After last week's weird episode, The Big Bang Theory is back on track with the return of "Fun With Flags," no mention of Leonard donating his sperm, and Sheldon powerfully sticking up for Amy (you tell 'em, Dr. Cooper). The episode also introduces Sean Astin and Kal Penn as physicists who could make or break Shamy's Nobel Prize hopes; although the Muppets' Statler and Waldorf, two cranky, obnoxious dudes, could have easily played the same parts.
Anyway, "The Confirmation Polarization" starts out on a high note when Amy receives an encouraging email from Dr. Pemberton (Astin) and Dr. Campbell (Penn) during a taping of "Fun With Flags." They seem to confirm Sheldon and Amy's theory about super-asymmetry, which sends Sheldon and Amy into a state of delirium. (They're so excited that Penny, Leonard, and the rest of the gang hear them from across the hall and assume they must be having sex.)
Sheldon and Amy tell Professor Siebert their news, and he suggests they could be looking at a Nobel-winning achievement. If they do win, they'll be the thirty-ninth and fortieth Nobel laureates from Cal Tech. Surprisingly Sheldon doesn't ask for a statue of himself immortalized on the campus, but you know that's coming. Later, Shamy meets with Pemberton and Campbell, who reveal this happened so fast because their experiment accidentally confirmed super-asymmetry. Sheldon and Amy are not amused. Pemberton and Campbell don't even understand super-asymmetry, but they don't care. They're just excited to be in Los Angeles and have tickets to a taping of Ellen. "Look at the four of us," Pemberton says, "changing the face of physics!"
Um, "the four" of you? Yep, apparently Pemberton and Cambell need to attach themselves to Sheldon and Amy's theory if there's any hope to win a Nobel.
Later, Sheldon meets up with Leonard, Howard, and Raj to complain. Raj says he shouldn't worry because "super-asymmetry is your paper. Everyone knows you discovered it first." Raj is right, Leonard says, but the Nobel committee has often favored scientists like Pemberton and Campbell. Either way, the whole thing is infuriating. (Not as infuriating, of course, as Leonard thinking of donating his sperm to Penny's ex-boyfriend.)
Sheldon then tells Pemberton and Cambell not to steal his idea; they can come up with their own. Campbell's all, "Yeah, that's not gonna happen." Pemberton snidely says, "Wouldn't that be something though!" Forget what I said about these two acting like Statler and Waldorf. They don't belong in a nice theater balcony. They deserve to live in Oscar the Grouch's trash can.
They eventually say they understand where Sheldon is coming from, but they're going to be part of this submission anyway. Sheldon's not thrilled—but if that's what it takes to win a Nobel, he's not going to say no. But that's when Pemberton and Campbell drop another bombshell: Only three of them can be named to the discovery, not four. (Side note: When did this thing turn into a ride at Disneyland, where there's only room for a set amount of people in a row? Glad I never had Nobel ambitions.)
Sheldon wants Pemberton or Campbell to leave their names off the discovery, but neither's willing to budge. They reason that they're all physicists; since Amy is a neuroscientist, she doesn't belong. Sheldon storms out, but first he makes Pemberton and Campbell think he's on their side. Little do they know there's still 10 minutes left in the episode, and Sheldon's not going down without a fight.
Sheldon returns home for dinner with Amy and reluctantly tells her that only three people can share a Nobel prize. He explains that Pemberton and Campbell's university is recommending the two of them and Sheldon, and they want Cal Tech to do the same. If they present a united front, they'll have a better shot at winning. Amy reacts as if she's had the wind knocked out of her. "That makes sense," she says, still in shock.
Sheldon says he won't leave her off the submission, but Amy says maybe he should. Now Sheldon's shocked. "This has been your lifelong dream, and maybe you won't get another chance," she says. "I don't want to be the reason you don't win a Nobel."
Then, in the blink of an eye, Sheldon turns into Mr. Romance and tells Amy she's the only reason he even deserves a Nobel. Amy is touched but says if his best shot is to partner up with those idiots (my words, not hers), he should take it. "I just want you to be happy," she says. Amy, we do not deserve you.
Sheldon makes it seem as if he's going to move forward with this plan, but there's one more surprise left. In the next scene he storms into Professor Siebert's office and demands that Amy's name be included on the submission. "I will not be part of an award that does not recognize the value of her contributions," he says. "You either include both of us in the recommendation letter or don't bother writing one." More of this Sheldon, please!
Surprisingly, Siebert doesn't stand in Sheldon's way. Siebert acknowledges that it might cause a fight with the other team, but he also respects Sheldon's decision. "You and Dr. Fowler have my full support."
Sheldon's shocked, but also impressed with himself. I'm impressed with him too. Amy can fight her own battles, but Sheldon's looked up to superheroes his entire life—it's nice to see him kind of turn into one too.