The Big Bang Theory (season 7)

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File:Big Bang Theory S7 DVD.jpg
Seventh season DVD cover art
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 24
Release
Original network CBS
Original release September 26, 2013 (2013-09-26) – May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15)
List of The Big Bang Theory episodes

The seventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory aired on CBS from September 26, 2013, to May 15, 2014. On March 12, 2014, The Big Bang Theory was renewed for an additional three years, extending it through the 2016–17 season for a total of ten seasons.[1] Production for the seventh season began on August 14, 2013.[2]

Cast

  • Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, portrayed by Johnny Galecki, is an experimental physicist with an IQ of 173 who received his Ph.D when he was 24 years old. He shares an apartment with colleague and friend, Sheldon Cooper, and has an on-again, off-again romantic relationship with neighbor Penny. They first dated for eight months in season 3, but broke up due to their conflicting expectations of their relationship. They resumed their relationship in season 5, but their differing ideas about the relationship continue to provide most of the conflict between them. Throughout season 6, Penny and Leonard became more comfortable as a couple with Leonard asking Penny to propose to him when she felt ready. In season 7, Penny proposed to Leonard, but Leonard refused the proposal as Penny was drunk and upset at the time. Near the end of season 7, Leonard and Penny became engaged.
  • Dr. Sheldon Cooper, portrayed by Jim Parsons, is a theoretical physicist. Originally from East Texas, he was a child prodigy, starting college at the age of 11, right after completing the fifth grade. He received the Stevenson award when he was 14 and received his Ph.D when he was 16. He has an IQ of 187 and exhibits a strict adherence to routine; a lack of understanding of irony, sarcasm, and humor, and a complete lack of humility or empathy. At first he rejected Penny's presence, seeing her as a disruption to his routine, though he has since come to accept and even show brief, awkward bursts of affection for her. Despite his touch phobia and general aversion to people, he began dating his female friend, neuroscientist Amy Farrah-Fowler, in season 5, and their relationship becomes somewhat physical in season 7. During this season, Sheldon undergoes a mid-life crisis when he realises he hasn't made any progress in string theory, and he quits his job to search for a new field of study. At the end of the season, he leaves Pasadena for time to figure out who he is and what he wants after all the changes happening in his life.
  • Penny, portrayed by Kaley Cuoco (credited as "Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting" from "The Convention Conundrum" onwards), is a waitress who lives across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard. She has aspirations to an acting career, but has not been particularly successful thus far, only boasting a few small roles. This season, she quits waitressing in order to rededicate herself to acting. She and Leonard share a rocky romantic relationship characterized by breakups and reconciliations, complicated by Penny's fear that they have nothing in common. She has also developed a friendly relationship with Sheldon in spite of her frequent irritation with his personality quirks, to the point that she and Leonard occasionally act as parent figures for him. During season 5, Penny begins to date Leonard again, and by season 6 they were an established couple, although Penny still has doubts about the relationship's future. After being fired from an acting role near the end of season 7, she realizes that what she wants most in her life is Leonard, and the two become engaged. Her last name has never been revealed.
  • Howard Wolowitz, portrayed by Simon Helberg, is an aerospace engineer. He is Jewish, and lived with his mother until season 6. Howard is the only one of his friends (besides Penny) who does not have a Ph.D (he has a master's degree from MIT), a fact which Sheldon is quite often dismissive to Wolowitz and others. Though Howard fancied himself a ladies man, his clumsy advances and sexual harassment of Penny drew her ire. Howard began dating Bernadette Rostenkowski in season 3, and married her in the season 5 finale. In season 6 Howard visits the International Space Station as an astronaut/payload specialist. During season 7, they talk about having children.
  • Dr. Rajesh "Raj" Koothrappali, portrayed by Kunal Nayyar, is an astrophysicist from New Delhi, India. He comes from a very wealthy family, including a successful gynecologist father and a large house with servants. His parents still live in New Delhi and are sometimes seen communicating with him via Skype, often pressuring him to get married. Raj works alongside Sheldon exploring the string theory implications of gamma rays from dark matter annihilation. He is very shy around women. Throughout most of the series, he has suffered from selective mutism, and cannot speak to women unless he has consumed alcohol, but this condition disappeared in the season 6 finale. He finds a friend in Stuart Bloom after Howard marries Bernadette. Near the end of season 7, Raj becomes romantically involved with a dermatologist named Emily (Laura Spencer), and their relationship becomes exclusive by the last two episodes of the season.
  • Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, portrayed by Dr. Mayim Bialik, Ph.D, is a neurobiologist. She first meets Sheldon in the season 3 finale through Raj and Howard, and is very similar to Sheldon, except that she is more open to social interactions and thus more susceptible to conventional behavior. She becomes close friends with Sheldon in season 4, and becomes his girlfriend in season 5, though Sheldon is extremely slow to the progress the physical aspect of their relationship. By the season 5 finale, they have progressed to holding hands. They engage in fantasy sexual gameplay between their Dungeons and Dragons characters in season 6. In season 7, Sheldon begins kissing her on the lips for the first time. In the season 7 finale, she is extremely upset at Sheldon leaving Pasadena. Amy also forms a quirky friendship with Penny, who Amy refers to as her "bestie", and becomes Bernadette's maid of honor at her and Howard's wedding.
  • Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, portrayed by Melissa Rauch, is a microbiologist. Formerly, Bernardette was working her way through grad school as a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory, where she befriended Penny, and they eventually become a trio with Amy. Penny introduced Bernadette to Howard. She was upgraded to main cast status in the episode "The Hot Troll Deviation". They get engaged in "The Herb Garden Germination". In season 4, she, too, earns a Ph.D and joined the other doctors in mocking Howard for having only a master's. She and Amy sometimes like to go out without Penny so that they can talk about science-related topics. She marries Howard just before he goes into space at the end of season 5. Outwardly sweet, Bernadette refuses to tolerate Howard's often childish and embarrassing behavior and has become a stabilizing force in his life. She works for a pharmaceutical company, where she earns much more than Howard. This coupled with Howard's irresponsible spending leads to Howard being put on a strict weekly allowance. In season 7, Bernadette and Howard began discussing the possibility of having children together.

