It's all about love and relationship progress in this weeks valentines-themed episode of The Big Bang Theory, 'The Tangible Affection Proof'.
Leonard takes Penny for dinner at a nice restaurant. Howard's present for Bernadette falls through, so he and Bernadette tag along.
At dinner, Penny notices an ex-boyfriend of hers having a romantic evening with the woman he cheated on Penny with. Penny is furious that they are still together, and can't stop talking about it. Leonard is annoyed that she seems to be ruining their evening, and they dissolve into an argument. Howard and Bernadette, who have been fighting about household chores, quickly make up when they see how unhappy Leonard and Penny are, their own fight put into perspective.
When they get back from dinner, Leonard confronts Penny about her behaviour. Penny cites her commitment issues as the reason for her negativity that evening, and confesses she is scared at how quickly their relationship is moving. Leonard then suggests that, if she is ever ready, Penny be the one to propose.
I quite like the idea of letting Penny propose (this is not to say Leonard will not try again...), as it puts their relationship entirely in her hands, so she can go at her own pace, without feeling pressured by Leonard. It was also good to see them actually working through any issues they have, instead of just breaking up and/or having sex to avoid talking.
Meanwhile, Sheldon asks his assistant Alex (Margo Harshman), to find the perfect gift for Amy, but is disappointed with her offerings. Amy however, does find the perfect valentines gift for Sheldon, suggesting that they stay in, order pizza, and watch one of his favourite movies (as opposed to the more traditional fare of dinner in a nice restaurant, which Amy originally wanted to do). Here, Sheldon produces the goods and gives Amy her present: he has put Amy down as his emergency contact at the university.
This was a really sweet scene overall, but there were two standouts for me: the first was Amy's reaction to Sheldon's present (she is so touched that she begins to cry), and second, that Sheldon did something so sweet, and something so Sheldon for Amy.
Finally, Raj and Stuart (Kevin Sussman), decide to host a singles party in the comic book store on valentines day. At the party, Raj gives an impassioned speech about how none of them are really alone, since they have one another. A girl then approaches Raj (played by the adorable Kate Micucci, one half of the musical comedy duo 'Garfunkel and Oates'), and tells him his speech was "cool". Raj asks whether she would like to get a coffee with him, and they leave together.
Kate Micucci's character, for me, was probably the best part of this whole episode. Although both Penny and Leonard and Sheldon and Amy seemed to make some progress in their relationships (and Howard and Bernadette still remained boringly 'married'), I just loved seeing Raj meet somebody who he may actually have a relationship with! Sure, as Raj said, relationships are not everything (and he has had relationships before, but they generally don't last longer than one episode), but I really hope that she is back next week, and for many more weeks to come!
Review by Heather Bale.