Big Bang Theory Season 10 Premiere Recap: Family Matters — Grade It!

On the 10th season premiere of The Big Bang Theory, tension in Apartment 4A hit an all-time high in the lead-up to Leonard and Penny’s vow renewal ceremony as everyone assumed Alfred (Judd Hirsch) and Mary (Laurie Metcalf) went all the way during their post-rehearsal dinner rendezvous. The arrival of Penny’s family (played by Big Bang newbies Katey Sagal and Jack McBrayer and returning guest star Keith Carradine) only compounded the drama. Let’s recap:

THE COPULATION CONUNDRUM | Though Beverly (Christine Baranski) was initially adamant about not attending the nups, Leonard and Penny convinced her to stay despite how awkward it’d be for her to see Alfred with Mary together. As always, it was Sheldon who made things uncomfortable when he asked Alfred point-blank if he had defiled his mother. While Alfred insisted that their evening never got that far, he and Mary announced their intent to keep seeing each other. This, of course, caused even more discomfort, with Sheldon at one point running to the nearest whiteboard to figure out who could and could not stand to be in the same room together. Amy, thankfully, cut the escalating tension with her insurmountable enthusiasm for the wedding.

As if the family squabbling hadn’t already convinced Penny that she and Leonard were right to elope the first time, Alfred and Beverly nearly wrecked the ceremony with more of their petty side-banter. Alfred ultimately attempted to be the bigger man, though, pointing out that his marriage to Beverly resulted in Leonard. Sheldon, meanwhile, took it upon himself to approach the altar and give his own unconventional vows, declaring Leonard to be like a brother to him “even before the recent threat of our parents fornicating like wrinkly old rabbits.”

"The Conjugal Conjecture" -- Pictured: Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Wyatt (Keith Carradine), Randall (Jack McBrayer) and Susan (Katey Sagal). After Sheldon's mother and Leonard's father share an evening together, everyone deals with an awkward morning the next day. Also, Penny's family arrives for the wedding ceremony, including her anxiety-ridden mother, Susan (Katey Sagal), and her drug dealing brother, Randall (Jack McBrayer), on the 10th season premiere of THE BIG BANG THEORY, Monday, Sept. 19 (8:00-8:30 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network. Dean Norris guest stars as Colonel Williams, an Air Force Representative from the Department of Materiel Command. Christine Baranski, Laurie Metcalf, Judd Hirsch and Keith Carradine return. Photo: Monty Brinton/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

THE WHITE TRASH AGITATION | While Penny was delighted to have her family attend the ceremony, the same couldn’t be said for her mother. Sagal’s Susan spent most of the premiere nervous about what Leonard’s highly educated parents would think of her “white trash” family, especially with Penny’s brother Randall (McBrayer) recently out of prison after years of manufacturing crystal meth. Not helping matters was Penny’s alcohol-addled pops Wyatt (Carradine), who was happy to make jokes about his dysfunctional clan. Mom later realized she had nothing to worry about, especially since Sheldon was far more peculiar than any of her Nebraskan kin.

THE GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE | An army colonel (Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris) showed up at Howard’s doorstep in search of (presumably) the inventor of the sought-after quantum gyroscope. Raj, fearing the worst, lied and said Howard wasn’t home. Later, the colonel and Howard connected by phone and agreed to meet in the coming days.

VIDEOS This Big Bang Theory Supercut Is a Wedding Gift to Leonard/Penny Fans

What did you think of “The Conjugal Conjecture”? Grade the premiere via our poll, then let us know if you were satisfied with Leonard and Penny’s second wedding. 

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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50 Comments
  1. Maria says:

    All good…until Leonard and Penny said their vows and of course Sheldon had to be right in the middle of it all (eyeroll).
    Otherwise a good ep and great chemistry with all the guest actors.

  2. Carmen says:

    Katey Sagal was underused, understandable considering the amount of legendary guest stars, so I hope they bring her back! She was fantastic and I’ve missed her in comedy.

    • Lyn says:

      Not just underused, she was lame and boring. The brother was overplayed, and unless I missed it [ it really wasn’t holding my interest] I still don’t know their last name.

    • Katey’s role was completely disappointing. I didn’t even catch a callback to 8SR. I’ve never been a McBrayer fan, but I thought he was believable here.

      It was a better wedding episode than the first one. But good god, could they have used a faker set?

      • jr. says:

        Penny’s parents were disappointing. Especially her mother. But thought her brother was cast well. He seems like a good fit for Big Bang. Although, he might have made a more believable uncle, cousin, instead of brother..

  3. aaj says:

    The cast and the rest of the guests were funny, but Jack McBrayer was the only one I laughed out loud at.

  4. SoFla says:

    Every season it gets less of a “must see” show for me. Nothing against the actor, but I think they should have chosen someone different for Penny’s brother. The laughs were not there, I miss the episodes that made me cry from laughing so hard at their antics. I waited all summer for this episode and feel rather let down at what I got. I hope the episodes get better, soon.

  5. c-mo says:

    I laughed out loud many, many times. And since there is really nothing else I’m looking forward to watching tonight, I’m going to watch it again as soon as this Castle (😢) rerun is over.

  6. James D says:

    Jack McBrayer and Judd Hirsch made the episode. the rest felt like a very tired sitcom going through the motions. hope that isn’t a sign to come for the rest of the season. In fairness 10 seasons is lot of material to write.

  7. Betty says:

    Loved the episode, lots of laugh out loud moments. Glad to have it back. I enjoyed the guest stars. I wouldn’t want them on every week, but they made the premiere special.

  8. Charles Walker says:

    We wanted to know what happened to Bernadette’s pregnancy?

