Althea is a nurse who managed the reception at the High-IQ sperm bank in the "Pilot" (and the Unaired Pilot), and also worked at the emergency room and on the patients' floor at the hospital. She is played by Vernee Watson. She deals with situations in a sarcastic, but serious manner.
Her name is never revealed on screen (other than on her name tag), but she is credited as "Althea".
In the "Unaired Pilot" she is the receptionist in the sperm bank. Leonard annoys her by finishing her crossword puzzle quickly for her, and Sheldon aggravates her when he tries to change his mind about donating sperm and want "it" back.
Her first official appearance in the series was in the "Pilot" where she again serves as the receptionist in the sperm bank. While the scene is similar to that of the "Unaired Pilot", in this one Sheldon changes his mind and talks Leonard out of it before they donate, as he believes they are committing genetic fraud. They try to quietly leave the place, but Althea says "bye" to them loudly across the room and they awkwardly return the gesture.
- There is an earlier "Final Sales Version" of the "Pilot" which has the sperm bank scene much closer to that of the "Unaired Pilot". Leonard and Sheldon have made the deposits, but Sheldon truly changes his mind and asks for his sperm back, much to Althea's exasperation. She sarcastically responds, "Should I leave it in the cup, or do you want me to see if I have a crystal vase?"
Later on in "The Peanut Reaction" (S01E16), Howard and Leonard show up with Howard faking a peanut allergy attack. He tries to bribe Althea into giving him a false check-up so Leonard will not find out about his surprise birthday party, but Althea is not in the mood for his game. He is forced to eat a peanut bar in order to convince her to go along with it. In return, he was going to get introduced to a sexually promiscuous woman by Penny.
After being absent for two seasons, she returns in "The Robotic Manipulation" (S04E01) when Howard gets his penis caught in the hand of a robotic arm and is brought to the hospital by Raj and Leonard. Althea is amazed by Howard's predicament. She asks where the rest of the robot is, and Howard replies that he built only the arm, and she mockingly asks him if that is all he needed. Then she announces in the public address system, "I need an orderly with a wheelchair. I got a robot hand grasping a man's penis out here." It draws everybody's attention to Howard. He irritatedly asks her if she could be more discreet. But she responds that they don't have a code for "robot hand grasping a man's penis". Without much thought, she quickly solves the problem by simply turning off the computer controlling the hand.
Sheldon sneaks into the hospital and tries to bring his barber out of a coma so as to have a haircut in "The Werewolf Transformation" (S05E18). Althea catches him there with a pair of scissors. She assumes he is a mentally unstable patient from a different floor and deems him dangerous. Sheldon leaves as she calls for security.
- Unaired Pilot
- S01E01: Pilot
- S01E16: The Peanut Reaction
- S04E01: The Robotic Manipulation
- S05E18: The Werewolf Transformation
- When she sees Leonard in "The Peanut Reaction" and Sheldon in "The Werewolf Transformation", she does not seem to recognize either of them from the Pilot.
- Vernee Watson often plays nurses in her character roles.