Impending weddings almost always mean excitement of one kind or another.  You always hope that it’s the good, anticipatory kind and not the secret wielding, drama causing kind.  Unfortunately for Howard, he has a lot of the latter to deal with in this episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Stag Convergence”.

The episode begins in the cafeteria with Sheldon going on about something no one else seems to care about and to which Sheldon doesn’t believe anyone could give him the answer he’s looking for anyway, per usual.  Raj would rather talk about Howard’s bachelor party.  Howard has a no stripper rule, though Raj sees him as the “king of strippers”, Howard promised Burnadette nothing like untoward would go on.  When Raj instead suggests a wine tasting train ride through Napa Valley, Sheldon boos the wine, but we all know he can’t resist a train ride and he quickly rallies behind this part of the idea.  Raj describes the beautiful landscape and wine tasting,  at which time Leonard points out the femininity of this venture with the comment “Look at that, in 30 seconds we went from hiring women to being them.”

Penny gives Leonard a hard time about the bachelor party when he suggests she should be worried about what might be going on there.  She doesn’t believe Leonard has it in him to be wild and crazy, citing what she believes would happen if he did actually come across a stripper, i.e. offer to help said stripper’s son with his homework while avoiding eye contact.  Leonard tries to refute Penny’s idea that he can’t be exciting but fails pretty miserably when she shuts him down by telling him he can’t reference the time he had sex with a girl in the ocean (it seems this is Leonard’s only and go-to crazy story).

At the opening of the bachelor party Sheldon concedes to drinking alcohol in order to take part in the ritual, despite finding the alcohol “icky”.  Wil Wheaton shows up to the party rather than taking on another in what his tone suggests is a long line of hot tub parties at George Takei’s house.  I have become such a geek for Wil Wheaton cameos and guest star spots, not to mention I can’t type, think of, or say his name without that famous Family Guy skit popping into my head.  Sheldon is not as excited as I am and seems offended that Wil came out for Howard, as he feels he should be the only one in the group that can claim Mr. Wheaton as a friend since their reconciliation.  Shortly after this Sheldon/Wheaton exchange, in what may be the lamest opening to a bachelor party that I have ever seen, the group of men breaks into a rendition of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” when Howard arrives.  I believe Barry (Kripke) and I have the same idea as he not so subtly sideswipes the pleasantries to get to the good stuff; in his mind the strippers.

Amy Farrah Fowler documents the wedding preparations with the other ladies.  She takes video of Burnadette and Penny creating gift bags for out of town guests for the wedding, including antihistamines, antacids and diarrhea/constipation medication aptly labeled stop and go for Howard’s side of the family.  Quite characteristic of Amy, she leads her questions for Burnadette with a question about sexual positions on the wedding night, claiming it if they conceive, this part of the video is for the good of Howard and Burnadette’s future children.  You know, in case they want to know exactly how they were conceived.  I have never seen anyone more hilariously repressed than AFF.

When we rejoin the gentlemen at their dinner, it’s no surprise that Raj is very well lubricated, as is Sheldon it seems.  Sheldon is still upset with Wil Wheaton and does such an awesome “talk to the hand” move with the Vulcan salute, that I don’t even notice the reference is horribly outdated (this, of course, only lends itself to the comic value).  Sheldon roasts Howard in a very Sheldon manner;  insults with no irony that no one else finds funny.  His closer is to tell Howard he wishes him happiness, then throwing out a Bazinga! and telling him he doesn’t really, then pulls out a double Bazinga! to land at really wishing Howard happiness.  Leonard is next, though he starts out referencing Howard and his wild and crazy days, he reverts to talking about himself and his own “crazy time” when he had sex with a girl in the ocean.  Both times this was referenced in the episode I winced at the thought, it just seems so dirty and uncomfortable.  And yes, I have my own wild and crazy stories, despite my austere view of this particular one…really, I do!

Raj, as Howard’s best man, feels it is his duty to really, really share about Howard.  As in Howard losing his virginity to his cousin (second cousin by Howard’s estimation), to which Sheldon throws out a ligitimate zinger, “and the first woman you ever disappointed sexually”, with my new favorite Sheldon-ism, an exuberant Bada-Bazinga! tagged on for good measure.  Then we get to trek down memory lane, back to the time that Raj and Leonard paid a hooker in Vegas to convince Howard she was Jewish and wanted to sleep with him (Raj’s favorite Howard humping hooker story), as well as the tubby girl in the Sailor Moon costume at Comic-Con with whom the two men had a threesome, truly an image no one ever needed in their head.  As Howard seems to wish he could hide his own head in the sand, Raj can’t help but go on and on.  We suddenly become privy to the horrifying revelation that Wil Wheaton is recording everything being said on his phone and (in reference to his famous “…I am in you” Twitter line) states “Internet, this is SO going all over you”.   Oh the implications.

Burnadette has to pick up Raj and Howard as they had a wee bit too much to drink at the party.  She seems unusually quiet and cold.  Burnadette then shares the video that the girls found online regaling everyone with Howard’s most embarrassing past exploits.  Here is something that I don’t agree with or condone (in life, nothing to do with the show); Burnadette is not upset initially because of the nature of the encounters, but that Howard has claimed to have told her about everyone he has been with.  There is no need for that…really…ever.  It is never, almost never at least, a good idea to share this information with your current significant other, or to ask that it be divulged.  Nothing good can come of it.  I am surprised at Burnadette and Howard’s age that this would be something shared between the two of them.  In my experience after your early twenties you generally realize it’s not something you want to know.  Maybe that’s just me and I think I’ve inadvertently shared more than I needed to about myself as well in writing this, so maybe we should just move on.

Burnadette turns to Amy and Penny for guidance as to whether or not to move forward with the wedding.  Amy handles it with little to no decorum and Penny tries to redirect her.  As the women are talking, Burnadette abruptly realizes Penny already knew all of these things about Howard and still let their relationship move forward.  She is upset with Penny, Raj and Howard by this time, my earlier point proven.  Howard turns to the guys for assistance in solving things.  He finds no help from any of them and decides to take matters into he own hands.  In an impassioned speech, Howard shares how he feels for Burnadette with Penny and brings her to tears, luckily Burnadette hears as well and it moves her.  The whole mess ends with a group hug consisting of Penny, Howard, Burnadette and Amy, who finds the moment “kind of hot”.  I love that Amy says it rather than Howard, it’s too perfectly funny, and really shows that the little man’s turned over a new leaf.  It also reassured me that despite Howard becoming a better man, there will still be a depraved soul to give us the bawdy jokes we need.

In the end, Leonard can’t leave well enough alone and makes a last ditch attempt to prove to Penny he can be crazy.  He disrobes in the laundry room of the apartment building in front of her and tells her he is going to have sex with her on a washing machine.  When the attempt falls flat, he concedes to the craziness of helping Penny fold sheets in his underwear instead.

I am super excited to see Howard and Burnadette’s wedding and feel like I’ve been waiting forever for the day to get here!  I feel like those people who I used to scoff at that watch soap operas and wait on pins and needles for the characters to get married.  No more scoffing for me. I’m sure big surprises are in store for the wedding episode, especially with the rush that’s about to be put on the couple with Howard’s impending space expedition.

What other excitement do you expect to come out of the big day?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @CatEdison for interviews, reviews and news!

(My apologies for the tardiness of this review!)