Tonight’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was centered on Rajesh, finishing out the ordinal sequence of each of the characters getting a semi-spotlight show. And yet, in every episode, Sheldon seems like the most well developed and carefully played character. I think the others are all coming along, of course, but at the moment comparatively speaking, he’s head, shoulders and theoretical spin-offs ahead of the rest of the cast. All the same, tonight we saw Rajesh’s parents, live via webcam from New Delhi, as they met the entire gang. And managed to ignore Howard muttering "web chatting with clothes on seems pretty pointless". No easy task, there.
Rajesh’s parents informed him that they had passed his contact information on to a former childhood acquaintance, "little Lalita". My first thought was Nabokov, but that’s probably just me. This news sends Rajesh into a tail spin as he cannot imagine talking to a girl much less going on a date with one. This is taken care of easily enough when Howard takes his phone and calls the girl, using his best Indian accent. As Rajesh implied, he sounded more like Apu than anything else, but the damage is already done. When Penny arrives to ask the guys to help her practice for her big shot at bartending, Rajesh takes her up on the offer. And to everyone’s shock, within 2 sips of his grasshopper (a vile concoction if there ever was one!) is babbling away to Penny as if they are old friends. When Penny points out that he is talking to her, he thinks he has found his miracle cure, and decides to take Lalita to Penny’s restaurant while she is bartending, enabling him to speak with her.
The entire gang decides to show up in support of Rajesh. Well, Howard and Leonard decide to show up. Sheldon finally arrives and says "Sorry I’m late". When Leonard asks him what happened, he blandly admits "Nothing. I just didn’t want to come". I have to admit, I’ve been there. Meanwhile, Rajesh is an utter lightweight and within moments is loudly exclaiming over how much weight his date had lost by yelling "you were so, so FAT"! Just what every girl wants to hear. And yet, leave it to fandom to turn things around. When Sheldon gets a look at Lalita, he exclaims that she looks just like Princess Penchali, from a favored childhood story. He rattles off the descriptors from the tale, about her smelling of magnolia blossoms woven through her ebony locks, eyes lit with the stars and lips so red that roses were embarrassed to bloom in her presence and next thing we know, the girl is leaving with Sheldon. Maybe he’s not asexual? The gang stares agape, asking "what happened?", only to receive Howard’s awed answer: "I just learned how to pick up Indian chicks".
Back at the apartment, things are less peachy, as Rajesh’s parents rant and rail at him until Sheldon returns. When put in a truly socially awkward position, with Rajesh’s parents, Rajesh, and Leonard all telling him that leaving with his friend’s date was not the thing to do, he brightly responds, "Alright. Noted. Sorry". Ahh, our little robot! Rajesh takes his laptop out to be lectured by his parents in private as Leonard asks Sheldon if he plans to see Lalita again. "Why?", Sheldon asks, "I already have a dentist". I have to agree with Leonard’s earlier assessment, that Sheldon may never produce offspring.
The Good: Sheldon canceling his membership to the Planetarium because there was no room for the card in his new wallet and unlike the Museum of Natural History, the Planetarium lacked dinosaurs.
The Bad: How come I don’t have a Justice League of America membership card? This troubles me.
The Funny: Rajesh wailing "My father wanted me to be a gynecologist. How could I be a gynecologist?! I can barely look a woman in the EYE!!"
Our program closes with a grand finale, in the tradition of parents attempting to arrange marriages. At first, the scene with Sheldon at a keyboard in Penny’s restaurant, playing and belting out tunes from Fiddler on the Roof seems way out of left field. Until Penny admits that she stopped serving him virgin rum and cokes in favor of a more "slutty" version of the drink. So, Sheldon sings when he gets drunk. I kiss people! We all have our flaws!