Big life changes are at the heart of “The Athenaeum Allocation,” the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory… at least for four of our friends.
Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Howard (Simon Helberg) are both on parental leave to enjoy the first weeks of baby Michael’s life. In fact, they’re so smitten with both of their children that neither can totally imagine going back to work. While they’re both thinking about staying home to parent full time, Bernadette goes off to meet Penny (Kaley Cuoco) at work for a lunch date, leaving Howard with the kids for the day.
Penny finds Bernadette in her office, looking pensive. She confesses that she’s thinking about not coming back, but her proclamation of maternal yearning is interrupted repeatedly by her assistant, Jess (Caleb Pierce), discovering her there and bringing her coffee and cookies, and by her phone ringing and emails coming in. Before long, she’s so absorbed in working that she’s lost her train of thought about not wanting to go back to work.
Howard is having a similar experience at home. He starts the day off strong, competing to be the better stay-at-home parent, but by afternoon he’s called in Raj (Kunal Nayyar) to mostly take over.
When they reconnect in the evening, Howard and Bernadette have both realized that they love their careers and find parenting too exhausting to actually do it full time.
Meanwhile, Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) have finally settled on a wedding date (May 12) and a save the date card (featuring images of their brains kissing). Now they need to lock down a venue, and they agree that Caltech’s Athenaeum Club might be perfect– it’s beautiful, it’s close enough to Sheldon’s office that he can use the bathroom he likes and Einstein used to be a member. Sheldon isn’t sure they can get in, because Leonard (Johnny Galecki) has told him it’s so exclusive that they’re 400th on the waiting list to join, but Amy has been given the impression that it won’t be that difficult, so they book a tour.
During the tour they learn two things: 1. that Leonard has been lying about the exclusivity and has actually been a member for ages, and 2. that it’s so easy to join that Barry Kripke (John Ross Bowie) is also a member.
Despite Leonard’s slight and Kripke’s presence, they decide to go ahead with booking the club as their wedding venue, only to be thwarted by Kripke having booked it for a birthday party the same day. Sheldon is open to finding another wedding date so they can keep the venue, but Amy is so fed up with the nine months it took Sheldon to agree to May 12 that she’s ready to get a new husband before she looks for a new date.
Leonard decides to do penance for his lie about membership exclusivity by negotiating with Kripke for the date, which ultimately leads to him and Sheldon making up and mucking out vats of irradiated grease for Kripke. They also agree to invite him to the wedding, let him bring a date and let him sing “Volare” at the ceremony.
Amy isn’t having it. She throws out some examples of other venues in LA that they could consider, and when she lands on the Planetarium, both they (and we) say, “of course!” Since they have Raj as their inside man, this seems like a done deal.
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