The Big Bang Theory

The Graduation Transmission

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"The Graduation Transmission" is the twenty-second episode of the eighth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, April 23, 2015.


Leonard is asked to make the commencement address at his old high school, though bad weather affects this plan. Raj splurges on a robotic helicopter, which Sheldon and Howard try to get to operate. When Raj's father discovers what his son did, he cuts off his monetary supply.

Extended Plot

Howard is looking over the helicopter that Raj has bought. Even though it's the top of the line, Raj just can't get it to work. Leonard enters with his packed suitcase to find that Penny is not even ready. The two of them are off to Leonard's old high school where he is giving the Commencement Address. Sheldon is worried that Leonard will lose an eye when all their mortar board hats are thrown in the air. Amy thinks that it's nice that he's taking Penny. After a poor high school experience, he gets to return as a successful scientist with a beautiful girl on his arm and, per Sheldon, a pointy hat sticking out of his eyeball.


How did you pack so fast?

As Penny and Leonard head down the stairs, Penny explains how she packed so fast. One spring break she took nothing, but a long T-shirt and a belt (the belt being used for "an evening look"). As Leonard is knocking New Jersey, he gets a text message that their airline flight has been canceled due to bad weather. To lighten the mood, Penny suggests that he gives the speech to her (giving him the thought of her as a high school cheerleader fascinated with esteemed alumni).

Howard and Sheldon are trying to get the helicopter video system to work. First they are trying to calibrate it. Sheldon complains about how the manual is written. The procedure doesn't work and they have to do it again trying to get the colored light sequence correct.

In his apartment, Raj receives a Skype call from his father. First he asks about his girlfriend Emily and then yells at him for spending a month's rent on a toy helicopter. His father wants to teach him some responsibility and is going to eliminate his monthly allowance. Raj tries to explain to him that he misses everybody so much and since they are getting a divorce, playing with his toy will make him feel better. Dr. K doesn't buy it.

Howard is still trying to re-calibrate the copter and succeeds until the final step. Now Howard wants to look inside it to fix it even though it voids the warranty. As is often the case, he does point out his master's degree from M.I.T.

The next day, Penny returns from shopping with a pick-me-up present for Leonard. She bought him a cap and gown and arranged with his old high school to give his address on Skype. The gown is from a costume store and is very short since it is a "sexy graduate" costume.

The helicopter is completely disassembled on the kitchen counter. Howard doesn't seem completely sure what all the parts do, but he still flaunts his education. Sheldon reminds him of the space toilet he built for the space station that didn't work. Howard counters that the toilet wasn't designed for the Russian cosmonaut's potato base diet. Raj shows up and freaks out that he took it apart. Sheldon assures him that Howard can solve any problem that doesn't originate in a Russian man's colon. Raj wants to return the helicopter due to his father's actions. After Howard gets him to calm down, Raj decides to take responsibility for his life and calls his mother. She finds him calling her a nice surprise. She can't believe he came from the poisonous seed of his father. He tells her that is father can't send him funds anymore due to his active social life. His mother wants to know who he has been seeing and she promises to send Raj more money than his father was. Raj tells the guys that he'll buy helicopters for everyone.

Leonard comes out of the bedroom dressed only in his sexy graduate just for Penny who appreciates it. Penny tells him that he looks sexy and is supposed to wear clothes under his robe. He is surprised that she knows that. Leonard is going to dress up more to deliver his speech, still putting on pants despite no one seeing his legs. Penny offers to take him someplace nice if he'll put on a belt a la her own Spring break outfit.

Howard had narrowed down the problem to a faulty pin on a computer chip. Sheldon is impressed and asked him if he could fix a toy locomotive that no longer puffs smoke. One toy a time, Sheldon. Bernadette shows up with the tool that Howard asked for. Raj plans on just buying a new helicopter; however, Howard, as an engineer, wants to fix the problem anyway. Bernadette suggest that they call tech support. The geniuses balk at that suggestion since they laugh at people who call those folks, proceeding to do so with Bernadette, who does call them.


Their commencement speaker is applauded.!

At Leonard's old high school, he is introduced as a distinguished alumnus, the noted Caltech physicist, Doctor Leonard Hofstadter. Leonard remembers that last time he was in that auditorium, the lacrosse team played with his asthma inhaler. He thanks his beautiful fiancée for setting up the broadcast and then surprises Penny by showing her on video. She says "hi" and for everyone to stay in school and stay off drugs, even though they are currently graduating.

