Monday, 17 February 2014

Mutual Indemnification

What’s in a kiss? You might ask, when it comes to Sheldon Cooper, as much as in a napkin and perhaps a little bit more, my answer will be. Undeniably the kiss between the most non-sexual power couple on television is a game changer, but it is also a brilliant demonstration of how beautiful, romantic, emotional and incredibly exciting subtlety can be, a rare thing on television these days.  
Admittedly, when Amy Farrah Fowler, played by the wonderful Mayim Bialik, first joined The Big Bang Theory as the potential love interest of Sheldon Cooper, played by equally wonderful Jim Parsons, I had my doubts about her. Writing a relationship for Sheldon seemed quite out of character and felt like it mostly catered to the mainstream American TV's need to couple its characters, because love is the answer to everything and everyone, even those who don’t particularly want it like Sheldon, must be coupled. Moreover, Amy was too much like a female version of Sheldon, which made this coupling problematic and Amy's character less likeable because there can only be one Sheldon! Resonating the qualms about Amy, the rest of The Big Bang Theory gang were quick to express their dislike of Amy, for which Sheldon reprimanded them and us. The way the Sheldon and Amy's relationship, Shamy (!), developed made it one of the most exciting in the show and quite possibly on television. 

Creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady with their team of writers have decided to take their time with the Shamy, but not in the Ross and Rachel on again off again kinda way that Penny and Leonard went through for four and a half seasons, but more in a way which gives this relationship room to develop and the awkward Amy and Sheldon to grow. In the fourth season, Amy and Sheldon weren’t even officially a couple, theirs was a relationship of the mind. However, already at that point Sheldon feels relatively comfortable around Amy more so than he did around Penny when she became a part of his and Leonard’s lives and there is a brilliant non-sexual, but rare kind of intimacy between them. 

With Amy Sheldon can have the kind of conversations he cannot have with his best friends,  not only does she has the intellectual capacity, but she also enjoys conversations like the Counter Factuals game or later Fun with Flags. Moreover, Sheldon is almost comfortable with a little bit of physicality, he lets her hold his hand when she tries to check if it has the same effect as Penny’s ex Zack had on her, he even remains calm when she kisses him after she gets drunk with the girls, though he does express his disapproval of her change in behaviour, “Really, Amy? Tobacco and alcohol? Need I remind you not a lot of scientific discoveries were made by people having a good time?” “What happened to you?” etc. and the next morning they restore their relationship to when it was working.

Indeed Amy is the one who changes the most in the course of season four following her friendship with Penny and Bernadette and her evolving social life. It starts with her involuntary reaction, “who…” when she first meets Zack and from then on she develops romantic and sexual feelings. Sheldon's change, however, takes longer and it’s not until she decides to go out on a date with Stuart that Sheldon finally asks her to be his girlfriend and in his most romantic gesture devises the Relationship Agreement. 

The lack of sex between Shamy and Sheldon’s difficulty with physical intimacy, is what makes everything that does happen between Shamy, no matter how small, go up to eleven on the emotional scale and reaching the occasional fifteen, Sheldon holding Amy’s hand when Howard goes into space, quoting Spiderman to Amy, from the heart, in their anniversary and one of my personal favourite is from The Cooper/Kripke Inversion episode in season six, when Sheldon reveals to Penny in a rare moment of openness, that there is a chance that at some point, in the far future, he and Amy will do the bad thing (!), Penny’s face at that moment reflected mine and most likely anyone’s who was watching. 

Slowly and with great patience Amy educates Sheldon about being in a relationship and he evolves, in his own pace. their unique intimacy gets stronger and more special and it's a joy to watch. 

The first mutual kiss between Sheldon and Amy, since their Relationship Agreement, came in the recent valentine day episode, The Locomotive Manipulation, in season seven, and took everyone, including Sheldon and Amy by surprise. The kiss comes out of anger, Sheldon accuses Amy, after she gets angry with him for ignoring her the whole day, of tricking him into a romance when she promised a day that both of them would enjoy. In the heat of the moment and with anger, Sheldon plants his lips on hers to a point and suddenly, with one body movement Jim Parsons changed a world.

What’s in this kiss is that by moving closer, for a moment Sheldon turned from a boy to a man, from being chased by Amy to the one taking control and dominating and from the most a-sexual TV character to the sexiest devil that I know Jim Parsons can be and he swept my heart. What happens between Sheldon and Amy next matters less to me, I doubt a sitcom coitus can be as HOT as this kiss, but when it comes to these two I'm not ruling it out. What really matters is that with one prime time television family comedy kiss a whole story is told and subtlety wins! 

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