First, a bit of an announcement - this is my last taping report for the season. Last week I got an email from Audiences Unlimited basically saying that, due to my repeat attendance, I would not be allowed in for the remaining episodes of the season. I was only able to attend last night because I was on the VIP production guest list, but I won't be at the final two episodes for season 5.
Second - after the taping last night, thanks to my friend Carl, we were given a tour backstage by Simon Helberg himself! I took a lot of pictures of the sets, so I'll be making an entry soon with more about that.
SPOILER ALERT. Following is the taping report for "The Stag Convergence." Please credit me if you share this information
The four guys eating at the Cafeteria. On the first take it started with Sheldon just laughing to himself. Then it started with Sheldon having an internal conversation (moving his lips a little but not saying anything outloud, expressions like he was responding to things), then laughing a bit. He says he wishes the others could see inside his head, the conversation is sparkling. The others glance up then go back to their food. Sheldon says alright, he’ll tell them – the lichen is an organism that consists of two species – fungi and algae. He asks if they could merge with another species, which would it be, any why. “Hint – there is a correct answer. And none of you will get it.”
Raj says he’d pick the swan – the resulting hybrid would have the industrial civilization of humans, and also the long graceful neck he’s always wanted. Sheldon says wrong, and turns to Leonard. He says a horse, mostly for the heights… but also a little for the genital girth. Sheldon tells him no, and also let’s try to keep it clean. Howard says he’d pick the kangaroo, because then he’d be a kangajew, and also the first of his people to slam dunk a basketball. Leonard says that then instead of living in his mother’s house, he could live in her body.
Sheldon says clever, but now. The correct answer is the lichen itself – then you’d be part human, fungi, and algae, a triple threat – “like Neapolitan ice cream” / “like Snap, Crackle, Pop” / “like three bean salad” (three different versions of the line). Leonard tells Sheldon to name one situation in which that’d be advantageous. Sheldon says at an outdoor concert – the human in him enjoys Motzart. The fungi in him has a great view, growing out of the tall maple tree. And no thank you expensive concession stand, his algae side will just snack on the sunlight. Raj says Sheldon got them again. Leonard says no he didn’t.
Raj says if it’s okay with Sheldon, he’d like to change the conversation to Howard’s bachelor party. Sheldon says that’s a bit of a letdown after the lichen conversation, but alright. Then it changed to it’s a letdown after the lichen conversation, “but you’re half swan, what do you know.”
Raj says he’s been doing some research on strippers, and one agency says they can get them a great deal if they’re flexible on age and number of limbs. Howard says he promised Bernadette no strippers. Raj says, but you’re the king of strippers! He says Howard wrote his thesis in the [something] room (forgot what it was called, but sounded like a place in a stripper joint). Then Raj’s was changed to Howard’s the king of strippers, that one club in Hollywood named a pole after him. Howard says he’s moved on from that sort of stuff. Raj asks what about Howard’s priceless vintage porn collection. Howard says he sold it on eBay, and got some good money for it – at the end there was a bidding war between sepiatonefreak and tintedtitties (I think). Then the usernames were changed to wackingnostalgic and daysofschlongago. Raj asks, what about the picture of the chubby girl leaning over? Howard says he sold it. Raj says he didn’t even get to say goodbye.
Leonard tells Howard good for you, but since he’s the first to get married, they should still do something for a bachelor party. Sheldon starts to say that in Germany they have an interesting – but Howard interrupts and says it’s probably not for him. Raj suggests they take a train in Nappa Valley for a wine tasting. Sheldon doesn’t like the wine part, but yay for trains, so he’s in. Raj says that the train takes them through the beautiful valley, they taste the wine on the train, all the flowers are in bloom, it’s magical. Leonard says look at that, in 30 seconds they went from hiring women to being them.