The helicopter now has a working power supply, WiFi, GPS, and a charged battery. Bernadette adds that they also wasted four hours of their lives. They prepare for takeoff as the helicopter lets out a puff of smoke just like Sheldon's locomotive used to. Howard concedes to Bernadette to call tech support. He thinks he'll end up talking to a foreigner looking at the same manual he has. As he dials the number, Raj's phone rings; however, it's really his father. He wants to know what he talked to his mother about. Raj claims that she has a lot of imagination and that it's good he took after his father. Dr. K was Raj's role model and that is what got him into science so he claims. Then Raj charges into the apartment asking who wants to fly to Vegas on a real helicopter?

Continuing his speech about knowledge, Leonard changes the subject to that he is probably as bored with the speech as he is or Penny. His speech is about how high school is wonderful and prepares you for life though it was a terrible experience for him. Reflecting on how he didn't feel like he existed, he then speaks to the smart and invisible students currently at the high school. With all that time they are spending alone, they are just becoming interesting and people out in the world find them a lot cooler than they thought. For the popular kids, their popularity is now over. He finishes up with congratulating all of them.


Copter takes-off under someone else's control.

The guys are still waiting to have a tech rep get on line. Howard muses that he has become an old man now baffled by modern technology. Suddenly the helicopter turns on and starts flying. Bernadette warns that they shouldn't be flying that in the apartment. No one is piloting it because it picked up a random WIFI signal from elsewhere. It starts to fly around the apartment terrorizing everyone. Tech support answers and a anxious Sheldon tells him that there's a robot uprising and he should call the police.

In the last scene, the helicopter is still flying all over and attacks Leonard and Penny in the hallway



  • Title Reference: The title refers to the Skype broadcast that Leonard makes to deliver the commencement address to his old high school in New Jersey. 
  • Taping date: March 31, 2015
  • This episode was watched by 14.63 million people with a rating of 3.6 (adults 18-49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 19.45 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #2 for the week ending 26 April 2015.
  • This episode aired in Canada on April 23, 2015 with 3.77 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #1.
  • In Australia, it aired on May 11, 2015 with 0.85 million viewers.
  • Screened in Great Britain on E4, on Thurs 4th June 2015.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • Episode transcript [2]


  • Jesse Schedeen at IGN - Leonard and Penny had a fun back-and-forth going, especially with Leonard flaunting his "sexy graduate" costume...Leonard's actual speech also made for a very nice scene. His appeal to all the nerds, outcasts and oddballs really spoke to his journey over the course of the show...(The other) story line allowed Howard to come into the forefront and Sheldon play his comic relief sidekick. The humor in their scenes was enjoyably consistent, whether it was the bizarre ritual the two undertook to re-calibrate the drone or their terrified reactions when the device went haywire.



Headmaster Edwards: And now, for our commencement address, one of our most distinguished alumni, noted Caltech physicist, Doctor Leonard Hofstadter. (Applauds.)
Leonard: Members of the facility, students. I’m excited to speak to you today. I can’t help, but remember the last time I was in that auditorium. Two guys from the lacrosse team played keep away with my asthma inhaler. But enough about my ten year reunion. I’d also like to take a moment to thank my beautiful fiancee for helping to make this speech possible, even though weather nearly prevented it.
Penny: Oh, hello. I didn’t know he was going to point it at me so, don’t do drugs and stay in school.
Leonard: They’re graduates.
Penny: Okay. By-ee!


Leonard: It was L. Frank Baum who said, “No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge.” And that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure. Wow, I’m boring myself. (Sighs.) Sorry I can’t see any of your faces right now, but I bet you they look like this. Uh, you know, I wrote an entire speech to say how high school prepares you and what a wonderful place it is, but I hated it. Maybe high school is great if you look like this (Penny.), but I didn’t even feel like I existed at that school. And now that I think about it, I bet a lot of you feel the same way. So, for the reminder of my speech, this is for the invisible kids. Uh, maybe you never fit in. Or maybe you’re the smallest kid in the school, or the heaviest or the weirdest. Maybe you’re graduating and you still haven’t had your first kiss. By the way, nineteen, AND Geraldine Coco, wherever you are, thank you. Maybe you don’t have any friends. And guess what? That’s okay. While all the popular kids are off doing, whatever, I don’t know what they are doing ‘cause I was never there...
Penny: I…I’ll tell you later.
Leonard: My point is, while you’re spending all this time on your own, building computers or practicing the cello, what you’re really doing is becoming interesting. And when finally do notice you, they’re going to find someone a lot cooler than they thought. And for those of you who were popular in high school, it’s over, sorry. Thank you and congratulations. (Applauds.)

