This week’s episode found Amy Farrah Fowler and Sheldon Cooper fighting, and Sheldon worrying that he is bad boyfriend material. The two plots of “The Shiny Trinket Maneuver” centered on the relationship between Sheldon and Amy, and the relationship between Howard and Bernadette. Both couples realize that they have to make certain concessions in a relationship, and for both it is a hard lesson.
On the second Thursday of every month – or the third Thursday if there are five within a month – Sheldon and Amy go on a date. The relationship agreement, not unlike the roommate agreement, for their relationship dictates that said Thursdays are set aside for date night. At the start of each date night, they go over the minutes (notes) from the previous date night. Sheldon then asks if Amy has any other news. She tells him that a paper which she is the sole author of will be published on the cover of a prestigious neurobiology journal. He does not say anything, but tells her that he now has one hundred Twitter followers. Amy is disappointed that he does not congratulate her or say anything regarding her news, despite the fact that it is a huge accomplishment and one of her career dreams. She gets up from the table to “wash up” and collect herself. Penny takes the opportunity to talk to Sheldon.
Penny tells him that he needs to pay attention to Amy and he needs to be a better boyfriend. Later that evening, Sheldon and Leonard are hanging out. Sheldon is playing a video game and goes into the saloon for a drink rather than talking about his problem. Leonard looks at him and says, “You know, digital alcohol is never a solution.”
Sheldon realizes he is a bad boyfriend, and asks Penny to help him make it up to Amy. The two go to a jewelry store and shop for a gift. Sheldon settles on a tiara for Amy, and when he gives it to her, she switches from a post-feminist rant about trying to buy her off with some stereotype, to jumping around the room saying she’s a princess after she opens her gift. She runs up, hugs and kisses Sheldon and holds him with a goofy grin on her face.
Sheldon looks at Penny and admits that she was right; the tiara was too much.
Meanwhile, Howard has Bernadette help him with a kid’s birthday party magic show he’s putting on for his cousin. Bernadette is reluctant to go, because she does not like kids. He convinces her to do so anyway, and they go. The Great Howdini soon realizes how much she does not like kids when she tells him that she does not ever want to have them.
This causes Howard to reassess their relationship, and sets Bernadette brainstorming. She comes up with a solution that she can live with: because she makes more money than he does anyway, he should stay at home with the kids and let her work. She is quite happy with this solution, but Howard is less than thrilled with it. It is fairly clear that the matter is unsettled, and that they will revisit the issue later.
In the end, however, both couples are happy and all is well in The Big Bang Theory universe, because both men figured out – at least a bit – how to be a good boyfriend.