The Big Bang Theory Review: Mother Madness

by Alan Eggleston

Their mothers couldn’t be any more different. Sheldon Cooper’s mother Mary, a devoted Bible thumper from Texas, is nurturing and loving. Leonard Hofstadter’s mother Beverly, a formidable psychotherapist from out East who lives by science, uses nurture as a reward. Could sparks fly when they meet for the first time on this week’s new episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Maternal Combustion”?

Mother of all love envy

Leonard has always suffered from mother’s-love envy, and it isn’t helped when Beverly seems to heap praise on Sheldon for his collaboration with Leonard on their paper, while downplaying Leonard’s contribution. On the other hand, Mary couldn’t be prouder of Sheldon and hardly approves of Leonard and Penny’s long-term status as lovers without vows.

Warned separately by their respective sons to be civil, Mary and Beverly are at first respectful while parrying each other with veiled barbed quips. Hostility slowly builds.

Meanwhile, Leonard and Sheldon hold a contentious sidebar conversation when Sheldon seems to hog all the love and attention, Leonard accusing Leonard of being a “dirty double mother suckler.”

When mothers and sons trade off briefly, each son talks to the other mother about their relationship with their son and making peace with the other mother. When they return to the apartment, Beverly says she respects Mary’s right to her beliefs. Mary returns the favor, saying, “I will pray for you.” They may not be friends, but they are finally civil.

Then Beverly admits she hasn’t been as nurturing with Leonard as perhaps she should have been.

Beverly opens her arms to Leonard. “I will shower you with unconditional love,” she says awkwardly. Leonard wonders aloud when it will start, and Beverly summons him: “Come to … mommy.” The scene ends in an uncomfortable but endearing hug.

Wives will be mothers

While the Coopers and Hofstadters are struggling with mother-son issues, Howard and Bernadette Wolowitz struggle over wives-will-be-mothers issues.

Howard’s buds Raj Koothrappali and Stuart Bloom are spending way too much time at the Wolowitz abode – almost like they live there, and Bernadette is doing all the work. So Bernadette puts her foot down, putting them to work cleaning house.

Raj observes that Bernadette babies Howard like Howard’s mother used to do, and Howard realizes it’s true. So Howard decides to “man up” and take charge of the clean up. When he tries to haul out the trash the bag rips, spilling messy garbage all over the kitchen floor.

Howard cleans the floor on his own, and when Bernadette walks in she praises him doing it all by himself. He walks over to get his hug, but his shoes stick to the floor and he walks right out of them. “Never mind,” says a disappointed Howard, “just go!”

The scene ends with Howard, Raj, and Stewart sweeping, scrubbing, and shining, singing like Cinderellas in a rock musical.

(Originally written for ScreenFad. But a server error lost the posting and then it was too late to post.)

© Copyright 2015. Alan Eggleston. All Rights Reserved.

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