Sheldon’s tightly ordered little world is thrown into chaos when Leonard and the rest of the Bang gang—sans Penny—eat their usual Thursday night dinner at Raj’s apartment. They’re convening there because Leonard is dating Raj’s sister, Priya, and Raj thus demands it. Sheldon’s less than thrilled with the prospect, as it breaks an 8-year, “Thursday pizza night” tradition at his and Leonard’s apartment. After some finagling, Leonard convinces Sheldon to tag along.
He doesn’t stay long, though. When the “assembly-required” Indian Tex-Mex and Margaritas are served, Sheldon can stand the madness no more. He escapes to the bar at The Cheesecake Factory, where the always-sympathetic Penny awaits. She serves him a “water, neat, with a little umbrella” and gives him a badly needed shoulder to vent on.
Then Amy Farrah Fowler calls via iPhone video chat and lays out a hard truth that Sheldon refuses to accept: Leonard, Amy contends, is the nucleus of Sheldon’s social group. Where he goes, the group goes.
“Leonard the nucleus?” Sheldon objects. “That makes no sense. I’m the whimsical elf that everyone looks to for a good time.”
To prove Amy wrong, the next night, when Leonard again goes to Raj’s to meet up with the rest of the gang for dinner, Sheldon, instead of coming along, invites a handful of “friends” over for snacks and games.
Leonard, on his way out the door, is mystified. “You’re having people over?”
“Yes,” Sheldon answers snottily. “It must be killing you wondering who.” Then, without missing a beat, he adds: “Fine, I’ll tell you.”
Sheldon’s guest list includes Penny’s ex-boyfriend Zack (the bane of Amy Farrah Fowler’s endocrine system), Barry Kripke from the university (he of the missing “R” speech impediment), comic-book store owner Stuart (who, for financial reasons, currently lives at his store) and LeVar Burton—aka Geordi La Forge from “Star Trek.”
Leonard’s impressed by this last name. “Really? LeVar Burton’s coming here?”
“Possibly,” Sheldon answers, his tone dubious. “I tweeted him.”
“Well, tell him I loved him on “Star Trek,” Leonard answers, reaching for the door. And then Sheldon, as socially inept as ever, attempts to turn the scene into some kind of bizarre friendship-divorce melodrama.
“We had a good run, you and I.”
Leonard looks at him as if he might be off his meds. “Okaaaaay….”
“I have guests coming; I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave now.”
“I am leaving.”
“Don’t make this harder than it is, Leonard.”
“And goodbye to you, sir.”
Sheldon closes the door as Leonard leaves. “He’ll be back,” he says smugly.
Leonard’s still standing just outside the door. “Of course I’ll be back! I live here!”
As Sheldon’s little shindig commences, it quickly becomes apparent LeVar Burton isn’t coming—or so it would seem. Sheldon thus starts things off by introducing himself, “I’m Sheldon. For regular readers of The New England Journal of High Energy Physics, I need no introduction.”
Stuart, ever the honest small-business owner, confesses in his introduction that he’s attending the party in the hope of obtaining a hot shower. Kripke is attending because Sheldon promised there’d be a “whaffle.” Unfortunately for Kripke, the “whaffle” isn’t until the end of the party—and yes, Sheldon confirms, all guests must be present to win.
Upon his introduction, poor Zack can’t do more than recite his name; it’s just too hard. Zack’s much better, though, at telling stories about his sexual conquests. His story about his adventure in a Jacuzzi with a hot, “drunk-out-of-her-skull babe” is the hit of the party.
Zack’s story even overshadows Sheldon’s “counter story” about the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes and his discovery of the principle of displacement. Go figure. Without wet breasts, though, Sheldon’s story was doomed. In the least, Zack’s story gives know-it-all Sheldon the chance to educate Zack about the difference between a “Jacuzzi” and a “hot tub” and between thumbs and fingers—and as anyone familiar with Zack knows, that dude can use all the education he can get.
After Zack’s story, Sheldon breaks out a stack of vintage video games. The group has no interest in those, however, and instead opts to spend the evening getting plastered and “blowing the roof off the place” singing along to Kripke’s karaoke machine.
Soon after that hilarious karaoke session starts, Sheldon can stand the madness no more and heads to Raj’s apartment to be with his regular peer group.
Leonard, Howard, and Raj are telling stories about Sheldon’s bizarre antics when he knocks. Strangely enough, they miss him—as much as anyone can miss Sheldon—and welcome him back into the fold.
While Leonard and company are dining at Raj’s, Amy Farrah Fowler and Bernadette show up at Penny’s and “kidnap her for a girl’s night out,” to keep her mind off Leonard and Priya. She at first refuses, leading to the episode’s best line: “She used to be much more fun until Leonard punched her in the heart,” Amy observes and Penny eventually agrees to accompany them if they’ll stop talking about Leonard.
Toast was, overall, a very strong season 4 outing. It was a very busy one, too, reminding how consistently sharp and clever Bang is and how much quality comedy these writers and actors manage to cram into a mere 21 minutes of screen time.
For all that, however, the thing I’ll remember most won’t be LeVar Burton’s aggravatingly brief (but very funny) cameo; it won’t even be Amy’s revelation that she uses an electric toothbrush named “Gerard” for “female tension relief.” No, what I’ll remember most is the sight of actor Kevin Sussman—aka Stuart—wrapped in only a towel, fresh from the shower, singing karaoke to “Walking on Sunshine.” That unsavory image is likely burned into my brain forever.
Thank you Chuck Lorre.