The Big Bang Theory

The Bad Fish Paradigm

791pages on
this wiki
The Bad Fish Paradigm
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 2, Episode 1
September 22, 2008
Guest star(s)
Pete Docter &
Dan Fogelman
David M. Stern
Episode guide

"The Tangerine Factor"

"The Codpiece Topology"
Season guide

Season 1

Season 3

"The Bad Fish Paradigm" is the first episode of the second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, September 22, 2008.


Leonard returns from his date with Penny. Penny then asks Leonard 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 gets to Sheldon, causing him to give in and tell Leonard. Unfortunately, Penny is not happy with Leonard’s suggested resolution.

Extended PlotEdit

Tbbt201 0303

Discussing Leonard.

Returning from their first date, Leonard explains that what Penny was eating is not frozen yogurt. All Penny had asked him was if he wanted a bite. Leonard is allergic to it. After a goodnight kiss, Leonard notices they are being watched by a security camera set up by Raj and Howard. Unable to get away from the camera, he finishes the kiss and they say goodnight. In his apartment, he immediately confronts Raj and Howard about the camera. They wanted to document how Leonard will ruin their relationship. Leonard feels as Penny suggested that they slow down and not rush into intimacy. Sadly, even Sheldon knows that’s lame. Howard calls it, "this fish tastes bad and will slow down and spit it out." Leonard remains optimistic even though he and Penny haven’t set a second date. The video recording shows that Penny was not as aroused as they others thought she should be.

In the laundry room Sheldon is doing his clothes using a shirt-folding board. Penny comes in and talks to Sheldon about Leonard. She asks if Leonard ever dated someone who wasn’t a “brainiac”. Penny had lied about graduating community college so she could not be embarrassed his level of education. She doesn’t want Leonard to know and asks him to keep it a secret. Sheldon says that he is very poor at secret keeping. He develops "more nervous ticks than a Lyme Disease Research Facility." She asks him to keep the secret since they are friends, which is news to Sheldon.

Later, Leonard and Sheldon run into Penny in the hall and he wants to set up a second date, but she is evasive. Afterwards he wonders if he the "bad fish" and asks Sheldon about it. Sheldon start acting quirky and then runs like hell to the Cheesecake Factory and begs Penny to release him from the secret. He's so bad at keeping secrets that he describes a top secret military project to her. She won’t release him so he decides to move out of the apartment.

He tells Leonard of is impending move with no explanation whatsoever. The myriad of possible reasons (including adjusting the brightness or contrast on the TV, take off a Band-Aid, or make fun of trains) don't seem to apply. Sheldon pushes Raj into letting him stay at his little apartment. In a very short time Sheldon wears out his welcome by insulting Indian actress Aishwarya Rai. Raj dumps Sheldon as Howard’s house. Sheldon doesn't like sleeping on the floor and then starts to count his favorite Catwoman actresses annoying Howard. Halle Berry is Sheldon's 5th-favorite Catwoman.

Sheldon spilling Penny's secret.

Howard returns Sheldon to his apartment doped up on his mother's valium. Sheldon rattles on about keeping secrets and confesses Penny's secret to Leonard. Leonard is shocked that Penny thinks he's too smart for her. Leonard goes to Penny to talk to her about it giving her a Pasadena Community College brochure. Penny gets angry and jumps to the conclusion that Leonard doesn't want to date a woman without a college degree. She slams the door on him though at least Leonard knows where he went wrong this time.


  • "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
  • IMDb user reviews


  • 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 [1]
  • 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.

Costume NotesEdit


ManBot on green

  • Sheldon starts the episode with blue, black, and pink "Triple Threat" tee  by Kirra (discontinued). Then spends the rest of the episode in his most frequently worn t-shirt: yellow ManBot on a green shirt
  • This episode crosses two days, but Sheldon wears the shirt, then pajamas, and then we don't see what he's wearing the next day.
  • Leonard wears his adrenaline molecule t-shirt and his red Cassette Tapes shirt (originally sold at Target, but now only available from RedBubble ).

Set NotesEdit

  • In season 1, the boys used a blue XOX Good Grips tea kettle .  You can see it on the stove in just about every episode, including episode 17, the final one for the first season. As season 2 opens, the kettle is now a deep orange color.

    Good Grips kettle

  • This episode is also the first episode where we see Sheldon using his Flip-Fold in the laundry room. 


  • Season 1-2 and Season 4-5 are the only time in which the ending of one season and start of the another season start on the same day, as Season 1 ended with Leonard and Penny going out on a date, while Season 2 started with them coming back. Season 4 ended with Penny and Raj in the same day, while Season 5 started the same day with the guys at work.
  • As noted, this is the only time in which ending of one season and beginning of other are in the same day. Season 2 ending and Season 3 beginning are 3 months apart, Season 3 ending and Season 4 opening are 4 months apart, Season 4 ending and Season 5 opening are also on the same day, with Season 4 ending with Penny and Raj in bed together while Season 5 begins just a few hours after that. Season 5 ends with Howard in space while Season 6 starts a week after his launch. Season 6 ends with Leonard going to an expedition while Season 7 starts 4 months after his departure. Season 8 starts 45 days after Sheldon departs on his soul-serching train trip.
  • The opening sequence may have been filmed at the same time as season 1; as Penny's hair changes drastically the next scene she is seen.
  • The fourth wall of the hallway can be seen via Howard and Raj's webcam.
  • First episode in the series that Penny acknowledges that she is friends with Sheldon. At that same moment she does this admission, it emerges that Sheldon only thought of Penny as an acquaintance and neighbor 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 .
  • 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. When explaining the joke to Penny, Sheldon says the joke works on the homonymic relationship between tics and ticks. However, the relationship between the two words in question is merely homophonic.
  • 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:
    • Change the brightness/contrast settings of the television
    • Take a band-aid off in front of him
    • Buy generic ketchup
    • Forget to rinse the sink
    • Talk to him through the bathroom door
    • Adjust the thermostat
    • Cook with Leaves cilantro
    • Pronounce the 't' in 'often'
    • Make fun of Model train trains
  • 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 Judgment 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, but did not complete a degree.


Howard: (To Sheldon) Just get in the bed!


Howard: Just talking, Ma!


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 it's 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!


500px|center|A short, funny clip from the episode.


  • Kiss at the end of their first date.
  • Penny consulting with Sheldon about Leonard.
  • Penny consulting with Sheldon about Leonard.
  • The end of their date.
  • Penny in the laundry.
  • Reviewing Leonard's kissing technique with Penny.
  • Leonard after his date.
  • Howard yelling at his mother.
  • Penny and Leonard caught on Howard's web cam.
  • Howard yelling at his mother.
  • Sheldon sleeping over at Howard's.
  • Leonard trying to find out Penny's secret.
  • Shhhhhhhhhhh!
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #215.
  • Artwork inspired by events in this episode.

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki