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The First Pitch Insufficiency

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"The First Pitch Insufficiency" is the third episode of the eighth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired Monday, September 29, 2014.

Summary

Howard has been asked by NASA to throw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels baseball game, but can he? Sheldon, Amy, Penny and Leonard get into an argument over which couple has the best relationship.

Extended Plot

At Leonard's place Howard is practicing throwing a baseball virtually in front of the TVRaj is throwing insults at him because heckling is a "beloved part of baseball". The Los Angeles Angels wanted an astronaut to throw out the first pitch for Space Day. NASA asked him because a lot of others weren't available. Penny congratulates him and suggests that he is the athlete of the group. Sheldon objects that all the guys are on the Griffith Park Quidditch (Harry Potter game) team. Penny quips that watching her boyfriend run around with a broomstick between his legs is something one doesn't forget. Raj is throwing insults Howard again ruining his throw and hurting his feelings. 

Pitch4

Back from their date.

Sheldon and Amy are returning from a dinner date where Sheldon asked if she enjoyed his lecture. Amy replied that neither she nor the waiter did. His lecture was on the history of Cornwall, England because they were having Cornish game hen and the waiter should have been versed in that subject. They enter the apartment and find Leonard and Penny. Sheldon mentions that he had Cornish Game Hen and Leonard sympathizes with the waiter. Amy suggests they go to a movie the next night. Sheldon is behind in his number of date nights since he was away during the summer and has to make them up due to the Relationship Agreement. Penny sarcastically remarks, "That is so hot." Amy finds it better than hot because it is binding. Leonard and Penny get invited to come though Sheldon changes his mind when he finds out that that doesn't count as two dates if another couple joins them.

Bernadette massages Howard's arm after because it is sore after his virtual baseball practice. Bernadette reminds him that he was throwing air. Howard added that he gave Leonard one hell of a high-five. She is impressed that he wants to do it in front of a stadium full of people. Howard says that it's an honor that NASA asked him. Bernadette has played a lot of softball and offers to help him. She also wants him to practice running out to the mound. Howard wonders what that is about so she drops it and then runs into the bedroom making fun of his running.

Penny is getting ready and is surprised that Sheldon wants to go to a pub. He did not like Amy's idea of a picnic, but he knows that they serve Yorkshire pudding at the pub and can't wait to lecture the waiter about Yorkshire, England. Amy and Sheldon voted on the idea of the pub date and it passed unanimously. After Leonard jokes that is great to see a couple keeping the art of bureaucracy alive. Sheldon feels that Leonard is just jealous with how great the Shamy relationship is. Penny wonders if now he is going to say Bazooka. Sheldon states that their relationship is superior to Leonard and Penny's. Sheldon rates the quality of the relationships in the Social Group: Sheldon/Amy, Howard/Bernadette, Raj and Emily, Penny/Chardonnay, Penny/Leonard. Leonard argues that you can't rank relationships and that Lenny would not be at the bottom. Penny also tells him that it's not Chardonnay, it's Sauvignon Blanc.

At the Caltech gym, Howard admits that he never played baseball. He found his Dad's Playboy collection the day of little league tryouts. Raj and Bernadette are setting up a 60 foot 6 inch distance (the regulation distance between the pitcher's mound and home plate in MLB) to help Howard practice throwing. Howard pulls it out as Bernadette reads the tape measure and keeps asking when to stop. He is very surprised at the final distance and doesn't want her to exaggerate how long the distance is this time.
Angel1

Getting ready to throw out the first pitch.

While driving to the pub, Leonard asks Sheldon why he thinks his relationship with Amy is better than Leonard's with Penny. Sheldon tells him that they enjoy spending time together. Leonard replies that they spend hours doing separate things when they spend time together. Sheldon calls this parallel play which is compares to what toddlers do. Sheldon retorts that they do it better than toddlers as Amy and Sheldon look at each other lovingly. Leonard is disgusted that Sheldon has to be the best at everything. Penny asks him why he even cares. Sheldon remarks to Amy that they aren't even married and the honeymoon is already over. Leonard also reminds them that they can't do anything without consulting their Relationship Agreement. Sheldon has no problem with contracts since the thirteen colonies entered into a relationship agreement called the U.S. Constitution which he considers still that love affair is still hot today. Amy looking very happy tells Sheldon that its a good thing she is not wearing flag underwear otherwise it would now be on fire since his talk is getting her excited.

