At the Cheesecake Factory, Penny asks if Leonard will be coming into the restaurant to claim a free cheesecake of his own to celebrate his own birthday in a few days. Leonard wants to know how Penny knew his birthday was coming up, and Penny reminds him that she had done his horoscope.She was going to do the whole gang, except that Sheldon threw a fit. Sheldon defends his position that horoscopes have been scientifically denounced as hokum. Penny rolls her eyes and calls Sheldon "blah blah blah....a typical Taurus". Leonard tells Penny that he probably won't come in because he doesn't celebrate his birthday; his parents (but mostly his mother and much less his father because of being cowed, focussed on celebrating achievements, and being expelled through a birth canal wasn't one. Leonard admits that he has never had a birthday party.
The next day, as Leonard leaves to pick up Thai food, Penny goes to talk to Sheldon and the boys to plan a surprise party for Leonard's birthday. Sheldon wants to nip this in the bud, noting that Leonard said he didn't WANT a party. Penny is convinced that this is because Leonard doesn't know what he's missing. Sheldon thinks that NOT having the party would be merciful, based on the emotional scars of his own birthday party experiences. Penny blackmails Sheldon, threatening to open his mint comic books and draw in them in ink if he doesn't participate. Sheldon agrees to throw Leonard a birthday party.
Howard and Raj shop for presents and they meet back at Penny's apartment. Sheldon berates them for getting the secret knock wrong. Sheldon hasn't secured a gift, making a big rant about why...until Howard has Penny inform Sheldon that gift giving is a non-optional social convention. Sheldon relents, and Penny takes him to shop for a gift. Howard is sent to get Leonard out of the apartment for a couple of hours so they can set up the party.
Back at the apartment, Leonard is playing Halo. Howard invites Leonard to a special showing of Blade Runner with 8 extra seconds of footage, but Leonard is intent on beating a longtime rival from Copenhagen. As a last ditch effort, Howard fakes eating a granola bar with peanuts in it and having an allergic reaction. Leonard drops his game and rushes him to the hospital. Howard tries to ask the ER nurse to play along and keep him under observation for an hour or so, to which she replies "this hospital is not equipped to treat stupid". Howard calls Penny to tell her that he can't delay Leonard any longer. Penny puts the pressure on, promising Howard that if he succeeds in keeping Leonard out of the apartment until they're done, she will clue him in to which of her friends are easy...one with self esteem issues, one who punishes her father by sleeping around, and one who is two shots away from letting him "wear her like a hat". Howard says "I'm doing this for you, little buddy" to his crotch and eats the peanut-riddled granola bar, creating an actual medical crisis as he swells up.At the mall, Penny tries to help Sheldon choose a gift. Sheldon is leaning towards something practical, Penny tries to encourage him to buy something "fun". Sheldon explains how when he was 12 he wanted a titanium centrifuge, but his parents got him a motorized dirt bike, as if ANY 12 year old boy would want such a thing. Sheldon settles on a router for Leonard's birthday gift. Overhearing Sheldon's explanation of the merits of the gift, several customers in the store ask Sheldon for advice on their own purchases. Eventually, Sheldon is servicing customers like an employee, even using the store's computer to place special orders for them. As Penny drags him from the store, he berates the store employees that "1 2 3 4" is not an adequate password for their computer system.
Back at the hospital, Howard has swelled up like a puffer fish. He is treated and released.
When they finally arrive back at the apartment, the party is already over. Raj is drunk, shirtless, and in mid-Karoke, singing Cindi Lauper's "True Colors". Penny and Sheldon are asleep, crashed in the living area. Penny wakes up and shares videos taken during the party with Leonard and gives Leonard a birthday kiss. Leonard chases after her, asking about her birthday date.
- Until "The Intimacy Acceleration", this was the only episode in the entire series where a main character's birthday is celebrated. Later Sheldon's, Amy's and HAlley Wolowitz's are celebrated.
- Penny kisses Leonard again for the second time.
- In "The Russian Rocket Reaction", Leonard tells Brent Spiner to go to his birthday party, even though Leonard said that he didn't celebrate his birthday. However, there are indications at the end of the episode that he intends to begin celebrating his birthday.
- Leonard: How did you know my birthday's Saturday?
- Penny: I did your horoscope remember? I was going to do everybody's until Sheldon went on one of his typical psychotic rants.
- Sheldon: For the record, that psychotic rant was a concise summation of the research of Bertram Forer, who, in 1948, proved conclusively through meticulously designed experiments, that astrology is nothing, but pseudo-scientific hokum.
- Penny: Blah, blah, blah, a typical Taurus. So, seriously, we gonna see you Saturday?
- Leonard: Uh, I don't think so.
- Penny: Why not?
- Leonard: I don't celebrate my birthday.
- Penny: Shut up, yeah, you do.
- Leonard: It's no big deal; it's just the way I was raised. My parents focused on celebrating achievements, and being expelled from a birth canal was not considered one of them.
- Penny: Uh, that's so silly.
- Sheldon: It's actually based on very sound theories; his mother published a paper on it.
- Penny: Well what was it called, I Hate My Son and That's Why He Can't Have Cake?
- Sheldon: It was obviously effective, Leonard grew up to be an experimental physicist, perhaps if she also denied him Christmas, he'd be a little better at it.
- Leonard (sarcastically to Sheldon): Thank you.
- Howard: Well, I love birthdays; waking up to Mom's special French Toast breakfast, wearing the birthday king crown, playing laser tag with all my friends...
- Penny: Yeah! See? That's what kids should have!
- Howard: Actually, that was last year.
- Penny: Okay, here’s the deal, you either help me throw Leonard a birthday party or, so help me God, I will go into your bedroom and I will unbag all of your most valuable mint condition comic books. And on one of them, you won’t know which; I’ll draw a tiny happy face in ink.
- Sheldon: You can’t do that, if you make a mark on a mint comic book it’s no longer mint.
- Penny: Sheldon, do you understand the concept of blackmail?
- Penny: Okay, how about this. You keep him there a little longer and when you get to the party I’ll point out which of my friends are easy.
- Howard: Don’t toy with me, woman.
- Penny: I’ve got a hot former fat girl with no self-esteem, I've got a girl who punishes her father by sleeping around and an alcoholic who’s two tequila shots away from letting you wear her like a hat.
- Howard: Thy will be done. (Thinks. Reaches into back pocket, finds the half a granola bar from earlier. Looks down.) I’m doing this for you, little buddy. (Takes a bite.)
- Leonard: Excuse me, my friend is having an allergic reaction to peanuts!
- Nurse Althea: No, he's not.
- Leonard: (concerned) Yes, he is!
- Nurse Althea: Look, sir we are very busy here and I just don’t… (sees Howard's peanut allergic face) Holy Crap! [Reaction]
- Howard: (swollen and mumbling) Please help me.
- Nurse: (on the intercom) Code 4, I need a gurney, right away, right away.
- Howard: Thank you.