The Big Bang Theory

The Dumpling Paradox

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The Dumpling Paradox
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 1, Episode 7
November 5, 2007
Guest star(s)
Carol Ann Susi as
Mrs. Wolowitz
Brooke D'Orsay as Christy
James Hong as Chen
Kimberly Brooks as Automated Cell Phone Voice (V.O.)
Bruce Hendricks &
Benjamin Melniker
Jerry Bruckheimer
Episode guide

"The Middle Earth Paradigm"

"The Grasshopper Experiment"
Season guide


Season 2

"The Dumpling Paradox" is the seventh episode of the first season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, November 5, 2007.


Penny's promiscuous friend Christy from Nebraska is in town, she is easily picked up by Howard. His affair takes up all of his time, leaving no space for his normal activities with the gang. Sheldon is distraught at the empty void in the team caused by Howard's departure.

Extended PlotEdit

S1EP07 - Playing Halo 2

Penny playing Halo.

Howard shows Leonard and Raj the new voice recognition technology on his phone which turns out to be severely flawed. As the gang has wasted several minutes of their game time, Sheldon pesters them to commence Halo Night, but is interrupted by Penny, who then starts talking about her uninvited old friend from Nebraska; Christy. She accidentally mentions Christy's promiscuity, which quickly alerts Howard. While Penny is explaining Christy's history, they discover that Howard has disappeared and has been hitting on Christy in Penny's apartment . Surprisingly, Howard succeeds in seducing her and gets busy with her, leaving the gang short of one Halo player.


Howard and Christy.

As Sheldon detests playing one-on-one, Penny has to replace Howard. Penny turns out to be naturally gifted at playing Halo, which angers Sheldon as he believes she is cheating. Penny, having had a fun night, retreats to her apartment only to come back moments later because Howard and Christy are using her bedroom for sexual intercourse. As a result, Penny sleeps in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment (though when they turn out the lights and head off to bed, they forget Raj is still in the kitchen, forcing him to sneak out and scaring Penny). The following morning, Sheldon takes issue with Penny interrupting his Saturday routine of watching Doctor Who, when suddenly Howard makes a dramatic entrance and says "Hola, Nerdmigos". Penny wakes up and has found out that the amorous couple has befouled her robe, her loofah mitt and her stuffed bear collection. Christy makes a grand entrance. Penny asks Christy where she will stay, Howard offers Christy to stay at his mother's house. As Christy leaves, Penny warns Howard that Christy will sleep with him only as long as he keeps buying her things, but Howard simply responds "Really? Yea!"

Later, as Leonard, Sheldon and Raj are in a Chinese restaurant, Sheldon realizes Howard's importance in maintaining the integrity of the group. This point is reinstated when the gang asks Penny to play with them on Halo Night, but she refuses as she has plans to go dancing. As a result, Sheldon and the gang march over to Howard's to confront him. But before they are able to confront him, they overhear Howard's mother and Christy having a big argument, which drives Howard out of the house. The argument leads to Christy breaking up with Howard, allowing him to return for Halo Night. While the gang is playing, Penny and her friends, knowing the guys are too engrossed in the game to notice them, have a laugh by telling the gang they want to have sex with them. Leonard does look up wondering what just happened and then goes back to his gaming.


  • "There is something missing from this episode. The story lacks a real punch and the jokes are solid but not spectacular. It is a credit to the show though that it feels close to something really good here rather than feeling like a disappointment." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews.


  • Title Reference: When the gang orders Chinese, their order of dumpling appetizer comes with four dumplings which is non-divisible by the three of them.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 9.68 million people with a rating of 3.7 (adults 18-49).
  • Episode transcript [2].

Costume NotesEdit



S01e07 stripes

Stripes (Urban Outfitters)

S01e07 greenlantern

Green Lantern logo

Sheldon wears the Kablaam Computer shirt (available from The CBS Store now that the original manufacturer, Blank Generation, appears to be out of business), another discontinued striped shirt from Urban Outfitters, and a Green Lantern logo shirt; Green Lantern being one of Sheldon's most frequent shirt choices, second only to The Flash.



S01e07 recycle2




Leonard's shirts in this episide include: a Rubiks Cube shirt titled "Twisted" , a white "Recycling" logo shirt , and his American Phytopathology Society shirt  (they make their "member" shirts available to the general public, so please support them with your purchase).



Howard wears a red and white checkered belt, with a rhinestone Flash buckle.


