A lot of great episodes of television aired this week: Parks and Rec‘s bittersweet celebration of Andy Dwyer, the conclusion of one of the best two-parters Castle has ever done, and Agent Carter‘s excellent penultimate hour, but nothing stood out to me quite like what The Big Bang Theory offered.
Compared to some of my other shows, I’m a pretty casual fan of BBT. I enjoy it sure, but its zingy one-liners have never been enough to make it must watch TV for me. That being said, now and again it delivers a grand slam of an episode, one chock-full of heart and humor that reminds me why it is so supremely successful, and “The Comic Book Store Regeneration” did exactly that.
Right from the beginning of the episode, the comedy was sharp, with Sheldon and Amy secretly testing Penny and Leonard’s intelligence against that of monkeys, the reopening of Stuart’s comic book store, and Raj and Leonard’s journey to a selfie with Nathan Fillion (embedded below). But this show becomes something truly special when it shows the depth of the friendships between its characters, and few moments have done that as well as the one dealing with Carol Ann Susi’s real life passing. When Howard received the call about his mother’s death, his friends reacted with genuine shock and sadness for him. But it was Sheldon, unexpectedly, who knew exactly what Howard needed to hear: “When I lost my own father, I didn’t have any friends to help me through it. You do.” This is a group of characters who spend a great deal of time ribbing and teasing one another, as good friends typically do, making it all the more poignant that its most caustic member was the one to offer Howard that comfort.
In the following scene, Howard and Bernadette leave for the airport, while the rest of the gang gathers to share their memories of Mrs. Wolowitz, all the while giving the sense that they could be talking about Susi as well. And really, what better way for the show to honor a beloved cast member than with one of its most heartfelt episodes yet?