It seems we learn something new about our beloved Sheldon every week. Last episode, we learned that he is surprisingly persistent when it comes to say… rock wall climbing. This week we learn that Sheldon has no qualms in lending money. Seriously. The man who made a label for everything including the label maker lends money quite easily with no strings.
Shocking, I know.
The show has consistently funny cold opens, and this one as exceedingly hilarious. We see our four nerds staring at what looks like a complex math problem on a white board, and then the proclamation that there is no answer. No, no, let’s work the math again- apparently, they’re trying to pick a movie theater and restaurant that meets Sheldon’s high standards. Failing this, they attempt to amend their usual plans ( 7-11 Slurpees instead of Icees, dinner after the movie instead of before, and one theater got knocked off for not having Red Vines, which is ridiculous, as Twizzlers are far superior, and if you are lucky, you can find Nibs, which are made by Twizzler but are small little cherry flavored licorice bits that are the best candy in the world…) There is only one solution, and Leonard, Raj, and Howard leave Sheldon behind, staring at the white board and sighing ” They’re right. It was the only option.”
Penny, on the other hand, ducks into the boy’s apartment to avoid the landlord. She’s behind on her rent, and she’s miserable about it. Sheldon, surprisingly, offers her money to make it through. Penny’s reluctant to accept, but does take it ( with some hilarious physical comedy by Kaley Cuoco, who never gets enough credit, honestly). But she’s a nice girl who begins to torture herself about it ( and it’s all in her head, as Sheldon never once mentions it first, and never questions her expenditures, which seems un-Sheldon like somehow, but it’s endearing that he trusts his friends with money when he doesn’t trust them with food). This ends with a mini break down over Shrimp with Lobster sauce take out, in which Sheldon warmly offers her more cash if she’s still cash strapped, and Penny storms out ( and returns for her fortune cookie, then she slinks out again looking rather pathetic).
Leonard decides to help Penny by looking at her expenses, but it’s clear Penny is reluctant to let anything go ( cable… acting classes… shopping… I’m basing that last one on the beret meltdown she had). The $1800 at the L.A. County Court House catches his eye, and Penny admits that she bailed ex-boyfriend Kurt out of a legal scrape. Leonard then fashions himself as Penny’s Lancelot and manages to convince the three very smart people playing Talisman across the hall that they need to go on a real life quest for Penny’s money. Even the Lord Of the rings argument falls on snark- as Sheldon points out, Frodo’s companions had a very hard time on the journey to destroy the ring. But they do join him on the journey to Kurt’s apartment, where Leonard gets called ” Lenny” ( heh- Lenny and Penny), Sheldon is mildly offended Kurt doesn’t remember him ( the last time they met, Sheldon was the Doppler effect), Howard insists that Leonard is going to die, and it all ends with Leonard ending up with Kurt’s IOU written on his forehead with permanent ink.
The closer has Penny paying Sheldon back in full after Kurt decides to pay Penny back. Leonard tries to discern whether Kurt admitted being shamed into it, but Penny says it was apparently all Kurt’s idea, and how he’d grown, and how they’re going out to dinner. Leonard looks miserable as Sheldon says that minstrels will actually write songs about Leonard’s achievement. The show ends with Leonard looking pained as Sheldon makes up a ditty about the brave pursuits of Leonard ( with a line about Raj’s nervous bladder to boot).
The show has a habit of taking tired old sitcom tricks and giving them a bit of a fresh spin ( usually, ” Never A Borrower Nor Lender Be” ends with a near disintegrating friendship as the borrower forgets or splurges and the lender grows increasingly irritated about the fact they aren’t getting paid back- this was the complete opposite of that). I must give credit to the writers for taking cliched comedic premises and making them fun again. It was a truly delightful Penny and Leonard episode ( with a good dose of Sheldon), and I must say that Kaley Cuoco deserves some recognition from people for her comedic charms. It’s unfair that pretty girls can’t be funny, too.
Sheldon line if the night: ” I’m never silly.” Were truer words ever spoken?