|The Friendship Contraction|
Season 5, Episode 15
February 2, 2012
"The Beta Test Initiation"
"The Vacation Solution"
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Tired of the Roommate Agreement, Leonard activates Clause 209, which reduces his relationship with Sheldon to mere acquaintances. Meanwhile, Howard tries to get his astronaut nickname for when he joins NASA's upcoming spring mission.
Sheldon sneaks into Leonard's room early in the morning, all dressed up for an emergency. He sets off a siren on his phone, waking Leonard up for the emergency preparedness drill. Leonard is not at all in the mood for Sheldon's antics, and wants to go back to sleep. Sheldon persists on, saying he tried to make the drill fun that night. Leonard chooses a "catastrophe card", turning out to be a 8.2 earthquake that hits Pasadena, which Sheldon sees as an "excellent choice". Leonard groggily puts on his hard hat and, afterwards, Sheldon pushes him into the wall, saying there's a hypothetical aftershock.
In the Cal Tech cafeteria, Howard shows Raj and Leonard the NASA press release for the space expedition. Raj reads off the list of astronauts, and Howard's name is at the end. Raj suggests that Howard should get himself a cool nickname, as all the other astronauts have one. Howard points out to Raj that the other astronauts have to pick it for him. Raj says that if he had to have a nickname, it should be "Brown Dynamite". The guys notice that Leonard puts in six sugars into his coffee, and Howard figures out they must have had an emergency drill night. Sheldon enters the room, remarking on how bad Leonard did on the test, saying that if it were a real situation, he would be dead.
Leonard can't deal with Sheldon's incessant whining, and says that he's going home, asking one of the other guys to drive Sheldon back home later. Sheldon interjects, saying that he needs someone to take him to the dentist, and as per the rules of the Roommate Agreement, he has to comply. Being fed up being told what to do, Leonard says that he is sick of the Roommate Agreement, as he is a roommate and not a chauffeur. Sheldon asks whether or not he wants to activate Clause 209, which will nullify their friendship. Leonard immediately signs so that he can head home to sleep. At apartment 4A, Howard announces that he has some interesting news: the following week, he will be going to NASA orientation and zero-gravity elimination drills (as Bernadette calls it, "he's gonna learn how to poop in space"). Sheldon enters, greeting everyone as his "friend", except for Leonard, who he addresses as "Dr. Hofstadter". They both exchange their greeting, which is a head jerk and "'Sup!" Sheldon apologizes for being late, and goes to sit next to Amy, saying that she will be the one to take him to the dentist the next day. Amy explains that she can't, as they're in the middle of an experiment in her lab. Sheldon struggles to find someone to take him to various places, and in the end, no one wants to give him a lift to his destination.
Desperate for a friend and transport, Sheldon heads to Stuart at the comic book store. As a smokescreen before dropping the big question on him, he asks Stuart out about his family, who confirms that his mom and dad are alive, but his grandparents are not. Sheldon gives his condolences, and then moves on to a "cheerier note", telling Stuart about the teeth cleaning, and asks for a lift. Stuart declines, saying that he can't and that he really doesn't want to. In a hurt attitude, Sheldon leaves the store.
Back at the guys' apartment, Raj continues to try and get Howard to think of an astronaut nickname for himself. Howard declines most of Raj's suggestions, like "Buzz" and "Crash", and they finally find a suitable name: "Rocket Man". Leonard comments that it sounds pretty cool, but Howard persists that he can't choose his own nickname. They devise a plan to suggest the name to the astronauts. Howard has a Skype chat scheduled with astronaut Mike Massimino the following day, and during the chat, Raj will call Howard, who will set his ringtone to "Rocket Man" by Elton John, to plant the seed. Sheldon enters, and out of courtesy, Leonard asks him if he went to the dentist. Sheldon replies 'no', but says he found someone who can come over to his house to do it for him. Leonard stands up from his chair, addressing Sheldon that he would be happy to take him to different places, but he wants to do it as a friend, not because some agreement said so. Sheldon says that is not possible, and it would only work if the full Roommate Agreement is restored. He then exits the room, saying he has to call his dentist.
