The Big Bang Theory’s “The Donation Oscillation” Experiences Weightlessness

*Spoiler warning for The Big Bang Theory, season 12, episode 15.

Bernadette, Anu, and Raj on The Big Bang Theory
Bernadette, Anu, and Raj experience zero-gravity on The Big Bang Theory.

So, I know we had all hoped that the storyline involving Leonard donating his sperm to help Penny’s ex-boyfriend Zack and his wife have a baby had gone away, but it hasn’t. After deciding to go through with it, and Penny deciding to be supportive of it, though she isn’t happy about it, this episode has Leonard gearing up for the big day. Zack and his wife, Marissa, tell Leonard that he has to avoid sex or masturbation for a week before going to donate his sperm, which prompts Penny to try to seduce him all episode – turns out she’s still not so cool with the idea.

The most awkward part about this whole thing, though, is actually that Penny’s dad comes to visit them that week, and has his own thoughts on the matter. He also finds out for the first time that Penny doesn’t want to have kids, and is disappointed. He eventually decides that Leonard’s brains shouldn’t go to waste, and that it makes sense for him to put those prize genetics to use somewhere else – he compares it to a prize stallion being put out to stud. I always forget that Penny’s dad likes Leonard so much – apparently, considering all of Penny’s other boyfriends have been such losers, Leonard looks like a gem.

Leonard has a long talk with Sheldon and Amy about the subject, after they find him sleeping on their couch because he was trying to avoid having sex with Penny. He realizes that he’s only going through with this, because a big part of him still wants to have kids, but since he won’t be able to be a father to this child, it’s really not such a good idea. This is compounded by the fact that he knows Penny is still uncomfortable with the situation.

Penny also has a long talk with her father about her not wanting kids. He clearly wants grandkids, but he tells her that she’s the best thing that ever happened to him and that she could never disappoint him. He respects her decision. The two end up hugging it out, and then Leonard comes over, and he and Penny hug it out as well.

Meanwhile, it’s the week that Raj and Anu would’ve been getting married had they not decided to take it slow. Raj and Howard decide to go through with the activity for Raj’s bachelor party anyway, which is getting to spend an hour in a zero-gravity chamber, so that they can feel what it’s like to be weightless – Howard got them tickets through his NASA contacts. Raj invites Anu to come along, and Howard invites Stuart, since Bernadette gets motion-sick. Bernadette, however, get mad when she realizes she hasn’t been invited, and insists on coming just so that she can prove to Howard that he doesn’t know her as well as he thinks he does. She almost backs out last minute, terrified of the thing, but ultimately decides that proving a point to her husband is way more important. She even convinces Howard that he should stay behind since there is a small risk of dying in the chamber, that way their children won’t lose both their parents. She’s good.

This was a great episode, both heartwarming and funny. It also finally puts to bed the plot-line of Leonard donating his sperm to Penny’s ex-boyfriend, which was just a little too weird for my taste.

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Author: Linda Maleh

Entertainment writer, feminist, and New York City native. Personal blog is tvtotalkabout.com.

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