The Big Bang Theory returned from a long break with "The Neonatal Nomenclature," an episode that managed to deliver a big moment (the birth of Howard [Simon Helberg] and Bernadette's [Melissa Rauch] second child) while still feeling like a traditional Big Bang Theory episode where the gang just sits in the living room goofing off. It integrated the friends into the birth storyline well, first in their attempts to help Bernadette induce labor and then in their suggestions for the baby's name.
Since it's the second baby (Halley was born in Season 10) and we already knew he was going to be a boy, the stakes were not as high as they could have been. The question that remained was what they were going to call him. Bernadette wanted to call him Michael, after her father, while Howard wanted to call him anything else. He suggested a bunch of other names, including Harry, after Potter and Houdini, but Bernadette nixed them all because they were all names of her ex-boyfriends.
But ultimately, Bernie got her way -- sort of. When Raj (Kunal Nayyar) later called Howard to check in from the hospital, Howard revealed that Bernadette had given birth to a healthy baby boy named Neil Michael; Neil after Armstrong, Gaiman and Diamond and Michael "because Bernie had to get six stitches."
Bernie yelled from off-screen that they'd be calling him Michael, to which Howard replied, "I'm not going to fight her, that kid's head was the size of a cantaloupe."
But based on the episode, it seems as though Michael won't be the only Big Bang baby joining this extended family in the near future. While Bernadette was in labor, her friends had some very interesting name conversations of their own. Amy (Mayim Bialik) said she liked the name Elliot, which Leonard (Johnny Galecki) said she couldn't have it since he'd already claimed it as what he'd name a son.
"When did you pick out our kids' names?" Penny (Kaley Cuoco) asked.
"Remember that day you moved into the building?" he said. "A non-creepy amount of time after that."
Leonard eventually conceded dibs on the name to Amy, and Sheldon said Elliot wasn't on his list of potential names, but he liked it.
"Really, you've thought about our kids?" Amy asked, beaming.
"Of course," he answered. "I think you and I will have exceptional children."
Could this be setting up a dual-pregnancy narrative next season? Season 12 might be the last, and ending the show about manchildren with Leonard and Sheldon becoming fathers seems like the perfect button.
The Big Bang Theory airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.
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