The Big Bang Theory: The Proton Transmogrification

Holding true to the geek credo of the series, “The Big Bang Theory” celebrates May the 4th in style with official Star Wars props and sets that help the writers give a very entertaining glimpse in to the appeal of the iconic movie series. I don’t normally review single episodes of many shows these days, but “The Big Bang Theory” really helped remind me why I used to love “Star Wars.: No matter what you think of the prequels or how it’s being tailored these days, “Star Wars” has a meaning to everyone whose ever seen it, and it’s an important saga for anyone that’s followed it since its release. I was afraid “The Proton Transmogrification” was going to be one of those lazy scenario episodes like “Blue Harvest,” where the gang re-enacts the entire series in one episode. Especially since the news broke that Lucasfilm allowed the series to use many costumes and props for the episode.

Thankfully, the show displayed so much more restraint by using the elements from the movie series cleverly. And instead of using the opportunity to just mimic the movies, they instead used the time to garner a more meaningful glimpse in to the personalities and lives of our ensemble cast. The episode acts more like a love letter to the saga by exploring how it and the holiday “May the 4th” manages to alter the lives of the characters in some way, however minute it may seem. In ” The Proton Transmogrification” the guys are preparing to celebrate May the 4th, but Leonard sadly tells Sheldon that their hero Arthur Jeffries aka “Professor Proton” has died. Recurring guest star Bob Newhart gives a third (and likely final?) guest spot as Professor Proton, whose importance in Sheldon’s life is a shock, even to him.

Sheldon, of course, refuses to cop to grief for his mentor’s death, while Leonard and Penny go to his funeral. Meanwhile Raj and Howard watch the entire movie series with laughably “Star Wars” themed foods. Even Bernadette and Amy get in on the fun as they think back to how they became scientists as they prepare a surprise Death Star cake for the guys. For folks that have hated Sheldon Cooper for many years, we’re given a keen glimpse in to the reasoning for him distancing himself from everyone in his life, and placing little value on human emotion. Sheldon angrily protests watching the “Star Wars” saga in “Machete Order” (which Raj and Howard suggest), and storms off to his room. After falling asleep, Professor Proton comes to him in his dreams, trying to figure out why he’s a key figure in Sheldon’s consciousness, and then begins to realize why Sheldon is such an alienating individual.

Sheldon’s empathetic back story is played well by Jim Parsons, who reveals his feelings on the loss of his father and grandfather, thus inadvertently revealing why Sheldon is so closed off to people emotionally, and physically. Proton then helps Sheldon figure out the very meaningful lesson that it’s okay to mourn the people we lose, but it’s also wise to appreciate the people that are still there for us. While the episode was mainly about Sheldon, the writers give the other characters their chances to shine with hilarious results. I especially loved the interplay between Penny and Leonard and their marriage proposal contest, as well as Penny’s horrific realization that she has become a Star Wars geek much like the guys are. “The Proton Transmogrification” further emphasizes the that “The Big Bang Theory” now nearing ten seasons, hasn’t run out of steam and is still very centered on flawed but lovable characters that can find common ground with a movie set Once Upon a Time, In a galaxy far, far away.