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Prod.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
136 1 "The Hofstadter Insufficiency" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Chuck Lorre, Steven Molaro & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Eric Kaplan, Jim Reynolds & Steve Holland
September 26, 2013 (2013-09-26) 4X5301 18.99[3]

Penny and Sheldon bond during the summer over missing Leonard. Penny calls Leonard, who is partying on the ship and does not sound like he is missing Penny. Penny suggests exchanging secrets with Sheldon, then tells him she appeared topless in an unreleased horror movie. Sheldon says Howard found the clip when they had first met. Sheldon's "secret" is that he does not like YouTube's new rating system. Annoyed, Penny decides to leave, but stays and apologizes when she realizes that she hurt Sheldon's feelings. Leonard shows Penny's movie to his shipmates.

Meanwhile, Raj goes to a university function and talks to Mrs. Davis, who is recently divorced. Though he initially insults her with his inappropriate statements, he gives a sincere apology. Though Raj insists to Mrs. Davis that he is not hitting on her, he later tells Howard he thinks the two had "a moment".

Amy and Bernadette attend the same biology convention and they are surprised when two men buy them drinks. Their relationship is momentarily strained when Bernadette implies Amy's enthusiasm is because of a lack of romantic affection from Sheldon. They make up later, although it becomes awkward when Bernadette says that she would have been attracted to a man resembling Sheldon, and Amy to a man resembling Howard.

Recurring character: Regina King as Janine Davis
Guest stars: Sophie Oda as Grace, Aaron Takahashi as a Scientist, and Alex Ball as a Waiter.

Title reference: Penny and Sheldon miss Leonard while he is away, while Leonard does not seem to miss them.
137 2 "The Deception Verification" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Chuck Lorre, Eric Kaplan & Jim Reynolds
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
September 26, 2013 (2013-09-26) 4X5302 20.44[3]

Leonard surprises Penny by arriving back early and hiding in her apartment. He asks her to keep it a secret from Sheldon, so they can spend some time alone. Sheldon suspects that Penny is cheating on Leonard when he finds clear signs that someone else is in her apartment. Bursting into Penny's place to catch her in the act, he and Amy find Leonard there. Sheldon gets mad at Leonard for not telling him he is home, and refuses to believe anything he says, although they eventually reconcile with the help of Howard.

Meanwhile, Howard is being affected by his mother's estrogen-based massage cream and becomes emotional and very hormonal. Raj helps him through it using intimate ways, which seems strange to Bernadette.

Recurring character: Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom
Note: This episode is currently the most watched in the series, surpassing the season 6 episode, "The Bakersfield Expedition".[4]

Title reference: Sheldon asking Leonard if he failed to tell him he was home early because he did not like Sheldon as a friend.
138 3 "The Scavenger Vortex" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Dave Goetsch, Eric Kaplan & Steve Holland
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Jim Reynolds & Maria Ferrari
October 3, 2013 (2013-10-03) 4X5303 18.22[5]

After the gang blows off Raj's murder-mystery party, he creates a scavenger hunt with ten clues that will lead the winner to the location of a gold coin. They first propose making each couple a team, but Leonard suggests "mixing it up" by picking names out of a hat. Penny gets angry and assumes Leonard has proposed this because he did not want to be stuck with her. The teams consist of Sheldon and Penny, Howard and Amy, and Leonard and Bernadette. Both Penny and Sheldon do well figuring out the different clues as they race around Pasadena. Bernadette becomes very competitive, while Leonard is more worried that Penny is mad at him. Amy and Howard, who have not been alone before, bond over their mutual love of Neil Diamond music.

Finally, Raj reveals that he slipped a gold coin into everyone's pocket, so that they would all be winners. His goal was to teach the value of friendship. To his dismay, Leonard, Penny and Bernadette are angry that, after all of their work, there is no clear winner, and chase him out of the apartment. Howard and Amy abandon the hunt and sing Neil Diamond songs in The Cheesecake Factory.

Recurring character: Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom

Title reference: Raj sets up a scavenger hunt for the group after they refused to attend his murder-mystery party.
139 4 "The Raiders Minimization" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Chuck Lorre, Jim Reynolds & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Jim Reynolds & Maria Ferrari
October 10, 2013 (2013-10-10) 4X5304 17.64[6]

Amy watches Raiders of the Lost Ark with Sheldon. When he asks her what she thought of it, Amy claims that Indiana Jones is superfluous because she thinks the outcome of the story would have been the same with or without him. After spoiling the movie for Sheldon, he tries to find something that Amy loves and spoil it for her. Sheldon watches Little House on the Prairie, Amy's favorite TV show, with her and points out historical inaccuracies. Amy, realizing what he is doing, explains that he should just let her know if he is angry, rather than seeking revenge. He does, and Amy apologizes.

