‘The Big Bang Theory’ Recap: The Friendship Contraction

Big Bang SheldonS5E15: How do you break up with a friend? It’s been a question posited on several shows, most notably, Seinfled. A similar quandary was looked at on tonight’s Big Bang Theory. In “The Friendship Contraction,” Leonard takes a serious look at what his friendship with Sheldon means.

“It’s got everything from wildfires to a surprise invasion by Canada.” – Sheldon

Of all the hair-brained schemes he’s launched over the years, it’s a surprise that Sheldon has yet to conduct an emergency awareness drill. But that’s how tonight’s episode starts. Actually it’s the quarterly Emergency Awareness Drill, so Sheldon must have conducted these when we weren’t looking. Leonard picks a card out of Sheldon’s Apocalyptic Event deck of cards and picks an 8.2 magnitude earthquake that devastates Pasadena, reducing mighty edifices to dust, engulfing the city in flames, the streets flow with blood and echo with the cries of the wounded – an excellent choice opined Sheldon. With imaginary broken glass on the floor, Leonard puts on his slippers and then experiences a Sheldon-induced aftershock.

“To amend the words of Toy Story; you have not got a friend in me.” – Sheldon

In case you forgot, a few episodes back, Howard earned the right to go into space with NASA. Raj encourages Howard to pick himself out an astronaut nickname –Raj’swould be “Brown Dynamite” –but Howard remains steadfast in stating that his fellow astronauts would bestow one on him. More importantly, Leonard is fed up with his nutbag of a roommate, not to mention the Roommate Agreement, and invokes “Clause 209” of the agreement which states that he and Sheldon are merely roommates and the roommate agreement is now stripped down to its bare essentials, suspending their friendship. Leonard eagerly signs. Now they are only obliged to pay their portions of the bills and nod with a friendly “sup” when they see each other.

“I’ve got a lab full of alcoholic monkeys and tomorrows the day we switch them to O’Douls.” – Amy

The first meeting of the now just roommates Sheldon and Leonard, along with their shared circle of friends, takes place at the apartment. Now, without Leonard to chauffer him around and Amy busy with her study, Sheldon gives his the rest of the group a chance to come forward and volunteer to drive Sheldon around to his many errands, such as getting the heel of his dress shoe fixed. It would mean achieving a coveted footnote in Sheldon’s memoir, tentatively entitled, “You’re Welcome Mankind.” The request is met with resounding silence. After being spurned by his inner circle, Sheldon heads to the comic store to hang with his ninth favorite person in the world: Stuart. Sheldon gives him a chance to slip into the number eight favorite person spot, but Stuart has no desire to take Sheldon anywhere.

“Social niceties have been suspended, Leonard. We’re in a state of emergency. The world has descended into darkened turmoil. Lawlessness and savagery are the order of the day.” – Sheldon

When the power goes out at Chez Sheldon, the episode’s funniest sequence begins. At first Penny is relieved that it wasn’t just her place, since her power bill from last month was paid with a Starbucks gift card, an apology, and some pictures of her in a bra. See what all that Christmas decorating can do to your bills fans? Even better was the show’s attention to detail, since Sheldon’s glow-in -the dark arrows are missing, Leonard inquires about them and apparently they were wildly carcinogenic. Sheldon tries to boast about his survival glow stick, but nothing quite compares to Leonard’s lightsaber in a time like this. Sheldon tries to coerce Leonard to stay since he has a deep cycle marine battery backup enough for the whole apartment, the complete BBC series Red Dwarf, not to mention Fiddle Faddle. Not-so-stupid Leonard chooses wine, bubble wrap, and Penny over his former friend.

“This is a Bunsen burner…I’m a scientist, I know what I’m doing.” –Sheldon

After Penny pushes him to talk to Sheldon, Leonard tells his roommate that he wants things to go back to the way they were, provided Sheldon show some gratitude. Incapable of gratitude, Sheldon proposes “Leonard’s Day,” in the spirit of Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day; a day in which we celebrate all of the contributions that Leonard has made in Sheldon’s life, be it real or imaginary. I think most people aboard the couch knew where this was going. The instant that power is restored, Penny arrives to tell the boys that the Super said the power went due to someone pulling the breaker. One hint – it was the tallest nerd on the show.

After last week’s big whiff on geektastic pop items to play off, the Big Bang returns to form utilizing Star Wars, Bunsen burners, and real life astronaut Michael J. “Mass” Massimino as spots for great jokes. I have a sneaky suspicion we’re going to see at least three bits of new Big Bang merchandise on store shelves this year; items depicting Clause 209 (and considering there was a lightsaber in this episode, was I only one thinking Clause 209 is far better than Order 66?), a t-shirt with Sheldon and his fiery marshmallow with the aforementioned Bunsen burner caption, and greeting card for Leonard’s Day. What day do you think Sheldon has set aside for his new holiday?

How many of you out there have a friend you want to enact Clause 209 on? Or are you just hoping the lights go out so you can break out your lightsaber and not be made fun of? Sound off in the comments below and remember to follow me on twitter @CouchForceOne.