seasons and 206 episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210. One of Sheldon’s main qualities, in fact, is his almost complete lack of empathy, his sizable brain so preoccupied with scientific formulae and fictional minutia as to scarcely have enough room to fret about anyone else’s feelings. Take that, Mayim Bialik.) In the run of TV’s most-watched comedy, it was an event big enough to warrant a press announcement weeks ago, alerting fans of the must-see “event.” Truth be told, in a series that has been on for nine seasons and seen its characters date, bone, marry, break-up, and reunite in every exhausting configuration, it’s quite remarkable that Sheldon and Amy’s first time in “The Opening Night Excitation” felt the way first-times really should feel: special.
After a chat with friendly ghost/spiritual adviser Professor Proton (Bob Newhart, dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi), Sheldon recognized that he had to celebrate with Amy. Perhaps that’s why the revelation that he was thinking about proposing – right before Amy, hurt once too often, broke up with him – came a bit out of left field. Whether they were hindered by previous relationships or by the ever-important search for extraterrestrial life, here are the pairs who took “will they or won’t they” to the extreme. That concluded with Sheldon deciding to sleep with her for her birthday, even passing on an opportunity to see an early showing of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the viewing of which was presented as a near-orgasmic experience for his friends. But the real surprises of the episode came when Sheldon not only enjoyed it but was also good at it — and revealed that coitus would be an annual event on Amy’s birthday. “That line speaks volumes as to where this fits into his life.
The truth is out there as to whether the two became FBI special agents with benefits, but it was implied that they both dropped their suits in this season 7 episode. Asked if Sheldon-Amy had taken center stage because there have been so many ups and downs between the now-married Leonard and Penny, Molaro said, “We’ve been through a lot with all of the characters, and all of the relationships. As she put it: “After he stopped giggling, he seemed pretty sure of himself.” It all led up to the big scene, which played out with lots of typical jokes. (Sheldon: “I’m sorry, this is a litigious society. Much of that has to do with the gifts of Parsons and Bialik, who have turned their fragile characters into a modern-day “David and Lisa,” having grown to love each other, however improbably, in spite of their respective quirks. I’m going to need verbal consent.”) Then, you saw the couple in bed together before and after — it’s broadcast TV, obviously, so none of the actual action.
That ‘Star Wars’ aspect of it had been kind of floating around in the writers room already, and when we knew the new ‘Star Wars’ movie was coming, that helped those planets align even more.” (Incidentally, Arthur’s joke about wanting to reappear in Angie Dickinson’s bedroom was “not our first Angie Dickinson reference on ‘The Big Bang Theory,’” Molaro noted, citing an earlier episode with James Earl Jones.) The actual sexual encounter, meanwhile, was unexpected in at least two ways. Instead, the writers incorporated “Star Wars” at every turn, jumping back and forth between Sheldon’s friends in the “Star Wars” movie premiere and Sheldon and Amy in bed. Sheldon ends up deciding to skip opening night and the guys end up going with Wil Wheaton, who dresses up in a Star Trek uniform to represent the “home team.” Well, he’s willing. From the very beginning, it’s just not something that holds a lot of interest for him.” For showrunner Steve Molaro, Sheldon’s annual (for now) remark helps put the spotlight on just how much the character has grown not only since the start of the series but also since the couple broke up. “That’s what we tried to strive for — incremental growth — but the characters still feel like the characters,” Molaro tells THR. “That’s what attracted me so much to that moment and that line. Before they were on a break, they had fans breathlessly sipping cappuccinos and waiting for them to finally hook up, which happened in Ross’ (David Schwimmer) museum once various other suitors (we still love you, Paolo) were in the past.
Long-running sitcoms have a history of advancing relationships in an effort to stay fresh – witness later seasons of “Friends” – but Molaro maintained “Big Bang’s” milestones have been rooted in reality for characters in this life phase. “There’s still quite a bit of dynamics between these seven characters that have yet to be explored,” he said. “They’re living their lives, and they’ve been growing for eight and half years now. Yes, they’re going to be physical and, even though he liked it, once a year is good for him.” In terms of what happens post-coitus for Amy and Sheldon, producers are still figuring out what comes next for the couple. It’s one of three “gift” ideas he has. (One of his other ideas involves Amy getting a chance to play with the symphony and the other was a trip to a festival that Amy would attend alone.) They struggle with how much to tell her about the surprise but end up spilling the beans after making one too many hints that leave Amy suspicious. (Friends don’t just randomly invite you to get a bikini wax on your birthday.) When the time comes, she lights candles and the rest unravels rather sweetly. But one thing is certain: their recent reconciliation helped set the stage for both the intimacy and improved relationship. “Certainly Sheldon’s character has the ability to do compartmentalize this and maintain his priorities,” Lorre says. “But this is now part of his psyche. It’s still hard to believe that the two were able to keep their hands off each other while spending an entire summer on his boat between seasons 3 and 4.