Penny buys the book The Disappointing Child (in which Leonard's mother wrote about his childhood problems), for her psychology class, which upsets Leonard. As a result, Penny goes out of her way to make him feel better and Leonard takes advantage of her sympathy. When Howard finds out about this, he tries a similar technique with Bernadette, but it fails. Bernadette tells Penny about Howard's trick, and Penny, realizing what Leonard has been doing, gets revenge by dressing in a particularly revealing outfit, only to leave a pantsless Leonard talking to his mother on Skype.

Meanwhile, Raj and Stuart prepare profiles of themselves for online dating sites, but none of the women who check them out leave them any messages, leaving them depressed. After realizing that they do not need dating sites, they decide to move on.

Recurring characters: Christine Baranski as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter and Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom.

Title reference: Amy pointing out a flaw in Raiders of the Lost Ark and ruining it for Sheldon.
140 5 "The Workplace Proximity" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Steven Molaro, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
Teleplay by: Chuck Lorre, Eric Kaplan & Jim Reynolds
October 17, 2013 (2013-10-17) 4X5305 17.80[7]

Amy tells Sheldon that she will be working on an experiment at Caltech and asks Sheldon how he feels about that. Sheldon has no problem with it, until Howard explains that he would not want to work with Bernadette and have to spend both day and night with her. Sheldon withdraws his approval, though Amy tells him that she is still going to take the job. The next day, Amy is even madder at Sheldon when he embarrasses her at lunch in front of her colleagues. At home, Penny and Leonard try and explain to him that Amy is right. Sheldon then goes to Amy's apartment and apologizes, but offends her again when he says she can be difficult to put up with.

Sheldon mentions Howard's comments to Bernadette, who then confronts Howard and gets mad after he tries to deny his statements. As a result, Howard is forced to stay at Raj's place. Later, Bernadette comes over to apologize. Howard promises to spend more time with her, but only after he and Raj finish their video game, enraging Bernadette once again.

At the Cheesecake Factory, both Amy and Bernadette are upset with their significant others. Penny assures them that Leonard will set them straight; however, the guys play video games together instead.

Guest stars: Todd Eric Andrews as Dr. Gunderson and Ayumi Iizuka as a Scientist.

Title reference: Amy and Sheldon are both now working at Caltech though in separate departments.
141 6 "The Romance Resonance" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Eric Kaplan, Jim Reynolds & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
October 24, 2013 (2013-10-24) 4X5306 16.98[9]

Sheldon calculates how to synthesize a new, stable superheavy element, but then realizes that his discovery was due to a mistake, which spoils his achievement, making him feel like a fraud. While his friends, co-workers and the scientific community praise him, Sheldon just wants it to stop. Amy finally tells him he is not deserving of the attention, which Sheldon notes is the most romantic thing Amy could ever tell him.

Howard gets everyone to join him in performing a song he wrote for Bernadette, to commemorate the anniversary of their first date. When there is an accident at Bernadette's lab and she is placed in quarantine, Howard and the gang go to the hospital and sing the song for her.

Penny tries to do something romantic for Leonard, after he says that she never does. After failing at finding a romantic thing to do and seeking advice from Raj, Penny tells Leonard that she wishes she could be as romantic as he is. She shows him a box with dozens of mementos – examples of romantic things Leonard has done during their time together. Leonard is shocked, and thinks that the mere fact that Penny has kept all these things is incredibly romantic.

Note: A day after it aired, the song that was performed by Howard and the gang, "If I Didn't Have You (Bernadette's Song)", was released on iTunes.[8]

Title reference: The very different ways that the three couples express romance are examined.
142 7 "The Proton Displacement" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Chuck Lorre, Maria Ferrari & Anthony Del Broccolo
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Jim Reynolds
November 7, 2013 (2013-11-07) 4X5307 16.89[10]

Sheldon, Leonard and Amy run into Dr. Arthur Jeffries (Professor Proton) at the drug store. Leonard gets an e-mail from Arthur asking him to review his recent paper. As Sheldon wonders why he was not asked, Amy points he comes across as annoying. Sheldon goes to apologize to Arthur, only to annoy him more. The next day, Sheldon informs them that his new friend is another famous TV scientist, Bill Nye "the science guy." After Sheldon and Bill leave, Arthur asks Leonard why he puts up with Sheldon. Leonard explains that whilst Sheldon has his quirks, he is the smartest person he knows, and they both need each other. Though Leonard's answer moves him, Arthur only decides to let Sheldon read his paper after he sees Penny hanging out in the guys' apartment.

Meanwhile, Raj and the girls are making jewelry during girls' night. Howard crashes the party, indirectly upsetting Raj and taking over the jewelry night by offering them better equipment. Howard joins the girls again for another girls' night, leaving Raj feeling left out and unable to explain how he feels about the situation. After Raj mocks Howard, Howard apologizes after finding out how much his feelings were hurt. Feeling bad, Raj makes them lightsaber belt buckles using techniques Howard taught him.

Recurring character: Bob Newhart as Dr. Arthur Jeffries
Guest star: Bill Nye as himself

Title reference: Dr. Jeffries approaching Leonard to read his paper over Sheldon, allowing Sheldon to become "friends" with Bill Nye.
143 8 "The Itchy Brain Simulation" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Steven Molaro, Bill Prady & Jim Reynolds
Teleplay by: Eric Kaplan, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
November 14, 2013 (2013-11-14) 4X5308 18.30[11]

While rummaging through their closet, Leonard finds a DVD, which he rented using Sheldon's card, that should have been returned seven years ago. Leonard desperately asks Sheldon not to flip out, and Sheldon shockingly remains calm and agrees. Sheldon makes Leonard wear an itchy sweater until the DVD issue is resolved, so that Leonard can, metaphorically, walk in Sheldon's shoes. Leonard searches for the DVD store (that went out of business years ago), then for the owner (who is deceased), then the owner's next-of-kin (who does not exist), all the while getting a bad rash from the sweater. Sheldon eventually tells Leonard he had discovered the DVD and paid the fine years ago, and that he just wanted him to learn the lesson.

