|The Countdown Reflection|
Season 5, Episode 24
May 10, 2012
"The Launch Acceleration"
"The Date Night Variable"
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Howard and his two fellow astronauts Dimitri Rezinov and Mike Massimino are on the launch pad waiting to go to the International Space Station. Howard tells them that he does not want to go, as the other guys, thinking that he was joking, laugh it off. The gang is gathering in front of the television in Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment, getting ready to tune into Howard's launch. Amy is more fascinated by Sheldon’s recitation of the ingredients of the Pringles can, due to his eidetic memory. Raj is nervous and has been gaining weight from all the stress-eating that he is wearing his "fat pants". Sheldon scares Bernadette by saying that soon Howard will have tons of fuel igniting under his butt so Bernadette asks Raj to give her the Pringles can and starts stress-eating.Meanwhile, back inside the capsule, Mike Massimino mentions that “Froot Loops” was just married as the last week goes through Howard's mind. In the flashback, Howard gives Bernadette a necklace with a star on it which he plans to take into space with him as a gift that no one else could give to her, since the star will then actually be in space. Bernadette is thrilled and tells him that she wants them married before he takes off in two days. They go to Sheldon and Leonard's apartment and the whole gang is invited to meet them at City Hall. Amy is furious about not being able to be the maid of honor she dreams of at a conventional wedding reception, but does get to wear her bridesmaid dress and her tiara. At City Hall, Amy wonders if seeing couples in love gets Sheldon thinking about it. All it does is make him bring up Leonard’s marriage proposal to Penny while they were having sex. The proposal surprises the others and “thrills” Penny that everybody knows. It is announced that only three more weddings can be performed that day and Howard’s attempt to tell the clerk at City Hall that he has to go into space doesn't work. Amy decides to check out the other couples hoping that one of the last couples needs a maid of honor. Later, at the Cheesecake Factory, the gang is discussing other wedding possibilities, and Raj suggests that they do it on the roof of the apartment building, as the Google Maps satellite passes overhead on Sunday morning, before Howard leaves for Kazakhstan. As for a minister to conduct the ceremony, Penny tells that anyone can become ordained at sites on the Internet. Sheldon offers to do it in Klingon, which Bernadette objects to. Annoyed, Sheldon asks Howard what he sees in Bernadette. On Sunday morning, Howard gives the guys a copy of The Fantastic Four comic as groomsmen gifts where Reed Richards and Sue Storm get married. Worth $100, Sheldon gives Howard $12 to cover the difference from his wedding gift of $88 so that he will not be indebted to him. Howard’s mother sits off-camera talking through the whole ceremony. Her father brings Bernadette down the aisle as Penny, Amy, Leonard, Sheldon, and Raj perform the ceremony as newly ordained ministers. Raj is so touched by the love Howard and Bernadette share, he can't finish his part. Penny talked about how it did not matter how and where they got married, as long as they had each other. Sheldon hopes that they would be as happy together as he was alone, which did not thrill Amy. He also tries squeezing in some Klingon. Amy thanks Bernadette for letting her be the maid of honor and that she would be happy to do it again if this marriage craps out. Leonard talks about best friends who fell in love with each other because at its core are kindness, patience, and respect, obviously referring to Penny. Howard and Bernadette exchange their brief vows as the camera pulls back from the apartment roof and to a view of the whole planet Earth. In the present, the rocket lifts off with the two regular astronauts yelling that they love this part as Howard disagrees. Penny comes in late from work to watch with the gang. Nervous Bernadette takes Raj’s hand, Penny takes Leonard’s hand, and a very surprised Amy has her hand taken by Sheldon who wishes Howard well with “Boldly go, Howard Wolowitz.” Howard's scream can be heard as he goes into outer space.
