On Big Bang Theory "Fish Guts Displacement," Howard (Simon Helberg) is getting to know his father-in-law (Casey Sander). But who cares when Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is starting to get physical with Amy (Mayim Bialik), and doesn't even realize it?
Howard's fishing lessons
The CBS comedy has done it before, but it's doing it again: Howard is having some awkward conversations with his father-in-law, Mike. Mike is fine. Retirement is fine. And even his mother-in-law's trip to the Grand Canyon was fine. Even Howard's corny jokes Â— "Death by chicken, that's a pretty 'fowl' way to go" Â— don't work to get the dinner party started.
So when Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) suggests that Howard go fishing with her dad, both of them try to get out of it. But Bernie wants her "two favorite fellas" to get to know each other, so they go they shall. Since Howard has no choice, he decides to get some practice. But who knows about fishing and manly stuff in their circle of friends? Penny (Kaley Cuoco), of course.
Step one: worms Â— and "don't say ew, icky, and get it away." Next, Howard has to hook it, but he calls him "sherm the worm," and Penny declares, "Don't name him! Just jab a hook in his face!" Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Raj (Kunal Nayar) cheer him on, prompting Penny to say, "That's great, cheerleading, way to man things up."
But then all the guys admit that they never had a good male role model in their lives Â— Raj spent his childhood pretending to ice skate by putting vaginal lube on his shoes Â— and Howard knows he should feel lucky. So he shoves his thumb down the fish's throat, grabs the guts, and pulls. "Oh it's a female, look you can see all the eggs!" Penny declares.
When fishing day arrives, Mike and Howard admit they don't want to go. But their wives expect them to spend a weekend away. Even Mike's wife, and he's a big scary cop. They decide to go gamble instead, and Mike promises to teach his son-in-law to play. And that's progress.
Sheldon takes care of Amy
Then there's Big Bang Theory progress in Sheldon and Amy's relationship. When Amy comes down with the flu, despite his fear of all germs, Sheldon decides to stick around and take care of his girlfriend. "I made a commitment in writing to take comfort you in times like this," he says in the sweetest moment on "Fish Guts Displacement." "Additionally, you're my girlfriend, and I care about your well-being."
And that he does. While his initial bedside manner is lacking Â— he offers a tic tac as a placebo (is it a tic tac? or is it a powerful drug?) Â— he's not leaving until she's better. That means that he's going to put a cold rag on her head, sing to her, and apply Vapor Rub to her chest. And at that last proposition, Amy perks up. Thing are about to get fun.
"Now you may notice some tingling," Sheldon says of the Vapor Rub. To which Amy says, "Oh I'm counting on it."
After she gets all fired up from the Vapor Rub, Sheldon calms her down by reading a genetics book. Amy is loving every minute of it Â— but then Bernadette shows up and Amy has something to admit. She got better two days ago, but she loves the way Sheldon is taking care of her. That stuff in her nose? It's rubber cement.
"I don't mean to be judgy, but this is the kind of things lunatics do," Bernadette tells her. Amy agrees, and says she'll tell him the truth Â— but then Sheldon offers to help with her bath. And the next day, Amy is walking on sunshine.
But, she's found out. Sheldon had been suspicious of her immune system, and so he swabbed her cheek while she slept. He knows Amy's only symptoms now are a growing nose and a warming sensation in the lower regions Â— little does he realize how much so, but he's referring to her pants being on fire.
Sheldon thought their relationship was based on trust and mutual admiration, and this behavior simply won't do. He needs to discourage it, and since a stockade isn't an option, he decides using a rod on her would work, like his father once did to him.
"Are you saying you want to spank me?" Amy excitedly says in perhaps one of the funniest moments of the episode. "I don't want to," Sheldon says, "but it looks like you left me no choice."
"That's true, I'm a very bad girl," Amy says. And this exchange is even funnier, because Sheldon doesn't realize the effect he's having on Amy, just as he didn't with the Vapor Rub or bath.
"Are you prepared to receive your punishment?" he asks in a non-sexual way. But then Amy declares, "Oh my!" as he spanks her, and he finally gets a clue. "Excuse me, you're not supposed to be enjoying this!" he says.
To which Amy naturally says, "Then maybe you should spank me harder."
Sheldon might have been pretty unaware of all their physical interactions, but it was a big and hilarious step forward in Sheldon and Amy's relationship.
Big Bang Theory airs on CBS Thursday at 8 p.m. EST.
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Â© 2012 Elizabeth SanFilippo