Leonard and Penny coming up the stairs on the second floor. Penny says she hears Leonard and the lost boys are having Howard’s bachelor party tonight. Leonard says yeah, they’re just going to dinner, steaks and drinks, nothing to worry about. Penny asks why would she worry? Leonard says well it’s a bachelor party, there might be strippers. Penny says please, if there was a stripper, all Leonard would do is avoid eye contact – and maybe offer to help her kid with his math homework.
Third floor. Leonard says he is a young man in his sexual prime, under the right circumstances, crazy things could happen. (On the first take, after “sexual prime” there was so much laughter that it threw the rest of Johnny’s line, and they had to start over. Kaley was amused by all the laughter there.) Penny asks what’s the craziest thing he’s ever done with a woman, and the two of them having sex in the ocean doesn’t count. Leonard says come on, that has to count! It was a strong undercurrent, they could have drowned.
Fourth floor. Penny tells Leonard have fun tonight. Leonard says he will, who knows what will happen. Penny crosses over to her apartment and says she knows exactly what will happen. When she’s gone, Leonard says she’s right, nothing’s gonna happen. Then the ending changed, so Penny was still in the hallway for Leonard’s last line, and instead he said that there’s nothing wrong with offering to help a kid get through the SATs.
The bachelor party is held in the private room of a restaurant, and Leonard comes up to Sheldon and says he’s impressed, Raj picked a really nice places. Sheldon says yes, it is nice. Unless you compare it to a train, then it stinks. The bartender hands Sheldon a drink, and Leonard asks if he’s drinking whiskey. Sheldon says yes, if he’s going to participate in the social convention of a stag party, he’s going to embrace all aspects of it – including tobacco, swear words, and alcohol. He tastes the whiskey, then winces and says “jeepers, that’s yucky.” Leonard says slow down, it’s a little early to be dropping the j-bombs.
Wheaton enters, and Leonard thanks him for coming for Howard. Wheaton says sure, he’s always excited when he gets invited to something that’s not a Star Trek convention. Then his line was changed to it was either this or another hot tub party at George Takei’s house. Sheldon tells Wil something like, “I thought that since our reconciliation, I was your friend within the group.” Wheaton says he’s friends with Howard too. Sheldon says well apparently he’s just friends with everybody.
Wheaton walks off, and Stuart comes up to Leonard and says things are tight at the comic book store, and he might need a little help covering his part of the bill. (Meanwhile in the background Sheldon was walking off and wiping his tongue with a napkin after another taste of the whiskey, haha.) Leonard says sure, no problem. Stuart says, and some extra for the valet. Leonard says okay. Stuart adds, plus some money for gas to get home. Then Stuart shows Leonard his watch – his grandfather had gotten it Europe during the war, 18 karat gold. Leonard says it’s nice. Stuart says for a hundred bucks, Leonard can have it.
Raj and Howard then enter, Raj making an entrance announcement for Howard, and the whole group starts to sing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” After the song, Kripke says sure, he’s a jolly good fellow, but when are the strippers getting there? Howard says there aren’t going to be any strippers. Kripke asks then why did he get out two hundred dollars in singles? Stuart asks Kripke if he wants to buy a watch.
Penny’s apartment. Starting off (PRE-TAPED) with Amy holding a video camera facing her, she says this is Amy Farrah Fowler, maid of honor, recording the wedding preparations just a few weeks from the big day. She turns the camera on Penny and Bernadette, sitting at Penny’s couch, and says “and here’s a beautiful, radient young woman, and her friend who’s getting married.” She asks what they’re doing, and Bernadette says they’re making gift bags for the out-of-town guests who will be staying in hotels. They’re putting in maps of Pasadena, a list of restaurants, and for Howard’s relatives, antihistamines, antacids, and medicine for diarrea and constipation. Penny holds up two bottles and shows how they’ve labeled them stop and go.
Amy focuses the camera on Bernadette, and says that on their wedding night they will be consummating their marriage – what sexual position will they use for their first as husband and wife? Penny pushes the camera away (and it was done LIVE from here through the rest of the scene), and tells Amy to stop. Amy says that Bernadette’s future children and grandchildren might watch this, she’s trying to make it interesting. Penny says so ask if she’s taking Howard’s name, not who’s going to sit on who. Then Amy’s line was changed to saying a child might be conceived on the wedding night, and they might want to know how it happened (Penny’s response to that was she doesn’t care, and then the same about taking Howard’s name).