  9. Tom says:

    It was good but I feel it would have benefited from being a two-parter or because it felt kind rushed. There’s only so much they can cram into 22 minutes

  10. abz says:

    I really dislike the casting for Penny’s brother. The actor just isn’t good outside of his 30 Rock role I think and he just stood out from the cast. He didn’t really fit well and his acting felt really forced.
    Solid episode, but with this wealth of guest talent it really should have been an hour long premiere and the wonderful Katey Sagal should have been put to better use. I hope she comes back

  11. Manny Perez says:

    I’ve seen every episode…this one has been the funniest to date ..I could not stop laughing…looking forward to many more…thank you CBS

  12. Walt says:

    For all the talent that was available in this episode, it was a yawn. Sagal was totally wasted with very little dialogue and McBrayer was wrongly cast in this role. After 9 seasons of hearing funny Nebraska anectodes, Penny’s family should have been more disfunctional. Hopefully Sagal returns with a much bigger storyline.

  13. Reggie Smith says:

    Jack, Katy, Robert, Laurie you were amazing thanks, for keeping me in the.stuches. Jack lived the new teeth remarks.

  14. katedfw says:

    Too many guest stars and not enough time. Could have made it an hour. Just saying. I definitely want to see more of Penny’s family! I love Jack McBrayer!

  15. Necie1970 says:

    I love the show but I didn’t really care for Penny’s brother. His lines seemed fake and forced. Loved the end of the ceremony when Sheldon joined in.

  16. mikefrommarkham says:

    Somewhat disappointed by this episode… There were a couple of good scenes but the whole thing seemed too rushed… Could easily have been an hour to give more time to flesh out the new characters… Didn’t care for the casting of Penny’s brother regardless… And Katey Sagal was way underused… Hope she’ll be back for more episodes and soon!

  17. GraceM says:

    Should have been an hour long.

  18. Steven says:

    Hate this show. Decided to watch for Laurie, Katey, and Christine all in the same episode, but I didn’t laugh once. I actually found myself groaning.

  19. Mark says:

    That was the wedding we should have had last year. I certainly agree that it was very crowded, but it was still a lot of fun. I’m usually not a fan of their season premiers, but I felt this was one of their better ones.

  20. Sharon Cooke says:

    Does anyone remember how funny Daphne’s brother was on “Frasier?” That’s what I was looking for! My high water mark!

  21. Tony says:

    I want a spinoff of just Penny’s family.

  22. Charles says:

    When did the writing get so bad on this show. horrible set ups and payoffs.

  23. Nicole says:

    I loved it!! We laughed a lot!

  24. MMD says:

    I think if they had cut the B storyline about the military, it wouldn’t have felt so rushed or they should have made it an hour. I was really underwhelmed with the material given to Penny’s family. Hopefully Katey Segal will get better writing next time. It could have been so much better.

  25. Hege says:

    I really liked the episode. I also think they should’ve made 2 episodes instead of one. I felt that Pennys family didn’t get attention. And we should’ve had some refrence to Pennys lack of a last name. All in all, a good start to the season.

  26. Preacher Book says:

    For once I enjoyed a BBT episode. So much talent, so much narrative comic potential and so under-used. They would have been better if they had ponied up and gone for an hour long episode. Would have had a little more time to flesh out the family characters and developed some plot potentials.

  27. Bonnie says:

    I was bored and disappointed. This is a sitcom that does better when the cast is contained to the usual ensemble. More is definitely not better.

  28. RZ says:

    Best part of the show was Bernadette running the ceremony and reprimanding the side chatters.

  29. Kim R says:

    I love TBBT but I have to admit I expected more.

  30. Mike says:

    I was disappointed, I love Katy but they didn’t give her much to do, was nice to hear her use her Peg Bundy tone of voice, I really felt like the episode was rushed and they just wanted to wrap up how the finale ending as quick as possible, the brother was a huge miss, I have no idea why he was casted in that role when he didn’t fit the personality of the character, he reminded me of MadTV’s Stewart, Nothing progressed with Howard, he and Raj were wasted this episode and the disappointment the parents not having sex was a real miss, unless they were lying, I wouldn’t mind them revisiting that later in the season, with the guest stars gone next episode, I look forward to seeing the core cast back to their natural rhythm

  31. Jack says:

    Writers outdid themselves couldn’t stop laughing from beginning to end

  32. Terri Slaten says:

    Katey Sagal was wasted – she could do much better. Either recast Penney’s brother or never bring him back. That wimp is no drug dealer, reforming or otherwise. He was just an annoyance.

  33. robandco says:

    That was bad. Well not bad BAD, but very subpar. You could see the “jokes” coming from a mile.
    They should have done that as a season finale last season and introduced a new and fresh storyline for the main characters for the season.
    About Howard’s storyline, I guess that the army guy was his father and is in no way connected to their invention.
    Please give Raj a real storyline. He’s underused.

  34. jericho says:

    I apparently am in the minority. This episode had a lot of potential just in its list of guest stars. The episode fell flat in my opinion. The show has become about Sheldon and less about the members of the group. For an episode about Leonard and Penny’s wedding it was more about him than them.

    In the end having Katey Segal as Penny’s mom and seeing her basically tossed away was sad. I long for the first 3 seasons of this show and not the debaucle we’ve had for the past few years.

  35. Melissa says:

    TBBT is my all time favorite show ever. HOWEVER, this was the worst episode of any tv show ever. How is that possible? Nothing funny, and Penny’s “brother” was absolutely horrific. I did not believe him as a former meth dealer or as someone who had been in prison. He wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in jail. My disappointment in this episode is beyond words. I pray this is not a vision of things to come.