"Big Bang Theory" star Jim Parsons is one of the most talented comic actors working on television today, but former astronaut Buzz Aldrin delivered the funniest lines in "The Holographic Excitation," stealing the show in this week's Halloween-themed episode.
With his feet planted firmly back on Earth, Howard (Simon Helberg) continues to remind everyone that he has been in outer space. At the comic book store, Sheldon (Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) perform a scientific experiment to show that their friend can take any topic and use it to talk about his voyage. He even gives a signed copy of his official NASA photo to Stuart (Kevin Sussman).
Stuart also is hosting a Halloween party at the comic shop, calling it his ninth attempt to meet women. His new best friend Raj (Kunal Nayyar) offers to pay for everything and plan the monster-themed menu ("Creature from the Black Forest Ham Lagoon" and "Night of the Living Garlic Bread" included). Raj, wearing a fedora and calling himself "Indian Jones," gets frustrated, though, when Stuart takes all the credit for the party.
When talking with her girlfriends, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) seems less than enthused about hanging out with Leonard at the comic book store. Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) reminds her friend that Leonard does lots of things that he doesn't like to make her happy. Penny reluctantly agrees to show more interest in the things her boyfriend likes, starting with his work.
Making a rare visit to his lab at Caltech, Penny is pleasantly surprised at what Leonard does for a living. He dazzles her with a laser holograph demonstration and the two of them have an impromptu make-out session in the lab. The previous agonizing over her relationship with Leonard fades away when she realizes how smart and special he really is.
Amy (Mayim Bialik) is still frustrated with Sheldon, though. Because this is their first Halloween as boyfriend and girlfriend, Amy wants to wear couple's costumes, and her boyfriend surprisingly agrees. Unfortunately, his idea of romantic, dynamic couples includes R2-D2 and C-3PO, and computer innovators Hewlett and Packard.
Everything comes to a head at the comic book store. Dressed as Smurfette, Bernadette convinces her very blue boyfriend that she loved him even before he went into space. Amy and Sheldon wear compromise costumes: Raggedy Ann and Raggedy C-3PO. Leonard and Penny even get busy in a Tardis photo booth.
As one last reminder, Raj sends Howard a video clip of Buzz Aldrin giving out candy to children. ("Here's a Milky Way. The Milky Way is a galaxy in space. I've been in space.") Like Howard, Aldrin viewed his last trip into space as the crowning achievement of his life. The Apollo 11 astronaut even wrote a book ("Return to Earth") about his troubled return home, which made him the perfect guest to teach a life lesson to Howard.