Bernadette says she’s been thinking about that, and decided she’s going to hyphanate it – Bernadette Mary Ann Rostenkowski-Wolowitz. Penny tells her she should snag bernadettemaryannrostwnkowskiwolowitz.com before someone else does. Bernadette says Howard’s already taken care of it. And he also set up their wedding website with fun facts about their families – like their families were neighbors in Poland at one time. Penny says that’s nice. Amy tells Penny, no it isn’t, I’ll fill you in later.
Been thinking about it, hyphanite ot – Bernadette Mary Ann Rostenkowski- Wolowitz. You should save …com. Howard’s already on it. Designed wedding website with fun facts about families – used to live next door to each other in Poland. That’s nice. No it isn’t, I’ll fill you in later.
On the first take, it somehow transitioned into Amy using the camera again, and asking Bernadette something like if she thought she and Howard would use a sex swing on their wedding night. Penny says, Amy! Amy says that if so, they should open her gift first.
On the second take, after Amy saying she’d fill Penny in, Bernadette says that Howard’s always surprising her, there’s always something new to love. Amy asks if she thinks one of those things might be a preference for light bondage. Bernadette says no. Amy says then they’re not going to like her gift.
Back to the bachelor party, everyone’s sitting at one giant table, laughing. Raj taps his glass to quiet them down, and says something about how they’re all there fir his best friend Howard. Sheldon comments that apparently Wheaton is Howard’s best friend. Wil tries to talk to Sheldon, but Sheldon says “talk to the hand” and gives him the Vulcan salute. Raj asks if anyone has some words they’d like to say for Howard.
Sheldon volunteers to go first, and says he’s prepared some customary jokes at Howard’s expense. He starts by saying he didn’t think Howard would ever get married, because he’s so short and unappealing. Then he says Howard’s among the smartest people he knows, and that’s a zinger because it’s not true! He always thought Howard would make someone a fine husband someday, assuming he could find the parts and acquire the engineering knowledge to put them together, which was unlikely. But in all seriousness, he wishes Howard the best and happiness – bazinga, he doesn’t! Double bazinga, he does! Sheldon sits, and says good luck topping that.
Leonard goes next, and talks about Howard leaving his bachelorhood behind him, with all those crazy times. “We all were pretty crazy back then.” Leonard says he remembers this one time, he was with a girl at the beach. And they started making out in the ocean. It was pretty crazy, he wasn’t even wearing his aqua socks. Kripke tells Leonard to wrap it up, no one cares. So Leonard just raises his glass to Howard, then as he sits down says “I totally had sex in the ocean.”
Stuart goes next. He says that he can’t help but get emotional when he thinks of Howard and Bernadette together. Howard has it all – a good job, a woman, who loves him. Stuart says he’s 37, and he’s living in the back of his comic shop, with the bone density of an 80-year-old man. To Howard!
Then Kripke – he says he’s going to say what everyone is thinking, but no one has the courage to say – when you invite someone to a bachelor party, the assumption is that there will be strippers. Not necessarily fully naked ones, but pasties and g-strings at least.
Raj asks if anyone else wants to say something. No one does, so he says it’s up to him, the best man. He says that when he first came to this country, he didn’t know how to act, or dress, and he was all alone. And then he met Howard. And they could be alone together. Howard became his whole world. Kripke reaches over to stick a dollar in Raj’s pants. Raj thanks him, but says he’s not done, and places the dollar on the table. Raj continues that he thinks back on all the great times they’ve had together (as Stuart steals the dollar on the table), like when they went camping and told each other their secrets – Raj says he’s addicted to pedicures, and Howard revealed he lost his virginity to his cousin. Howard yells over the laughter, second cousin! Raj continues, and when they went to Vegas, and got a stripper for Howard and paid her to act Jewish – of all the Howard humping stripper stories, that one is his favorite.