Penny meets Lucy, Raj's ex-girlfriend, at the Cheesecake Factory and gets mad at her for breaking up with him over an email. Lucy calls Raj to have coffee to apologize. Although Raj hopes that they can get back together, Lucy reveals that she is now seeing someone else. Penny then sets up Raj on a date with her friend Lizzy, but Raj ends up freaking out in front of her.

Recurring character: Kate Micucci as Lucy
Guest star: Morgan Hewitt as Lizzy

Title reference: Leonard wearing an uncomfortable sweater to simulate Sheldon's sensation of an "itchy brain" when confronted with an unresolved issue.
144 9 "The Thanksgiving Decoupling" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Eric Kaplan, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Jim Reynolds & Jeremy Howe
November 21, 2013 (2013-11-21) 4X5309 18.94[12]

The gang spends Thanksgiving at Mrs. Wolowitz's house, though she is laid up in bed, so Raj, Bernadette and Amy do the cooking. Penny mentions a Thanksgiving she had in Las Vegas with her ex-boyfriend Zack, joking about how they had a "fake" wedding. Her friends tell her that the wedding was real and that she is legally married, causing tension between her and Leonard. Howard tries in vain to bond with his father-in-law, Mike, who instead starts to bond with Sheldon over football; it turns out that Sheldon has considerable football knowledge, as he was forced to watch the game with his father as a child. After Mike shares beers with Sheldon, they continue to hit it off. After insulting Howard, Amy orders Sheldon to apologize to Howard. A now-drunk Sheldon gestures to Amy and says to Mike, "Ain't she great?", then swats her on the rear and suggests she get them more beers. Amy is shocked, but delighted at the physical attention. Meanwhile, Penny has invited Zack over to sign the annulment papers to end their marriage (much to the excitement of Raj, Bernadette and Amy). Zack is at first reluctant to sign, saying he is worried about how ending the marriage will affect their non-existent kids. Penny demands that he sign, which he does. Mike finally compliments Howard, but then attributes his kindness to being drunk. Penny and Leonard reconcile.

Recurring character: Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz, Casey Sander as Mike Rostenkowski and Brian Thomas Smith as Zack Johnson

Title reference: Penny and Zack signing the paperwork to annul their marriage during Thanksgiving.
145 10 "The Discovery Dissipation" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Eric Kaplan, Jim Reynolds & Maria Ferrari
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Steve Holland & Adam Faberman
December 5, 2013 (2013-12-05) 4X5310 15.63[13]

Sheldon walks out of an interview with Ira Flatow on NPR's Science Friday after Flatow makes reference to Sheldon's heavy element discovery being accidental. Amy brings Wil Wheaton to talk about how to deal with unwanted fame with Sheldon. Later, Leonard reveals that he was able to disprove the existence of Sheldon's heavy element. This infuriates Sheldon, who has now learned to deal with the fame and feels that Leonard took away the one thing that made him famous. Sheldon's fury peaks when Barry Kripke berates him over Leonard's findings. Sheldon and Leonard argue with each other on Science Friday, while an embarrassed Amy and Penny listen.

While Raj's apartment building is being fumigated, he and his dog, Cinnamon, move in with Howard and Bernadette for a week. Although Raj is very kind and helpful, his presence highlights the deficiencies in Howard and Bernadette's relationship, leading them to argue with each other. Eventually, Raj gets thrown out and he moves in with Leonard and Sheldon. Immediately he starts giving Amy and Sheldon relationship advice and, after he tells Amy she needs to be patient with Sheldon's limits on physical contact, Amy tells him to leave.

Recurring characters: Wil Wheaton as himself and John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke
Guest star: Ira Flatow as himself

Title reference: Leonard disproves Sheldon's accidental stable super-heavy element discovery.
146 11 "The Cooper Extraction" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Maria Ferrari
Teleplay by: Jim Reynolds, Steve Holland & Tara Hernandez
December 12, 2013 (2013-12-12) 4X5311 17.68[14]

Sheldon is in Texas to help with his sister's home birth, but as usual is totally self-absorbed and unsympathetic to his sister's discomfort, and no help with anything. In between video calls, his friends wonder what their lives would be like if they never met him (like in It's a Wonderful Life). Penny notes that Leonard would be too afraid to have asked her out, Bernadette envisions that she would not have gone out with Howard because of his strange friendship with Raj, and Leonard speculates that Penny would be living with Zack. Amy suggests that Penny would have tried to seduce Sheldon if Leonard didn't exist, while Howard notes that he would be caring for his mother even after she was dead (like in Psycho), and Raj and Leonard suggest that as roommates, they would have become obese, due to Raj's cooking and Leonard's loneliness. Amy thinks she would have been sad and alone.

After Amy encourages Sheldon to be with his newborn nephew, Raj observes that Amy has had a significant influence on Sheldon. Amy does not believe him, but Leonard shows her that Sheldon has a picture of her on his screensaver. When Sheldon returns home, he tells Amy he would have preferred to have her in Texas with him (or instead of him). At the end of the episode, Howard and the obese Raj and Leonard are at the Cheesecake Factory, where Leonard asks Penny out; she turns him down and reveals that she is dating Stuart, who dresses and acts extremely cool. The scene then changes to reveal that this is Stuart's fantasy, which is he having while sitting alone at the restaurant.