Set NotesEdit

Several items appear for the first time in this episode:


  • This is the first appearance of the voice of Mrs. Wolowitz.
  • Leonard's surname Hofstadter is revealed for the first time in this episode.
  • At Szechuan Palace, Sheldon explains that the gang's standard order includes the steamed dumpling appetizer, consisting of four dumplings to be divided among the four of them. Later, in "The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition" (S2E19), Sheldon is horrified when his dumplings are steamed, exclaiming that " hear stories of this sort of thing, but you never think it'll happen to you".
  • Leonard tells Sheldon in "The Irish Pub Formulation" (S4E6) that Raj once used Sheldon's toothbrush, and Penny later admits to using Sheldon's toothbrush in "The Anxiety Optimization" (S8E13)
  • When Sheldon is watching Doctor Who, The Master's laser screwdriver can be heard, making it likely that the episode was "The Sound of Drums" or "Last of the Time Lords".
  • Sheldon states that if he could afford the rent he'd ask Leonard to leave. In "The Financial Permeability" (S2E14), Sheldon states that his expenses account for 46.9% of his after tax income. As expenses must include his rent, clearly he can afford the rent on his own assuming a roughly 50/50 agreement with Leonard.

Goofs. Edit

  • There are several inaccuracies in this episode regarding Halo:
    • In the real game of Halo 3, you can't actually shoot off someone's head, but it's possible that Penny might be exaggerating what she actually did.
    • In Halo 3, there are no med packs.
    • Howard says to shoot the person that's charging their plasma rifle, but a plasma rifle only shoots repeated shots of plasma. A plasma pistol has the ability to charge a shot.
  • Sheldon says, "Okay, assuming we could dance, which we can’t, there are three of us and two of them," which is contrary to his statements in "The Agreement Dissection" (S4E21), "No, thank you, but for the record, I’m an excellent dancer, proficient in the rumba, waltz and cha-cha. ... In the South, pre-adolescentchildrenare forced through a process calledcotillion, which indoctrinates them with all the social graces and dance skills needed to function in18th centuryVienna."
  • Sheldon suggests to Penny that she sleep not facing the door so as to protect herself against marauders. In "The Hamburger Postulate" (S1E5), however, when he sleeps on the couch, he does so with his head to the door.
  • Sheldon states that he would watch the "last 24 minutes of Doctor Who. Although at this point it's more like Dr. Why Bother?" The current Doctor Who series has episodes 45 minutes long. He did not stand there talking for 21 minutes, and it's highly unlikely that he came in 15-20 minutes late. He would've missed most of the episode.
  • Sheldon claims that he has watched Doctor Who "Every Saturday since I have lived in this apartment." The present run of Doctor Who began in 2005, at least two years after he moved into the apartment (assuming he started living in the apartment in 2003, which would correspond to his statements in "The Luminous Fish Effect" (S1E4) and "The Staircase Implementation" (S3E23)). Sheldon also claims he has also always sat on his spot on the couch, but as revealed in "The Staircase Implementation", the couch was not present when Leonard first moved in.
  • The morning after "Halo night" is revealed to be a Saturday, due to Sheldon's expression regarding his watching of Dr. Who, but at the end of the episode when the guys ask Penny to play Halo with them Halo Night is said to be Wednesday night, not Friday night.
  • Penny tells Howard to keep her robe, however she is seen wearing it in future episodes, although it is possible she bought a new one.
  • Howard's voice recognition on his phone is a precursor to the Siri app on the IPhone, which is actually used in a later episode.
  • Raj has selective mutism rendering him unable to talk in front of women; however, in one scene Sheldon complains that they always play Halo in teams, Leonard says that the only way they can play teams is if they cut Raj in half, to which Raj replies: "Oh sure, cut the foreigner in half, there's a billion more where he came from!". Penny is standing there for the whole of this scene and offers to be the fourth player. It's possible Raj has consumed alcohol which would suppress his selective mutism, however he hasn't discovered this until the following episode "[The Grasshopper Experiment]]" (S1E8).


(The guys are at Leonard and Sheldon's place for Halo night. While Sheldon is setting up the Xbox 360 to the T.V., Leonard, Howard and Raj are trying the new voice search on Wolowitz's phone.)
Howard: Watch this, it's really cool. (To phone) Call Leonard Hofstadter.
Phone: Did you say: Call Helen Boxleitner?
Howard: No, c- call Leon-nard Hof-stad-ter!
Phone: Did you say: Call Temple Beth Sader?
Howard: No.
Leonard: Hey, here, let me try. (To phone) Call McFloono McFlooneyloo (chuckles).
Phone: Calling Rajesh Koothrappali.
(Raj looks up in confusion and shock, then his phone rings.)
Raj: Oh, ho, ho, very impressive. And a little racist.

