Whoa, Big Bang Theory. Apparently This Is Us isn’t the only show to bring out the emotion this fall. Tonight’s Big Bang was uncharacteristically heavy, but it worked beautifully given what’s happening in the lives of our favorite group of misfits. (Spoilers ahead!)
Last week, Bernadette struggled with the realization that she might not get to work on a significant research project because of her pregnancy. Although there was no conclusion to that story this week, another kind of dilemma was brought to the forefront: Bernadette’s lack of excitement over her unborn baby. We knew Bernadette was never crazy about kids, but her inner struggle was on full display tonight. “Every girl dreams about being a mom,” she says to Raj. “Sometimes you think you’re never going to have kids, and one day you wake up and you’re pregnant, and it doesn’t matter that your career’s going great right now.”
Raj tried to help get Bernadette excited by suggesting they pick out a nursery color or theme—but, of course, that doesn’t work. “I don’t care what color the room is,” she shouted. “Just drop it!” It was the kind of moment that’s seldom shown on network sitcoms, much less one as joke-heavy as Big Bang. Kudos to Melissa Rauch for portraying Bernadette’s feelings in a real, honest way.
A commercial break and several scenes later, the show went even deeper with this admission from Bernadette: “Raj, it’s my baby. I should care about nurseries and colors, and I don’t. What’s wrong with me? I’m waiting to feel excited, but it’s not happening. What if it never happens?” And then, as if Oprah appeared out of the blue (except in the form of Raj’s OBGYN father via Skype), Bernadette got this advice: “Some people are baby people. Some people are not baby people. Doesn’t mean you won’t love your own baby. Being excited isn’t a guarantee of anything.”
When’s the last time a sitcom got such heavy material so right? (Answer: Probably Chuck Lorre’s other show, Mom, which isn’t afraid to go there with addiction and recovery.) Bernadette’s feelings aren’t uncommon at all—and yet, it’s rare to see them discussed so openly in pop-culture.
PHOTO: WARNER BROS./MICHAEL YARISH
That wasn’t the only emotional plot line of the episode. While Raj and Bernadette were on a journey of self-discovery, Sheldon, Leonard, and Howard were burning the midnight oil in an attempt to build the quantum gyroscope. No big deal (well, at least not to viewers) except for the fact that we’ve never really seen Sheldon so vulnerable over a work project. As if on the brink of defeat (something we never thought we’d see from Sheldon), he confessed to Leonard, “I can’t. I can’t figure out the math. I’ve been racking my brain for days, and I can’t. I’ve got nothing. I’m not as smart as I think I am. I’m so sorry.”
Thanks to the brilliance of Jim Parsons—whose Sheldon got the gang into this time crunch in the first place—you wouldn’t have been alone if you found yourself visibly moved by his apparent defeat. Sure, sleep-deprivation seriously messes with your emotions, but never did we expect to see Sheldon this human.
In the end, the trio got Colonel Williams to give them two years instead of two months, and Bernadette felt better after talking to Dr. Koothrappali—but, seriously, Big Bang, what did you do to us tonight?!
One piece of advice: Keep it up.
An all-new episode of The Big Bang Theory airs next Monday at 8 P.M. ET.
Originally Written By Jessica Radloff, Glamour
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