Posted by Janie Logan
May 4, 2010, 16:23 GMT
Sheldon (Jim Parsons) tries to keep everyone happy in the aftermath of the Leonard-Penny breakup. Photo courtesy of CBS.
Of course Sheldon would find a way to make Leonard and Penny's break-up all about him! Jim Parsons shone in this episode, as Sheldon became awkwardly and uncharacteristically considerate about how his friends are feeling.
On the one hand, he doesn't want to stop being friends with Penny because, as he tells her: "It was a lot of work to accommodate you into my life. I'd hate for that effort to have been in vain." Sheldon is a creature of habit, and as much as he criticizes her intellect, he's gotten used to her being around.
If he had to start avoiding her, it would require him to adjust his way of life, which he never wants to do. Plus, he does in fact like her. She puts up with his quirks, and she cares enough about him to get him Leonard Nimoy's autograph on a napkin (and, thereby, his DNA, in case Sheldon ever masters the cloning process).
Thus, Sheldon becomes like the child caught up in the middle of his parents' separation, eagerly trying to keep the peace. Howard tells him that if he's on Team Leonard, he has to abide by the "bros before hoes" code. Sheldon feels the need to hide the fact that he made plans to have dinner at Penny's apartment, so he ends up sticking a package of hot dogs down his pants, being chased by a Rottweiler, and getting a stomach ache from eating twice.
Sheldon ends up feeling guilty for being secretive (not to mention, letting it slip to Penny how depressed Leonard has been--crying constantly, smelling the pillow she used to sleep on, and staring at photographs of her). He wakes Leonard up in the middle of the night to confess his emotional turmoil: "She made me spaghetti with little hot dogs cut up in it. Well, a little hot dog. I gave up the other 5 hot dogs to a real dog. A real big dog. A hellhound."
The second half of the episode was particularly hilarious, with Penny and Leonard engaging in a custody battle of sorts over Sheldon. Leonard would take him shoe shopping, and Penny would take him to buy sheets and towels. Penny could bring him for a day at Disneyland if she didn't let him get scared by Goofy or ride Space Mountain after eating lots of junk food.
Watching Sheldon sleeping while still wearing his Mickey Mouse ears, Leonard and Penny realized that there is hope for the two of them to be friends again. I'm sure Sheldon was completely oblivious to the effect he had, but he actually helped Leonard and Penny get past the horribly uncomfortable phase of their break-up.
Johnny Galecki played his emotions well. Leonard was the one who said "I love you" to Penny without having the words reciprocated. With Raj complaining about being alone, Leonard tried to reassure him: "Don't worry, you'll meet a girl someday. And she'll be beautiful. And kind, and sexy, and funny, and everything you ever wanted in a woman…You'll fall hopelessly in love and give her your heart. She'll take it and grind it into pathetic little pieces."
I'd like to see more from Kaley Cuoco about what Penny's going through. Clearly she feels bad for the pain she's caused Leonard, but there is no other indication that she is upset at losing this sweet and wonderful guy who had become such an important part of her life. Hopefully, there will be something big for Penny in the last few episodes of the season.
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