Practically speaking, with CBS’ other comedies hardly setting the world on fire, the network has a strong incentive to keep this show as its anchor, meaning “Big Bang’s” future likely hinges on whether (or really, when) the cast will grow tired enough of doing it to be willing to walk away from those Carl Sagan-like checks. But somehow, Joey (Katie Holmes) kept demurring, and they waited to do the deed until more than halfway through season 4, when things finally heated up during their wintry cabin trip. And to the writers’ credit, it’s certainly riskier to explore these relationship-driven dimensions than just another “The guys go to the comic-book store” episode. After countless furtive glances in the workplace, the two pals finally became more than just coworkers after starting a relationship in the season 3 finale.
So it’s nice to have these tent-pole events, and then there’s the smaller, more typical stories that we’ve done.” Given that, would a baby, for someone, be the next logical step? “Not at the moment,” Molaro said. “Babies have a tendency to alter the DNA of a show a little more than we’re looking to at this time. That said, there’s a long history of sitcom characters hooking up mostly out of sheer creative exhaustion – having run out of things to talk about – and ruining shows in the process. Is he worth the effort and the work to be in a relationship with him?’ Ultimately, it came over the course of all these months of them being apart where for her, the answer is yes.
Which couple had the stronger on-the-job chemistry: Bones’ FBI agent and forensic anthropologist, or Castle’s mystery novelist and homicide detective? As far as we’re concerned, with his quirks and all, he’s just Sheldon to us.” “Big Bang Theory” has already been renewed through next season, and given its importance to CBS and value to Warner Bros. This pair clicked a lot faster than Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson) did, yet the toy horse–loving couple ended up in bed a lot sooner than the bad boy from Chino and his former debutante paramour.
Whether or not she will be OK with that is to be determined.” “Broken up didn’t feel right for us and whether it’s sex or not sex, I prefer scenes where Jim and I get to engage like that. And how was Amy and Sheldon’s first time? “Well I enjoyed that more than I thought I would,” Sheldon says post-coital, the camera panning to Amy and her sex hair.
Luke (Scott Patterson) learned it was a good idea to hang on to the horoscope Lorelai (Lauren Graham) gave him, as their first date ended up with her wearing his shirt as she greeted the breakfast crowd at the diner the next morning. As for if Sheldon will always need the Jedi version of Bob Newhart’s Professor Proton to help him determine his major life decisions, that’s not something Lorre can even imagine. “Given where we are now and where I imagined we might be when we started, I can’t say no to that because it’s still amazing to me that we’ve come this far,” he says. “I have no idea what the future holds. But what makes this series so interesting isn’t so much the way it deals with those questions, but the greater will-they/won’t-they that drives the series.
That’s the fun of making a TV series: I don’t have to know; we’ll find out.” For his part, Newhart hopes to continue his history of popping back into the comedy once or twice a season. “I looked in the mirror one day and I said, ‘I’m not ready to quit yet.’ I still have my fastball. Well, it’s more of a will-he/won’t-he: Will Sheldon become more of a human, capable of feeling a full range of emotion and engaging intimately with his loved ones, or won’t he be able to reach that space—of love?
His trepidatious tip-toeing into a world of human experience he probably thought he wasn’t even capable of has been the best kind of comedic fodder for the series as it wears on: the kind that is rooted in heart. She confesses that she has waited for this for so long and has built it up in her head. (The scene cuts to Leonard admitting the exact same thing in the movie theater.) Sheldon gently reminds Amy that he’s never done this before, either.
When showing glints of “normalcy,” an ill-suited word in this case but one that might represent the kind of emotional and social interaction Sheldon is working toward, it’s forever humorous to watch how quickly he’s able to pull out (so to speak) from connection or intimacy at the drop of a hat. “I look forward to your next birthday when we do it again,” he hilariously tells Amy after admitting he enjoyed having sex more than he expected to. After years and years of baby steps, Sheldon finally took the initiative to kiss Amy without prompting, invite her to a slumber party under a living room fort, and admit without hesitation that he loved her. The idea that Sheldon comes to terms with his physical feelings regarding Amy, especially during a point in time when nerd culture is at the peak of its dorkdom, is absolutely satisfying.
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