The Big Bang Theory

The Classified Materials Turbulence

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The Classified Materials Turbulence
Bbt 222
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 2, Episode 22
May 4, 2009
Guest star(s)
Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom
Robert Clotworthy as Astronaut (V.O.)
Travis Davis as Ground Controller (V.O.)
Episode guide

"The Vegas Renormalization"

"The Monopolar Expedition"
Season guide

Season 1

Season 3

"The Classified Materials Turbulence" is the twenty-second and penultimate episode of the second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, May 4, 2009.


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.

Extended PlotEdit

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.
-2.22- The Classified Materials Turbulence

Leonard jumps for joy after hearing of Penny's feelings for him.


The Wolowitz Zero-Gravity Waste Disposal System is repaired by Howard with assistance from Sheldon and Raj.

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. 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 sitcom 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 [1]
  • This episode was watched by 9.25 million people with a rating of 3.4 (adults 18-49).
  • Episode transcript [2]

Costume NotesEdit


Triple Threat




Flash Bolt

Sheldon wear the Triple Threat plaid shirt, discontinued by Kirra, his ManBot t-shirt, arguably his favorite as it is the one he has worn in more episodes than any other - and in more colors (green, blue, and purple). He also wears his The Flash; Run Bolt shirt.

Unknown alien head


Unknown blue lion



Leonard wears a red shirt with an alien head, a blue shirt with a lion (animals, animal sanctuaries, and animal rescue groups being a theme with him), and an unknown design.

Set/Props notesEdit

New on the set:

S02e22 flash1

The Flash: Rebirth, Issue #1


Hellboy #4


DC Direct Supergirl

The Flash: Rebirth, Issue #1
"Lightning Strikes Twice"
June 2009.
Hellboy #4 The Wild Hunt
DC Direct figurine: Supergirl
On the kitchen shelves
above the Batman cookie jar



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.


  • Stuart asking Leonard for advice about Penny.
  • Penny asking Leonard for advice about Stuart.
  • Fixing the space toilet.
  • Howard trying to save his reputation.
  • Look at where that meat loaf went.
  • The International Space Station.
  • Sheldon and Stuart.
  • Leonard learns that Penny still wants him.
  • Working on the space toilet.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #250.

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