Recurring characters: Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom, Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz, Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper and Brian Thomas Smith as Zack

Title reference: The gang imagines what their lives would be like if Sheldon Cooper was out of the picture.
147 12 "The Hesitation Ramification" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Dave Goetsch, Jim Reynolds & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Steve Molaro, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
January 2, 2014 (2014-01-02) 4X5312 19.20[15]

Penny is ecstatic when she gets a minor role on NCIS but is devastated when the scene featuring her is cut. As he is comforting her, Leonard accidentally suggests that her scene would not have made a difference to her career, which upsets Penny. She demands that he honestly tell her his opinion on her acting, and he admits that he believes she has unrealistic ambitions for success. Realizing later that his honesty may have hurt Penny, Leonard brings her an offer to audition for a part in the new Star Wars movie by submitting a video. Penny gets drunk and proposes to Leonard after thinking the only good thing in her life is him. Because Penny is upset and drunk, Leonard hesitates in giving an answer; as a result, Penny leaves, thinking that their relationship might be over.

Raj and Stuart go to the mall to improve their ability to talk to women and end up talking to the security guard.

After realizing no one finds him funny, Sheldon wants to learn how to become more humorous and attempts to develop a theory of universal humor. In the process, he bores Amy by asking her opinion on which words she thinks are funny. Amy meets up with Howard and Bernadette. Bernadette admits to Howard she often fakes a laugh at his jokes.

Recurring character: Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom

Title reference: Leonard and Penny's relationship is thrown into jeopardy when he hesitates to answer Penny's drunken proposal.
148 13 "The Occupation Recalibration" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Eric Kaplan, Maria Ferrari & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Steve Molaro, Jim Reynolds & Steve Holland
January 9, 2014 (2014-01-09) 4X5313 20.35[16]

Penny quits the Cheesecake Factory to devote all her time to her acting career. Despite saying he supports her, Leonard is not thrilled with her quitting. Meanwhile, Sheldon is forced into taking vacation time, and ends up tagging along with Penny. He says he supports her decision, comparing it to himself devoting all his time to becoming a physicist. Leonard eventually says that even though he could not take a risk like hers, he is proud of Penny for doing so.

Bert, a geologist, brings Amy pretty rocks each day as a way of hitting on her. Amy is oblivious until Howard and Raj point it out. Despite telling Bert that she has a boyfriend, Amy is guilt-tripped into attending a "mineral and rock show" with him. Howard and Raj talk to Bert to get Amy out of it, and they end up attending the show with Bert instead.

Bernadette accidentally damages one of Howard's comic books, and heads to Stuart for help. Stuart does not have the issue, and reluctantly refers her to a rival store. The owner, Jesse, insults Stuart, so Bernadette scolds Jesse and leaves without buying the comic. She later returns to Jesse's store alone and continues to berate him, but still purchases the comic.

Recurring character: Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom and Ian Scott Rudolph as Captain Sweatpants
Guest stars: Brian Posehn as Bert and Josh Peck as Jesse

Title reference: Penny quits being a waitress in order to devote all her time into creating a successful acting career.
149 14 "The Convention Conundrum" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Eric Kaplan, Jim Reynolds & Adam Faberman
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Dave Goetsch & Steve Holland
January 30, 2014 (2014-01-30) 4X5315 19.05[17]

After the guys fail to obtain Comic-Con tickets, Sheldon decides to create his own comic book convention. He decides to ask James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, to be the celebrity guest at his new event. After finding out where Jones is having dinner, Sheldon approaches him; unlike most of Sheldon's idols, Jones turns out to be a nice guy who is not turned off by Sheldon's obsessive personality and hero-worship. Jones takes Sheldon out for a night on the town, going to an ice cream parlor, a carnival, and a strip club, doing karaoke together ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), ringing Carrie Fisher's doorbell and running away, and finally visiting a sauna, where Sheldon begins to get somewhat sick of Jones's company. After he learns that the guys did not get Comic-Con tickets, Jones invites Sheldon and his friends to be his guests and promises to take Sheldon to Tijuana every night.

Meanwhile, Leonard, Raj, and Howard plan to meet with a ticket scalper to get tickets, but chicken out so that they do not get into trouble. The girls go to a tea room to "feel adult", but only mothers and their daughters are there so they move on to the bar and wonder what is so great about being adults since they find that acting like "proper" grown-ups is quite boring.

Guest stars: James Earl Jones as himself and Carrie Fisher as herself.
Note: Kaley Cuoco was credited for the first time as Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting in this episode, after marrying Ryan Sweeting on December 31, 2013.

Title reference: The conundrum of how to get tickets to the Comic-Con convention or Sheldon's problem of finding a guest for his convention.
150 15 "The Locomotive Manipulation" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Jim Reynolds, Steve Holland & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Maria Ferrari
February 6, 2014 (2014-02-06) 4X5314 17.53[18]

Amy plans a romantic Valentine's Day for her and Sheldon by having dinner with Howard and Bernadette on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Sheldon makes a friend who is as crazy about trains as he is, ruining Amy's plan. After she confronts him, Sheldon points out that Amy suggested the trip in the first place, prompting her to confess her trick and say that she "deserves romance." Sheldon gets angry and offers her various sarcastic romantic gestures, including drinking wine, staring into each other's eyes, and kissing; however, the supposedly fake kiss turns into a real one, marking the first time that Sheldon has initiated physical contact between the two. Sheldon even seems to like the intimacy, as he invites Amy to visit the train's engine room with him.

