Yes it’s Halloween folks and while I haven’t seen any spectres a-haunting, or witches a-cackling, or even a stray zombie a-shuffling, I did get the chance to watch The Big Bang Theory‘s marking of this spooky festival, “The Holographic Excitation”.
All the cast members got a chance to strut their inner geek – well almost everyone; I think Penny’s (Kaley Cuoco) is there only by virtue of osmotic transfer from watching all those sci fi shows the gang loves – as they dress up for Stuart’s (Kevin Sussman) annual costume party at his comic book store.
And neither the costumes, nor the couples machinations surrounding them, disappointed.
Howard, recently returned from space and finding it hard to adjust to life back on earth (to the extent that he manages to weave his experiences as an astronaut into every conversation he has till everyone, politely and in the case of Sheldon, impolitely, asks him to stop) and Bernadette dolled themselves up as Smurfs.
Howard, dressed as an iridescent Papa Smurf, found this request to cease and desist talking about his orbital exploits depressing, wondering why no one valued what he had done and spent much of the scene before he and Bernadette left for the party moping around the house.
Contemplating not going to the party till Bernadette pointedly reminded him how long it had taken her to apply the bright blue body paint, he starts to walk out the door with all the enthusiasm of a five year old off the dentists, muttering that “two weeks ago I was an astronaut”.
Having had enough, Bernadette feistily puts him in his place – “Well now you’re a Smurf! Keep walking!” – but he only truly comes around when Bernadette assures him at the party that she married him of her own free will and not because he is an astronaut.
The path to true costume happiness was every bit as torturous as you’d expect for Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Miyam Bialik) who struggled to find a costume combo that was acceptable to both of them.
Even though Sheldon was, remarkably, keen to do a cosplay twosome – “Couples costumes are one of the few benefits of being in a relationship” he says oh-so-romantically at one point – they had to resort to a whiteboard in the end to sort out who they would dress up as.
Well, attempt to sort it out is probably more accurate.
Amy proves none too keen on R2D2 and C-3PO as an option and Sheldon rejects Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy because they looked too much like clowns and he doesn’t care too much for raggedyness (which makes sense given how OCD he is).
The compromise? Raggedy Ann and … Raggedy C-3PO. Yes Sheldon actually gave ground – well somewhat; let’s not get too carried away here – which is one of the more amazing things to emerge from this episode. truly Amy has great powers!
And finally, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) seem to be taking real strides in their relationship which is a relief since the on-again, off-again schtick was wearing a little thin.
For a start, Penny refers to him without hesitation as her boyfriend – hurrah! At last – and takes Bernadette’s suggestion seriously that she should take a more active interest in what Leonard does since relationships, ideally at least, should be a two way street.
So Penny, to Leonard’s undying surprise goes to visit him in his lab, and finds herself so impressed, and yes aroused, by his mastery of science that “coitus”, to use Sheldon’s awkward terminology, is the result.
Not once but twice.
A lovely touch after all this lab-based “coitus” was watching a dishevelled, grinning Leonard groggily sit down at the lunch table with the other guys (who remained blissfully ignorant of what had just happened), still aglow and in love with the direction his workday had taken.
And what you ask concerned happy to dear old Koothrappali, and Stuart who hosted this grand Halloween extravaganza?
Well, Stuart, who is let’s face it, unlucky in just about everything, only holds the party each year in the hope he might meet a girl and is confident that “the ninth time will be the charm.”
To give a chance to meet the girl of his dreams – the mind boggles at what a pairing like this would look like but I imagine it could come to rival Sheldon and Amy for sheer awkwardness, and thus, laughs – Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) offers to look after all the organisation, promising a “Koothra-party” to remember!
And it is!
There is monster themed food! Hooray!
A T.A.R.D.I.S-shaped photo booth! Three cheers!
(Sheldon, as usual doesn’t make Raj’s job easy. When he shows Sheldon the options for the photo booth, this is the response he gets: “A Tardis makes no sense. It’s a time machine from a science fiction show. It has nothing to do with Halloween. That being said, if you don’t get a Tardis you stink and your party stinks.”)
And Stuart meets a girl! Yes, a real one.
The sequence is short but who knows? If Sheldon can get a girlfriend, then anything is possible.
The funniest moment of the whole night though was when Buzz Aldrin, displaying no ego as he mercilessly send himself up, is seen in the credits handing out candy to kids and referencing his exploits as an astronaut at every turn.
The clip is sent to Howard by Koothrappali to explain that while the gang are proud of him, they don’t want him to become a laughed-at caricature of himself and is the perfect end cap to an episode full of great laughs, deliciously geeky moments, and surprisingly tender interludes.
And to get you even further into the Halloween spirit, here’s a few photos of your favourite TV characters all dressed up with hopefully somewhere spooky to go, courtesy of the wonderful folks at ew.com.