Raj: It’s time for me step up and take responsibility for my life. Be a man. Hello, Mummy.
Mrs. K: Hello, Rajesh. What a nice surprise.
Raj: Well, I’ve been thinking about you. How are you doing? Are you happy, Mummy?
Mrs. K: Such a sweet boy for asking. Can’t believe you come from the poison seed of your father.
Raj: Well, I like to think I take mostly after you. Anyway speaking of Daddy, I had a very strange conversion with him. He said he couldn’t afford to send me money anymore because of his active social life.
Mrs. K: What do you mean, “Active social life”?
Raj: Well, let’s not talk about him or whatever shenanigans he may not may not be up to. Let’s talk about you.
Mrs. K: Rajesh; is your father seeing someone?
Raj: All I know Mummy, is that he’s a single wealthy doctor and now for some reason there’s no money for your little boy.
Mrs. K: Well, however much your father was giving you, I’ll give up more.
Raj: Thank-you, Mummy. I love you. (whispers to the guys) Helicopters for everybody!

Tech Support Voice: Your call is important to us. All our technicians are busy helping other customers. Please stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly.
("On Hold" music plays)
Howard: What happened to me? When did I become an old man baffled by modern technology? Next thing you know, I’ll be hitching my pants up to my armpits and complaining about the awful music the kids are listening to.
Sheldon: It is awful, isn’t it? Listen to that noise.
Howard: (Helicopter takes off.) Hang on, hang on. It’s working. I did it.
Raj: How did you do that?
Howard: No idea, but I did it.
Bernadette: (she's warning the three men crossly) Maybe you shouldn’t be flying it inside.
Howard: I’m not flying it.
Sheldon: Then who is?
Howard: I don’t know. Must be getting a Wi-Fi signal from somewhere else.
Sheldon: Initiate landing sequence. Initiate landing sequence. Hey, the camera’s working. Oh, look it’s me. (Screams.)
Tech support: Tech support. How can I help you?
Sheldon: Yes, it’s a robot uprising. Call the police.

(The opening scene at the apartment where Howard and Raj are admiring a helicopter whilst everyone else is ready for dinner)
Raj: It’s, like, the best one they make, I just can’t get it to work.
Howard: I’ll figure it out.
Raj: It streams HD video straight to your phone while it’s flying.
Howard: Nice. Where were you when I was single?
(Leonard enters the apartment with a suitcase)
Leonard: Okay, we should leave in about an hour. You all packed?
Penny: Uh, yeah, I just need to throw in a few last minute things, you know, makeup, underwear, clothes.
Sheldon: If your bathroom floor counts as a carry-on, you’re packed.
Amy: Leonard, have you ever given a high school commencement speech before?
Leonard: Nope, it’s pretty exciting.
Sheldon: Aren’t you afraid of being blinded?
Leonard: How would I be blinded?
Sheldon:At the end of the ceremony, all the students throe those pointy hats on the air. It’s all pomp and circumstance until someone loses an eye.
Leonard: I’ll take my chances.
Sheldon: Fine. I wonder if they make “I told you so” cards in Braille?
Raj: Look, the problem with commencement speeches is that they’re boring. Ooo. Do you own a t-shirt cannon?
Howard: Why would he own a t-shirt cannon?
Raj: I don’t know. Why do I own one?
Amy: I think it’s really nice that you’re sharing this experience with Penny.
Leonard: Mmm, I thought it would be fun to show her my old stomping grounds. I even know the exact spot where they used to stomp me.
Bernadette: Well, now you get to go back as a successful scientist.
Amy: With a beautiful girl on your arm.
Sheldon: And a pointy hat sticking out of your eyeball.

(The scene of Leonard and Penny in the hallway with their suitcases)
Leonard: How’d you get ready so fast?
Penny: Oh, I packed light. Once I spent an entire Spring break with nothing, but a long t-shirt and a belt.
Leonard: Why did you need a belt?
Penny: It’s called an evening look. I’ve never been to New Jersey before.
Leonard: It gets a bad rap from shows like Jersey Shore and Real Housewives.
Penny: So it’s not really like that?
Leonard: No, it’s like that. Well, I’m excited to show you around.
Penny: You think we will have time to visit your Mom over there?
Leonard: Yes, we’ll also have time to put my junk in a garlic press, but I’m not doing that either.

