What a fun episode!
But then, it's always better when a comedy tells jokes around a serious topic or two. The humor seems to flow better when that happens.
After two years of living at Howard's house, Stuart finally moved out.....and Howard and Bernadette were horrified to discover that they miss him.
Meanwhile, Penny met with Dr. Gallo, initially to try and sell pharmaceutical drugs to her. She ended up opening up about her marriage, and made a few discoveries in the process, on The Big Bang Theory Season 9 Episode 12.
It's always cool to see Leonard get validated when he brings up the topic of his horrific mother. It doesn't happen all that often but when it does, we get to see the look of gratitude on his face.
Although, I don't think we ever get to see anything close to closure at these events. But his talk with Dr. Gallo seemed to bring him awfully close, didn't it?
The real kicker was watching Dr. Gallo calling Penny out on her manipulation:
Penny: Do you have any questions?
Gallo: Just one. When you made your husband pretend to be a patient so you could get access to me, what were you thinking there?
Penny has always been able to manipulate Leonard – we knew this. No one has ever really challenged her on it, however, with the possible exception of Leonard's beautiful upstairs neighbor on The Big Bang Theory Season 2 Episode 19. So it was great to see Gallo knock the wind out of her sails.
We're not sure if Penny was able to get much out of their session, other than a sense of relief at finding someone who understood her.
And, of course, we're not even going to talk about the problem with Dr. Gallo's ethics. There will be no mention of the fact that psychiatrists and psychologists aren't supposed to breach patient confidentiality, even when it comes to married partners. For the sake of the story, we'll just gloss over that.
So what does this all mean? Probably not much. Penny and Leonard will continue to be the loving, slightly dysfunctional couple they've always been. And Sheldon will continue to be their overgrown "man-child."
The story around Sheldon and Rajesh's discovery of the asteroid was cute, but not that important. There was hope that the "Sheldon finally beds Amy" story (from The Big Bang Theory Season 9 Episode 11) would continue, and that there'd be a debate about Sheldon's promise to do it again in a year, but of course that didn't happen. Got to keep something back for a future episode or two, right?
It's important that Stuart finally took the hint and vacated Howard and Bernadette's house. He overstayed his welcome a long time ago.
I liked the character initially but was disappointed when the writers chose to turn him into a creep. I suppose it provides an explanation for why he's still alone, but....it doesn't come across as comedy at all, ultimately. That last scene with him staring at the sleeping couple was just awful.
Some final thoughts:
- Howard standing in his underwear in the garage after Stuart leaves: priceless. (And a little disturbing.)
- Leonard playing jump-rope with some girls was just wrong, wrong, wrong. They're not getting us into his corner with that kind of thing.
- You may have recognized Jane Kaczmarek, who played Dr. Gallo. She is best known for her role as Malcolm's mother on Malcolm in the Middle. And would you believe she's 60 years old? Incredible.
- I hope we see more of Gallo. In fact it would be great if all three couples – Penny and Leonard, Bernadette and Howard, and Rajesh and Emily – all had turns getting counseling from her.
What did you think of this episode? Please be sure to chime in, in the comments below!
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Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.