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October 4, 2015

The Big Bang Theory: The Maternal Capacitance

by Kona Gallagher, posted Feb 10th 2009 2:03AM

(S02E15) Well, it was a big episode that we almost missed due to the Presidential address tonight. This was a great episode for one simple reason: we finally find out that Leonard and Sheldon are friends because Leonard is trying to have sex with his mother. Wait -- that's not quite right. But seriously. How great is it that Leonard's mother and Sheldon are basically the exact same person?

I like the direction they took with it: They didn't go the predictable route of Leonard feeling as though Sheldon is replacing him; they hinted at a Mrs. Robinson relationship, but didn't quite go there. Instead, the writers made their reactions believable. Sheldon and Mrs. Hofstadter spent a great deal of time talking about brain scans and played Rock Band, which as we all know, is the great equalizer.

Christine Baranski was great as Leonard's mother. Her coldness and exacting standards do a good job of explaining both why Leonard can put up with Sheldon so well and why Leonard is basically a puppy in search of love. Unfortunately, his mother's emotional stunting is keeping him from ever getting said love, as we see with Penny.

I've mentioned before how I love that they're really easing back into the Leonard/Penny relationship. Ever since the Christmas episode, they've been tentatively and naturally getting closer to each other. Tonight, they found the missing ingredient: tequila.

Poor Penny. She overlooks so much in order to have just a friendship with any of these guys. She even starts to overlook Leonard's creepy pillow talk, but when he says that she's just trying to have sex with her dad, well, I don't think anyone can blame her for kicking him out. There's only so much you can pretend not to hear, you know?

In any case, I don't think it's over for Penny and Leonard. I'm sure that this will set them back quite a bit, but Penny's not the type to completely get rid of him over the fact that he said something stupid. Something really, really, profoundly stupid. Things will probably be cool between them for the next several episodes, but I have a feeling that when it's time for sweeps, they'll heat up yet again.

Some of my favorite lines from this episode:

Penny: "What was Leonard like when he was little?"
Mrs. Hofstadter: "Oh, I think you mean 'young;' he's always been little."

"At that age, he was well enmeshed in what Freud would call the Phallic Stage of psycho-sexual development; an outmoded theory, of course, but the boy did spend most of his waking hours with a tight grasp on his penis." - Mrs. Hofstadter

"If you want to have intercourse with that girl, find out what kind of cologne her father wore." - Mrs. Hofstadter

Leonard: "She's only been here a day and a half, and I'm seriously considering alcoholism as a new career path."
Penny: "Hey, I talked to her for five minutes yesterday, and I've been half bombed ever since."

"You shush! I'm happy. I want to talk about it." - Leonard

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Magical! The best episode so far. And it's one, that wouldn't have worked in the beginning of the series, since you have to be familiar with the quirks of each character. But now that they are well established , someone like Leonards mother works wonders. We haven't had someone so far, who analyzed the different relationships so accurately and put them on another level.

Am I making sense so far? Being Swiss, there are limits to my English. Telling friends what this great sitcom is about is not easy, because there is no good German word for "nerd" and what it all entails.

I don't think though that Leonard's mom would be a good choice as a regular cast member: Someone who holds a mirror up to the characters (her analysis of Wolowitz and Rajesh having traits of a gay relationship and the follow up between the two: terrific) can be an exception, but someone who does that on a regular basis makes a sitcom probably unfunny

February 11 2009 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was a great episode, one of the best of the season. I don't try to analyze it to death (I save that for Lost), I just enjoy the great writing & acting. Best sitcom on tv right now.

February 11 2009 at 3:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bryan Bennett

I'm really starting to like The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon is becoming one of my favorite TV characters. But I wonder why online buzz isn't following the growing ratings. In the TVLoop community (we make TV Facebook apps) we're seeing very little activity in the Addicted to The Big Bang Theory app. I just wrote a quick blog post there referencing this one on TV Squad.


Any thoughts on why the slow online pickup?

February 11 2009 at 1:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bryan Bennett's comment

Interesting. I wish I knew, since this show nails every geek internet/pop culture trope you could ever want, and they do it intelligently. They don't mock geeks, they celebrate them, and most of the mocking is reserved for the "regular people."

I dunno why folks who live online aren't in love with this show. It's made for us. Often it seems like it was made BY us. :)

February 11 2009 at 3:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you, torrents. I appreciate being allowed to watch a show I like. :)

O. M. G. Was Christine Buranski not the absolute perfect choice to play that part? Totally against her type which added all this palpable tension and made the Rock band joke all the better.

I also loved that they didn't go with any standard sitcom tropes about how Leonard wants to bone his roommate or his mom because one is like the other or whatever stupid Oedipal/sublimated homosexuality plot most sitcom writers find clever. They showed you how these two were identical and left you to figure out how weird you felt about it. Love that they respect my intelligence on this silly little comedy.

February 10 2009 at 9:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought that Mrs. Hofstadter reminded me (in addition to Sheldon) of Ramona, the girl who had a crush on Sheldon a few episodes back. So I thought (a) there is apparently a certain type of female that is attracted to Sheldon, and that -- in his way -- he's attracted to as well. There is a definite trend in the kind of women Sheldon Cooper admires.

February 10 2009 at 9:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hands down, this was one of the best episodes of the series to date. I laughed the entire time. And I loved Leonard's mother. She was hilarious. How she made Penny cry just talking to her while climbing the stairs. Her matter of fact, "I need to unirnate.' Scanning Sheldon's brain and their instant connection. Her diagnosis of Leonard's friends at lunch.

I also loved the interaction between Penny and Leonard.

This show is just consistently funny.

February 10 2009 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks Obama. My Tivo DID skip this so you could sell me some huckster crap about spending my way out of debt.

I'd rather watch Barney run the country.

February 10 2009 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved it! Poor Leonard!
Question: What happened with Sarah Gilbert's character?
She was really good as Leslie. I thought she was being added as a regular.

February 10 2009 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fun, fun, fun sitcom. I wish it will last.

Interested in other sitcoms? Want to participate in the creation of one?


February 10 2009 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

my question is whatever happened with Dr. Stephanie? at one point they are living together and now nothing? Come on BBT how about an explanation it's like she went to Mandyville

February 10 2009 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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