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Warning: Spoilers are ahead for the most recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. Be sure to catch up with the show before reading!
I think we can all agree that Sheldon Cooper has matured a lot since we first met him on The Big Bang Theory in the fall of 2007. For instance, he's gone from someone who was completely dedicated to his work and didn't even come close to understanding or desiring romantic relationships to...someone who's slightly less dedicated to his work and blissfully in love with Amy Farrah Fowler, even if he doesn't always understand what his new bride needs or wants from him. Well, the most recent episode has shown us that the sitcom is still dedicated to forcing Sheldon to mature, even when it leads to additional marital strife. Here's what went down.
Some big news tops this episode, as the show opens with Leonard and Penny celebrating with Amy and Sheldon because, after much trouble and hard work, they've finally been able to publish their theory on super asymmetry. As they're all toasting to success with champagne, which Sheldon takes with a packet of Splenda mixed in and has nicknamed a "Dr. Cooper" because he's "also sweet and bubbly," Leonard asks if they've gotten any feedback on their theory yet. Amy says that the paper is posted online, and there are a ton of comments, but they haven't looked at them yet because they don't need strangers to validate their work.
But, when Leonard says they might want to see how their work is being received, Sheldon notes that "a stranger is just a friend who hasn't complimented me yet," so Amy opens the nearest laptop to start reading comments. Sheldon, though, has become nervous despite his early eagerness and stops her twice before Leonard finally takes over and scans some of the comments. Luckily, it turns out that people are being very positive about what Amy and Sheldon came up with, and the top comment even says that this might be the discovery of the decade.
When we next see the guys at work, they're all eating in the cafeteria when Dr. Siebert (Caltech's president) comes over and tells Sheldon he's now a super star and shouldn't be eating in the regular cafeteria, inviting him to dine in his posh and semi-private dining room with Amy, who's already there. When Sheldon looks surprised and asks if his friends can come, Siebert says no, but when Sheldon finds out that he can bring his tater tots along, he's fine with getting up and leaving Raj, Howard and Leonard in the dust.
When Sheldon sits down with Amy at lunch, Siebert joins them and continues to talk about how excited the university is about their work and the plans they have to promote their theory. The big thing that catches Amy's attention is the mention of interviews, which Siebert notes he's excited to have Amy do, while Sheldon stays behind at Caltech to "hold down the fort" in case of an emergency. When Sheldon asks what kind of physics emergency there could be, and Siebert answers with something lame, it becomes clear to Sheldon and Amy that they simply don't want Sheldon doing any interviews.
Siebert, knowing that he's been found out, cops to the truth. He calls Sheldon a brilliant man, and is about to note that they don't believe his people skills are up to par for someone who'll have to do several interviews over the coming months when Sheldon, who's been waiting to get BBQ sauce for his tots, is presented with what is actually steak sauce and goes off on the waiter. Sheldon has, obviously, just proved Siebert's point, but to drive things home, Siebert asks him how he'd react if he were compared to another physicist that he clearly dislikes and all Sheldon can do is start twitching. So, yeah, it's pretty clear that Amy is their best best bet when it comes to interviews.
Surprisingly, when Amy is getting ready to head off to her first round of interviews, her husband doesn't seem to be holding a grudge at all. In fact, when she tells Sheldon that she's nervous and wishes he were coming with her, he tells her not to worry because he's written up a series of sample questions and answers to help her out. The gesture is sweet, but after she reads one of his note cards, Amy can tell that the answers are going to be wooden and not much like anything she would say, so she quietly leaves them behind.
Just when we were all thinking that Sheldon had magically morphed into someone willing to share credit for hard work, we see he and Amy eating in Siebert's dining room again. This time, when Siebert comes in, he calls Amy a star. He's seen the interview she did with Wired, and thinks she did an amazing job. After Sheldon beams and tells Amy how proud he is of her, Siebert reveals the headline of the piece, and this is where things take a grow-yourself-up-Sheldon turn. Wired has decided to focus on Amy and has titled their story: The Neurobiologist Who Revolutionized Physics. Oh...No. Sheldon's positive attitude takes an immediate turn, and he becomes so shocked and flustered that he can't stop muttering and looking back and forth between Siebert and Amy.
As you might imagine, things only get worse from there. When all the couples are gathered that weekend for a paintball game that Leonard and Penny have organized, tensions boil over when Sheldon assumes that Leonard is going to ask him to stay back and hold down the fort, noting that that's all he seems to be good for now. Of course, Amy doesn't take his attitude and an argument ensues. When Amy tells Sheldon that she just wishes he could be proud of her instead of being jealous, Sheldon tells her that he is actually still proud of her. But, since he saw Inside Out, he knows that he can feel two feelings at once, and he admits to also being jealous of her at the same time.
When the episode ended, the newlyweds were at a stalemate. Amy wanted Sheldon to apologize and he refused to do it, so this means that the two will likely continue to be at odds for at least a while longer, and they may even still be on the outs when Drs. Pemberton and Campbell show up to tell them how they accidentally happened upon something that confirms their theory.
Sheldon has never liked being second best even when it comes to other physicists, so we should prepare ourselves for the possibility that he'll be a baby for quite a while about Amy (who's only a neurobiologist, of all things) getting the bulk of the attention for super asymmetry. The only good news out of this is that at least his jealousy hasn't completely overtaken his pride for her, and this whole business is sure to make him confront some of his nastier tendencies. Hopefully, Sheldon and his relationship with Amy will be all the better for it.