This was a very disappointing finale. The guys have already been to the North Pole and messed around with the Mars rover and nothing came of either. So there was little suspense as to whether Howard would suffer from his trip into space. The wedding was a non-event ruined by the producers’ total lack of ambition. The TV Critic's Review
(Howard and Bernadette are in Howard's bedroom.)
Howard: Close your eyes. Put out your hand. I got you something special.
Bernadette: Come on, Howard. I'm not falling for that again.
Howard: No, here. (Gives her a small box)
Bernadette: (Opens the box and takes out a necklace) Oh, Howie! A little star. It's beautiful. Put it on me.
Howard: Okay. But I'm gonna have to get it back from you, so that I can take it to the International Space Station. That way, when I come home, you will have a star that was actually, in space.
Bernadette: My God!
Howard: Take that, every guy who's ever bought you anything!
Bernadette: This is the most amazing gift I've ever gotten.
Howard: Really? If you like it that much, close your eyes, and put out your hand.
(They start kissing)
Mrs Wolowitz: I'M GOING TO THE SUPERMARKET TO GET SOME SNACKS FOR YOUR TRIP. DO YOU WANT ME TO GET THOSE LITTLE BOXES OF FROOT LOOPS YOU LIKE?
Howard: No! When I eat Froot Loops, the other astronauts make fun of me! (Slams his bedroom door shut)
Bernadette: Howard, I don't want to wait until you get back to get married.
Bernadette: I want to be married to you before you get in that rocket.
Howard: But I'm leaving in two days.
Mrs. Wolowitz: WHAT ABOUT APPLE JACKS?
Howard: I DON'T NEED TO TAKE CEREAL!
Mrs. Wolowitz: WHAT KIND OF BREAKFAST DO YOU THINK THEY'RE GONNA GIVE YOU IN RUSSIA?
Howard: THEY INVENTED BLINTZES! I'LL BE FINE!
Mrs. Wolowitz: THEY INVENTED THE lightbulb IN NEW JERSEY, THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY HAND THEM OUT TO YOU WHEN YOU GO!
Bernadette: We'll have a quick little ceremony with just our friends and we'll still have the big reception with everyone when you get back.
Howard: Wow. Okay, let's get married!
(They start to make love.)
Mrs. Wolowitz: (To Howard) YOU KNOW WHAT, I'LL BUY YOU ALL-BRAN IN CASE YOU GET STOPPED UP IN OUTER SPACE!
(Howard and Bernadette are at Sheldon's and Leonard's apartment, announcing to the gang their plans.)
Bernadette: So anyway, we decided to go down to City Hall this afternoon, get married and have the reception when Howard gets back.
Leonard, Penny and Raj: That's so cool!
Howard: Hey and we know it's short notice, but, we'd love you all to come with us.
Amy: No! No! No! This is not the wedding I wanted!
(Everyone looks at her awkwardly.)
Amy: I want to wear my maid of honor dress and walk down the aisle with a hundred eyes on me while a string quartet plays "The Way You Look Tonight"!
Bernadette: That wasn't gonna be our processional music.
Amy: Well it was gonna be mine!
Sheldon: Eh, thank you for the invitation, but I have to decline because, it doesn't sound like something I'll enjoy.
Leonard: Come on, Sheldon, it'll be fun.
Sheldon: That's what you said about the Green Lantern movie. You were 114 minutes of wrong.
Bernadette: So, what do you say, Amy?
Amy: Can I wear my maid of honor dress?
Bernadette: Seriously, you're gonna wear that thing to City Hall?
Amy: It's all I have left, you're gonna take that from me too?!
(At City Hall, Sheldon and Amy have joined everyone else for Howard and Bernadette's wedding. While Sheldon is feeling bored, Amy is enjoying herself, smiling while wearing her maid of honor dress and her tiara.)
Penny: Amy you look great.
Amy: I know.
(Raj comes back with a beer wrapped up in paper.)
Leonard: Where did you get a beer?
Raj: From that happy young couple over there with all the tattoos. Beautiful story: they're in rival drug gangs, and they're getting married. Shhh: no one can know.