Dr. K: Oh, and there’s something else I wanted ask you. Why did you spend a month’s rent on a toy helicopter?
Raj: Oh you’re where that bill goes.
Dr. K: I’m tired of indulging your foolish lifestyle. It’s time you learned responsibility. And the only way to teach you that is to cut off your allowance.
Raj: No, daddy, no! There’s lot of other ways to teach me responsibility. I know, you can give me an egg and make take care of it for a week.
Dr. K: No, My mind is made up. Starting now, you’re on your own.
Raj: But, Daddy. I miss my family so much and with you and Mummy getting a divorce, I feel sad and empty. Buying a little toy every now and then helps me fill that void. So while I can’t hug you every day, flying that helicopter.
Dr. K: I’m cutting you off.
Raj: Just to be clear, financially or mid-sentence.

Leonard: Uh-oh. I just got an alert. Our flight’s been cancelled.
Penny: What?
Leonard: Yeah, looks like there’s a big storm all up the East Coast.
Penny: Well, can we get on another airline?
Leonard: I don’t think so.
Penny: So, that’s it? We’re not going?
Leonard: I guess not.
Penny: Well, that sucks.
Leonard: Yeah. I worked hard on that speech, too.
Penny: Oh. You could tell it to me.
Leonard: Oh, thank you, but I’m okay.
Penny: Are you sure? I could pretend I’m a high school cheerleader who can’t control herself around esteemed alumni.
Leonard: Greetings, distinguished cheerleaders

Howard: Okay, I think I’ve narrowed it down to a faulty pin on the on-board communication chip.
Sheldon: Very impressive. You know, when you’re done with that, can you look at this? (holds up a toy train) It doesn’t make smoke anymore.
Howard: One toy at a time.
Sheldon: Mm. Sorry. Ah, maybe it’s for the best. I hear locomotive smoke is the second leading cause of death among train aficionados.
Raj: What’s the first one?
Howard: Suicide. (Howard and Raj laugh)
Sheldon: Wrong. Obesity.
(Enter Bernadette)
Bernadette: I have the tool you wanted.
Howard: Thank you.
Raj: You guys don’t have to go to the trouble. I’m back in the money now, I can just buy another helicopter.
Howard: It’s not about the money. It’s about solving a problem. It’s why I became an engineer. It’s what I like to do, it’s what I’m trained to do. It’s who I am.
Sheldon: Oh, look at you, the little engineer that could.
Bernadette: Why don’t you just call tech support?
Howard: Hey.
Sheldon: Whoa.
Raj: Not cool.
Bernadette: (she's asking all three guys crossly) What?
Howard: There’s two kinds of people in this world, those who call tech support, and those who make fun of the people who call tech support.
Bernadette: I call tech support all the time.
Howard: Ha-ha.
Sheldon: You call tech support.
Raj: What a baby.

Howard: All right, the power supply is reconnected. I think we’re back in business. Let’s just run a few tests before we take it outside. Sheldon, we got WiFi?
Sheldon: Check.
Howard: GPS?
Raj: Check.
Howard: Battery charged?
Sheldon: Check.
Bernadette: Four hours of our lives gone? Check.
Howard: All right. All systems go. In five…
Together (Howard, Raj, Sheldon): Four, three, two, one.
Sheldon: That’s what my train used to do.
Bernadette: (she's asking Howard crossly) Ready to call tech support?
Howard: Give me the number. Probably wind up talking to some foreign guy who’s reading from the same manual I have.
(Raj’s phone rings)
Raj: It’s my father, you jerks. Hello, Daddy.
Dr. Koothrappali: What did you say to your mother?
Raj: Nothing. I was just calling to check in, make sure she’s doing okay.
Dr. Koothrappali: Well, after talking to you, she seems to think I’m some sort of playboy.
Raj: Really? I don’t know where she’d get an idea like that. You know Mummy and her crazy imagination I’m so lucky I take after you.
Dr. Koothrappali: You think you take after me?
Raj: Well, I try to. I certainly wouldn’t be a scientist if you hadn’t been my role model. (Re-entering apartment) Who wants to go to Vegas in a real helicopter?



[3] Taping Report by HappyKitty and Dana1010

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