At the gym, Bernie tells him to look where he wants to throw, step toward where he wants to throw it and throw it. Howard is confused and tries the same analogy on learning to fly an airplane. She tells him to try and see what happens. He takes so long warming up, Bernadette yells at him to just throw the ball and he throws it wild.

S208

Shamy and Lenny double date. The Shamy is the better couple.

At the pub, Amy wants to know when they are getting married. They haven't set a date and Penny wants to wait long enough to prove to her mother that she's not pregnant. Sheldon asks to have one of Amy's fries, but Amy is rejected when asking for a bite of Sheldon's burger. Leonard makes a remark. Sheldon reveals that there is avocado in the burger and Amy's allergy of it. Sheldon wants to know if Leonard wants Amy to risk death just to prove their relationship argument. Leonard still insists one can't quantify the quality of a relationship. Sheldon disagrees and rates Amy's French fry at a 7, Spider-man a 9 and the number 9 ironically only a 4. Leonard asks Penny how ridiculous that is and she rates it at 100. Leonard insists that he is just assigning random numbers based upon his opinion. Sheldon shows him the work of Berscheid, Snyder, and Omoto and their relationship scale based on closeness predicting the stability of a couple. The Shamy ranks 8.2 out of 10. Penny thinks that that takes the romance out of a relationship which thrills Sheldon. Leonard wants to take the test with Penny firmly says that she doesn't want to. Penny leaves to get a drink at the bar and Leonard follows him. Amy decides to credit Sheldon with two dates since the other couple is a lot of work.

Back at the gym, Bernadette wonders if Howard is getting better. She tells Raj that its too late to cancel. A couple of wild pitches hit the wall to their right. Howard then screams to watch out as the ball just rolls to their feet.

Leonard goes over to the bar and asks Penny if she is mad at him. She isn't, but tells him to not be stupid. Penny doesn't want to take the test to get a score that will make her more worried since she is already worried about their relationship. They are engaged and she is worried that they have nothing in common which scares her. Leonard admits to having similar feelings. Penny yells at him that that can't be good. His blind infatuation with her is the rock that their relationship is built on. They are both scared so that is something they have in common, jokes Leonard. Another fact is that neither of them find him funny. Sheldon and Amy are sitting at the table just eating and not interacting.

Howard seeks some advice from fellow astronaut Mike Massimino. Mike tells him to not do it since if he is successful no one cares and if he isn't, he will be an idiot on YouTube forever. He tells him to not do it since he couldn't even throw a pen while weightlessness in the space station. Howard thanks him for the pep talk. Mike also wonders how he got a wife that is as cute as Bernadette. Bernadette thinks that he is nice even though he keeps calling Howard Froot Loops.

Snap32

The gang watching Howard.

As Penny and Leonard return to the table, they apologize and Amy admits they should have never compared their relationships. It doesn't bother Sheldon because he feels he won. Next he wants to go up against Raj and Cinnamon for a real challenge. Leonard tells Sheldon that just because they are two very different people, that doesn't make them a bad couple. Penny decides she wants to take the test. Leonard doesn't care what the score is. Marriage is scary, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to do it. He wants to do it with Penny taking her hand and facing all their problems together. Penny is very touched. Amy is enchanted by Leonard's affection and wishes Sheldon would say things like that. Sheldon retorts that they have a 8.2 together and she should trust him that they ARE happy.

