When we last left the collective brain trust that are the boys on The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Penny were on their very first date. Which had been kicked off by their first real kiss. Which is about as dramatic a cliff hanger ending you can get in the life of a geek.
It seems to have gone moderately well, as we see Leonard and Penny returning to their apartments. Their goodnight kiss seems to have an audience, if the webcam mounted above the elevator is any indication. Leonard catches sight of it and suggests they go into her apartment, which is when Penny hits the brakes. She suggests they slow down, with Leonard stammering that he didn’t really mean to go fast. He suggests that they figure out where they want to be and then take the rate of distance equals speed over time and simply solve for R. Penny suggests they wing it, before leaving him in the hall, glaring at the webcam.
Back in his own apartment, he confronts Howard, Rajesh and Sheldon. It doesn’t take long for them to reveal that Howard and Rajesh plan to study where he screws up so they can avoid similar errors. They indicate that Penny’s desire to slow down is a clear indication of Leonard’s ultimate failure. The fact that he did not set up a second date with her only serves to further confirm their findings. Lastly, they review the tape of the goodnight kiss. Given the lack of pupil dilation, breathing rate increase, and skin flushing added to her jaw clenching…well, it doesn’t look good.
Of course, we know it has to be more complex then Penny not liking Leonard. She reveals all to Sheldon, asking him if he thinks Leonard will get bored with her since she isn’t a brainiac. She admits to him that she lied to Leonard, telling him that she completed community college because she was embarrassed that she hadn’t. Sheldon fails to see how one is any more embarrassing than the other, but his ire is raised when she tells him to keep her secret. It’s a deal he feels unfair, given that she did not tell him before hand that the information would have to be kept in confidence. And it is all further complicated when we learn that Sheldon has no ability to keep a secret, whatsoever.
He tries, but it’s not long before Leonard does attempt to ask Penny out for a second date, only to have her turn him down for one night and give him the "we’ll see" for the second. When he turns to his friend for advice, Sheldon nearly cracks and then runs to interrupt Penny at work, announcing "You must release me from my oath". He reasserts that he cannot keep her secret. She tells him to figure out a way, so he marches back into the apartment to announce that he’s moving out.
What follows is a roundabout way to bring the secret out, with Sheldon being shuffled from Rajesh to Howard and eventually right back to his own apartment. Only a handful of Valium heavier, giving his secret up readily enough. Of course, Leonard is relieved that the problem is not with him, but with Penny’s insecurity. He decides to go over and attempt to solve the dilemma by recommending she go back to the city college. It’s a suggestion that doesn’t go over well, with Penny sourly asking "So, it’s OK that I’m not that smart?" and Leonard answering "Absolutely!" just a moment too soon and then realizing it was the absolute wrong this to say.
It’s not the strongest premier I’ve ever seen, but this sitcom gave me a lot of surprises over the last season. I don’t doubt that it can do so again. Ideally, I would like to see Howard and Rajesh developed out more, but Sheldon is perfect as he is. Additionally, I actually feel that Leonard and Penny are progressing in a pretty organic manner, so it should be interesting to see where they take that relationship.
And if they can keep the funny coming, I will keep watching. Here are a few of my favorite lines from tonight:
Leonard: Sheldon, how could you let them spy on me?
Sheldon: They were clever. They exploited my complete lack of interest in what you are doing.
Penny: Has Leonard ever dated a girl that wasn’t a brainiac?
Sheldon: Let’s see. There was a girl a few years ago who was a PhD in French Literature.
Penny: How is that not a brainiac?
Sheldon: well, for one thing, she was French. For another, it was literature.
Penny: Sheldon, will he get bored with me?
Sheldon: That depends.
Penny: On what?
Sheldon: Do you have a working knowledge of quantum physics?
Sheldon: Do you speak Klingon?
Sheldon: Do you know any card tricks?
Leonard: You are packed already?
Sheldon: It’s my pre-packed disaster evacuation bag as recommended by Homeland Security. And Sarah Conner.
What were your favorites?