This past week’s The Big Bang Theory, “The Friendship Contraction” became one of my favorites right out of the gate. It was the perfect play off of everyone’s relationships with one another and featured the wonderful balance created by each and every character. We take for granted that Leonard is there not only putting up with Sheldon as a roommate, but also as a friend and forget that he gets aggravated too and could say ‘I quit’ at any given time. I don’t like the idea of a Sheldon without a Leonard, apparently Sheldon didn’t like that idea either.
We, along with Leonard, are thrown into an emergency preparedness drill, administered, of course, by Sheldon. He wakes Leonard with the best line ever and one that I am totally stealing during the zombie apocalypse…”Rise and shine sleepy head, half the town is probably dead.” Sheldon holds the drill once a quarter in case of several eventualities, one of which being a Canadian invasion. Wolverines?!
At lunch Howard gets word he will get to be an astronaut and wonders what his nickname will be since the other astronauts get to make it up. Raj says his own nickname would be ‘Brown Dynamite’. Sheldon arrives and reviews Leonard’s performance from the emergency drill, which he deems unsatisfactory. He mentions that he needs a ride to the dentist and expects Leonard to take him. When the suggestion is made that Sheldon takes the bus, he lets everyone know that he has to be sedated for cleanings because he is a biter.
Leonard refuses to take Sheldon to the dentist, proclaiming after his sleepless night that he is DONE. Sheldon allows Leonard to invoke Clause 209, which amend the roommate agreement and they become roommates only, no longer friends so that Leonard’s responsibilities are minimal. They are relegated to only a ‘chin jut of recognition’ with a ‘sup thrown in.
We next find ourselves at Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment so the ladies can make their cameos. Howard is talking about his training to learn to poop in space to which Raj suggests passing on the “Brown Dynamite” nickname to him. Who knew there was such a thing as a high brow poop joke? Sheldon assumes in Leonard’s absence that Amy Farrah Fowler will take him to his dentist appointment, but alas, she is busy working with alcoholic monkeys. Sheldon voices his disappointment that his girlfriend isn’t willing to cater to his every need. Penny makes a well-timed joke as to that not being what girlfriends are for, but he doesn’t use them for what they are for anyway. Maybe you had to be there, but it was a great laugh-out-loud moment. Sheldon tries to entice everyone else to become his errand running partner by suggesting they would be mentioned in his memoirs, titled “You’re Welcome Mankind”. No one takes the bait, though Raj is enticed by the idea of Swedish meatballs that come with a trip to IKEA with Sheldon. With none of his friends willing to sacrifice themselves, Sheldon gets desperate and goes to Stuart at the comic book store. After unflatteringly being called Sheldon’s ninth favorite person, Stuart turns him down as well.
Raj tries to help Howard figure out a good nickname, but Howard keeps insisting he can’t pick his own name. Suggestions included Howard ‘”Buzz” Wolowitz (not after THAT Buzz, but after Buzz Lightyear), Howard “Crash” Wolowitz (nixed as no one wants to fly with someone named Crash), and Howard “Rocket Man” Wolowitz. Rocket Man seems to stick and Raj suggest that Howard makes it his ringtone so Raj can call him during a video chat with the astronauts and nudge them into making it his nickname. Leonard shares his hilarious, hilarious experience at trying to get his own nickname as a kid. It has to be shared, but if you didn’t see the episode you HAVE TO go to cbs.com and watch it to get the full effect. Leonard used to carry around a Duncan Yoyo in order to get the other kids to call him Duncan. They started calling him Sock Mouth instead because they took off his socks and stuffed them in his mouth. Word to the wise, these sorts of plans always backfire.
Sheldon lets Leonard know that he has found someone to help with his tooth cleaning, a mobile dentist. Granted, the mobile dentist specialized in canines, but as Sheldon said, seemed open minded. Leonard offers to take Sheldon to the dentist, but Sheldon refuses. Shortly after, there is a blackout. Sheldon tries to make Leonard see what he is missing by letting him know that he is not privy to any of Sheldon’s emergency preparedness supplies, like his glow sticks. Leonard pulls out a light saber to make do with. Sheldon is at a loss when Leonard chooses to wait out the blackout with Penny and a bottle of wine instead of Sheldon, Red Green Show and Fiddle Faddle, saying that with “wine and a girl in the dark, he’s going to be bored out of his mind”.
Across the hall, Penny offers to put their ban on a physical relationship on hold so they can make out. Sheldon walks in to Penny’s apartment without knocking for the first time ever, to which Leonard says the fact that he knocks is the best thing about Sheldon. Sheldon informs him that societal norms are no longer in effect due to the state of the world as he currently sees it during the blackout. Sheldon wants company but leaves saying he will have to have Smore by himself, which makes Penny feel bad for him and she makes Leonard go back to being friends.
Sheldon agrees to amend the roommate agreement to recognize Leonard for his contributions to his life. He makes up Leonard Day to get out of having to say “thank you” every time Leonard does something nice for him. It suddenly comes out that the power outage was only in their building because “someone” turned off the power. Sheldon cleverly got what he wanted and he and Leonard are friends once again. Phew.
We end the episode with Raj’s plan going in to action with Howard’s conference call. However, in the middle of the video chat with the astronaut Howard’s mom yells to him that his Fruit Loops are getting soggy…welcome Howard “Fruit Loop” Wolowitz to the space program!