The Big Bang Theory

The Boyfriend Complexity

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The Boyfriend Complexity
Big Bang Theory episode
Season 4, Episode 9
November 18, 2010
Guest star(s)
Episode guide

"The 21-Second Excitation"

"The Alien Parasite Hypothesis"
Season guide

Season 3

Season 5

"The Boyfriend Complexity" is the ninth episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on November 18, 2010.[1]


Penny asks Leonard to lie to her visiting father (Keith Carradine) about them getting back together, while Howard, Raj, and Bernadette spend the entire night monitoring a telescope in the astrophysics lab.

Extended PlotEdit

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Raj and Howard play Battleship in a telescope control room.
AskeuhdAdded by Askeuhd
Penny's father Wyatt with Leonard, playing Wii fishing.
Adam hoAdded by Adam ho
A surprising kiss from Penny.
AskeuhdAdded by Askeuhd

Leonard is flattered when he shows up at Penny's door and gets a kiss from Penny. Later, Penny informs him that her critical father Wyatt is visiting, and she asks him to pretend that they're back together because he's the only boyfriend she's ever had that her father likes. Leonard is initially wary of the idea, but gleefully plays along. He gets taken out to dinner and Wyatt calls him a "keeper". Penny also suffers through her father's stories about how stupid her past boyfriends were. Leonard does get Penny to say "I love you" and confess, which she finally does while her father and Leonard are Wii fishing. Penny's father confronts her about the hoax; then, after Penny leaves the room, he begs Leonard to get back together with Penny because he wants grandchildren who won't grow up in a house with wheels and knows Penny's next boyfriend(s) won't provide them. Leonard plays along as Wyatt pretends to angrily throw him out of Penny's  apartment.

Meanwhile, Howard and Raj spend the night in a control room for a ground-based telescope operating in Hawaii, hoping to find the star Epsilon Eridani dim, which would be evidence of a planet orbiting it. Raj gets mad at Howard when he discovers that Howard invited his girlfriend Bernadette until he discovers that Bernadette brought wine. When an intoxicated Raj complains that "no girl ever wants to kiss him", Bernadette shows sympathy for him and he attempts to kiss her. Howard attempts to stop Raj, but they accidentally kiss. The following morning, when asked by Leonard and Sheldon, both act awkward around each other.


  • The TV Critic: "The stories were generally pleasant and innocuous though. The banter about super heroes was fun and the guys disbelief that Penny could actually be interested in Leonard again was used to good effect. I also very much appreciated Leonard and Penny being smart enough not to include Sheldon in their lies...Another wasted opportunity but it was passable entertainment nonetheless."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a B-.[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title refers to Leonard pretending to be Penny's boyfriend to please her father.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 13.02 million people with a rating of 4.3 (adults 18-49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on November 18, 2010 with 3.427 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In England, this episode aired on December 30, 2010 with 1.066 million total viewers.[6]


  • Penny's father's name is changed from Season 2's "The Maternal Capacitance" when [Penny referred to him as "Bob", however in this episode his name is Wyatt.
  • Leonard is the only boyfriend that Penny's parents liked.
  • Though pushed by Leonard, Penny does tell him that she "loves" him in this episode.
  • Penny's father Wyatt calls Leonard a "keeper" as a boyfriend.
  • The majority of events take place on a Thursday Night as Thursday is "pizza night" . At the end of the night, when Leonard is forcing a kiss out of Penny, Sheldon comes walking up the stairs with a laundry basket. Sheldon does his laundry on Saturday nights.
  • Sheldon demonstrates his ignorance of the law in this episode, in the sequence involving the "updated Roommate agreement". He refers to amounts to be paid by Leonard to compensate Sheldon for "Penny's transgressions" as "fines", whereas such amounts are properly understood at law as liquidated damages (but which may be considered penal damages).
  • Sheldon remarks to Raj, "That’s even factoring in your difficulty in parsing American comic book idioms like 'BAMF' and 'SNIKT'." These exemplary comic book idioms are onomatopoeia attributed to mutant powers of the X-Men characters Nightcrawler and Wolverine, respectively. Specifically, "BAMF" is the resulting sound Nightcrawler makes when he teleports, and "SNIKT" is the sound of Wolverine's claws being extended — a metallic noise.