Amy: (To Sheldon) Look at all these people in love. Kinda gets ya thinking doesn't it?
Sheldon: It does indeed. (To Leonard) Leonard. Is it awkward being here with Penny given that you recently proposed to her?
Howard: (To Leonard) You proposed to Penny?
Leonard: I don't wanna talk about it.
Raj: (To Penny) Where did he pop the question, what did you say?!
Leonard: She said no, can we drop it now?
Penny: It wasn't a real proposal.
Bernadette: Why wasn't it a real proposal?
Sheldon: (To Bernadette) He asked her during coitus.
(Raj looks shocked.)
Howard: Did you get down on one knee or were you already there?
Bernadette: Howard, don't talk like that on you're wedding day.
Howard: Sorry Ma...Bernadette...ma Bern...you're ma Bernadette!
Penny: (To Leonard) Good move telling Sheldon.
Leonard: Wha...I can't propose, I can't talk to my friends, is there anything else I'm not allowed to do?
Amy: All right that's enough. Today is not about you two. Today, is about Howard and Bernadette, and Me.
(City Hall minister comes out into the hallway.)
Minister: Folks, could I have your attention, it's 5 o'clock, we're gonna be able to take 3 more couples, the rest of you will have to come back on Monday!
(All the couples begin leave, while the gang feels devastated.)
Bernadette: Oh no.
Howard: I've got this. (Walks up to minister) Excuse me, but is there any way you could squeeze us in? See, I'm an astronaut and, I'm leaving for Russia on Sunday so I can take a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station.
Minister: Yeah. Me too, I'll see you there.
(Howard feels confused about the fact that she doesn't believe him.)
Bernadette: I can't believe we're not gonna get married.
Amy: (To Bernadette) Excuse me, I'm just gonna go see if the couple at the front of the line needs a maid of honor.
(Amy dashes up to the front of the line, while Bernadette is left alone on the bench.)
(The gang is at the Cheesecake Factory bar, after Howard's and Bernadette's unsuccessful attempt to get married at City Hall.)
Howard: You know we could always drive to Vegas and get married.
Bernadette: I don't know isn't that kind of tacky?
Penny: Hey I know tons of people who got married in Vegas.
Bernadette: Are any of them still married?
Penny: Yeah! I mean, not to the same people, but.
Bernadette: There's gotta be some place special we can do it.
Sheldon: Leonard. Where did you envision marrying Penny?
Leonard: Will you shut up!
Raj: Well, I know how to make it special.
Howard: I told you we are not recreating the wedding from The Sound of Music.
Raj: Yes, you made that brutally clear to me. What I was going to suggest was is if you are willing to wait until Sunday morning, the Google satellite will be right over Pasadena; you could have your wedding photographed from space.
(Everyone awes at the idea.)
Leonard: That's so cool.
Howard: Oh, way to go Raj.
Raj: I keep telling you, if I wasn't an astrophysicist, I would have been a party planner. (Leonard smiles in approval) It was always a coin flip.
Howard: Okay, so we know were gonna do it Sunday morning, now we need to find a good place for the satellite to see us.
Leonard: How about our roof?
Bernadette: Oh, I love that.
Howard: That's great.
Amy: My gosh. I can't believe my maid of honor dress is gonna be on Google Earth!
Howard: So we have the where and the when, but we still need to figure out who's gonna do the ceremony.
Penny: Well that's easy, anyone can go online and get ordained as a minister; I know a piercing parlor where for a hundred bucks, they'll marry you and stick a wedding ring through any body part you want.
Bernadette: All right, well, who's it gonna be?
Sheldon: I'll do it, provided I can perform the ceremony in Klingon.
Sheldon: (To Howard) What do you see in her?
(It is Howard and Bernadette's wedding day, and the guys are getting ready.)
Howard: Hey, guys, before I forget I, got you a little groomsmen present (reaches into a bag).
