The geeky gang played a game of “What if?” tonight on The Big Bang Theory season 7, episode 11, while Sheldon labored in Texas.

The Big Bang Theory season 7, episode 11 began with Sheldon surprising Amy, Penny, and Leonard with the news that he is going to Texas to be with his sister when she has her baby. Sheldon is unimpressed with the idea of being an uncle, though the guys are happy for him.

After he leaves, the group throws a party to decorate the apartment Christmas tree. Without Sheldon, there are no tree decorating rules! Stuart shows up to join the party as Sheldon calls from Texas. He is pleased that they waited to party until he left, but not pleased that his sister is having a home-birth.

Bernadette suggests watching Jimmy Stewart’s It’s A Wonderful Life. (Stuart already finds kinship in the suicidal central character.) They jokingly consider life without Sheldon, but Amy says that none of them would be there if not for him. Leonard insists he would still be dating Penny, but Penny laughs. Cue the flash-sideways…

At the Cheesecake Factory, Leonard nervously decides to ask Penny out while Raj and Howard tease him. But when he approaches Penny, all he can stammeringly ask her is where the bathroom is… though he may have peed his pants.

Back in real life, Leonard protests this characterization, but the others agree. Howard insists he would still have ended up with Bernadette, as she worked at the Cheesecake Factory too. Bernadette begs to differ. Flash-sideways to…

Bernadette wants to wait on Raj and Howard’s table, thinking Howard is cute… until Raj airplane-serves Howard a bite of cake and wipes his mouth for him.

“That is so us!” Raj enthuses in real life. Leonard tells Penny she wouldn’t have done so well either. In his flash-sideways scenario, Penny (wearing too much makeup) is married to her brainless former boyfriend Zach, who buys magic beans with the rent money. Leonard ends the story with everyone peeing themselves, because that’s, you know, hilarious.

Sheldon calls back, traumatized at the concept of childbirth. His mother calls his back to the birthing room, telling him to bring the mop. Later, he sends the whole gang an email with pictures of his sister’s nether regions in the process of labor, because boundaries. Everyone is traumatized.

Bernadette muses that Penny would still live across the hall if none of them had met Sheldon. Amy speculates her own flash-sideways, where Penny flirts with an oblivious Dr. Cooper. She tries to seduce him, stripping down to her bra, but Sheldon says he’s saving himself for a “cute neuroscientist with hair the color of mud.”

In reality, Sheldon calls again. Things are going much better, as he skipped out to buy towels. Amy maps out the further consequences of not knowing Sheldon, though undeniably Leonard, Howard, and Raj would still be friends. Bernadette wonders why they never roomed together, and Mrs. Wolowitz is quickly blamed. Howard daydreams about dutifully serving his mother food, until she turns out to have been dead the whole time.

Leonard and Raj never roomed together because of Raj’s romantic aspirations. Raj admits it would have been fun, though the flash-sideways reveals Leonard – and later Raj and Stuart – to be obese due to their loneliness and enabling tendencies.

Penny asks Amy what she would be doing without Sheldon. Amy muses about singing herself a tearful happy birthday all alone, until Stuart pops himself into the desperate fantasy.

Sheldon calls back – the baby boy has been born! The ordeal was very difficult for Sheldon, but he powered through it. (What a champ.) He’s irritated by the baby crying, but Amy successfully urges him to act as an intelligent role model for his nephew.

Bernadette is impressed by Amy’s persuasion, and Raj says that she has changed Sheldon a lot. Leonard says that Sheldon cares for her, but Amy doesn’t think so. Leonard shows her Sheldon’s computer, with a terrible picture of Amy as the screensaver. (Along with Marie Curie and the Swamp Thing, but it’s still a win.)

When Sheldon comes home, Amy eyes him moonily all the way up the stairs. She says she missed her; he would have preferred to have her be there with him. Sheldon found his nephew not dissimilar to his coworkers.

In the tag, Penny serves Howard and an obese Howard and Raj. Howard asks for her number, but it turns out she is dating Stuart… who, in real life, is eating cheesecake all alone.

Happy Holidays, geeks.

The Big Bang Theory will return with “The Hesitation Ramification” on Thursday, Jan. 2, at 8:00 p.m.

What did you think of life without Sheldon on ‘The Big Bang Theory’?

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