Still in the apartment, Leonard is watching television, when the power suddenly goes off. Penny enters their apartment to see if their power also went out, worrying that it might just be her apartment. Sheldon enters, implementing the power outage drill, fetching some equipment from the cupboard. Penny suggests that Leonard come to her apartment because she has candles, as Sheldon does not want to share his Bunsen burner with Leonard. Sheldon comments that that is a fire hazard, and that glow sticks are more appropriate. Leonard fetches his Star Wars lightsaber, mocking Sheldon with it. Leonard chooses to go to Penny's apartment, and Sheldon tries one last time to persuade/bug him to reinstate the Roommate Agreement. Penny easily convinces him otherwise, and they leave.
In Penny's apartment, Leonard and Penny share wine and pop bubble wrap over the lightsaber's light and candles that Penny had lit. Penny suggests they make out, and Leonard quickly agrees, though remarks that he thought they were going slow. As they start, Sheldon bursts informing them that he'll be making s'mores, and that they should not be alerted if they smell marshmallows burning. Sheldon says that Leonard can join him, but only if he reinstates the Roommate Agreement. Leonard once again declines, and Sheldon leaves. Penny feels bad that Sheldon looks so sad, commenting that Sheldon misses his buddy, and suggests that Leonard go talk to him.
Over a Bunsen burner, Sheldon is cooking himself some s'mores. Leonard enters the room, commenting that he thought Sheldon believed that candles were dangerous. Sheldon disagrees, saying that it's a Bunsen burner, and he knows how to use it; subsequently, the marshmallow he's toasting is set on fire, and he's forced to put it out. Leonard goes on to say that he would be happy to help Sheldon, but at least wants some recognition and a "thank you". Sheldon counter-offers, saying that there could be a "Leonard's Day", where they celebrate him. The agreement is restored. Penny enters, and explains how the power went out: Someone went down to the basement and pulled the main circuit breaker switch. All eyes are on Sheldon since they know who probably did it.
At the Wolowitz house, Howard and Raj test out to make sure his ringtone is set to "Rocket Man". Mrs. Wolowitz yells and asks when Howard will eat his breakfast. Howard yells back, saying he doesn't have time for that, and that he has a video chat with NASA. The sound of a Skype call incoming is heard, and Howard answers. Mike Massimino appears on the screen, and they greet. Mike says the guys on the base calls him "Mass", which Howard confuses for a scientific equation, when it turns out to be the shortened version of his last name. Howard's phone goes off, and plays his ringtone. Mike recognizes the tune, and asks out about it. Howard says that it's his favorite song. A second after this, Mrs. Wolowitz yells to Howard that his Fruit Loops are getting soggy. Howard apologizes, and Mike then dubs him "Froot Loops".
"If the writers really think Sheldon is better as a character by being callous that's fine. It really is. But if that's the case then he can't be the object of sympathy. And reflexively Leonard needs a backbone. Leonard continues to look like a wimp and a fool for constantly giving in to Sheldon's demands. If there really is no gratitude coming to him then he shouldn't settle for "Leonard's Day." If Sheldon isn't going to change then Leonard must or we are left to see him as a fool." The TV Critic's Review
- Title Reference: Leonard and Sheldon, after a dispute over the safety drills and other rules Sheldon has in place, sign off on their friendship, using Clause 209 in The Roommate Agreement to do so.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card
- This episode was watched by 16.54 million people for a 5.5 rating.
- The Han Solo and Chewbacca figures are still on Leonard's nightstand (see "The Roommate Transmogrification" Trivia).
- Leonard's Star Wars: Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi Luke Skywalker Force FX Green Lightsaber originally appeared in the second episode of the series, "The Big Bran Hypothesis", carried over from the unaired pilot.
- The emergency preparedness drill occurs quarterly, or four times a year.
- The hardhats that Sheldon prepares for the emergency preparedness drill have miniature apartment flags (introduced in "The Staircase Implementation") on them.
- Stuart appears in this episode. His last appearance was during the episode "The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition".
- Mike Massimino, a NASA astronaut, makes his first cameo appearance. He is the first real-life astronaut to make a cameo on the show, and appears again in "The Countdown Reflection".
- In a NASA press release read aloud by Raj, it is revealed that Expedition 31 will launch this spring to the International Space Station and crew members will include Commander Tom "Tombo" Johnson, astronaut Mike "Supernova" Novachelic, and payload specialist Howard Wolowitz. But in "The Countdown Reflection", the astronauts that go into space are Mike Massimino, Howard, and Dimitri Rezinov.