While Leonard and Penny are watching Raj's dog Cinnamon, she eats the chocolates that Penny gave Leonard. They rush her to the vet and are joined by an outraged Raj, who connects with the vet, Yvette, over both owning dogs and their disapproval of what Leonard and Penny did. At home, a surprised Raj sees she gave him her phone number.

Guest stars: Tania Raymonde as Yvette, Eric Petersen as Eric and Alex Ball as Waiter

Title reference: Amy tricking Sheldon to have a Valentine's dinner on a vintage train in order to have a romantic evening with him.
151 16 "The Table Polarization" Gay Linvill Story by: Steven Molaro, Maria Ferrari & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Chuck Lorre, Jim Reynolds & Steve Holland
February 27, 2014 (2014-02-27) 4x5316 17.73[19]

Leonard and Penny decide to get a dining table for the apartment so that they no longer have to eat round the coffee table. Sheldon objects to the change, blaming Penny who has changed Leonard though Amy has changed Sheldon. Unhappy with this and that Amy told them about the kiss, he decides to break up with Amy. Amy, who has been alerted, agrees with Sheldon to break up, but stops his plan by convincing him that Leonard is manipulating him. Amy is feeding Sheldon his arguments against Leonard, although goes too far when she suggests they move in together. Finally, Amy and Sheldon eat together on the sofa, with the others at the table, until everyone pities Sheldon and they all end up back at the coffee table.

Howard gets an offer from NASA to return to the International Space Station. He fails to remember the horrible time he had and eagerly wants to go back up. Bernadette holds an intervention where Howard is reminded he would have to go through survival training again. Howard eventually finds a way out by calling his mother during his blood pressure test, which makes him fail his physical exam.

Recurring characters: Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz, Casey Sander as Mike Rostenkowski and Michael Massimino as himself
Guest star: Christopher Neiman as Dr. Dreyfus

Title reference: The polarizing reactions of Leonard and Sheldon to the idea of getting a dining room table.
152 17 "The Friendship Turbulence" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Tara Hernandez
Teleplay by: Jim Reynolds, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
March 6, 2014 (2014-03-06) 4X5318 18.09[20]

Penny informs the group that she has turned down a role in the sequel to the bad horror movie she was in. Later, Penny's car engine breaks down leaving her no way to get to auditions, so she decides to get her job back at the Cheesecake Factory. Leonard surprises her with a new car, so she can continue progressing her acting career.

After Sheldon insults Howard, Bernadette wants to know why he always insults her husband. Sheldon details a decade of abuse. Howard wants to be a better friend, and invites Sheldon with him on a weekend in Houston where Sheldon can visit NASA and his mother. On the flight, both are frightened by the clear-air turbulence, and each admit that they respect each other as friends and their lives would be empty without each other.

Raj asks Amy to respond to a woman named Emily who contacted his dating web site. This turns off Emily, who thinks Raj is too passive, but she ends up having a lot in common with Amy. Amy has tea with her, until Raj interrupts them, putting off Emily, and ruining any chance of friendship for either of them.

Recurring character: Laura Spencer as Emily Sweeney

Title reference: The emotional turbulence of Howard's and Sheldon's friendship and the physical turbulence they experience together on the plane.
153 18 "The Mommy Observation" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Jim Reynolds, Steve Holland & Maria Ferrari
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Anthony Del Broccolo
March 13, 2014 (2014-03-13) 4x5319 17.34[21]

Sheldon and Howard drop in on Sheldon's mother, but flee after Sheldon sees her having sex. Sheldon returns and gets into an argument, and is sent to his room. After Howard tells him about how he drove away an admirer of his mother, Sheldon apologizes to Mary, saying that he will accept her choices on the outside while condemning her internally for being a hypocrite by going against her religious beliefs. His mother forgives him.

The rest of the gang gets roped into a murder mystery dinner arranged by Raj, with Stuart playing the deceased victim. "Traveling" to the future envisioned by Raj, Leonard and Penny broke up because their successful careers. This leads to an argument over the question of what they would do if one of them were required to give up their dream for the other's success. Stuart tells them that they are the best couple he knows. Penny accidentally reveals she was the murderer, ruining Raj's game. Leonard suggests no matter what happens they all meet in front of the apartment in 20 years to have dinner together. In the future Stuart is the only one who shows up.

Recurring characters: Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper and Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom

Title reference: Sheldon accidentally observing his mother's new love life.
154 19 "The Indecision Amalgamation" Anthony Rich Story by: Bill Prady, Eric Kaplan & Jim Reynolds
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Dave Goetsch & Steve Holland
April 3, 2014 (2014-04-03) 4x5320 17.73[22]

On the subject of decision making, Raj must decide if he is going to date both Emily and Lucy, Penny must decide to accept a role in her horrible horror picture, Serial Apeist 2, and Sheldon is torn between buying a PlayStation 4 or a Xbox One. Sheldon's decision ramblings really annoy Amy both during their dinner date, where she fakes exaggerated interest, and spending hours at Best Buy contemplating his choices. Leonard and Penny talk to Wil Wheaton who is just depressed about the acting industry. After Penny accepts the job, she finds out that Wil plays the bikini clad orangutan she has to wrestle in the film. Emily tells Raj that she doesn't mind him dating someone else and he keeps seeing her.

Meanwhile, Bernadette signs a card for a co-worker who is retiring, but she soon finds out that the woman had been in a terrible accident and the card is a "get well" card, making her message highly inappropriate.

