This review contains spoilers.
12.7 The Grant Allocation Derivation
A few weeks after Penny revealed her lack of desire to have children and everyone reacted very poorly, she gets her chance to tell a judgemental Bernadette ‘I told you so’ and doesn’t take it!
Opportunity comes when, completely overwhelmed by her challenging work and home lives, Bernadette takes to hiding in the kids’ playhouse every evening. After telling Howard that she has to work late, it’s the quiet solo time she’s been craving and, as soon as she confides in Penny, they decide to make it a group activity away from their husbands.
Of course, they’re not the only married ladies in town anymore, and Amy soon catches wind of the ‘secret club’ they’ve established without telling her. There’s something a bit upsetting about hearing that Amy’s special skill is sniffing out when she’s being excluded, which she almost certainly developed as a friendless teenager. The opposite of this is Penny’s skill of drinking just enough to have a good time without being hungover – something to be proud of indeed.
Of course, the secret ‘wine and Easy Bake Oven snacks’ club isn’t so secret after all, and Howard has known about it all along. It’s a cute moment as he tells Raj that he’s just letting her get on with it and will file it away for use the next time he’s in trouble for something (not getting life insurance, which in a different show would be a hint that they’ll all die in a big fiery explosion).
A good reversal of the stereotype that it’s the father who needs a shed in the garden for his ‘me time’, as Howard gladly picks up the slack.
Leonard gets his own storyline this week for a change, and its more or less a solo one. Given the responsibility of assigning grant money to one project at the university, he discovers that sometimes power can just make you feel even more powerless. Everyone’s after the money (except Sheldon, who just needs his mind and a frozen yoghurt machine) and, even as he narrows it down to Kripke, Raj and ‘crow lady’, he knows everyone’s going to hate him no matter what.
If that’s the case, then, why not just spend the money on himself? It’s a great little twist that sees Leonard finally stop obsessing over how liked he is and take a leaf out of Sheldon’s book. Everyone still hates him, but at least now he has his own laser.
But his dithering about the decision does force Penny to hide out with Bernadette as, after an initial period of excitement at seeing her husband be so decisive and harsh, he reverts to his usual level of anxiety. Just the change in the pitch of his voice and she’s outta there.
We’re hurtling towards the mid-season point of The Big Bang Theory’s twelfth season and, by all accounts, this has been a solid bunch of episodes. More Stuart and more Anu please, but there’s plenty of time for that before we wrap up. Next week: Amy’s parents return!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Imitation Perturbation, here.