Leonard’s dry spell with women ends in The Irish Pub Formulation, but the woman he scores with makes for an awkward state of affairs within his geeky, ‘so-smart-their-dumb’ peer group; it also forces Sheldon into the position of keeping a secret, and, even worse, it forces him to serve as Leonard’s voice of reason. Wow; that can’t end well.
The woman in question is Priya (Aarti Mann), Raj’s sister, who’s in town for one day—and therein lies Leonard’s conflict of interest. At the end of the opening sequence we learn the pair has a history. Leonard accompanies Priya to show her to the bathroom and, once they’re alone, she pulls him into a passionate kiss.
That’s only the beginning of their hot-blooded reunion, too. Later that night, the two rendezvous at Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment. After Sheldon nearly catches them, Priya finally escapes to Leonard’s bedroom, undetected, where the hanky panky commences in full. The following morning, we learn the two had their first encounter five years before. Just as she did back then, Priya rejects the idea of Leonard moving to India so they can date.
She’s not interested in a serious relationship, just in a little fun whenever she’s in town. “I could never bring a white boy home to my parents,” she tells a disappointed Leonard. “They’d have a cow—which is a much bigger deal in India.”
Despite their efforts at concealment, Sheldon catches Priya sneaking out of the apartment and is aghast; he reminds Leonard that, five years ago, besides promising Raj never to hit on Priya, he also pinky swore the same with Howard.
Leonard makes Sheldon swear to keep the secret, but Sheldon is, apparently, the world’s worst secret keeper. Sheldon thus concocts an elaborate alibi for Leonard involving the “fun loving, morally loose” and wholly fictitious Maggie McGarry, a bartender at Lucky Baldwin’s, a local Irish pub that might or might not be as imaginary as Maggie herself.
Sheldon even goes to the trouble of creating a handwritten note from Maggie: “Leonard,” that note reads, “Call me if you’re interested in coitus. Sincerely, Maggie McGarry.”
In the end, however, Leonard comes clean, admitting his tryst with Priya, saying they’re both consenting adults. Raj is deeply offended at first and starts to walk out, but Leonard explains that he actually wanted more from the relationship; Priya, however, basically stomped on his heart—very hard. Raj is thus mollified and decides to remain friends with Leonard.
We then get a funny sequence in which the four friends discuss a succession of secrets they’ve kept from each other: Howard once dropped Raj’s iPhone in a urinal; Howard has convinced Raj that foreigners give presents to Americans on Thanksgiving and that they wash Americans’ clothes on July 4th; Sheldon once spent a month grinding up insects and mixing them into Leonard’s food in the name of science; Raj once used Sheldon’s toothbrush.
For me, “The Irish Pub Formulation” was another so-so season 4 installment with only a smattering of jokes that really hit. It wasn’t terrible, but was mostly on par with last week’s The Desperation Emanation. The ending offered an interesting bit of character development when the four friends decide to forgive and forget their various transgressions and accept each other as is. Beyond that, it was mostly middle-of-the-road, making me suspect this sudden lull owes, at least in part, to Kaley Cuoco’s absence. Her presence as a blonde foil to Sheldon’s various pretentions and obsessive, well-articulated inanities is certainly missed.