This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory is called “The Decoupling Fluctuation.” In it, Howard confides in Bernadette that the other astronauts are picking on him. Plus, Sheldon struggles to keep Penny’s secrets, while Amy insists he hold her hand in public.

The Players:

  • Director: Mark Cendrowski
  • WriterChuck Lorre, Jim Reynolds, Maria Ferrari
  • Cast: Johnny Galecki, Jim ParsonsKaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Rauch, Kevin Sussman

Episode Title: “The Decoupling Fluctuation”

The crew encourages Penny to tell Leonard how she feels about him. Howard is the victim of bullying on the space station. Sheldon finds it very difficult to keep a secret (again). Raj and Stuart plan to go out on the town.

The Good:

  • One-armed Wonder: What happened to Amy’s right hand? It was out of sight in every scene because it was in a cast. This was the first episode filmed after actor Mayim Bialik had her car accident. Director Mark Cendrowski did a great job of hiding her injury.
  • Astronaut Screams for Nine Minutes: Howard gets picked on by the other astronauts, which is great because it shows how close he and Bernadette are. We just wish there had been a YouTube video called “Astronaut Screams for Nine Minutes” featuring him screeching at their pranks. Or maybe shows like How I Met Your Mother and True Blood have spoiled us…
  • Resistance (To Change) is Futile: Penny’s relationship with Leonard brings up some interesting ideas regarding relationships and people’s fear of change. It’s true. We like routine. But we don’t often consider our long-term relationships with others to be resting on that fear. We don’t think about how relationships effect the lives of others. Such as when Sheldon pleads with Penny not to end things with Leonard simply because of the change in his own life.

The Bad:

  • Sheldon’s Hair: It’s very out of character for Sheldon to have his hair this long. He used to keep it cut short and make references to “hippies’ when he missed his regular trim. As he notes in this episode, he is a fan of homeostasis. He doesn’t like change. He even asks Penny to go back to a different scent of shampoo, yet he hasn’t noticed his own hair?

The Quotes:

  • Bernadette: “I’m basically married to a sexy Buzz Lightyear.” Amy: ”Whenever I’m around Sheldon I feel like my loins are on fire. In the good way! Not the urinary tract infection way!”
  • Stuart: “I like Mark Ruffalo, too.” Sheldon: “Settle down, there, fake Wolowitz. No one likes a kiss up.”
  • Amy: “It’s complicated.” Sheldon: “String theory is complicated. That’s just yucky.”
  • Sheldon: “When I have a feeling, I know it. Trains? Love them. Swordfish? I love them, too. They have a tool for a nose.”
  • Amy: “Just don’t tell Leonard anything, or Penny will kill me.” Sheldon: “Fine, but F.Y.I., I don’t like secret-keeping. Also, hand-holding? Not a fan. But hammerhead sharks, good. Another fish with a tool on its head.”
  • Leonard: “Where exactly did your mother have you tested?”
  • Sheldon: “Did you know that while Leonard is not considered tall in our society, in today’s South Korea, he’s downright average. Now there’s a keeper!”
  • Penny: “What are you doing here, you weirdo?” Sheldon: “Really? I’ve seen strange men traipsing in and out of here for years, but when I do it, it’s weird?”
  • Penny: “We’re keepin’ things homeostasis.” Amy: “Hm. It’s so cute when she tries.”

Overall:

The Decoupling Fluctuationis a typical Big Bang Theory episode, making light of bullying and “old, boring” relationships from an overly scientific viewpoint.

Rating: 9/10

The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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Do you think Leonard and Penny will stay together?