The Big Bang Theory does a great job of misdirecting my expectations with their episode titles. If you think “The Propagation Proposition” is happening within the core group, you’re in for a surprise!
Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) are enjoying a girls’ night out for the first time in a long time when a man at the bar sends over a bottle of champagne. It’s Penny’s ex, Zack (Brian Thomas Smith)!
He explains that he asked for the bar’s most expensive bottle of champagne, and when the bartender told him it was $200, he said he wanted a more expensive bottle. So the bartender told him it was $300. Penny stops Amy from explaining to him that he just paid $300 for a $200 bottle.
It turns out that Zack has sold his company for a fortune. He’s retired and lives on a boat with his new wife. He asks Penny if she and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) will come have dinner with them there soon, and Bernadette accepts, saying that Leonard was just saying he wished he could have dinner with one of Penny’s exes on a boat.
When the dinner happens, Zack and his wife, Marissa (Lindsey Kraft), prove to be perfectly suited– if you know what I mean. They impress the Hofstadters with their remarkably dim wits and cheery dispositions before throwing them a huge curve. The Johnsons want to start a family, but they can’t have children (perhaps because of a game Zack and his frat bros used to play that involved kicking each other in the nuts over and over). They want Leonard to be their sperm donor.
Penny is aghast, but Leonard is deeply flattered. Zack and Marissa explain that Leonard is the smartest person Zack knows and they think he’s really nice. They want him to be the biological father of their baby.
Leonard and Penny say they need to talk about it privately, which means fighting about it at home. She is absolutely opposed to it, and Leonard is open to it.
The next day, Penny calls in Bernadette and Amy so she can vent. They surprise her by seeing Leonard’s side of things. They understand how he can be flattered by this, even though it’s kind of creepy to father a child for Penny’s ex-boyfriend. They also point out that if she isn’t interested in having kids, he may be attracted to the opportunity to fulfill his biological mandate by fathering a child this way.
Leonard turns to Sheldon (Jim Parsons) for a sympathetic ear, but it’s Sheldon. Instead he gets Sheldon’s incredulity over the fact that anyone would choose Leonard as a sperm donor over him.
When Penny and Leonard come back together, he tells her that if she really doesn’t want him to do it, he won’t. They’re a team, and he’ll respect her wishes. The combination of her friends’ perspectives and his willingness to please her tips the scale. She brings him the top of the NyQuil bottle as a stand-in sample cup and says that if she didn’t give him a choice when she decided she didn’t want to have children that maybe she doesn’t deserve a choice here. She tells him he has her blessing, and that they couldn’t have picked a better guy. He immediately calls Sheldon and asks her to say that last bit again.
First, he tries to “Love Actually” her with hand-written cards displayed through her doorbell camera. He fails because he showed up to apologize for some of what he did wrong, but he foolishly expected her to apologize as well. She tells him they can’t see each other anymore.
Raj goes to Bernadette and Howard (Simon Helberg) for sympathy, but Bernadette stops Howard from dismissing Anu as wrong for Raj, because she’s sure they’ll get back together.
Raj’s dad (Brian George) Skypes him to ask if Anu’s parents are telling the truth about him having installed a camera to spy on their daughter. Raj clarifies that his intention wasn’t spying, but otherwise that it’s true. Dr. Koothrappali is ready to frame Anu as the bad guy and try to get his wedding deposits back from her parents, but Raj realizes that the real problem is that he thinks she deserves someone better than him.
His dad tells him to stop beating himself up. He’s a good man.
Raj is stunned. His father has never said anything like this before. His father says that he’s also a dope, something Raj *has* heard before, but that his heart is in the right place, and that he deserves happiness. He closes by telling Raj that if he wants to cancel the wedding, they will, but if he wants to marry Anu he should try to win her back.
Raj returns to Anu’s apartment to beg her through the doorbell cam for a conversation. She reluctantly opens the door, and when she does, he tells her that she was correct to think he only wanted to get married to catch up with his friends, and that she deserves better than that. He tells her she deserves someone who knows how great she is and wants to be with her because he can’t imagine being apart from her. She thanks him for saying that, and then he tells her that he thinks he could be that man.
In a “grand gesture” moment, he tells her that he likes her so much, and that he wants to start their relationship from the beginning instead of the middle. He begs her to go on a date with him, producing one more handwritten card from his pocket that says “please.”
She agrees, with the caveat that she just got out of a weird relationship and might need to vent about her ex.
They hug, and a new day dawns for RAnu! (I just named them that.)
Funniest moment of the episode: After the girls’ night out, Penny tells Leonard that Amy got so drunk she kept telling them how Sheldon’s chest is “smooth like a porpoise.”