Howard tries to get Raj to sit down, but Raj asks if he remembers the chubby girl from Comic Con in the Sailor Moon costume. Howard says no, he does. Raj tells the table that he’s only been in one threesome in his life, but he’s glad it was with this man right here! But he assures them nothing happened between him and Howard, they had 200 pounds of Sailor Moon between them!
Cut to Wil Wheaton, who is recording everything on his phone. He says “internet, this is so going all over you.” Sheldon looks over at him, sort of smiling, then says “I’m so drunk.”
After finishing the scene, they got a wild line (only audio, without audience reaction) of Raj saying, “She still sends me Christmas cards. Does she send you Christmas cards?” So that will probably be stuck in there somewhere in the end.
Penny and Amy sitting on Penny’s couch, watching the video of the speeches on Penny’s phone. We hear the threesome part of Raj’s speech. Bernadette walks up and asks what they’re watching, and Penny’s so startled she throws her phone up in the air.
The scene was pre-taped, but reenacted for us center stage… Bernadette’s driving, with Howard in the passenger seat, and Raj in the backseat. Howard thanks her for picking them up, and says the warning is right there on the bottle, “do not operate heavy machinery…” but he rattles it off in an accent, I think it was Scottish. Bernadette’s tense, and just says sure. Howard tells her it was low key, no strippers, just the guys hanging out. He asks if she had a good night, and she says yes, until they found this – she holds up her phone and plays Wheaton’s video, and it’s at the part where Raj is talking about the hooker.
Raj says that his apartment isn’t far from here, she can stop and let him out and he’ll walk the rest of the way. Bernadette tells Howard he lied to her – he said he told her everyone he’d been with, but he didn’t mention his cousin, or the hooker, or Raj! Raj says she doesn’t have to stop, just under 10 miles per hour and he can roll out. Howard says that he didn’t pay for the hooker, it was a gift from Raj and Leonard. Bernadette says don’t blame this on Raj. Raj thanks her, but she tells him to shut it. Then there might have been a few more lines, but if so I’m completely blanking on them.
The three girls at Bernadette’s apartment. Bernadette says she doesn’t know what to do, she’s supposed to get married in a couple weeks, but she feels like she doesn’t know him anymore. Amy asks what’s bothering her the most – the prostitute, the borderline incest, or the threesome with a children’s cartoon character. Penny tells Amy, remember that talk we had about things to say that help and don’t help? Amy says, “Yes. And that was?” “Not helping.”
Bernadette says when she met Howard she thought he was so innocent, just a cute little Jewish guy living with his mom. Penny says that’s often a clue. Then it was changed so Bernadette said he was just a man living with his mom, and Penny says if that’s what she likes the comic book store is full of them.
Bernadette realizes that Penny set them up, and asks if she knew all this stuff about him. Penny says, “…a little, you hear stuff.” Bernadette asks why she didn’t tell her. Penny says she was going to, but she didn’t think it would go past the first date. And then she really didn’t think it’d go past meeting his mother. And she definitely didn’t think it’d go past sleeping together. “Really the signs were there the whole time, this is all on you.” Bernadette starts to cry and says “I thought you were my friend!” and runs out and slams the door. Amy tells Penny she doesn’t think that helped.
The four guys at Leonard and Sheldon’s. Howard’s leaving a message on Bernadette’s phone, asking her to please call him. Raj apologizes to Howard. Howard says it’s not Raj’s fault, he’s the one who did all those things. Leonard says actually there’s one that they did together.
Sheldon brings Howard a mug, and Howard asks what it is. Sheldon says it’s a hot beverage, since Howard is upset. Howard says yes, but what is it? Sheldon says chicken soup. It seemed to fit culturally. Plus there was a cube of chicken bullion that was in the cupboard when he moved in, and it’s been bothering him for eight years. “So as they say, two birds.”