Raj: Oh, thanks man.
Leonard: Oh, you didn't have to do that.
(Howard gives them their gifts.)
Howard: Fantastic Four annual no. 3 from 1965 in mint-condition. The one where Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl get married.
Leonard: Oh wow.
Sheldon: Oh dear. I was afraid of this.
Sheldon: While a thoughtful gift, this comic book in this condition is worth at least a hundred dollars.
Howard: Yeah, so?
Sheldon: I bought you and Bernadette a gravy boat worth eighty-eight dollars. Which places me in your debt and, I can't be in your debt because someday you might ask me to help you move. Or, to kill a man.
Leonard: I'll doubt he'll ask you to kill a man.
Sheldon: Well, what if it's his only way out? I can't risk it. (To Howard) Here is twelve dollars. Nowhere even a no...ba...no...ba...wait. I bought a card, give me two dollars. (To Leonard) Eh, for the record this is why I hate gift giving.
(Howard goes over to Penny's apartment and knocks.)
Amy: Who is it?
Howard: It's the groom.
(Amy partly opens the door.)
Amy: You can't come in. Bad luck to see the bride.
Howard: Ok, eh, fine, eh, BERNIE I HAVE TO GO PICK UP MY MOTHER I'LL BE RIGHT BACK!
Bernadette: WHY CAN'T SHE DRIVE HERSELF?
Howard: SHE DOESN'T WANNA SIT IN HER DRESS AND WRINKLE IT, SO I'M GONNA LAY HER DOWN IN THE BACK OF MY NEIGHBOR'S VAN!
Bernadette: ALL RIGHT, JUST HURRY!
Howard: OK, I'LL SEE YA LATER MA...UH...LOVELY BRIDE TO BE! (Howard leaves) I really gotta watch that.
(Everyone is preparing for the wedding up on the roof of the apartment block.)
Leonard: Come on, Raj, we're ready to start.
Raj: We're ready, when I say we're ready. Da Da Da, Oh (fixes Howard's bow tie) Okay, now we're ready.
Howard: MA, YOU WANNA MOVE YOUR CHAIR OVER HERE, SO YOU CAN SEE?!
Mrs. Wolowitz: I'M FINE WHERE I AM, I DON'T WANNA FALL OFF THE ROOF!
Howard: YOU'LL FALL THROUGH THE ROOF BEFORE YOU'LL FALL OFF IT!
(Penny starts the music as Mr. Rostenkowski gives Bernadette away.)
Mr. Rostenkowski: Your new mother-in-law's a piece of work.
Bernadette: Not now, Dad.
Mr. Rostenkowski: She's got a bigger mustache than me. (To Howard) Here you go.
Bernadette: "Here you go"? What am I? A football?
(Bernadette takes Howard as her father shakes Howard's hand and leaves.)
Mr. Rostenkowski: (cries) Like that guy could catch a football!
Raj: Howard and Bernadette, the five of us stand before you as your friends and newly ordained ministers.
Mrs. Wolowitz: LOUDER!
Bernadette: THEY ALL GOT ORDAINED! THEY'RE ALL MARRYING US, IT'S ADORABLE, YOU WANNA HEAR IT COME CLOSER!
Raj: Please, guys. When I look at the two of you starting your lives together it fills...my...heart...(starts to sob) it fills my hear...(starts sobbing)...ok, I'm gonna need a minute.
Penny: Okay, I'll, I'll go. Howard and Bernadette. I know you two planned on getting married in a big fancy wedding, but when you’re in love in doesn’t matter where or how these things happen. It just matters that you have each other.
Sheldon: I think the Reverend Hofstadter is making an ironic connection between your statement about love and your rejection of his proposal in the bedroom.
Penny: (To Leonard) Oh, grow up!
Leonard: I didn’t say it.
Amy: That’s enough from the both of you!
Penny: Well, he started it!
