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Worldly Distractions: The Big Bang Theory 8.23 - The Maternal Combustion





Leonard's mom is about to arrive, along with Sheldon's, to see them receive a huge award. This is also known as "the Apocalypse". Penny is worried that her potential mother-in-law hates her, while Amy wonders how both the mothers will get along. Sheldon is convinced they'll be best friends, since he's seen the genius + kind simpleton thing work before. Cue a glare from Leonard. Opening credits.

Mary Cooper is of course bursting with pride, even if she doesn't quite understand her son or his work. She's also still one step removed from being snarked on at FJ. Sheldon warns her to "keep the Bible babble to yourself" while Beverly Hofstadter is visiting. She not-so-subtly declares him a sinner. Meanwhile, Beverly berates Leonard for not organizing a wedding, and probes for an answer - including questions about their sex life. This is gonna be awesome guys. As it turns out, Leonard is just as worried about the Meeting of the Mothers as Sheldon is. Beverly assures him that she can handle anyone, even people from East Texas.

So they meet and it's awkward and everyone is trying to take a step back from themselves. Let's cut to Howard and Bernadette and see how they're doing. Oh look, there's Stuart. In his underwear. Along with Howard. In his underwear. Bernadette should just give up.

As usual, the mothers are getting along great with the opposite sons. Beverly tries to analyze Mary, which Mary takes to very easily, since it involves telling adorable Sheldon stories. (Note: "yellowcake from Chad" does not mean "Twinkies from a friend".) "Sounds like Sheldon was a handful," says Beverly drily, before putting down her son one more time.

Howard, Stuart, and special guest Raj lie on the couch playing video games all day. Bernadette berates them for being unproductive. She forces them into cleaning the house, so that they may behave like adults for once. This is met with general uproar, but they go with it.

Penny arrives at the apartment, to a frosty reception from Beverly and a warm one from the woman who is not about to become her mother-in-law. Sheldon doesn't help things. Leonard takes him aside to tell him to STFU. Sheldon doesn't quite get it. He is summarily dubbed a "double mother suckler".

Back in the living room, the mothers are finally at odds, though as Penny points out, "You both believe in bearded Jewish guys." Beverly is particularly vicious, wondering out loud how Sheldon could ever have been born to someone as "backward" as Mary. I'm Team Mary here, and so should most sane people be. Leonard and Sheldon exit the bedroom arguing.

Raj, Howard and Stuart clean the apartment top to bottom, all while discussing how much Bernadette does and how pampered Howard is. Howard tries to prove his manliness by taking out the trash, but winds up spilling it and calling Bernie for help.

Beverly goes for coffee with Sheldon and apologizes for her treatment of his mother. He, of course, sides with her, pointing out that he is the only smart one in his family, while Leonard is the relative dullard. Meanwhile, Leonard is complaining to Mary, who assures him that his mother loves him "in a cold, Godless way". Mary says she'll apologize to Beverly, in the spirit of "turn the other cheek". She then offers to cook spaghetti and hot dogs, though Leonard thinks he doesn't deserve it.

Bernadette comes home to a clean kitchen, though it's not as clean as it seems, considering that his shoes are sticking to the floor. Back at the apartment, they reach a tense truce, with the academic "fuck you" of "I respect your beliefs" and the fundie "fuck you" of "I'll pray for you". Beverly even mentions that she's had a change of heart, prompted by Sheldon, and will now offer Leonard unconditional love. She even offers a spontaneous hug.


Tag scene - Howard and crew scrub the floor, inch by inch, singing "It's a Hard-Knock Life". Surprisingly, they know all the words and even the beat. It's a great way to end an episode.

Christine Baranski killed it. Simple as that. Laurie Metcalfe was also excellent, with some truly WTF lines to handle. The episode pretty much lived up to its premise, which is a tough task. The other plot was basically nothing, except for that killer final scene. It was a great encounter, and gave us some insight into the lead characters - but mostly, it worked as a vehicle for the always-popular Duelling Actresses. Will the season finale next week be as much fun? Find out on Worldly Distractions.

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