Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Big Bang Theory Season Nine Premiere: Leonard and Penny Tie the Knot

by Melissa Parkin 

The wedding, eight years in the making, finally happens…and we don’t really get to see it. What?

Season nine kicks off with “The Matrimonial Momentum” immediately following the events of last spring’s finale. Sheldon reels from Amy asking him for a timeout from their relationship, while Leonard and Penny jet off to Vegas to get hitched. Everything goes downhill when Leonard confesses to Penny, during their road trip to Sin City that he once drunkenly kissed one of his co-workers during his research venture in the North Sea.

Despite the upsetting revelation, Penny says she forgives Leonard for his transgression, and the pair head to a random wedding chapel upon arrival. As they wait for their turn to exchange vows, Leonard receives a call from a bitter (and overly melodramatic) Sheldon who’s professing that all women are evil. Penny overhears the conversation, learning of the “Shamy” breakup, and calls Amy to find out if she’s okay. The talk doesn’t go particularly well when Amy asks if Penny can come over to her apartment to console her, forcing her bestie to tell her about the impending wedding. Considering current circumstances, Amy doesn’t take the news lightly, as she was not invited to the wedding.

Having only given Amy eleven hours, or as Sheldon puts it, “the length of the Lords of the Rings trilogy,” to make a decision over the state of their relationship, he corners her in the hallway as she tries to leave her apartment. Amy makes it clear that she still needs more time to think things over. Sheldon becomes jealous over the fact that she was invited to the Wolowitz’s place to watch Leonard and Penny’s live streaming wedding, while he was not. Amy tells him that the decision wasn’t anything personal; the gang just wanted to avoid an awkward situation by having the two of them in the same room. Despite being blatantly shunned from the event, Sheldon turns up at the house anyway, deciding to watch the nuptials through the front window until someone decides to let him inside. Bernadette finally caves and opens the door as the ceremony commences.

Penny and Leonard share a sweet moment as the two exchange vows, but Sheldon’s bickering over Amy steals everyone’s focus back at the house. Cooper pushes his luck way too far with an insensitive remark, and Amy officially dumps him on the spot. By the time the argument concludes, the remaining people in the room look back at the screen only to realize that the wedding is already over.

The newlyweds head up to their hotel room to consummate their vows, but Penny spoils the mood by bringing up Leonard’s past indiscretion. Things only get worse when Leonard offhandedly mentions that the woman who he drunkenly kissed isn’t just a former colleague, but a present one with whom he sees every day. Penny and Leonard return to their apartment building that very night, parting ways into their own respective living places after further arguing.

Though it has its fair share of chuckles, this season nine premiere episode falls flat. Fans waited eight years to see Penny and Leonard finally take that fateful walk down the aisle. See being the operative word. And not only are we robbed of watching them say their “I do’s,” the entire run-time serves as nothing but melodrama that leaves us downcast. Given that this is a comedy above anything else, an episode showcasing the primary characters finally getting married shouldn’t make us frown more than smile.

Credit goes out to guest star Laurie Metcalf for her always hilarious appearance as Sheldon’s staunchly religious mother. As for the rest of the cast, everyone does their best with the material provided, but said material is that bland that not even Raj’s adorable accent can save it.

One’s wedding should be the happiest day of his/her life, and Penny makes it especially clear that this is not that day when Leonard and she are still in the car. Leonard has always been the loyal, honest boyfriend that Penny never had. That’s what she loves about him. Given this loss of trust in him that Penny unmistakably displays, what would possess her to go through with marrying him at this point? Time may heal all wounds, but getting married when your significant other just cut you is beyond ridiculous. And what is up with Penny’s hair? Anybody else notice that the front suddenly looks kind of gray? Who dyed it that color? Also, when did Stuart become a total creeper? Sure, he’s lonely, depressed, pessimistic, and completely down on his luck. He’s like the human equivalent of Eeyore. That’s why we love him, strangely enough. In “The Matrimonial Momentum” though, he suddenly tries embodying a younger Howard by making creepy advances on the newly single Amy. Yes, the level of discomfort is funny, but it’s completely out of character. Overall, The Big Bang Theory misses its mark, and provides a Big Thud instead.

Big Bang Theory: “The Matrimonial Momentum” Rating - C


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