|The Classified Materials Turbulence|
Season 2, Episode 22
May 4, 2009
"The Vegas Renormalization"
"The Monopolar Expedition"
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Howard has designed a special toilet for the International Space Station. He realizes that it is going to malfunction and asks the guys to help him fix it. Meanwhile, Stuart has another date with Penny.
The gang is at the comic book store, when the new comic book came in. Howard announces that he will treat them with new comic books to celebrate his new invention, the "Wolowitz Zero-Gravity Waste Disposal System". Stuart approaches the gang and asks Leonard for some advice for his second date with Penny, Leonard says he will think of it. Howard tells Leonard if he doesn't want to jeopardize his relationship with Stuart nor does he want Stuart to progress with Penny, he should tell Stuart to do exactly what Leonard has been doing for the past two years.
Later, Leonard bumps into Penny when getting his mail, Penny seizes the opportunity to ask Leonard whether she dating Stuart bothers him. Leonard tells her it doesn't, although he was clearly lying, as Penny then proceeded to ask for advice on dating Stuart, but Leonard gave her useless advice (be aggressive). Stuart tried to call Leonard, but he was ignored as Leonard doesn't want to talk about Penny.
Meanwhile, a distressed Howard tells the gang that he made a fatal error in building his invention. In an effort to help Howard, the gang has agreed to fix the toilet. They bring an exact replica back to the apartment.
Then, someone knocks on the door, and Leonard answers it. Stuart is at the door asking Leonard for last minute advice since they haven't been able to contact each other (Leonard has been ignoring Stuart). Leonard deliberately gives bad advice by drawing from what he has been trying on Penny.
The next morning, Leonard was doing a coffee run for the gang and took the opportunity to stop by Penny's and ask about the date. But, when he asked Penny, she was very wound up and ended up slamming the door in Leonard's face. Leonard then leaves for the comic book store to meet Stuart, while the rest of the gang still fails to fix the toilet. Leonard asked Stuart about the date, which he says it was great until they were making out, when Penny accidentally said Leonard's name. When Leonard left the store, he jumps in happiness. It seems Howard has found a solution and called the responsible parties to deploy the solution, he just hopes it works.
In the final scene, we see that Howard's solution clearly did not work as the crew of the space station had to take "an unscheduled spacewalk".
- "Saying the wrong name is a great sit com plot. Television shows need unlikely events to stir the pot and keep tensions bubbling for a little while longer. Saying the wrong name doesn't necessarily mean anything. It obviously hints at someone’s true feelings but it doesn't actually change anyone’s lives. So Penny saying Leonard’s name while with Stuart is a clever way of keeping the show’s major romance on the minds of its viewers...Leonard is the hero of the show and I don’t blame his performance as much as I blame the writing. He doesn't show enough good qualities, enough of a desire to grow and change and become the man Penny could fall for. A by product of the bad writing is that he isn't funny." - The TV Critic's Review
- IMDb user reviews
- Title Reference: If Howard's toilet failed to function, the excretory product of the astronauts would be floating around the International Space Station.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card 
- This episode was watched by 9.25 million people with a rating of 3.4 (adults 18-49).
- Tied with "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization" for the longest episode title when it was first broadcast.
- Sheldon: [after Leonard refuses to check a message from Stuart, assuming it's about Penny] You have to check your messages, Leonard! The leaving of a message is one half of a social contract which is completed by the checking of the message. If that contract breaks down then all social contracts break down and we descend into anarchy!
- Leonard: It must be hell inside your head.
- Sheldon: [pause] At times.
- Leonard: No, no that’s the past. I’m really more of a right now kind of guy. You know, living in the moment. Although I do have to live a little in the future, ’cause, well, that’s my job. Of course, my fondness for classic science fiction does draw my attention backwards, but those stories often take place in the future. In conclusion, no, it doesn’t bother me.
- ISS: Houston, International Space Station. We have a little situation up here. We’d like to make an unscheduled space walk.
- Houston: ISS, Houston. Which crew members would be involved in this E.V.A.?
- ISS: Houston, we’d all like to step outside for a few minutes.
- Houston: ISS, I’m afraid we can’t authorize that.
- ISS voice: Uh, Houston, this is more of an FYI call. We are basically out the door.