|The Bad Fish Paradigm|
Season 2, Episode 1
September 22, 2008
Pete Docter &
David M. Stern
"The Tangerine Factor"
"The Codpiece Topology"
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Leonard returns from his date with Penny. Penny then asks Leonard to to take it slow. She confesses to Sheldon that it is because she thinks she isn't smart enough to keep his interest. The stress of keeping this secret forces get to Sheldon and gives away the secret. Unfortunately, Penny is not happy with Leonard’s suggested resolution.
Leonard and Penny returned to The Building after their date and at the hallway he kissed her goodnight, but quickly relocated while still kissing her as he noticed a conveniently placed CCTV (installed by Howard) which was monitoring them. To avoid Howard's prying eye, Leonard suggested they go to Penny's apartment, but Penny took this as proceeding too fast and intends to slow things down. As Leonard comes into his apartment, Howard and Raj try to hide the obvious fact of the two spying on them. Howard then stated that Leonard's date went terribly, Raj and Sheldon also agreed, but Leonard clearly denies it. Penny bumps into Sheldon in the Laundry room and asks him whether he will bore Leonard as she isn't a "Brainiac", she also mentioned she lied to Leonard about graduating from community college and wants Sheldon to keep it a secret, Sheldon is hesitant but agrees. Later, when Leonard and Sheldon bump into Penny, Leonard proceeds to ask her out, but Penny declines and gives him a flimsy excuse. Leonard now believes that the previous date did not go well because of him. Meanwhile, Sheldon gets increasingly nervous about the secret. Next, Sheldon meets Penny and desperately asks her to unbind him from the shackles of secrecy. Penny refuses and states that he has to find a way to keep it. As a result, Sheldon has decided and announced to Leonard that he is moving out. Since Sheldon doesn't have a permanent place to stay at the moment he decides to stay with Raj. After a dispute about Aishwarya Rai between Sheldon and Raj, Sheldon was brought to Howard's porch by Raj, and was left there for Howard to take care of. Because of Sheldon's annoying habits, Howard gave him a glass of milk and some Valium but Sheldon still couldn't go to sleep, so Howard left him back at his apartment with Leonard. In his tipsy state, Sheldon spills the beans about Penny's secret to Leonard. Leonard is relieved to discover he is not the problem in his relationship with Penny. In the final scene, Leonard thinks he has found the solution, and comes to Penny with it. Leonard urges her to enroll at the Pasadena City College, but in his attempt he managed to dig his hole deeper and anger her. She was convinced that he couldn't date someone who didn't have a college degree.
Howard: (To Sheldon) Just get in the bed!
Mrs. Wolowitz: WHAT'S GOING ON? ARE YOU BOYS ROUGHHOUSING?!
Howard: Just talking, Ma!
Mrs. Wolowitz:IF YOU DON'T SETTLE DOWN RIGHT NOW, I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU HAVE ANYMORE SLEEPOVERS!
Howard: For god's sake Ma, I'm 27 years old! IT'S NOT EVEN A SCHOOL NIGHT!
Leonard: Well, good night. (They kiss. Camera cuts away to a wall mounted security cam above the lift. Leonard spots its movement and shuffles Penny away.)
Penny: What are you doing?
Leonard: There was a draft.
Penny: I didn't feel a draft.
Leonard: Why don’t we just go into your….
Penny: Oh, yeah, you know what, maybe we should just slow things down a little.
Leonard: No, no, I didn’t mean to go into your apartment to… go fast.
Penny: No, I know, I… I know what you meant, it’s just… it’s only our first date.
Leonard: Yeah, okay, sure, no problem, why don’t we just figure out where we’re going, and when we want to get there, and then rate of speed equals distance over time. Solve for R.
Penny: Or we could just wing it.
Leonard: That might work too.
Penny: Goodnight Leonard.
Leonard: Goodnight. (He throws the camera a dirty look.)
Penny (opening door): Hi.
Leonard: Yeah, hi, listen, I know what’s been bothering you about us, and I have the answer.
Penny: What are you talking about.
Leonard: First I want to say that it’s not Sheldon’s fault, he tried very hard to keep your secret, if Howard hadn’t drugged him he would have taken it to his grave.
Penny: He told you?
Leonard: Yes, but its okay. Now that we know what the problem is, there’s a simple solution. (Hands her a brochure.)
Penny: Pasadena City College?
Leonard: A place for fun, a place for knowledge. See, this man here’s playing hacky sack, and this girl’s going to be a paralegal.
Penny: Wow, I get it, because Dr Leonard Hofstadter can’t date a girl without a fancy college degree.
Leonard: Well, it’s really not that fancy, it’s just a city college.
Penny: Right, but I have to have some sort of degree to date you?
Leonard: That doesn’t matter to me at all.
Penny: So, it’s fine with you if I’m not smart.
Leonard: Absolutely. (She slams the door in his face.) Okay, this time I know where I went wrong. (Looking up and seeing the camera) Oh bite me!
"This isn't a bad episode out of context. But as the season opener I think the producers have missed a big trick. I think they have learned the wrong lessons from season one and I hope they can refocus on the main story soon." - The TV Critic's Review
- Title Reference: Howard dubs Leonard as "bad fish" in his metaphor in which he describes that Leonard the bad fish tastes bad, Penny wants to slow down the eating (relationship).
- This episode was watched by 9.36 million people with a rating of 3.6 (adults 18-49).
