The Pants Alternative
Season 3 / Episode 18
What do approximately 36 adults and 70 children have in common? Both groups are of sufficient magnitude to trample Sheldon Cooper to death. Stage fright confronts the “William Shatner of Theoretical Physics” when forced to give a speech accepting the Chancellor’s Award for Science. Wolowitz helpfully reminds him he gives speeches all the time, what he can’t do is shut up. Nonetheless, after a brief, cornhusking pep-talk from Penny, which Sheldon files away under information he’ll bear in mind in the advent of winning the Hillbilly Peace Prize, separately the chaps each provide Sheldon with their own peculiar brand of therapy.
Raj will guide him through a meditative exercise, an experience which Sheldon promptly ruins by allowing a Godzilla-like monster to run rampant through his mental state of Sim City based Sheldonopolis. Leonard endeavours to psychoanalyse Sheldon, and ends up a sobbing mess, prey to his own childhood traumas, and Howard’s great skill is in “pretending to give a rat’s ass”.
Penny, naturally enough, takes him shopping for a new suit. Sheldon sashays about, modelling a series of increasingly ridiculous or lurid garments, including a rather sharp variation of his ubiquitous plaid, but Penny ultimately fixates upon an incredibly dashing black number, which Parsons’ pulls off like nobody’s business. Quite literally, in fact, in a later scene. Cut to the ceremony, and whilst Leonard is once more reliving his childhood, on stage this time, Penny cuts to the chase and gets Sheldon drunk. What follows is an admirably realistic depiction of the escalating extraversion and inappropriateness that accompanies the highly intelligent and introverted getting shitfaced in public.
A pantsless and dragged-backwards-through-the-depths-of-hell Sheldon emerges unsteadily and liverish the next day, to face a Youtube video of his debacle, helpfully filmed and uploaded by his dear friends.
by Major Gripe
There's a cute shenny moment
when Sheldon faints and Penny takes the opportunity to literally paw him as he lies helpless on the floor.
Sheldon, the devil-may-care showman, insulting the audience, wildly flinging a bottle of wine around, and ultimately strip-teasing and then mooning the astronomers, has a Withnailian grandeur about it. Comfortable in his brilliance, beholden to no-one, it is potentially Sheldon’s greatest scene.