The latest episode of The Big Bang Theory, “The Tam Turbulence,” is partly about Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) never-before-mentioned (unless you watch Young Sheldon) childhood best friend, Tam (Robert Wu), visiting Caltech. And that’s fine. But while Amy (Mayim Bialik), Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Howard (Simon Helberg) are unraveling how Tam betrayed Sheldon 20 years ago, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) are doing something way more interesting: getting to know Anu (Rati Gupta)!
When Tam emails Sheldon that he’s bringing his son to tour Caltech, Amy sees the email. It’s the first time she, or any of their friends, has ever heard about Tam. Sheldon has him on his enemies list because “he knows what he did,” but he refuses to elaborate with even Amy. The guys try Skyping with Sheldon’s brother, Georgie (Jerry O’Connell), but he doesn’t know anything. They corner Tam when he’s on campus, and he doesn’t know anything either.
Finally Amy gets Sheldon to explain that when he moved to California, Tam was supposed to have come and been his roommate. Instead, he fell in love in Texas and stayed behind, leaving Sheldon to move across country alone and suffer through friendlessness for a long time.
Amy takes him seriously and acknowledges with deep empathy that that must have been so scary for him. Then she asks how Tam coming along would have changed Sheldon’s life, leading to a clever series of scenes pulled from old episodes with Leonard digitally swapped out for Tam. Sheldon can’t imagine that the quality of his life would have differed. Eventually, Amy brings him to see that his life is so great that he has no reason to begrudge Tam for leaving him to find his way alone.
Sheldon invites Tam to his office, where he forgives him. Then Sheldon takes Tam and his son on a tour of the campus and shows them where all the clean bathrooms are. (If it’s number one, the library is fun, but if it’s number two, the basement is for you.)
Meanwhile! Penny and Bernadette decide they need to scope out the woman Raj is rushing to marry despite barely knowing her. Bernie’s retired cop dad refuses to do an illegal background check on her, so they have to resort to more straightforward snooping and scope out Anu while she’s working the concierge desk at her hotel.
After hearing Anu score Hamilton tickets for a guest, they approach her and introduce themselves as Raj’s friends. Anu calls them out on wanting to check her out, which impresses Penny. They invite her to dinner, and she suggests Bavel. Penny and Bernadette love the idea, but they don’t think they’ll be able to get a reservation. Anu insists that getting into impossible places is her superpower and effortlessly snags them a reservation for 8:30 that night.
As they walk away, Bernadette says to Penny, “She can get into any restaurant, but the best husband she can find is Raj?”
At Bavel, Anu pours wine for her new friends with a free hand, easily loosening their tongues about her fiancé. First she satisfies their curiosity about why she’d consider arranged marriage by describing the man she supported through her 20s as he tried on career after career. When she dumped him, she looked at her parents and realized that they were happy enough in their arranged marriage that it might work for her as well. Then she gets them talking about Raj.
By the end of dinner, Penny and Bernadette have told Anu at least that Raj:
- bathes with his dog (while they both wear swimsuits)
- wears ladies’ deodorant
- ugly cries every time Hugh Jackman sings
- and is essentially one of the girls (in both a not-bad and a bad way).
When Raj finds out the next day, he’s furious. He calls Penny and Bernadette at work and demands that they leave Anu alone. When they hang up, they agree that they should see if Anu can get them into Soho House so they can do damage control… for Raj’s sake.
I love Anu!
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