On occasion, I have to put aside my own inherent mistrust of all things mystical in nature and wonder if Jung’s theories about an undercurrent to the universe that connects all of us in intricate and unknowable ways are as completely silly as they seem. The Big Bang Theory provided some of those occasions tonight. Not trestling, though. I too lack the upper body strength.

However, I apparently share a birthday with Leonard. Penny asks him what his plans are and – also like me – he has none. However, while I had birthday parties as a child, Leonard did not because, as he explains "My parents believed in celebrating achievements and being expelled from a birth canal is not one of them." I’m just not interested in celebrating anything on a Monday. My reason creates fewer disturbing visual images, don’t you think?

Leonard explains how he once thought his parents were throwing him a surprise party based on how there were a lot of cars in the driveway. Sadly it turned out that his grandfather had died, but he got to see his cousins and they had cake so he figured it was birthday-ish. Penny thinks this is the saddest thing she has ever heard but Howard tells her it’s not even close before telling Leonard to regale her with the story of his senior prom. Part of me is disappointed we don’t actually get to hear that particular tale. It might lessen my current sadness surrounding black forest cake.

Of course, you don’t need to be a genius to see where this episode is going and soon enough, Penny goes talk to Sheldon about throwing Leonard a real surprise party. Well, it’s more like she blackmails him into it by threatening to sneak into his apartment and draw a little smiley face in ink inside one of his mint comic books, but either way the plans are begun. We don’t actually see any of that because what could be more boring then a show about party planning, right Bravo Network?

As such, we skip right to Rajesh and Howard arriving at Penny’s apartment with gifts in hand. Rajesh got Leonard a Batman statue based on the artwork of Alex Ross, but I have to disagree with the size of the box he has, because that statue is 12 inches tall. Um. I mean. Wow, what a great gift! Let’s move on. Howard got Leonard a set of Feynman lectures. Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) was entertaining but I enjoyed The Pleasure of Finding Things Out more. Um. I mean. LOOK! Over there! Penny got him a sweater. I live in climes were we don’t use those often, so I have nothing to add.

Sheldon got Leonard nothing. Howard begs Penny not to ask him why he would eschew giving his best friend a birthday gift, but it’s too late. Sheldon has long and rather sensible reason for not taking part in the tradition, but Penny can hardly let him get away with that sort of behavior. Thus, on Howard’s recommendation, she tells him it is a "non-optional social convention" and they are off to the store. Wherein Sheldon tries to decide between wireless routers. Which, frankly, Leonard should already have based on the episode in which they opened access to their home network and the netizens of the world could operate all the electronics in their house. Including remote control cars. Then again, it’s a sitcom and for someone supposedly celebrating a birthday, I should probably just lighten up. But Monday is just a cruel joke, don’t you think?

Of course, at ye old electronics boutique, Sheldon finds his knowledge very much in demand and he is compelled to respond to the masses. Which means Howard must keep Leonard out of the apartment for longer then expected. However, Howard has run into some difficulty accomplishing that, based on the fact that Leonard is involved in an epic Halo battle with a German bubble boy. Which forces Howard to fake eating a granola bar containing peanuts and further faking anaphylaxis. When she tells him of her delay with Sheldon, Howard shares his own woes but to accomplish the party as planned she plies him with the promise of pointing out which of her friends are easy. Which is how we end up seeing Howard eat the granola bar for real and puffing up to horrible dimensions.

Which is why it is horribly unsatisfying that Howard’s anxiousness reveals the entire plan to Leonard just outside the apartment door. Almost as unsatisfying as how when they open the door, the party is over. And it looks like it was a doozy, as we see Rajesh shirtless, a beer in hand and singing True Colors on a portable karaoke machine with girls passed out all around him. However, Penny giving him a birthday kiss that lingers just a tad past friendly is a little more satisfying. A little.

The Funny:

Sheldon: That makes no sense. Leonard specifically said he doesn’t want a birthday party.
Penny: He only thinks that because he’s never had one!
Howard: I’ve never had a three way, but I am sure I want one.

Rajesh whispers to Howard.
Howard: He wants to know what he should do if guests arrive?
Penny: Entertain them.
Rajesh whispers to Howard again.
Howard: What if they are women?
Penny: Stare at them and make them uncomfortable.
Rajesh grins and gives her thumbs up!

Howard: (on the subject of Leonard playing Halo with German bubble boy) Can’t you play him some other time?
Leonard: Not if you believe his doctors.

Penny: That’s not a good gift. You are supposed to get him something fun that he wouldn’t get for himself!
Sheldon: Like a sweater?
Penny: It’s a fun sweater with geometric shapes.
Sheldon: Is it fun geometry?

Customer A: Do you know anything about this stuff?
Sheldon: I know EVERYTHING about this stuff.

Was the kiss with Penny enough of a payoff? Or did it lack continuity since, as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, she is involved with someone? Or does it not count as cheating if it’s above the belt, on a birthday which happens to fall on a Monday? And if so, kiss me!

Posted by:Jessica Paff