- Episode transcript 
- Production note:
Chuck Lorre Productions #215 "Mr. Misogyny's Tips for Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling"
Shrill Bad, Dusky Good: No man can happily work or vote for a woman whose voice sounds like a mom or wife yelling at him. Whether running a Fortune Five Hundred company or running for office, women should practice speaking like Kathleen Turner in Body Heat (If you have small children present, rent Who Framed Roger Rabbit and check out Jessica Rabbit).
Power Words: Down through the ages there have been secret words and phrases that a select group of women have known and use to give them control over men. Use them wisely and you'll be on the other side of that glass ceiling before you know it. A short list includes: panties, huge, amazing, and "anything you want, just hurry." For increased effectiveness, say these power words like Kathleen Turner.
Boobs: If you got 'em, flaunt 'em. If you don't got 'em, buy 'em. (CAUTION: This will cause other women to hate you. Do not despair. Once you and your terrific rack are running things, you can fire the jealous bitches.)
Politically Correct Flirting: There is no such thing. That being said, if, by subtle words or actions, you can make a man feel sexually viable, he will act like a fool and you can steal his job. If you think that's cruel, you're not ready to break through the glass ceiling and should instead consider marrying a fat guy with hedge fund money and a history of confusing his erection pills with his heart medication.
* The views of Mr. Misogyny are not endorsed, held, or shared by Chuck Lorre Productions. Chuck Lorre, anyone who works for Chuck Lorre, or any of his friends, neighbors and relatives.
- This is the first episode in the series that Penny acknowledges that she is friends with Sheldon. At that same moment she does this, it emerges that Sheldon only thought of Penny as an acquaintance and neighbour up to this point, although their friendship eventually becomes stronger as the seasons progress.
- "Why don't we just figure out where we're going, and when we want to get there? And then rate of speed equals distance over time (r = d/t). Solve for r." Leonard was clearly flustered when he tried to use physics to solve a relationship problem. In his last statement, Leonard does not mean to isolate "r," but is suggesting to determine the distance and time in order to calculate the rate, provided his definition aforementioned.
- Unusually, Sheldon does not seem to mind that at the start of the episode Raj is in 'his spot'.
- Dewlaps are integral to the mating habits of iguanas, as Sheldon implies.
- Sheldon's shirt folder is sold at Amazon.com.
- This is the first episode that we see Sheldon attempt to make a joke. A Lyme disease research facility would have many Tic nervous ticks (ticks being the primary carrier of that disease), whereas Sheldon has many nervous (facial) tics.
- An energy-based de novo protein in conformational space folds rather readily and frequently, as does a triptych; like Sheldon trying to keep a secret.
- Assuming Sheldon's slip about being denied clearance to a secret research facility is true, there's a secret government-funded military supercollider hidden beneath a fake agricultural station near here (12.5 miles southeast of Traverse City, Michigan); in the Traverse City Forest Area.
- Sheldon stopped breast feeding on a drizzly Tuesday. Sheldon is discovered to have an eidetic memory in this episode, and his first memory is stated by him to remember the weather on the day that his mother stopped breast feeding him.
- A Münchhausen Trilemma is a reasoning that no Truth can be proven, since any proof will ultimately fall into one of three unsatisfactory reasonings. In Sheldon's case: he's moving out, because he's moving out.
- Howard's greeting of qu'est-ce que c'up? is a grammatically incorrect word-for-word translation of "What's up?" in French.
- Sheldon claims he never forgets in this episode, but he states he forget Lee Meriwether portrayed Catwoman.
- When drugged, Sheldon sits in a different seat than his spot.
- Several ways to annoy Sheldon are laid out in this episode, including:
- The Department of Homeland Security does recommend having a pre-packed disaster evacuation bag (it's tip #12 of their top 30 tips), containing necessary supplies for three days. While Sarah Connor may not officially recommend one, she'd likely not be opposed since she spent a fair portion of her life trying to warn people that Judgement Day was fast approaching.
- Manushya yajna (homage to men) is one of the five central sacrifices/duties of the Hindu religion, and it does indeed include taking in needy guests to your home, as Sheldon leverages.
- Raj is discovered that his apartment in an old watch factory. Sheldon expresses concern about the residual radium to make their numerals glow in the dark, first alerting us to his obsession with health and cleanliness.
- The song Raj is watching when Sheldon comments whether the actress is Aishwarya Rai, is actually filmed on Ameesha Patel in the movie " Kaho naa Pyaar Hai".
- Sheldon doesn't seem to be as big a fan of Aishwarya Rai as Raj is. Sheldon prefers Madhuri Dixit.
- Sheldon's list of Catwoman actresses, from most favorite to least: Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether, Halle Barry.
- Sheldon's list of favorite X-Men characters, from most favorite to least: Professor-X, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Cyclops, Iceman, Storm, Angel, Beast, etc.
- Pasadena City College does exist (and offers Paralegal Studies)
- When Leonard first realizes that he may be the "bad fish" and Sheldon is getting flustered, he says "Good day, Leonard". Leonard says "What?" and Sheldon says "I said good day", which may be a reference to Fez's "catchphrase" from "That 70's Show".
- This season premiere episode takes place immediately after the last episode of the previous season.
- The only episode to be rated BBFC 15.
- Penny eventually did take Leonard's advice and enrolled in Pasadena City College in the sixth season.