The Big Bang Theory continues its winning streak with a charming Halloween episode, “The Imitation Perturbation.”

RELATED: See how we’re celebrating Halloween here!

Since the guys are the only ones who dress up in costumes at work, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) decide to host a Halloween party to give the whole gang a chance to let their geek flags fly. 

During the work day, Howard (Simon Helberg) surprises Sheldon (Jim Parsons) by dressing  up as him. Sheldon notices that Howard has done something different with his hair, but he’s otherwise oblivious to Howard’s costume. At lunch, Howard cracks Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Leonard up with his spot-on impression of Sheldon, and Sheldon doesn’t understand why they’re laughing when everything Howard is saying is so rational. When they clue him in on the joke, his feelings are deeply hurt. 

Amy (Mayim Bialik) comes looking for Sheldon in his office later. She’s dressed as Clara, Mary Steenburgen‘s character from Back to the Future III, and she’s expecting to find Sheldon still decked out as Doc Brown. He’s changed out of his costume, though, having lost his taste for dress-up after finding himself the butt of a joke. 

Amy visits Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) at home and asks her to have Howard apologize. Bernadette points out that Sheldon never apologizes for the hurtful things he says– including that Halley looks like Winston Churchill. She refuses to intervene. 

At the party, Howard and Bernadette dress as Mary Poppins and Bert the chimney sweep. They’re talking with Bert (Brian Posehn), who’s dressed as Maurice “Doc” Ewing (winner of the 1960 Vetlesen Prize– the Nobel Prize of Geology), and Stuart (Kevin Sussman), who has borrowed a pair of butterfly wings from baby Halley, when Amy and Sheldon arrive in new costumes: Bernadette and Howard.

Leonard, dressed as Inspector Gadget (with working helicopter hat!), tries to intervene when things get tense. Amy pokes fun at Bernadette’s squeaky voice and unnecessary cruelty, and Sheldon pulls a quarter from the pocket of his skin-tight jeans to do imitation magic. Anu (Rati Gupta), dressed as the Constitution (with the “Bill of Tights” underneath) asserts that because of free speech, Amy and Sheldon should be allowed to continue. Raj, dressed as “Kuth Bader-Ginsburg, the Notorious KBG,” rules in favor of Anu. Bert, who hasn’t been invited to many parties, asks Stuart if the fight that’s brewing is an indicator of this being a good one, and Stuart grins and says yes. 

As the Wolowitzes drive home, Howard has moved past the slight, but Bernadette is fuming. So the next day, Howard begs Sheldon and Amy to apologize. Amy refuses to do something Bernadette wasn’t willing to do, but Sheldon capitulates when Howard references Star Wars and letting the Wookie win. 

When Sheldon visits Bernadette at home later, Howard speeds away to avoid any potential fallout. Bernadette explains that she’s been made fun of her whole life for being little and having a squeaky voice. She says she had to be mean to compensate. Sheldon commiserates that he was always little in school because he entered high school at age nine. Bernadette shares that her nickname was “Bernadette the Marionette,” and Sheldon says his was “Egghead,” because he always had eggs on his head from kids throwing eggs at him. They exchange more stories of having been teased when they were growing up and discover that they’re more alike than they thought, which leads to a restoration of harmony between them. 


Meanwhile, the Halloween party is making Leonard nostalgic for his and Penny’s first kiss, which was at the one Halloween party she invited him to in the early years of their friendship. She claims to remember that night only for her skillful projectile vomiting into a pumpkin, which hurts his feelings. 

Once the Halloween party is over, she confesses that she does remember kissing him that night, but that she doesn’t like to think of it as their first kiss because she was drunk, she was in a relationship with someone else and she was only doing it to make herself feel better. She prefers to remember their next kiss, at Leonard’s birthday party, as the first one, because it was more meaningful. He’s touched by her reasoning and accepts the birthday kiss as their official first kiss, leading to some additional kisses. 

RELATED: Follow my Season 12 recaps here!

The episode’s last few seconds are dedicated to the guys getting ready to watch the original Halloween with Sheldon, who’s never seen it. Amy bursts in just as the movie begins and forbids Sheldon to watch it. He leaves, protesting, and as soon as they’re out the door he asks what took her so long. She replies that she’d only just gotten his text. Hilarious!

RELATED: Read our review of the new Halloween here!


Leona Laurie