The gang on “The Big Bang Theory” is experiencing the pitfalls of having so many qualified people in one friend group. When Howard and Amy collaborate on a project together, “The Collaboration Contamination,” the rest of the group finds the dynamic interrupted beyond repair.
The episode opens with the usual group dinner at Leonard and Penny’s place. Amy is discussing a robotics project that she’s working on, when Howard gives her some real insight. Just like that, they decide to work together. Unsurprisingly, the first person to balk at the idea of them collaborating is Sheldon, who quickly finds his routine all out of whack.
As Leonard laments having to be Sheldon’s driver once again, he notices Penny reading a parenting book left behind by Bernadette, prompting him to panic and ask if they’re expecting.
“You think this is how I’d tell you?” Penny snaps.
“Well, you’re sitting there with a book. Anything is possible!” he retorts.
When Sheldon’s gripes about Amy and Howard’s collaboration become too much, Penny tries out a few of the tactics she picked up in the parenting book, to great success. However, she’s still unable to fully solve his jealousy over all the time his new fiancee is spending with Howard.
Meanwhile, Raj shows up at Bernadette’s place. She is surprisingly sanguine about Raj being away given that she has a lot of work to do. Her only complaint is that Howard’s chores around the house are piling up... and that Raj is always there.
When Sheldon joins the complaint party, Bernadette gets an idea. Sheldon explains that he wants to make Howard feel as jealous as him by doing something he loves. She asks if he’s ever read "Tom Sawyer" before telling him that Howard really loves doing chores around the house. The place is spick and span when Raj returns to reveal her ruse.
Sheldon is upset and goes to Leonard and Penny for comfort, only to catch them arguing over which parenting tactic to use on him.
“What makes you think you can treat me like a child?” he asks.
“You get your shampoo from a bottle with Big Bird on it,” Leonard replies in yet another solid burn.
Unfortunately, the episode ends before they’re able to truly solve their group dynamic issue while Howard and Amy consider extending their project in an effort to make the robotics wireless. Still, that doesn’t mean they’re done trying as Raj and Sheldon decide to spend more time together.