Recurring characters: Wil Wheaton as himself and Laura Spencer as Emily Sweeney
Note: Mayim Bialik submitted this episode for consideration due to her nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Title reference: The indecision many of the characters feel about their various problems.
155 20 "The Relationship Diremption" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Steven Molaro, Bill Prady & Jim Reynolds
Teleplay by: Chuck Lorre, Eric Kaplan & Steve Holland
April 10, 2014 (2014-04-10) 4X5321 16.49[23]

Raj and Howard double-date so that the Wolowitzes can meet Emily before Raj scares her off. At first Raj is afraid that Howard is going to joke about his shortcomings; however, Howard ends up to be the butt of all the jokes. He had been on a blind date with Emily years before, and due to a stomach problem, he severely messed up her bathroom and ran out on her. Howard was given the nickname "Clogzilla".

Due to the latest big bang theory discoveries, Sheldon begins to believe he has wasted his life trying to prove string theory. Taking Penny's advice, he decides to get rid of all his string theory books and move on to a new field of study. As he gets frustrated with all of his possible choices, Sheldon jokes that he might as well take up geology, a subject he believes is not real science. Leonard and Penny tell him not to rush into something. Eventually, Amy puts a drunken Sheldon to bed. When he wakes up, he is horrified to see what he holds in his arms: a book on geology. He also discovers that he made many drunk-calls to Stephen Hawking's telephone.

Recurring characters: John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke and Laura Spencer as Emily Sweeney
Note: Jim Parsons won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards for this episode.
Guest star: Stephen Hawking as himself (voice-over)

Title reference: Sheldon referencing his work on string theory as if it were a failed relationship.
156 21 "The Anything Can Happen Recurrence" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Adam Faberman
Teleplay by: Jim Reynolds, Steve Holland & Tara Hernandez
April 24, 2014 (2014-04-24) 4x5322 16.44[24]

After reinstating "Anything Can Happen Thursday", Sheldon, Leonard and Penny wander around town looking for a new restaurant. They find Amy and Bernadette having dinner after lying to their friends. They were tired of hearing Sheldon complain about trying to find a new field to study and Penny's complaints about her horrible movie. Leonard agrees with them, so Sheldon and Penny storm off. Bernadette admits she lied to Howard as well. Amy tells Leonard she is jealous of how comfortable Sheldon is with Penny. Penny calls Howard and tells him Bernadette lied to him, but Bernadette says she will just put on a Catholic schoolgirl uniform to make it up to him.

Raj and Howard watch a horror film to prepare Raj to watch it with Emily. They both find the film disturbing. Emily later says that she too finds the film disturbing, but Raj watches it with her after she says it also turns her on.

After dinner, Penny drags Sheldon to a psychic who says all his problems will be solved if he commits more to Amy. In denial of this, Sheldon scoffs at this "malarkey". Later, Amy shows up at Sheldon's door dressed as a Catholic schoolgirl to apologize for lying, all while Sheldon acts unmoved.

Recurring characters: Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz and Laura Spencer as Emily Sweeney
Guest star: Kimberly Hebert Gregory as Ms. Davora

Title reference: The return of "Anything Can Happen" Thursday night from the episode "The Hofstadter Isotope".
157 22 "The Proton Transmogrification" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Jim Reynolds, Maria Ferrari & Jeremy Howe
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Steve Holland
May 1, 2014 (2014-05-01) 4X5317[26] 16.07[27]

The guys prepare for Star Wars Day and plan to watch all six films. Leonard tells Sheldon that Arthur Jeffries (Professor Proton), their childhood hero, has died. While Sheldon is sleeping through the film marathon, Jeffries appears to Sheldon dressed as a Jedi Master. He does not know why he is there or what advice to give Sheldon, so he tells him to cherish the people around him before they die. Penny and Leonard attend Jeffries' funeral, where they start to discuss their regrets in life and Leonard regrets not saying yes to Penny's marriage proposal. After Leonard returns home, Sheldon wakes up and hugs him, taking Arthur's advice. Bernadette and Amy make a Death Star cake for the guys while talking about why they became scientists. Finally, Sheldon has another dream where Arthur asks him if watching Star Wars is a useful way to spend his life and Sheldon sees nothing wrong with it.

Recurring character: Bob Newhart as Dr. Arthur Jeffries a.k.a. Professor Proton
Note: Bob Newhart submitted this episode for consideration due to his nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series at the 66th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Lucasfilm helped with the creation of the episode.[25]

Title reference: Professor Proton dies and appears in Sheldon's dream as a Jedi Master.
158 23 "The Gorilla Dissolution" Peter Chakos Story by: Chuck Lorre, Jim Reynolds & Jeremy Howe
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Steve Holland & Eric Kaplan
May 8, 2014 (2014-05-08) 4x5323 14.42[28]

Howard, Bernadette, and Raj are bringing a treadmill into Howard's old room in his mother's house, because of her doctor saying that she needs more exercise. When they reach the top of the stairs, the treadmill slides down the stairs and breaks Howard's mother's leg.

While Leonard visits the movie set of "Serial Ape-ist 2: Monkey See, Monkey Kill", Penny has a disagreement with the director on doing another take and she and Wil Wheaton are fired. Later, Wil, Penny and Leonard commiserate at a bar until Wil gets a call for an audition for Sharknado 2.

Sheldon and Raj go to the movies and they run into Emily who is on a date with another man. Later, Raj and Sheldon discuss why women don't like Raj. Sheldon suggests that Raj has to get over his fear of being alone. Later, Emily stops by Raj's apartment. She tells Raj that the guy she was with did her last tattoo and has been asking her out for months, and that she agreed to go to get it over with. Raj feels much better, and they discuss their relationship as well as Emily's tattoos. Emily then spends the night at Raj's.