Amy: Well, I’m ending it! Bernadette, I want to thank you for allowing me to be your maid of honor. I also wanted you to know that I will be happy to do it again if this marriage craps out.
(Everyone leans over and stares at Amy.)
Leonard: Thank you, Amy. Very touching. Howard and Bernadette. You are lucky enough to be best friends who love each other and that’s the strongest kind of love because at its core, it has kindness, patience and respect. Qualities that are hard to find in people these days.
Sheldon: (to Penny) Would you like some aloe vera? You just got burned. Alright, my turn. Howard. Bernadette. (Starts speaking in Klingon)
Bernadette: Sheldon! I told you no Klingon!
Sheldon: Fine, I’ll do it in English, but it loses something. The need to find another human being to share one’s life with, has always puzzled me. Maybe because I am so interesting all by myself. With that being said, may you find as much happiness with each other as I find on my own. (This comment gets Amy a little upset.) The Klingon would have made you cry.
Raj: I believe you two have prepared vows.
Bernadette: Howard Joel Wolowitz, like you this is going to be short and sweet. I love you with all my heart and soul and promise to be with you forever.
(Puts the wedding ring on Howard's finger.)
Howard: Bernadette Maryann Rostenkowski.
Mrs. Wolowitz: SPEAK UP!
Howard: HEY, FROM NOW ON SHE'S THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN YELL AT ME! (To Bernadette) Until I met you I couldn’t imagine spending my life with just one person. And now I can’t imagine spending one day of it without you.
(Howard puts the ring on Bernadette's finger.)
Ministers: By the power invested in us by the state of California.
Sheldon: ...and the Klingon High Council...
(Bernadette glares at Sheldon.)
Ministers: ..we now pronounce you husband and wife!
(Bernadette and Howard passionately kiss, as the view soon zooms out of their wedding, out of Pasadena and shows a view of the planet.)
(Back in present-day Russia, the Rocket starts ignition.)
Mike: That's ignition. I LOVE THIS PART!
Dimitri: ME TOO!
Howard: I HAVE STRONGLY MIXED FEELINGS!
(Back in Pasadena, the guys are watching the launch.)
Bernadette: Oh my God it's happening.
(Penny arrives just in time from work.)
Penny: Did I miss it?
Leonard: No come on in hurry.
(Penny sits down, as countdown starts.)
Bernadette: I love that man.
Raj: Me too.
(Bernadette holds Raj's hand.)
Penny: I can't believe it. This whole time a small part of me thought he was lying.
(Penny holds Leonard's hand.)
Leonard: This is it.
Sheldon: Boldly go, Howard Wolowitz.
(Sheldon holds Amy's hand, much to her surprise.)
(Everyone is holding hands as the countdown finishes and the rocket blasts off into space.)
Howard: OY VEY!
- Title Reference: The title refers to Howard thinking back on the events leading up to and including his wedding with Bernadette while waiting for his launch to the International Space Station.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card
- This episode was watched by 13.72 million people with a rating of 4.4 (adults 18-49).
- Mike Massimino made another guest-appearance, playing himself in person, after first appearing in "The Friendship Contraction" in a video chat.
- In "The Friendship Contraction", it was stated Expedition 31 crew members would include Commander Tom "Tombo" Johnson, astronaut Mike "Supernova" Novachelic, and payload specialist Howard "Froot Loops" Wolowitz. In "The Launch Acceleration", it was revealed the Soyuz capsule failed the pressurization test, so the mission had been scrubbed. However, NASA really wanted Howard's telescope up on the space station and put him on an earlier launch. In "The Countdown Reflection", the crew includes Howard Wolowitz, Mike Massimino and Dimitri Rezinov. Aboard another spacecraft in the Soyuz fleet, this crew is launched into space, despite a fuel leak.