Howard: You wanna talk brave? How about Captain America's undocumented Mexican gardener...
Leonard: He's not braver than the guy that uses the bathroom after The Thing.
Sheldon: As usual, you're all wrong. The bravest person in the Marvel Universe is the doctor who gives Wolverine his prostate exam.

Leonard: You'll never guessed what happened to me!
Sheldon: You went out in the hallway, stumbled into an inter-dimensional portal, which brought you five thousand years into the future where you took advantage of the advanced technology to build a time machine, and now you're back to bring us all with you to the year 7010, where we are transported to work at the Thinkatorium, by telepathically controlled flying dolphins?
Leonard: No.
Sheldon: Aw.

Leonard: Hold on, do you actually want me to deceive your father with some sham, play-acting and kissing, 'cause I'm good with that.

Wyatt: It's nice to have dinner with a boyfriend of Penny's who knows how to use a napkin.

Leonard: So, Howard, you get to play with Raj's big telescope last night?
(Howard and Raj misunderstand the statement and overreact.)
Raj: He never touched my telescope!
Howard: Way to go shutting up!
Raj: I did shut up, now you shut up!
Howard: Fine!
(Leonard and Sheldon look at each other with concern and confusion.)
Raj: ... I can't believe you didn't call me this morning...

Wyatt: Now get your sorry lying ass out of my face, and make sure I never see it again!

Wyatt: I can’t believe you would lie to me like that.
Leonard: Just for the record, I did not want to be a part of this.
Wyatt: I’ll get to you in a minute.
Leonard: No hurry.
Wyatt: That my own daughter thinks I don’t love her enough to support her no matter what choices she makes, well, that hurts me deeply.
Penny: I’m sorry, daddy...
Wyatt: Let me finish.
Penny: Oh.
Wyatt: I thought we were past the days when you would try to pull the wool over my eyes. Telling me the baggie in your underwear drawer is potpourri? And the pee stick in your bathroom is to check for diabetes?
Penny: You know, I’m sorry.
Wyatt: You’re a grown woman, and I respect your right to make your own decisions, but all I ask is you respect me enough to be honest about them.
Penny: You’re right. Look, from now on, I will tell you the truth.
Wyatt: Thank you. Now, why don’t you go and put some clothes on and we’ll grab a bite to eat before I head for the airport. Now you.
Penny: Daddy, he had nothing to do...
Wyatt: Keep walking.
Penny: Okay.


  • Wyatt giving Leonard a talking to.
  • Penny kissing Leonard for her father's sake.
  • Wyatt talking to Leonard and his daughter.
  • Waiting in the telescope lab.
  • Wyatt fishing on Wii with Leonard.
  • Bernadette and Howard.
  • Bernadette and Howard.
  • Waiting in the telescope lab.
  • Sheldon.
  • Having a heated discussion.
  • Sheldon discussing changes in the room mate agreement.
  • Wyatt giving them a talking to.
  • After Leonard tells him they broke up again, Sheldon tosses the new rommate agreement in the air.
  • Playing games while waiting for their celestial event.
  • Getting Penny to say "I love you".
  • Don't give up on her, please!
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #314


  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Boyfriend Complexity (TV Episode 2010) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. The Big Bang Theory: "The Boyfriend Complexity" - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  4. Thursday Final Ratings: $#*! My Dad Says, 30 Rock, Outsourced Adjusted Down; The Office Adjusted Up - Zap2it
  5. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) November 15 – November 21, 2010 - BBM Canada
  6. BARB via Wikipedia

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