On the first take, Sheldon decided here that it would help if he shared some more of his jokes that he didn’t use at the bachelor party. He says Howard is a good sport for being here, which is ironic because he’s bad at sports, maybe because his dad left when he was a kid. Then he says Bernadette is different from other women, because she doesn’t hate him. Sheldon says, oh, that one doesn’t work anymore. But this one does – have you seen his hair? (And Howard self-consciously touches his hair.)
Then there was a long break as the writers rewrote stuff. So when they did it again, after giving Howard the chicken soup, he leaves down the hallway. Howard says that he doen’t know what his next move should be. Leonard says, “Well, I don’t know a lot about women.” Howard asks, and? Leonard says that’s it, he doesn’t know a lot about women. Leonard asks if Raj has anything. He says he has the number of the girl from Comic Con. Howard says he doesn’t want her number, and Raj says good, more for him.
Sheldon walks back in and says he just threw up, alcohol is yucky. Then he hurries back to the bathroom before he’s sick again. On the last take, Sheldon said he just threw up the bachelor party; he forgot he had the spinach (before turning back for the backroom).
Like I said, there was a long break as they were rewriting the scene. And then there were a couple times where they’d be almost ready to go again, but then for some reason would cut and there’d be more waiting. After one of these close calls, Kunal held up his arms, and loudly told the audience, “It’s going to be okay!” And at some point also during a break, as the MC was doing some magic trick, Kunal walked up closer to the audience and smiled and waved, and then lifted his finger to his lips signaling us to be quiet, and pointed at the MC, but then was waving again to people. Too cute.
Bernadette has still locked herself in the room. Penny asks her to come out so they can talk things through, but Bernadette tells her no, leave her alone. Amy suggests she give Howard a taste of his own medicine – does she have a cousin she finds attractive? Penny says, Amy! Amy asks, what, do you want a threesome? Penny says no. Amy says (not entirely convincing) her neither. On the second take, after Penny’s “Amy!”, Amy asks, not helping? And Penny says no. And on the last take, Amy says that Penny’s the one who introduced them, she’s just trying to clean up her mess.
Penny goes to answer a knock at the door, and it’s Howard. He asks if he can talk to Bernadette, and Penny says she doesn’t really want to talk to anyone. He asks if Penny can give her a message then, and Penny says sure. Howard says that he wants her to know that he’s really sorry, and he understands if she wants to call the wedding off. But what he really wants her to know is that guy that she’s disgusted with is the same guy that he’s disgusted with too, but he doesn’t exist anymore. He’s gone. And that’s because of her. So if she doesn’t want to marry him, he still wants to thank her, for making him a better person. (And my little summary here doesn’t do justice to exactly how he said it, and his emotions, and it was so perfect I nearly teared up.)
Now Penny’s all emotional too, and says that’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever heard, “and it came from you!” Bernadette finally comes out, and Howard says that Penny has a message for her. Bernadette says she heard, “your voice, not unlike your mother’s, travels through walls.” He asks if she wants him to go, but she says come here, so they meet in the middle and hug. She says she’s still really mad at him, and he says he knows. She asks if there’s anything else she should know. He says a few things, but they happened on other continents, he’ll tell her later. He asks if the wedding is still on, and she says yes.
Amy says, oh thank god, she’s still a maid of honor! And emotionally goes to hug the two of them. Penny says why the hell not, let’s make it a foursome, and joins in the group hug. (The foursome part of the line was cut after the first take.)
Then later they did a wild line of Amy saying “This is kinda hot,” which my guess is they’ll stick that in at the end of the group hug.
Laundry room, Penny’s pulling her sheets out of the dryer, when Leonard walks in wearing his robe. Penny asks what’s with the robe, and he says that they’re going to have sex right here, right now, on top of this washing machine. He takes his robe off so he’s just wearing his boxers. Penny says, no we’re not. Leonard asks, come on, please? Penny says if he wants to do something, he can help her fold her sheets. So he helps her, and says that folding sheets in his boxers is still pretty crazy.