Back at home, Penny tells Leonard how she has to make better decisions in her life and suggests that she and Leonard get married. Leonard needs assurance that she isn't just settling for him because she was fired and is feeling sorry for herself. Penny says she realizes that she does not need fame to be happy, only Leonard. Leonard gets down on one knee and formally proposes with a ring, and Penny happily accepts.

After Howard's mother breaks her leg, Bernadette and Howard struggle taking care of her, bickering with each other and realizing what it is like to care for a newborn baby. They take the easy way out and hire a live-in nurse.

Recurring characters: Wil Wheaton as himself, Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz and Laura Spencer as Emily Sweeney
Guest stars: Steve Valentine as Kenneth, Beau Casper Smart as Travis and Kaliko Kauahi as Marta

Title reference: Penny and Wil are both fired from the terrible gorilla-themed horror movie.
159 24 "The Status Quo Combustion" Mark Cendrowski Story by: Eric Kaplan, Jim Reynolds & Jeremy Howe
Teleplay by: Steven Molaro, Steve Holland & Tara Hernandez
May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15) 4X5324 16.73[29]

Leonard and Penny tell the group that they are engaged, and while they are happy, everyone makes a bigger deal of Raj and Emily having had sex. Leonard's mother is unmoved that he is engaged, but accepts Penny because Sheldon is really fond of her.

Sheldon is angered the university will not let him change his field of study and considers quitting. He is further upset that Leonard and Penny do not want to live with him after they are married. He is disturbed at Amy's suggestion they could live together and his last nerve is broken when he discovers that Stuart's comic book store was destroyed by fire. Sheldon decides to leave town to figure out what he wants. Leonard objects, but Penny says that they should let him go. Sheldon calls Amy to say he is all right, after which a distraught Amy attacks Leonard with a pillow for letting Sheldon go.

Howard's mother keeps driving away the nurses hired to look after her, and even Penny rejects the job. Howard offers Stuart the job, giving him money and a place to stay while he gets back on his feet after losing his store. Stuart loves the job and develops a surprising closeness with Howard's mother.

Recurring characters: Christine Baranski as Beverly Hofstadter, Carol Ann Susi as Mrs. Wolowitz and Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom
Guest stars: Monica Garcia as Maria

Title reference: The various changes in the characters' lives changing the status quo.

Ratings

No. Title Air date Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "The Hofstadter Insufficiency" September 26, 2013 5.5/18 18.99[3] 2.3 5.15 7.8 24.16[30]
2 "The Deception Verification" September 26, 2013 6.1/18 20.44[3] 2.5 5.70 8.6 26.14[30]
3 "The Scavenger Vortex" October 3, 2013 5.2/17 18.22[5] 2.4 5.48 7.6 23.70[31]
4 "The Raiders Minimization" October 10, 2013 5.1/17 17.64[6] 2.6 5.59 7.7 23.23[32]
5 "The Workplace Proximity" October 17, 2013 5.2/17 17.80[7] 2.3 5.10 7.5 22.90[33]
6 "The Romance Resonance" October 24, 2013 5.2/16 16.98[9] 2.7 5.99 7.9 22.97[34]
7 "The Proton Displacement" November 7, 2013 4.9/15 16.89[10] 2.6 5.59 7.5 22.48[35]
8 "The Itchy Brain Simulation" November 14, 2013 5.2/17 18.30[11] 2.4 5.04 7.6 23.34[36]
9 "The Thanksgiving Decoupling" November 21, 2013 5.3/16 18.94[12] 2.6 6.01 7.9 24.95[37]
10 "The Discovery Dissipation" December 5, 2013 4.8/14 15.63[13] 2.3 5.18 7.1 20.81[38]
11 "The Cooper Extraction" December 12, 2013 5.1/16 17.68[14] 2.5 5.76 7.6 23.44[39]
12 "The Hesitation Ramification" January 2, 2014 5.4/15 19.20[15] 2.5 5.55 7.9 24.75[40]
13 "The Occupation Recalibration" January 9, 2014 5.7/17 20.35[16] 2.3 4.93 8.0 25.28[41]
14 "The Convention Conundrum" January 30, 2014 5.2/15 19.05[17] 2.5 5.70 7.7 24.75[42]
15 "The Locomotive Manipulation" February 6, 2014 5.2/15 17.53[18] 2.8 6.49 8.0 24.02[43]
16 "The Table Polarization" February 27, 2014 5.0/16 17.73[19] 2.7 5.66 7.7 23.39[44]
17 "The Friendship Turbulence" March 6, 2014 5.3/17 18.09[20] 2.6 5.69 7.9 23.78[45]
18 "The Mommy Observation" March 13, 2014 4.9/17 17.34[21] 2.6 5.56 7.5 22.95[46]
19 "The Indecision Amalgamation" April 3, 2014 4.9/18 17.73[22] 2.3 5.31 7.2 22.86[47]
20 "The Relationship Diremption" April 10, 2014 4.7/17 16.49[23] 2.5 5.36 7.2 21.65[48]
21 "The Anything Can Happen Recurrence" April 24, 2014 4.5/16 16.44[24] 2.1 5.12 6.6 21.56[49]
22 "The Proton Transmogrification" May 1, 2014 4.5/16 16.07[27] 4.5 7.00 9.0 23.07[50]
23 "The Gorilla Dissolution" May 8, 2014 3.8/13 14.42[28] 3.8 6.40 7.6 20.82[51]
24 "The Status Quo Combustion" May 15, 2014 4.9/18 16.73[29] 4.9 7.40 9.8 24.13[52]

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General references

External links