Episode 16 - The Tangible Affection Proof
21 February 2013
Synopsis: Valentine's Day sees Sheldon struggling to think of a gift for Amy. While Leonard plans a romantic night for Penny and Howard tries to get back in Bernadette's good books. Raj and Stewart throw a party for all the single people they know at the comic book store.
The Good: To my surprise the writers seem to have finally moved Penny and Leonard toward a more committed state this season. It's been something of a mini arc with Penny thinking about breaking up with him (601-02), realising the depth of her feelings when Alex showed interest in him (604), taking an interest in his work (605), his comics (613) and now finally admitting that she could see herself marrying him. We saw last episode that she is a long way from that point but they have been seemingly happy for the past couple of seasons and maybe this is the new normal. It was about as sweet a scene as I can remember them sharing when he realises that she is happy with where they are.
Amy and Sheldon also took another step forward but at their own ultra slow pace. The fact that he was willing to buy her a gift says something and the emergency contact was a very nice idea. While it is a sign of intimacy and commitment it leads to her becoming his mom in the final scene as his hypochondria kicks in. Her tearful gratitude was sweet though and his attitude to the gifts Alex had selected was fun (see Comic Highlight).
Howard and Bernadette should have the best adjusted relationship given their marital status. I liked how their simple plot resolved itself quickly in the face of Penny and Leonard's more serious bickering.
The Bad: As for Raj, what can you say? The arc of this season continues to suggest that Raj is going to come out and that a startled Stewart will either be the catalyst or the recipient of unexpected affection. The writers pushed things as far as they could (at least verbally) here with Raj pointing out how great it would be if Stewart was his girlfriend. But each time they reach the precipice they pull back and instead he meets a girl and undercuts the lovely speech he'd just given about community. The writers continue to treat Raj like a one note joke and yet his story could be the heart of the show if they'd let it develop.
I was confused by Sheldon handing over two thousand dollars for Amy's Valentine's presents. We've seen Sheldon be careful or at least possessive with his money before. Was this simply a misplaced joke about Sheldon not understanding the value of money (which would be dumb) or a suggestion that he will pay whatever price necessary to keep Amy quiet for another holiday?
Comic Highlight: Despite being unimpressed with Alex's first two brilliantly thoughtful gifts, Sheldon does like her third offering. It's a hand drawing of a brain cell by the Father of modern Neuroscience. Sheldon calls it "truly remarkable" and decides to keep it for himself. This amazing selfishness was a good punch line in itself. But later on Amy offers to not go out for Valentine's Day to make him happy. Sheldon is genuinely touched and says "This is the most thoughtful gift that anyone's ever given me. And that's including an amazing gift I gave myself earlier today."
In Conclusion: This was very sweet and pleasant stuff.
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