TV Review: The Big Bang Theory 8×23, “The Maternal Combustion”

After eight years of living together and after eight years of grueling friendship, Leonard and Sheldon are gearing up for one of the most important meetings of their lives; the meeting between their mothers. We’ve met them both, but each on separate occasions. Sheldon’s mother, Mary, is a sweet and simple southern woman who lives by the word of God. On the other hand, Leonard’s mother, Beverly, is the polar opposite. She is a woman of science, and lives by the facts of her studies.

The moms are flying into town to see their sons receive an award for their scientific paper. It’s a happy occasion, but especially for Sheldon. His mother has been there for every honor he’s received, including his victory over his twin sister for the “did it on the potty” trophy. Moreover, Leonard’s mom is known to not hold back on her praise for her son’s brilliant roommate.

Before they meet, each son has a word with their mommies. Sheldon warns his mom to keep the Bible babble to a minimum. He loves her, and isn’t ashamed of her. He’s just embarrassed by the things she believes, does, and says. At the same time, Leonard is prepping his mom, and urging her to be respectful. Also, to lay off the Freudian treatment she gives everyone. For instance, the first thing she inquires when seeing her son is about his sex life with Penny. As you can imagine, it’s all very awkward, and ends with her claiming that he’s trying to impress his her, his mother, with his sexual prowess. It’s these kind of conversation that Leonard wants to avoid, or at the very least, keep to a minimum.


When greeting each other, Mary mentions that Beverly must be so proud of her son. She is. He recently argued a case before the Supreme Court. In usual Beverly Hofstadter fashion, she disregards all of Leonard’s merits, and goes on to praise her other children, who are more successful in her eyes. For the rest of the afternoon, Leonard mopes around, while Sheldon eagerly leaps from the compliments both mothers are showering him. After stories about a 13-year old Sheldon securing electricity for the whole town by building a nuclear reactor in the tool shed and buying Uranium from an African warlord, Leonard is fed up.

After dragging him to his room, Leonard scolds Sheldon, and calls him a super weiner. He is just like a baby elephant seal who steals milk from two mother seals. It’s quite a diss, but not one made correctly. Sheldon is pretty well-versed in the science of elephant seals, and believes he’s more of a double mother suckler. He’s not seeking the milk. Rather, the two mothers are looking to nurture the same seal pup. Outside the bedroom, Mary and Beverly are having their own squabble. Beverly “uchs” at Mary’s mention of the Lord, and subtly insults her by calling her beliefs superstitions. Mary fires back and questions where she got all her beliefs of superego’s and id’s. Penny tries to act the mediator and informs them that they both believe in bearded, Jewish men, so they’re not all that different.


In the end, Beverly questions her parenting style and compares it to Mary’s own approach. Would Sheldon have thrived in her reward based environment? Sheldon doesn’t really care since his mom served him spaghetti with little chopped up hot dogs. Both woman apologize to each other, or the closest thing to an apology. Beverly will respect Mary’s rights to her beliefs, and Mary will pray for Beverly. In addition, Beverly will now start a new protocol where she showers Leonard with unconditional love.

On the other side of town, Howard, Stuart, and Raj are hanging out, playing video games and wondering what the next monster fad will be. First, it was vampires. Now everything is zombies. Raj states there hasn’t been an invisible man for a while, but clearly he hasn’t seen Stuart try to talk to a woman. They’re all acting lazy and neglecting rule number one: pants.

Bernadette is fed up. She got the car washed, picked up cleaning supplies, and went to the bank all the while they’ve just been sitting on the couch playing video games. She’s tired of them, so she demands they clean the kitchen from top to bottom.

Feeling reprimanded, they begin to clean the kitchen. During their scrub session, Raj and Stuart make Howard realize that Bernadette babies him in the relationship, and what’s frightening is that it is the same coddling his mother used to give him, which wasn’t healthy. Thus, he decides that he’s finally going to start acting like an adult. First step: taking out the trash. When failing even at that, they clean up the mess, whilst singing “It’s a hard knock life.”


Best Bazingas!

“Leonard, what time does your mom’s plane get in?”—Penny

“I don’t know. Some time tomorrow morning.”—Leonard

“Don’t you want to know for sure?”—Penny

“Don’t need to. As soon as she flies into California airspace, I’ll feel a disturbance in the force.”—Leonard

“Everyone loves stories about Sheldon Cooper, boy genius.”—Sheldon


Alejandra Torres is a 21 year old from Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida International University with a degree in English Literature. She loves books, television, and movies. Some of her other favorite things include: leftovers (food—not the show), cookie dough, and her pet poodles, Benji and Bella. She hates Miami traffic but loves XM radio, so basically, it’s complicated. In a battle between contacts or trendy, oversized glasses, the latter wins because lets face it, contacts are a lot more dangerous than some people might think. Her latest binge victim was Parks & Recreation. She “literally” got through six seasons faster than the Millennium Falcon kicks into warp speed. Her favorite shows include: Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars—because it doesn’t matter whether a girl is from Dragonstone or Rosewood, fashion is key.