Big Bang Theory Season 6 Premiere: Leonard and Penny Swap Gender Roles

Season six of The Big Bang Theory premiered Thursday night. The theme revolving around this episode was romantic love. Since this is already the sixth season, there needed to be a way to draw viewers into the show by stretching character plot-lines and situations previously unexplored. In my opinion, this was accomplished.

The episode starts off with Howard escaping the turmoil between his new bride, Bernadette and an equally opposing force, his mother. He’s working in the international space station in zero-gravity (my childhood dream!) and besides being a super cool feat, looks amazing. Even in outer space, Howard can’t escape his mother. 

However, it’s a little tiring to still see that Howard isn’t able to be his own man and instead tries to defer to his mother, while treating his Ph.D toting wife as a dummy. To voice her displeasure, she makes a reference to a similar joke that Clint Eastwood used in his opening lines at the RNC. This triangular conversation even has Howard’s Russian colleague asking, “We lost the gold medal to these people?”

His friends on the other hand are confronted with similar relationship challenges. Sheldon and Amy are about to celebrate their second year anniversary and have plans to celebrate at an upscale restaurant. Sheldon, as usual is apprehensive of showing any human feelings toward others, and therefore, has enlisted Raj’s assistance. He becomes the third wheel. Amy, on the other hand, is looking forward to her evening plans and as a symbolic gesture of the significance of this event, bleaches her upper lip which makes for a funny moment. 

Our other couple, Leonard and Penny seem to have switched gender roles. Since Leonard proposed to Penny in a inappropriate time/place, things have gotten weird between them. This episode shows Leonard attempting to be manly but still caring and affectionate towards Penny. He does this by making a relaxing dinner that all guys can appreciate: beer, chips and buffalo wings. No romantic pressure. But then, he wants to “talk” about the relationship. In return, Penny retorts, after a long day of work, “Can I just be the girl tonight?” This is an interesting development of Penny’s character. In these six seasons, we’ve seen her develop from a well-meaning, but boy-crazy girl to a reasonably mature but still fun-loving woman. It also shows that not all girls want to talk about a relationship. Brilliant!

Raj acts as a mediator to resolve the misunderstanding between Leonard and Penny. I’m pleasantly surprised by his forceful handling of the situation — with his fingers pointing at the couple — to get them to realize that their ultimate destiny is with each other. I’m also reminded that Raj’s previous nervous disposition with women has either been cured, or in remission.

After Amy nearly breaks up with Sheldon over his supposed need to be independent, he manages to make up with her by quoting some surprisingly, touching lines from Spider-Man. This is good enough for her, but expects the dinner check to be split between the two of them.

Finally, after a long night, Raj meets up with Stuart, the comic book manager/owner and as of season six, a permanent member of the show. They somehow start dancing and grooving to some bossa nova music reminiscent of the tropical landscape it was meant to inspire.

8.5/10