At the baseball game, the gang is in the bleachers, while Bernadette and Howard are on the pitcher's mound. While the others are planning on enjoying the game, Sheldon wants to watch the pitch and then head to Disneyland to see Mickey's Soundsational Parade. Amy tells him that if he stays, she'll get him some cotton candy and a bobblehead doll. On the mound, Bernadette tells him how proud she is of him. Howard is given a mic and a baseball. He tells the kids how he didn't think he could do it and keeps trying until he really failed. But he is not an athlete, he is a scientist. Then he decided to have a working prototype of the Mars rover deliver the ball to home plate. That excites the crowd. The rover takes so long that the fans start booing. Unfortunately, Howard is an idiot who didn't think the whole thing through. Sheldon wants to leave, go to Disneyland and come back later to see the end of the pitch.

Credits

Notes

  • Title Reference: The title refers to the inability of Howard to execute the ceremonial first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels baseball game.
  • Taping date: September 3, 2014.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [1]
  • This episode was watched by 16.38 million people with a rating of 4.8 (adults 18-49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 21.71 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #3 for the week ending 7 October 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on September 29, 2014 with 3.173 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #1.
  • In Australia, it aired on October 27, 2014 with a weekly ranking of #1 and 1.221 million viewers.
  • Episode transcript [2]                         

Costume Notes

Penny wears a sleeveless black top with a rose print. This is the "Vicky" twist keyhole back top from Alice+Olivia, sold at Nordstrom.

Critics

  • Jesse Schedeen for IGN - Wolowitz took center stage this week as he found himself tasked by NASA to throw the first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels game. Given that he's not exactly the most physically robust specimen in the greater LA area, Wolowitz naturally showed some concern about embarrassing himself in front of thousands of baseball fanatics...His goofy, elaborate pitching warm-up in the gym was definitely a highlight of the night...It was fun to see the tables turn as Sheldon and Amy played the happy couple and Leonard and Penny dealt with their lingering fears and feelings of anxiety over getting married...The resolution to this conflict was more satisfying, as Leonard and Penny acknowledged their differences and pledged to move forward anyway. Sheldon then went on to party the night away at Caesars palace instead of the baseball

Game. He hit the jackpot and won 1 mil. Following this he moved to England the greatest country known to man kind. The founders. The only. The best. [[3]]

  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a C+ [4]
  • IMDb user reviews[5]

Trivia

  • This episode involves baseball.
  • According to a tweet by Bill Prady, this is one of the few TBBT episodes filmed outdoors away from the WB Studios.
  • Filmed the first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels baseball game.
  • The title sounds like Penny is presenting her first sales pitch, but it is really a Howard Wolowitz episode.
  • The scene of the rest of the gang sitting in the bleachers at Angel Stadium were filmed on a set built on the park set (kite flying scenes, etc.) at Warner Bros. Studio. Simon Helberg and Melissa Rauch went to Angels Stadium to film their scenes at one of the last baseball games of the 2014 Angel's season.
  • Second episode to end with Howard taking an excessive long time to bring action to a sport he is playing. First was "The Alien Parasite Hypothesis".
  • Penny's fear of getting married and being pregnant from "The Recombination Hypothesis", is revisited as she wants to prove to her family that she is not getting married due to a pregnancy like her sister.
  • The guys are on a Quidditch team. Quidditch is a sport from the popular book and film series Harry Potter.
  • Penny tells Leonard that his blind infatuation with her is the rock that their relationship is built on.
  • Sheldon mentions not wanting to watch the game but rather to go across the street to Disneyland to watch Mickey's Soundsational Parade. However, Disneyland is about 3 miles from Angels Stadium.
  • Penny indirectly mentions Sheldon's joking catchphrase, "Bazinga".
  • Interestingly, when Amy and Sheldon are talking about their second date night, The Apartment 4A Flag on the refrigerator is upside down, but it's unclear why.

Quotes

Penny: Hi. What’s going on?
Leonard: Baseball.
Penny: Okay. That’s not what I meant when I said go outside and play.
Leonard: He’s practicing.
Penny: For what? Okay.
Howard: The Angels wanted an astronaut to throw out the first pitch so guess who they called?
Penny: What you? Really?
Howard: Well a lot of people weren't available, but then me!
Penny: That’s so cool. Congratulations!

Penny: Watching your boyfriend run around with a broomstick between his legs is not something you forget!

