The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis
Season 2 / Episode 11
Hey kids! What do you want for Christmas? An obligation? You got it! Gift-giving in the hands of Sheldon Cooper is an excruciating affair, riddled with doubts about perceived levels of friendship, commensurate expenditure, the degrees of tenseness experienced in daily Sheldon-exposed life that might necessitate the application of bath oils. All these joys are set into progress once Hannibal has crossed the Alps, the Moving Finger has writ, and Sheldon has seen that Penny is carrying a package with a little Elf sticker on it, labelled “To Sheldon”.
Leaping into action, or rather, stalking with a calculated tread, Sheldon and his two busboys stake out the girly emporium of a perfume and lotion monger (AKA Bath and Body Works), an experience Sheldon likens to being trapped inside a Sultan’s pyjamas. Eventually he settles upon a small basket of spearmint and green tea scented bath oils and cleansing buffs, as a suitable present for Penny. Except, instead of settle, exchange with; interrogates the saleswoman with a degree of focus and intimacy her job does not pay her enough to justify suffering.
Meanwhile, back in Leonardsville, the god-in-our-midst manifestation of the strikingly conventional physicist David Underhill, has catapulted his experimental counterpart and underling, Dr. Hofstadter, into a frenzy of adulation. Up until, of course, the point at which Penny joins him at the worshipful altar. Then loathing sets in at short shrift.
Dr. Bah Humbug Cooper, having by now instituted a brilliant scheme that ensures absolute equability of gift-giving, lies in wait for whatever Penny has to offer. The fact that what she has to offer might lie beyond his wildest calculations evidently did not occur to him. A napkin signed and soiled by Spock himself is the present which reduces our hero to a quivering, spasm-inflicted bundle of delight, disbelief and gratitude. His shock is still palpable as he pincers across the floor, to envelope Penny in the first hug Sheldon has ever instigated to a living soul that we are witness to. It remains the most remarkable of moments. The bridge between two worlds.
By Major Gripe