The Big Bang Theory Season 9 Episode 11 Review: “The Opening Night Excitation”

Big Bang Theory

Every long-running sitcom has those episodes that you know will go down in history. They have moments that people will still be talking about 20 years later. “Remember when Joey put on all of Chandler’s clothes?” they say, or “Remember when Cliff Clavin went on Jeopardy?” I expect that “Remember when Sheldon and Amy consummate their relationship?” will soon be on that list.   It was easily The Big Bang Theory‘s best episode of the season and, much like Rudolph, will go down in history (both television and otherwise).

This week on The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon gives up his opening night Star Wars ticket to spend Amy’s birthday with her. Sheldon seeks the imaginary counsel of Professor Proton (Bob Newhart), as he debates what to get Amy for her birthday. Penny and Bernadette get Amy ready for the biggest night of her life. Leonard, Howard, and Raj recruit Wil Wheaton to go to the movie in Sheldon’s place.

In pretty much every way, this was a masterful episode. The dramatic build from Season 9 so far hsd resulted in some of the best work Big Bang Theory has done in several seasons. Sheldon and Amy’s break-up created some fascinating stories, and it all built to them getting back together. Of course, getting back together and not changing anything would result in an eventual second break-up, so they had to take things a step further. And boy did they ever.

“The Opening Night Excitation” had very little wrong with it. It used Star Wars and the fandom so beautifully, but not to exploit the new movie. Rather, the episode used the opportunity as a device to show just exactly how much Sheldon has grown over these nine seasons.  There is no greater measure of Sheldon’s love for Amy than his skipping Star Wars’ opening night to be with her. I’m skipping it to write a review. We all make sacrifices. Of course, all of the episodes plot threads wove beautifully into one great picture, and that’s what made “The Opening Night Excitation” such a strong half-hour.

Not only did Star Wars and Sheldon mesh so easily, but every element of the episode worked. The guys going to the movie having just as much fun as Sheldon. Wil Wheaton’s attendance at the movie in his Star Trek getup (more on that in a minute), and Penny and Bernadette’s roles all magnified the larger illustration. So much social commentary and character growth were crammed into this small episode, but it just worked. Everything clicked.

Wil Wheaton trolling the Star Wars fans was delightfully poignant. With all the hype we’ve undoubtedly seen on Facebook or Twitter from the Sheldons in our lives, it’s easy to forget that it’s still just a movie. It’s easy to let things like that consume us and even destroy relationships (like it could have with Sheldon). Amidst all of the references and love for Star Wars, and the wonderful use of it in the episode, this is an important point that Big Bang made. Let’s not take ourselves so seriously.

As always, here are some of my favorite quotes/moments from the episode:

  • Loved the Star Wars opening credits.
  • “Surprise! She’s even older. Who saw that coming?”- Sheldon
  • “If I want to watch Mean Girls,  I’ll stream on Netflix.”- Sheldon again
  • This episode had some really brief but really great physical bits, like Professor Proton stabbing himself with the lightsaber and Penny breaking her wine glass.
  • “Harp thing. Sheep thing.” “Wild Thing.”- Penny and Bernadette
  • “Amy’s birthday present will be my genitals.” Sheldon has such a way with words.
  • “I have no idea what kids these days are calling their parts.”- Professor Proton
  • “I also got you a balloon, but it floated away and I chased it for awhile.” Sheldon gives us our favorite mental image.
  • “Give it to you”
  • “This is a litigious society. I’m gonna need verbal consent.”- Sheldon

“The Opening Night Excitation” might go down as one of my favorite Big Bang Theory episodes of the last several seasons, maybe ever. It so easily combined every character with humor and heart in a momentous occasion for two of its characters. Brilliant. Bravo. Encore.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Was it like you expected? Let us know in the comments!

[Photo credit: Michael Yarish/CBS]

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