(Penny, Sheldon, Leonard, and Raj are playing Halo at Leonard and Sheldon's apartment)
Sheldon: OK, that's it! I don't know how but she's cheating. No one can be that attractive and this skilled at a video game. (Sheldon walks away furiously)
Penny: Wait, wait Sheldon, come back you forgot something.
Sheldon: What?
Penny: This plasma grenade (she throws a plasma grenade at this character; She and Leonard are laughing; Raj is surprised) (laughs), look, it's raining you. (laughs on)

(Sheldon, Leonard & Raj go to convince Howard to join them for Halo Night).
Leonard: Sheldon, think this through. You're going to ask Howard to choose between sex & Halo.
Sheldon: No, I'm going to ask him to choose between sex & Halo 3. As far as I know, sex has not been upgraded to include high def graphics & enhanced weapon systems.
Leonard: You're right. All sex has is nudity, orgasms, and human contact.
Sheldon: My point.
Christy: (From inside the house) I'M JUST SAYING YOU COULD TAKE your DAMN PLASTIC off your COUCH once in a while!
Mrs. Wolowitz: Why?! So you and Howard can go hump on it?!
Howard: (stopping Christy and Mrs. Wolowitz' yelling): Ladies, ladies, I'm sure there's a middle ground.
Christy and Mrs. Wolowitz: Shut up, Howard!
Howard: You girls talk, I'm gonna take my scooter out for a little spin.
(Howard leaves and finds the guys on the front porch.)
Christy: Oh, you, happy, YOU DROVE your son out of your house!
Mrs. Wolowitz: Why don't you stop butting in where you don't belong?!
Howard: Hey, what are you guys doing in here?
Christy: and why DON'T YOU start treating him like/as a man, then?!
Sheldon: I~It's Halo Night.
Mrs. Wolowitz: He's not a man, he's a putz, and doncha take that tone with me, you, gold digger!
Christy: What did you CALL me?!
Mrs. Wolowitz: You heard me, and I'll tell you something else: Yo barking up the wrong tree, 'cause as long as yo around, Howard's outta the will!
Christy: You know what, I've got better offers, I'M OUTTA HERE!
Mrs. Wolowitz: That's right,... (Mrs. Wolowitz bangs on the door with a crash.),... go back to Babylon, you, whore (whoah)!
Howard: So, Halo Night, huh?
Raj: I thought she was the whore of Omaha.
Sheldon: Shh!

(The guys are playing Halo 3, and the atmosphere is intense)
Howard: Sheldon, you got him in your sights! Fire, he's charging his plasma rifle!
Sheldon: I can't shoot now, I'm cloaking!
Leonard: Raj, kill Sheldon!
Raj: I can't see him!
Sheldon: That's why they call it cloaking, dead man!
Leonard: Well, just start throwing grenades!
Raj: I'm all out!
(Penny and her three friends enter the apartment)
Penny: Hey guys, my friends and I got tired of dancing, so we came over to have sex with you.
(The guys are too engrossed in their game to even notice the girls are present)
Leonard: Raj, now jump in the tank!
Sheldon: We said no tanks!
Raj: There are no rules in hell!
(Penny turns to her friends)
Penny: Told ya!
(They leave, laughing)
Leonard: (on his feet now) There's a sniper, use your rocket launcher!
Raj: All I've got is a needler, and I'm all out of ammo!
Sheldon: And now you're out of life!
(As he's about to kill Raj, Leonard suddenly pauses)
Sheldon: Why'd you hit pause?
Leonard: I thought I... heard... something.
Raj: What?
Leonard: Oh, er, never mind, sorry!
(They resume playing)


  • The guys gazing on as Howard kisses Christy.
  • Penny sleeping on the guys' couch.
  • Penny and her friends.
  • Playing Halo.
  • Playing Halo with the guys.
  • Slept with brother, while engaged to my cousin, so she's like family.
  • Howard and his new squeeze.
  • Maybe she could stay with me.
  • In walks Christy.
  • Where is your little friend who thinks he can speak Mandarin?
  • Penny reacting to Howard.
  • Penny blows up Sheldon.
  • Penny is going dancing.
  • No one could be that attractive and so skilled at a video game.
  • Howard and his new squeeze.
  • I thought she was the Whore of Omaha.
  • So Halo night?
  • Sheldon wants to watch Dr. Who.
  • Trying to convince Howard to play Halo over having sex.
  • Playing Halo ignoring the outside world.
  • Howard? You're what?
  • Discussing Christy.
  • Penny clobbers Sheldon who quickly starts to defend himself.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #193.

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