CBS’s The Big Bang Theory explores a question in “The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition” that fans ponder frequently: what is the deal between Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik)? Stuart (Kevin Sussman) asks Leonard (Johnny Galecki) if it would be okay to ask Amy out. Leonard approaches Sheldon about the subject, and Sheldon reacts with total indifference. Even after Amy accepts the date, and all of Sheldon’s friends keep pressing him to see how he feels, he pretends he has not one concern about it. However, his real emotions peek out when he crashes Amy and Stuart’s movie to ask Amy to be his girlfriend. She accepts, then finishes the date with Stuart.
Comments over the past year, especially lately, make it seem that Sheldon and Amy are an item. But then when Amy tries to force Sheldon to cuddle on the couch, and he won’t, the signals get mixed. While Leonard and Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) relationship plays out largely in the background while they date, that’s OK for them, because viewers can piece together their own clues about what is happening fairly easily. They are normal, relatable characters. This is not the case with Sheldon and Amy, who are both pretty odd people, and their connection becomes quite an enigma.
“The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition” clearly sends the message that, while the pair spend much time together, they are not boyfriend and girlfriend. Part of this is because Sheldon does not want to be physically intimate in the slightest, not even desiring to hold hands. Amy obviously feels very differently about that arrangement, propositioning Sheldon for sex on multiple occasions. So they do not have a traditional dating relationship. But then, what about Sheldon is traditional?
Things take a big step forward for them this week, when Sheldon hesitantly asks Amy to be his girlfriend, then proceeds to make up a thirty-plus page contract neatly defining what that means. She agrees readily, apparently caring enough about him to be willing to take his eccentricities. And why not? He is the male version of her in many ways, and makes an ideal mate if the goal is incredibly intelligent offspring. Plus, she enjoys being around him.
Sheldon will have to eventually warm up to sexual relations if he wants to keep Amy. He has other priorities, to be sure, but the biological need will surely kick in some day. Perhaps a Vulcan “Pon Farr” is to be decided upon, with Sheldon agreeing to copious amounts of sex every seven years for procreation purposes. Or there may be fun scenes of Sheldon confused by the physical symptoms of being horny. Once Sheldon has intercourse once, though, one would assume that the pleasurable sensations will outweigh his other concerns. Hopefully, Amy might yet make him slightly normal.
The whole thing does suck for Stuart, though, who continues to be unlucky in love. Though not a main character, enough has been shown of Stuart to earn compassion for the man. After failed dating attempts with Penny and Amy, will a hookup with Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) just before her wedding to Howard (Simon Helberg) complete his broken heart trifecta? Couldn’t the writers just toss the pathetic comic shop owner a little bone here?
In “The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition” there is also a really funny story about an expansion pack to a card game pitting cowboys against wizards. Raj (Kunal Nayyar) is the first to purchase the set, but soon all the guys get into it, with Sheldon even dressing in costume to play. This is where the episode title comes from, as Sheldon brings a spittoon as a prop. Little bits like this, purely done as humorous gags but feeling completely at home and realistic within the larger episode, keep the comedy focus of The Big Bang Theory crisp and highly enjoyable.
Side note: Penny has become an alcoholic and needs help. Please let the other characters stage an intervention for her ASAP!
Watch The Big Bang Theory Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.