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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.16 - The Intimacy Acceleration




After last week's bombshell, how will the gang cope? Find out here.

Amy has read about this experiment which tries to make couples fall in love, which has been running around the Internet lately. I'm shocked the episode has been cobbled together in enough time to incorporate this. Sheldon is skeptical, but everyone thinks this is an interesting premise. Finally, mostly to shut them up, Sheldon volunteers to be part of the experiment. Penny volunteers to be the other half, which will soon lead to disaster, I'm sure. Opening credits.

The two go out into the hallway to conduct their experiment, while Sheldon explores all contingencies in case they do fall in love. Penny promises to buy him a lot of dragon T-shirts, so its basically a proposal. Meanwhile, Raj fills Amy and Leonard's heads with doubts about the safety of the experiment. They decide, in turn, to do it themselves. It...doesn't go so well. Raj tactfully suggests a "double date" with him and Emily. Meanwhile, Howard is at an airline counter raging because they've lost his mother's ashes. Wait, ashes? I really don't think Mrs. Wolowitz would have gone that route, but okay.

Sheldon is convinced that Penny will fall in love with him. I don't think it's a significant risk. Meanwhile, on their date, Emily suggests they visit an "escape room", which basically seems like a giant room full of terrifying puzzles. That fits perfectly with her crazy personality. Penny answers an important question without mentioning Leonard, which sets off Sheldon's Spidey senses. Sheldon's answers tend to be more likely to involve aliens than Amy. However, he justifies it as usual.

The gang goes into the escape room, which is some kind of kitschy science lab. Unfortunately, they are then attacked by a fake zombie. Oh noes. The airline manages to track down the ashes - they arrived in Los Angeles, but they appear to have been taken by another passenger. Howard goes on a rant that puts the hardened customer service agent into tears. Sheldon diagnoses Penny as "using humour to avoid vulnerability". Under duress, Penny admits that her secret dream is to be as smart as her neighbours. Sheldon, meanwhile, wants to be able to read minds - like Penny. As in, interpreting feelings or humour or meaning. Huh.

The group copes with the crazy zombie exceptionally well, solving the mystery in minutes. The zombie is very sad. Howard insists on staying at the airport until Mrs. Wolowitz can be located. He recounts how he asked her to take a cab to the airport, as he was too busy to drive her, and how guilty he feels now. Bernadette goes to the customer service agent and confronts her once and for all. Bitch.

The scientists walk out of the escape room in triumph, annoyed that they spent $200 on this. Penny and Sheldon are still asking questions. During the interview, he finally reveals his birthday, which he has never told anyone before. Penny is stunned. He explains that it was part of the experiment. She promises to keep it a secret.

Mrs. Wolowitz is located, and I'm still a little confused that she was cremated. Howard tells the urn that he's sorry, and he'll keep her close for the rest of his life. Bernadette just sighs.

Penny and Sheldon finish their questions and commence staring. It's a long four minutes. They get creeped out. After about a minute and a half, they decide they're better off as "brother and sister". However, they reminisce happily about their long friendship - and how happy they are to be in each other's lives. And, according to Sheldon, how much Penny owes them for food. They conclude they're not in love, but the experiment was a positive thing. Sheldon still wants a dragon T-shirt, though. She walks him home and they say goodnight. Without a kiss, of course. They are surprised by the gang, who have thrown Sheldon a birthday party. Dick move, Penny!

Well, apart from the weird ending, the show was actually quite interesting. The heart, of course, was Penny and Sheldon (everyone else was kind of eh). Those two are always reliable for a good heart-to-heart, and tonight we got one. The core of this show has always been this group's friendship, and for two members at least, we got down to what really makes them tick. A deep, touching and interesting half hour.

Tomorrow, the belated Modern Family - I hear it's a good one.

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