It would appear, Big Bang theorists, that Sheldon has finally found his Khan — or, maybe, his Kirk. See, if, like me, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of your favorite sci-fi flicks of all time, you probably noticed that the normally exacting Shedon became hilariously unmoored in his white hot rage for Star Trek: The Next Generation wunderkind Wil Wheaton. Quoting both Khan Noonien Singh (“From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee!”), and, in a fashion, Capt. James T. Kirk (“WHEEEAATONNNN!“), it was unclear whether Sheldon saw himself as a wronged, genetically superior supervillian battling to destroy Wheaton’s impetuous Kirk, or a dashing starship captain striving to defeat Wheaton’s nefarious Khan. Then again, like most Wrath of Khan geeks, Sheldon probably just wanted to be both men at once, and I’ve almost certainly spent far too much Sheldon-esque time exploring this topic as it is. Suffice it to say, in the grand tradition of Newman vs. Seinfeld, Sideshow Bob vs. Bart Simpson, and Mr. Wilson vs. Dennis the Menace, I cannot think of a better bête noir for Sheldon Cooper than (an evil, underhanded version of) Wil Wheaton, since Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher on ST:TNG was essentially an earnest, 24th century version of Sheldon Cooper, replete with a comically unfortunate wardrobe. (For one thing, Wheaton is light years better as an adversary than the odious Barry Kripke.)
It’s so rare that we get to see Sheldon lose it so thoroughly like that, and what made his feud doubly fun was how one-sided it first appeared to be. Having established that his eidetic memory would make him, among other things, a dynamo player of the card strategy game Mystic Warlords of Ka’a, Sheldon declared an MWoK tournament a waste of his prodigious talent. That is, until Raj discovered that Wheaton had also signed up to play, sparking Sheldon to recall the day in 1995 when Wheaton was a no-show at a Mississippi Star Trek convention, denying an eager young Sheldon the chance to meet his childhood idol. This apparently placed the actor at sixth place on Sheldon’s All-Time Enemies List, between Batman & Robin director Joel Schumacher and childhood bully Billy Sparks, and Sheldon was out for blood. (Who else is kinda dying to know who are All-Time Enemies one through four, by the way?)
Sheldon did indeed cut a ruthless path through Ka’a and its various sweatpants-wearing mystic warlords to reach his foe, only to be duped by an equally ruthless Wheaton, who spun a (false) sob story about how the (fake) death of his grandmother kept him from going to that ’95 Trek convention. “If anything happened to my meemaw,” said a suddenly stricken Sheldon, “I’d be one inconsolable moonpie.” So Sheldon sacrificed himself, throwing down an Enchanted Bunny — as we’d all learned earlier, Warlord > Troll > Elf > Water Sprite > Enchanted Bunny, soon to be on t-shirts everywhere — and Wheaton pounced, gleefully admitting that he’d (obviously) lied about his dead nana and igniting Sheldon into the aforementioned Kirk-like, heavens cursing rage. Exec. producer Bill Prady and Co. better be planning a rematch for sweeps.
Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the second epochal development in the Big Bang universe: Wolowitz (kinda) got a girlfriend! At the 2004 opening night of Spider-Man 2, Leonard and Wolowitz entered into a pact that should either land a hot girlfriend, the other was obligated to hook up his buddy with one of said girlfriend’s girl friends. In other words, it was the second consecutive week the writers used Penny and Leonard’s relationship as a plot device for some Wolowitz-y comic shenanigans. But I’ll tolerate two more of them if it gets us lines like this one, uttered after Wolowitz and his heretofore utterly incompatible blind date discovered they both endured overbearing mothers: “My mother calls me at work to see if I had a healthy bowel movement.” Or this line, after Wolowitz invited his date over for Shabbat dinner: “A Catholic girl like you wearing a big cross like that might just give my mother the big brain aneurism I’ve been hoping for.” I’m just hoping this relationship sticks around for more than a single episode, if only because it brought out a surprisingly un-skeezy, unnervingly pleasant quality in the bowl-cut-sporting, dayglo-scoop-neck-shirt-wearing horndog, and lawd help me, I really like it.
Best Pennard post-coital interaction yet:
Penny: “Wow, you really are a genius.”
Leonard: “Not really — I Googled how to do that.”
Most unwelcome image of the night: Wolowitz, with three percent body fat, looking “like a human chicken wing.”
New Sheldon-ism that sounds almost sensible: The four napkin system: Lap, hands, face, personal emergency.
So were you digging Wil Wheaton as Sheldon’s arch-enemy? Are you pulling for Wolowitz’s new ladyfriend to hang around for at least a bit longer? Were you as happy as I was to see the return of deadpan comic-book store employee Stuart (Kevin Sussman)? And did you have a crush on Ernie like Penny, or were you more keen on nuzzling Bert’s unibrow?