‘The Big Bang Theory’ Recap: Emily Or Cinnamon, Sheldon’s Anxiety Levels

The Big Bang Theory returned after a couple of weeks without a new episode with “The Anxiety Optimization,” which saw Sheldon decide that the best way to make progress in studying dark matter was to make life very difficult for himself and force himself to work under pressure. Meanwhile, Howard created the very amusing “Emily or Cinnamon” game, in which he gave a quote from Raj and it was up to the others to determine if he had said it to his girlfriend or his dog.

The A.V. Club was right to say this episode “might be the funniest…of the season” and that “the jokes feel earned and fresh” and are “informed by a shared history and an engagement with the show’s past.”

IGN pointed out the lack of many new episodes lately as it said this “wasn’t the memorable episode this show needed given how little it’s been on the air in the past two months, but it was pretty entertaining all the same.”

At first, Sheldon tried using noise-cancelling headphones to make himself focus, and he had Leonard and Penny help him test them. This was where it was revealed, among other things, that a nickname for Sheldon is “the virgin piña colada” and Penny has used Sheldon’s toothbrush. They prove that the headphones work. To see what else they told him while he was wearing the headphones, watch the Big Bang Theory clip below.

However, when he ended up with a less than productive night, he decided to switch gears and stress himself out and turned to his friends for help, which went as well as could be expected at first. When Amy rubbed a balloon near him, he popped it. However, when she yelled at him, his levels skyrocketed, until they lowered because he was happy they skyrocketed. It was a predictable cycle. He then asked the guys to disagree with everything he said and even tried joining the girls for an evening, but he had very strange ideas about what they talked about when the guys weren’t around, like who has the “best cervix.” Watch that scene below.

The Inquisitr previously reported that Sheldon would find he likes Taylor Swift’s music in this Big Bang Theory episode, and he did. One of the ways he tried to raise his anxiety levels while he worked was to blast Darth Vader, The Joker and Godzilla from his speakers, and as he explained to Leonard when it woke him up, he had originally added Swift but found out he liked her music. It got to the point that on date night, he had on the cap to measure his anxiety levels and a notebook out at the dinner table, which angered Amy and led to her kicking him out of her apartment, as you can see in the video below. It only took Penny and Leonard singing “Soft Kitty” for him to finally go to sleep.

Meanwhile, both the A.V. Club and IGN agree that this Big Bang Theory episode’s best laughs came from Howard’s “Emily or Cinnamon?” game, which included Laura Spencer appearing as Emily at the very end in a scene that helped prove why the idea of that game wasn’t so crazy. Given Raj’s relationship with his dog, it was easy to guess which quotes were to whom, but at least Emily didn’t seem to mind sharing her boyfriend with his dog. However, she did mind when she kissed him and ended up with dog hair in her mouth. Watch a clip from the “Emily or Cinnamon” game below.

The Big Bang Theory season 8 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

[Image via CBS]