For the first time ever, The Big Bang Theory has left me speechless about a scene and it has nothing to do with science, physics, engineering, or Super Asymmetry. Nope, it’s all about relationship—Penny and Leonard’s, specifically. Next week’s episode better reveal that this one—”The Propagation Proposition”—was all a bad dream; otherwise, I’m not going to make it through the rest of the season.
But before we get to that, let’s rewind a bit: This episode is a continuation from last week, when Raj and Anu fought over a doorbell camera and an ex-boyfriend. OK, so their issues might have been bigger than that, but the whole thing escalated beyond reason. In tonight’s episode, Raj tries to win Anu back by showing up at her door Love, Actually style with sweet notecards. To make a long story short, the two decide to get back together and start over without rushing things.
There’s only one problem: Raj never bothers to ask about Anu’s ex-boyfriend, the guy who instigated this whole misunderstanding in the first place. And Anu never brings him up! So we still don’t know who the hell this guy is, whether she still has feelings for him, or why he’s in her life. I think that’s pretty important to talk about.
Anyway, moving on to more important matters… Penny runs into her ex-boyfriend, Zack, and he tells her he sold his company, made a bunch of money, and got married. Zack’s not the brightest, but his life choices sound pretty smart. He tells Penny she and Leonard should come over for dinner on his new boat. When Leonard hears about this, he’s understandably not too excited to dine with Zack and his wife. He’s right. There’s no reason to be excited to dine with your wife’s ex-boyfriend and his new wife on their expensive boat.
But this being a sitcom, it’s never that easy. Leonard and Penny go to Zack’s boat for dinner and trade eye rolls all night over how two these two have managed to live the high life despite being, well, dumb. Before they can figure that out, though, Zack drops a bombshell: he and his wife want a baby, but they can’t on their own…or at least Zack can’t. Since Leonard is the smartest person they know, they want Leonard to donate his sperm for their baby. (What? I can’t, you guys. I just can’t.)
Leonard is flattered, but Penny is dumbfounded. Then Leonard says he doesn’t know what to say. “Really? You don’t know what to say?” Penny responds. “I think we should talk about this,” Leonard says. Uh, Leonard, the answer is “no.”
But of course, Leonard doesn’t say that. Instead, they apparently tell Zack and his wife that they’ll think about it, because in the next scene, Penny tells Amy and Bernadette about the absurdity of the situation. “Leonard just stood there with a big dumb smile on his face like he was watching a puppy and a monkey make friends,” she says. “We got into a huge fight about it. He said if I don’t want to have his baby then why shouldn’t someone else be able to?”
So now Penny is being punished for not wanting to have kids? And does Leonard not understand that donating his sperm doesn’t really make him a dad? Zack would be the father of this baby.
While Penny is talking to Amy and Bernadette, Leonard tells Sheldon he doesn’t see why Penny is so against donating his sperm to Zack and his wife. Sheldon, the voice of reason, tells Leonard he hasn’t considered the emotional toll of knowing there’s a child out there who’s biologically his but not actually his to raise. “Wow, that’s really insightful,” Leonard says. Seriously, Leonard? You didn’t realize that for yourself?
Later, Leonard tells Penny that if she doesn’t want him to do it, he won’t. Penny seems relieved with his decision, but then she excuses herself and returns with a small plastic cup indicating that she’s now OK with him donating his sperm. Leonard asks if this means what he thinks it does, and Penny says, “When I told you I didn’t want to have kids, you didn’t have a say in that, so maybe I don’t need to have a say in this.” Leonard thanks her, and Penny says Zack and his wife couldn’t have picked a better person.
I’m disappointed: How is this Penny’s fault? Just because she doesn’t want kids doesn’t mean the trade-off is Leonard donating his sperm for a child he won’t have a say in raising. And for her ex of all people? This isn’t going to end well—and that’s one series finale I don’t want to see.