- A botched pressure test of the real Russian space capsule slated to launch the next crew to the International Space Station forced NASA and its partners to delay the planned liftoff for more than a month. The Soyuz's crew capsule, one of three modules that make up the entire Soyuz TMA-04M vehicle, had been scrapped after an accident during testing caused it to spring a leak in one of its descent module's rocket thruster fuel tanks. (See "Damaged Russian Spaceship Forces Big Launch Delay for Next Station Crew".)
- The Russian Soyuz and the Sokol spacesuits that were worn by the astronaut and actors are Hollywood replicas, but true to the show's reputation, they are both surprisingly realistic. (See "Behind the Scenes with Real-Life Astronaut on TV's 'Big Bang Theory'".)
- Just before the opening credits Howard asks: "How much urine do these suits hold?" During the liftoff the astronauts wear the Maximum Absorbency Garment (MAG), an adult-sized diaper with extra absorption material that can hold a maximum of 2 L (2.1 US qt) of urine, blood, and/or feces. The MAG absorbs the liquid and pulls it away from the skin.
- Leonard asks, "Sheldon, what channel is NASA TV?" Sheldon says, "289, right between the Game Show Network at 288 and the East Coast feed of the Disney Channel on 290." This is the NASA Channel on DIRECTV.
- Mrs. Wolowitz yells, "You know what, I’ll buy you All-Bran in case you get stopped up in outer space." Ironically, Howard stopped up the Wolowitz Zero-Gravity Waste Disposal System on the ISS in "The Classified Materials Turbulence".
- Howard is afraid he is going to die in space, as seen in this episode and the previous one. Also, in "The Hot Troll Deviation", Howard says, "I took a scuba-diving course over the summer, but it turns out I’m terrified of the ocean." Yet, in "The Russian Rocket Reaction", he reveals, "I want to go to the Moon. I want to go to Mars. I want to take a one-man sub to the lowest depths of the ocean."
- Despite Howard being denied a security clearance for a new Defense Department laser-equipped surveillance satellite in "The Apology Insufficiency" (due to his culpability in the destruction of government property worth millions of dollars in "The Lizard-Spock Expansion", i.e., crashing the Mars rover), NASA still wanted him on the space station.
- Howard gives Bernadette a little star piece of jewelry that he will take into space. This is similar to the preserved snowflake from the Arctic expedition which Leonard gave to Penny in "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation", which Bernadette admired in "The Toast Derivation".
- When the scene of Howard and Bernadette's wedding is captured from space, Mrs. Wolowitz can actually be seen, although not her face but certainly, there is a woman dressed in pink donning a pink hat. This would be the first time in the entire series where Mrs. Wolowitz is seen physically and not just heard.
- The wedding music is the first movement of Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, "La primavera" (Spring) from Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.
- Sheldon declares, "And for the record, this is why I hate gift-giving." He had problems with this in "The Peanut Reaction" and "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis".
- Amy says, "I want to wear my maid of honor dress and walk down the aisle with a hundred eyes on me, while a string quartet plays The Way You Look Tonight." She also showed her interest in such feminine matters in "The Isolation Permutation" and "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver".
- The painting that Amy gave to Penny in "The Rothman Disintegration" is visible through Penny's apartment door in the scene where Howard talks to Amy and Bernadette before the wedding.
- In her maid of honor scenes, Amy is wearing the tiara that she received as a make-up gift from Sheldon in "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver".
- Howard's mother is from New Jersey as is Leonard's.
- Sheldon hates the Green Lantern film, mentioned previously in "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver".
- Usually the astronauts' wives accompany them to the launch site to see them off.
- Whether he was conscious of it or not, Sheldon takes Amy's hand for the first time much to her surprise.
- During the wedding of Howard and Bernadette, Penny wears her invention, the Penny Blossom which was the focus of "The Work Song Nanocluster".
- Pringles (plain) ingredients: dried potatoes, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and/or sunflower oil), corn flour, wheat starch, maltodextrin, salt, rice flour, and dextrose.