'The Big Bang Theory' Season 6 premiere recap: Howard juggles two Mrs. Wolowitzs

Raj and Stuart start a bromance during 'The Date Night Variable'

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There was an interesting correlation between the back-to-back season premieres of "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men" on Thursday evening. Co-created by Chuck Lorre, each series features a long-standing character that now is showing more than a casual interest in a same-sex relationship.

Top-notch microgravity scenes in the Season 6 opener

The closing moments of "The Big Bang Theory" Season 5 finale showed the core cast watching newlywed Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) blast off for the International Space Station (ISS). In the Season 6 opener, producer Lorre didn't scrimp on the special effects. Howard floats in microgravity courtesy of special effects that are on par with those used in Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" movie.

Howard used NASA's KC-135 to film his microgravity scenes in space. Based on the quality of Howard floating in space, Lorre and the crew used something comparable to NASA's notorious "Vomit Comet." It was impressive, to say the least, especially for a half-hour sitcom.

Relationships that almost crash to Earth

"The Date Night Variable," the Season 6 opener, also explored core relationships that were left hanging as Howard "Fruit Loops" Wolowitz boldly went where no Sheldon has gone before. While in space, Howard has to deal with two women, his domineering Jewish mother, and his new wife, Bernadette (Melissa Rauch).

Floating 250 miles above Pasadena, Howard still couldn't escape his mother's voice. The novice astronaut fielded video calls from both his mother and wife. A miffed Bernadette spoke to her new husband, revealing that her new mother-in-law wasn't aware that the newlyweds will be moving into a place of their own.

With two women angry with him, Howard half-jokingly says that he plans to stay permanently in space.

The relationship between Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) also hit some bumps in the season opener. With Amy, Sheldon has shown the unprecedented need for human companionship. Sheldon almost blows the best thing that ever happened to him, but he saves his relationship with a heartfelt confession of his feelings to Amy. Even the revelation that his speech came from the first "Spider-Man" didn't take away from the moment.

Raj and Stuart getting close?

With all his friends actively in relationships, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) feels like the odd man out. After crashing the dates of his friends, Raj ends up in the comic book shop sharing a coffee drink with Stuart (Kevin Sussman). By the end of the episode, Raj invites Stuart to go out with him the following evening, which the comic shop owner gratefully accepts.

Raj's sexuality has come under scrutiny throughout the series. As Howard blasted off for the ISS, for instance, Raj admitted openly that he loved his friend. With Howard married, Raj and Stuart may be heading for a relationship closer than a bromance. "I could do worse," Stuart admitted as Raj left the shop.

Where do Penny and Leonard go in Season 6?

With core cast members in committed relationships, "The Big Bang Theory" is taking on a "Friends" dynamic. Hopefully, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) won't fall into a Ross/Rachel trap during Season 6. "The Date Night Variable" saw them dealing with the aftermath of Leonard's ill-timed marriage proposal. It won't be fun to watch them struggle with their feelings for half the season.
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