Thursday, November 10, 2011

Defining Relationships with 'The Big Bang Theory's' Amy & Sheldon...

I don't understand Amy and Sheldon's relationship in The Big Bang Theory. When we first met Amy (Mayim Bialik), she seemed like the perfect match for Sheldon (Jim Parsons) because she expressed no real interest in dating, relationships, or physical contact with members of the opposite (or same, for that matter) sex and only went on a date a year to appease her mother. They bonded over their intelligence and perhaps didn't enjoy each others' company so much as found each other useful. But as time has gone on, Amy has shown increasing interest in a more traditional relationship, namely becoming intimate with Sheldon, and he still has no such interest. So aren't they at a stalemate that should result in them "breaking up" and just being friends, then? I'm super confused!

I'm not saying it's weird to see a different side to Amy. She has repeatedly told her new friends Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), and the audience by extension, that she had no friends growing up. Therefore, she probably resigned herself to a solitary life and got used to only going on one date a year, simply because she hadn't met anyone well-matched for her. But she also proved time and again that she is a sexual person-- from her constant desire to hug Penny to the "stress relieving techniques for ladies" that she claims to have perfected. So just because she seemed to be the female version of Sheldon when we first met her, her socially awkward nature covered some of who she was. And who she is is not exactly like Sheldon.

I'm not saying it's weird that Sheldon isn't interested in sleeping with Amy (or anyone, for that matter). He is focused on other things; he is a severely logical (to a fault) scientist who doesn't want to partake in any activity that doesn't have a clear and important purpose. He has his priorities, and they are not sex. Maybe he's asexual, maybe he's not. It's kind of hard to make a case one way or the other because at times he seems to be suspended in such a state of adolescence (highly performing intelligence not withstanding) that it's easy to just imagine him still as that little, assuredly scrawny, ten year-old who was beaten up by neighbor kids and so much younger than everyone in his class that he just couldn't relate, so he turned inward even further. He always felt everyone around him was less magnificent than he so at an age when other boys were sizing each other up and competing for their first kiss, their first girlfriend, the most kisses and girlfriends, etc, Sheldon relied on a superiority complex defense mechanism to reject those things. He, too, got extremely used to a certain way of life.

But then, again, I reiterate: doesn't that mean Amy and Sheldon are doomed as a couple?

After all, as the wise Parks and Recreation pointed out, you can't just parcel out parts of a relationship you like and keep those around. Because it's selfish. And also counterintuitive.

I look back on all of my not-so-serious relationships, and some more serious ones of friends, and I equate whether or not to sleep with someone right up there on the list of major differences. Actually, it's probably number one. As I talked about in my book (shameless plug! shameless plug!), I certainly had my own complex about being broken up with for being unready to sleep with guys so I would overcompensate by breaking up with them first-- and often for inane reasons. So maybe I'm overreacting here. But I don't really think so because when it comes to Amy and Sheldon, it's not simply a "we didn't have sex early enough in the relationship, so I don't want to invest any more time" scenario; it's a "we will never have sex, so maybe I don't want to waste any more time" one. I have a friend who recently got married who once told me she was thinking of breaking up with her now husband because he said he never wanted to have kids, and she did. She wasn't going to change his mind, and he wasn't going to change hers, so how could they move forward? I don't know the answer to that; I was not in the relationship. I can only imagine either she still thinks she can change his mind, or she was willing to compromise what she wanted to be with him longer. But neither Amy nor Sheldon are flexible people-- neither can (or maybe they're just not willing) to change, for each other or in general.

I'm seriously at a loss here. I look at Amy and Sheldon and see them as friends, and barely that as it is. Is it because they haven't had sex with each other? Maybe. That's part of it, but that's not all of it. I just don't see them enjoying the time they spend together; I see Amy growing more and more frustrated with Sheldon's lack of evolution, and I see Sheldon...staying stagnant, not understanding why she expects anything than what he's always shown and given her. That is who he is, after all, and he's always been brutally upfront about it.

Suddenly I find myself super glad that Amy has been integrated into the group as more than just a lady-friend for Sheldon. Because I like her. I find her spunky and surprising and always a bright light on-screen. And I want her to stick around even after she gets completely fed up with Sheldon. As I'm sometimes surprised his other friends have not yet.

1 comment:

Cerealman said...

I disagree with your opinion of Sheldon's & Amy's future relationship. Amy seems to breaking out of her shell because of the first real "fun" girl friends (based on a non intellectual need)that she probably ever had. With Amy crawling out of her shell, she is also dragging Sheldon along with her.

On the most recent episode, Amy wants physical sex, and Sheldon didn't. They went thru several lesser physical options until they negotiated their "contract" down to a cuddle. Slowly, but surely, Sheldon will come around.