“The Big Bang Theory” 9×01 – The Matrimonial Momentum

#Dramedy

One of the things that’s bothered me the most about The Big Bang Theory in its nine-year run was the lack of some much-needed emotional beats. The show was great at resetting any character development by the time the episode is closing out, much like Modern Family I guess, but as the years passed by, the gang behind TBBT started notice what an unhealthy decision this was. And then bang: the season 9 premiere happened.

This is hardly a complaint. I enjoyed The Matrimonial Momentum for all its low-key, downbeat moments as the episode focused heavily on not correcting or resetting everything they’d done in the season 8 finale (Sheldon/Amy breaking up, Leonard/Penny heading off to Vegas for a quickie wedding), but rather on exploring this untouched territory even further. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect Sheldon and Amy to reconcile by the end of the episode because that’s just what The Big Bang Theory does usually. And I’d be lying even more if I said I knew Leonard and Penny’s Las Vegas wedding would actually happen.

So both of those things happened. Sheldon and Amy remain broken up, and Leonard and Penny actually got hitched. And yet…something feels a bit off, no?

The show compromised the laughs for its more darker and sadder moments, a highly unexpected move on TBBT’s part. Sure, there were still a few amusing moments like the fact that no one ended up watching Penny and Leonard’s wedding or Sheldon trying to make his friends take his side in the breakup, but in general the episode’s tone felt dramatic. That’s a huge thing for the show to delve into as I’d been begging the writers to tackle heavy material for a long, long time and was particularly disappointed with how they handled Mama Wolowitz’s death last season. But now that I’ve seen how they do it, I might want the laughs back.

It just didn’t feel satisfying to watch Leonard and Penny arguing about 5 minutes into their marriage as we’d been waiting for this pairing to find their happiness for over 8 years. It also didn’t feel satisfying to watch an uncomfortably stalkerish Sheldon pine after Amy, nor was it satisfying to watch Stuart (who’s still on this show for some reason) manipulate the breakup to try to get into Amy’s pants (or whatever it is he really wants). So, for once, I wanted more comedy than drama.

Still, I appreciate the effort and I’m glad these characters have developed a little. But let’s not keep Leonard and Penny away from each other for too long. Not because I’m a dying fan (sometimes I could hardly care any less about this pairing), but because it’s exhausting to watch them circle around each other all the time, knowing that they’re the endgame couple the show wants us to care about.

***NOTES***

-Sheldon: We make everyone feel awkward. That’s our thing!

-Penny: Put us on the internet. I’ve always wanted a wedding with a comments section.

-Sheldon: Some important new information has come to light: women are the worst. I thought it was paper cuts, but I was wrong. No piece of paper ever cut me this deep.

Grade: B-