Sheldon: Did you enjoy my lecture.
Amy: No and neither did our waiter.
Sheldon: Well, if you’re going to serve Cornish game hen you should be familiar with the history of Cornwall or be prepared to learn it.
Amy: It’s hard to argue with that. And I know because I saw a sad man with a pepper mill desperately try and fail.

Bernadette: I can’t believe you’re sore.
Howard: Hey. Even professional pitchers need a rubdown after the game.
Bernadette: But they throw an actual ball. You were throwing air at a TV.
Howard: For your information I also gave Leonard one hell of a high five.

Leonard: It’s nice to see a busy couple keep the spark of bureaucracy alive.
Sheldon: Ignore them Amy. They’re just jealous because they’ll never have a relationship as good as ours.
Penny: Isn't this where he says “bazooka” or something?
Sheldon: I wasn't making a joke. I was merely stating a fact. Amy and I have a superior relationship to yours.
Leonard: You don’t honestly think that, do you?
Sheldon: Leonard. I assumed you knew. The ranking in the relationship in our circle by quality is, me and Amy, Howard and Bernadette, Raj and his girlfriend, Penny and Chardonnay, Penny and you.
Leonard: There isn't any ranking. And if there were, we wouldn't be at the bottom of it.
Penny: Yeah and actually I drink Sauvignon Blanc.
Leonard: That’s the part you have a problem with?

Leonard: You can’t even go on a date without checking your relationship agreement.
Sheldon: If you have a problem basing a relationship on a contract, I’d like to tell you about thirteen plucky colonies that entered a relationship agreement called the U.S. Constitution. And it may not be cool to say so, but I think that love affair is still pretty hot today.
Amy: It’s a good thing I’m not wearing flag underwear right now cause there’s about to be a fire.

(The scene at the sporting hall where the very cross Bernadette slams her baseball glove down onto the floor)
Bernadette: (she bosses Howard crossly) It’s not that hard. You just look where you want to throw it, step toward where you want to throw it and throw it.
(Bernadette gives Howard's arm a tiny smack)
Howard: That’s your help? That’s like saying here’s how you fly a plane, get in the airplane, know where you want to go and fly it.
Bernadette: Just throw the ball. Let’s see what we’re working wish.
Raj: Come on Howard, fire it in.
Bernadette: (she shouts with enormous loud anger) Throw the damn ball!

Amy: So when are you guys plan on getting married?
Penny: Uh. We’re not sure, but I want to wait long enough to prove to my mother that I’m not pregnant.

Leonard: Are you mad at me?
Penny: No, stop being stupid.
Leonard: Um. Whew. Is this about the test or is this about us?
Penny: Look I don’t need to score on a test to make me worry about something I’m already worried about.
Leonard: What are you worried about?
Penny: About we’re engaged and we have nothing in common, and it scares me.
Leonard: Yeah, that scares me too.
Penny: It does?
Leonard: Sometimes.
Penny: WELL, THAT’S NOT GOOD. You being blindly infatuated with me was the rock we are building this relationship on.
Leonard: Okay, well, this will make you feel better. Uh, we’re both scared that our marriage may be a disaster and so that’s something we have in common. Also we both think that I’m not funny. Huh, see you’re not laughing.

Howard: You got any advice?
Mike: Yeah, don’t do it. What else you up to?
Howard: Why shouldn't I do it?
Mike: There’s no upside. If you do well, no one cares. And if you screw up, you’re an idiot on YouTube forever.

Leonard: I don’t care if we’re a ten or a two.
Sheldon: Or a one. A one is possible.
Leonard: Marriage is scary. You’re scared. I’m scared. But it doesn't make me not want to do it. It just makes me want to hold your hand and do it with you.
Penny: Leonard…
Amy: It would make me so happy if you would say things like that.
Sheldon: We just got an 8.2. Trust me, you're happy.

Bernadette(she shouts a question crossly) WHY IS IT GOING SO SLOW?
Howard: (shouting angrily) 'CAUSE I'M AN IDIOT WHO DIDN'T THINK THIS THROUGH!

Gallery

References

  • [6] Taping Report by MichyGeary

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