- Howard's astronaut nickname is "Froot Loops". "Fruit loop"/"frootloop" is a colloquialism for "a crazy or stupid person" and a pun on the breakfast cereal Froot Loops, which is the double entendre Massimino was going for, as an obnoxious exchange with Howard's mom about the cereal occurs while Massimino is on Skype with Howard. As dramatic irony, the nom de guerre additionally refers to a "fruit" (slang for a homosexual person), in regards to his and Raj's odd and often commented-on relationship.
- Sheldon's safety vest has the words "Apartment 4A Warden" on it.
- "Leonard's Day" is established in this episode.
- Stuart had a psychiatrist who committed suicide.
- This episode is similar to "The Large Hadron Collision", as Leonard and Sheldon are temporarily not friends over an argument regarding the Roommate Agreement.
- Sheldon's claim of the Roommate Agreement having "mutual benefits" is completely false: it almost universally favors him while it reduces Leonard to being Sheldon's slave/chauffeur. The few benefits that Leonard receives are hardly noteworthy in comparison, especially after Sheldon rewrites the agreement to "benefit [him] greatly" in "The Agreement Dissection".
- This episode became the most watched episode to date, surpassing "The Precious Fragmentation" from season 3.
- Sheldon doesn't have a problem riding the bus, aside from the anesthesia problem, but doesn't appear to have his bus pants ("The Bus Pants Utilization"). He only complained about not being able to lash himself to the seat with bungee cords in "The Euclid Alternative".
- Leonard puts a volume of the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity in his bag while in the cafeteria.
- In "The Russian Rocket Reaction", Sheldon revealed that he started his list of mortal enemies in the year 1989, when he was 9 years old. This means that he was born in 1980, between April and May according to "The Peanut Reaction", which would mean that in February 2012, he would be 31 years old. However, in this episode, Leonard described Sheldon as a "30-year-old man who can't survive on his own". Yet, this can be overlooked, as it appears that Leonard was just being imprecise.
- Sheldon tries to persuade Leonard to stay with him during the power cut with "all 61 episodes of the BBC series Red Dwarf, even though the DVD pack he is holding only contains the original 52 episodes. Of the other nine episodes, three are from a 2009 special that is not featured in the collection, and the other six are due to be broadcast later on in 2012.
Leonard: I am sick of The Roommate Agreement!
Sheldon: Are you saying that you want to invoke Clause 209? Clause 209 suspends our friendship.
Leonard: If it means I can go home and sleep, where do I sign?
Raj: Are you not looking at me? I am Brown Dynamite!
Sheldon: Uh oh! Hypothetical aftershock! (pushes Leonard on purpose)
Sheldon: That's why we wear hard hats.
Sheldon: We are now merely acquaintances. To amend the words of Toy Story, "you have [not] got a friend in me"!
Penny: Sheldon, that's not what girlfriends are for... Although, you don't use them for what they're for, so what do I know?
Sheldon: Put on your hard hat and safety vest.
Leonard: Oh, fun! I get to spend another night in front of our apartment dressed like one of the Village People.
Sheldon: After 3 months, you still make that joke, and I still don't get it.
Raj: Why did you put six sugars in your coffee?
Leonard: Because the cafeteria doesn't offer little packets of methamphetamine.
Howard: Emergency Drill Night last night, huh?
Raj: Well, how did you do?
Sheldon: (coming in and sitting down at the table) I'll tell you exactly how he did. Readiness: unsatisfactory, follows direction: barely, attitude: a little too much. Overall, not only will he probably die in a fiery inferno, his incessant whining would most certainly spoil everyone else's day.
Sheldon: Dr. Hofstadter.
Sheldon: (in a sing-song voice) Now, rise and shine, sleepyhead! Half the town is probably dead!
Leonard: I have to get a lock for that door.
Sheldon: Alright. An 8.2-magnitude earthquake devastates Pasadena, reducing minor edifices to dust, engulfing the city in flames, the streets flow with blood and echo with the cries of the wounded. Oh, excellent choice!
VideoEditBig Bang Theory 5.15 Promo The Friendship Contraction(00:33)
43 views Big Bang Theory 5.15 (The Friendship Contraction) Sneak Peek NASA's Press Release(01:23)
32 views TBBT 5X15 The Friendship Contraction Promo (CTV) - Canadian Version(00:31)
- Taping report by ennaxor from fanforum.com