The Big Bang Theory – The Cooper Extraction


By Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

I’ve seen things. Lady things.

It’s a new take on It’s a Wonderful Life in the newest episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Cooper Extraction.” Instead of Jimmy Stewart being all depressed and suicidal, the gang reflects on how their lives would be different if Sheldon wasn’t around. Sheldon has gone to Texas to be present for the birth of his sister’s baby. He’s not happy about it. While he’s away the others use the time to decorate the Christmas tree without any rules imposed upon them by Sheldon, and make a few jokes, when Amy reminds them that it’s because of Sheldon that they’re all there together. So, they begin to swap stories.

First up is Penny and Leonard. If Sheldon weren’t there, Leonard would not have lived across the hall from Penny for the last 7 years, and would not have been in a position to ask her out. After insisting that as a faithful patron of the Cheesecake Factory, Leonard maintains that he would have asked her out anyway, Penny shares a little story about how that scenario would’ve played out involving Leonard nervously asking for the restroom and peeing himself. We have only to watch a few episodes of the first season to accept this as plausible. In retaliation for the besmirching of his manliness, Leonard shares a little story about how Penny would’ve ended up with Zach, who uses the rent money to buy magic beans. Then Zach wets himself, followed immediately by Penny.

So, if Leonard and Penny never dated due to the absence of Sheldon, Penny would never have fixed Howard and Bernadette up. Howard, like Leonard, assures everyone that he too has been an avid Cheesecake Factory patron, and Bernadette wouldn’t’ve been able to resist his nascent beefcake-i-ness. Of course there’s a little scenario sequence wherein Bernadette thinks the guy in the turtleneck (i.e. Howard) is cute until his friend feeds him like a baby and then wipes his mouth for him. That scenario leads to a question of whether or not Howard would still be living at home with his mother. We get a small picture of what that would look like, and it’s eerily similar to a one Norman Bates. Yeah, I can see Howard feeding his dead mother and talking in her voice, and maybe dressing up in her clothes.

Which brings up another question–not the killing of the overbearing mother bit–what would it look like if Leonard lived with Raj. Two words: depressed and enabling. Leonard would turn to food to attempt to fill the loneliness, and Raj is an enabler and deep fries pancakes. Deep fried pancakes actually sounds really good! And if Leonard and Raj are living together, that means Penny would still be living across the hall from Sheldon all by himself, and, according to Amy’s account of a possible scenario, would be hot for the mantis-like physicist. Sheldon would, of course, be saving himself for some as yet unknown, slightly hunched neurobiologist with mud-colored hair and a penchant for spanking.

As everyone has finished their tales, and Sheldon has made it through the birth of his nephew by complaining, video chatting with his friends, playing janitor to his sister’s birth canal, eating ice chips, and breathing, and seeing “lady things,” it becomes apparent to everyone there how much of an impact Amy has had on Sheldon’s life. She can get him to do things the others can’t. He’s even put her picture in the rotation on his screen saver along with some of his other favorite figures. Seems like our little Shelley is growing up right before our eyes.

I liked the twist on the classic theme. It wasn’t Sheldon getting to see how his absence would affect other people. Can you imagine how big his ego would’ve been? Rather his friends got to see how Sheldon has impacted each of their lives. It’s something we should all reflect on, I think. It really does show us that we should be thankful for the people in our lives. What did you guys think?

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 Stars

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