The Big Bang Theory The Big Bang Theory

Poor Howard. Everyone seems to want his gal pal, Bernadette, on The Big Bang Theory these days. First, her hunky ex, Glenn, dropped by and now there's... Raj?

"As if feeling threatened by Rick Fox [Glenn] wasn't enough, right?" Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette, tells

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Unlike Glenn, Raj (Kunal Nayyar

) isn't actively pursuing Bernadette — at least not yet. But his feelings toward her enter a gray area on Thursday's episode when he fantasizes about his best friend's gal after she calls him a "hottie.""I guess the only way people fantasize about me is if I compliment them," Rauch jokes. "[The hottie comment] ignites his fantasies. 'Oh, she compliments me; therefore, I can fantasize about her.' Maybe no girl has ever complimented him before."Contrary to assumption, there are no geeky elements — like, say, a Princess Leia get-up — in Raj's fantasy, Rauch assures, but rather an "extremely theatrical" Bollywood ode to his roots. And for a guy who's a selective mute around the ladies, it's quite romantic as well.

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"It's like romance-novel romantic," Rauch says. "It's very Raj. I think some guys would have, like, a girl running on a beach or something. Raj gets extremely detailed and over-the-top. ... There were no costumes, but we dance together. Kunal, as everyone is on the show, is so fantastic to work with, but it was definitely fun to work with him a little more. I have to say, his fantasy is pretty cool. If I'm going to be fantasized about and I had my choice of fantasy, it would probably be in Raj's mind!"But is his fantasy just an innocent daydream or a sign of something more? Rauch, who became a series regular this season, says it's not clear by the episode's end. She is, however, open to a love triangle story line should the writers choose to pursue it the rest of the season.

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"It could be really fun to play if that's where they want to take it. Howard [Simon Helberg] and Raj's dynamic together is so fun to watch. There's always been an underlying love for each other — a bromance," she says. "That would be neat to have this dynamic shaken up. I mean, they used to try to pick up girls together. But I also think that Raj really loves his friendship so much that I don't know if he would put it on the line for Bernadette."One thing's for sure: If Rauch had her druthers, ultimately no one would come between Bernadette and Howard."I hope they go strong. I think she loves him so much and really gets him," she says. "But whatever they decide, I'm sure, will be fantastic."The Big Bang Theory airs Thursdays at 8/7c on CBS.