|The Grasshopper Experiment|
Season 1, Episode 8
November 12, 2007
"The Dumpling Paradox"
"The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization"
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It was the final The Big Bang Theory episode to air before the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, which put a hiatus on television production for three to four months.
Raj's parents, Dr. V.M. Koothrappali and Mrs. Koothrappali, have just got broadband and are checking up on their son via Video Chat, They then announce that they have set up Raj and Lalita Gupta on a date, Raj is outraged at their meddling.The next day, Raj barges in and announces he is screwed and explains that Lalita has left him a message and is interested in meeting him. Since Raj can't talk to women, Howard helps him set up a date with her. Penny comes in and announces that the Cheesecake Factory has given her barkeeper shifts and she would like to practice mixing cocktails with them. The gang goes to Penny's and all have a drink, except for Sheldon who has a Rum and Coke without the rum, and suddenly Raj speaks to Penny. Soon they figure out he is able to surpass his selective mutism by consuming alcohol. On the date, however, Raj is drunk, acts extremely obnoxiously and this is obviously putting off Lalita. Sheldon arrives and upon seeing Lalita, he gets excited as she deeply resembles Princess Panchali from an Indian folktale book (Princess & the Monkey) which his mother used to read for him when he was sick. Raj introduces Lalita to the gang and Sheldon starts reciting the lines from the Princess & the Monkey book, which Lalita finds flattering. Raj gets defensive and orders Sheldon to stay away from his future wife. It's then that Lalita reveals that despite what both their parents wanted, she has no intention of marrying Raj and just came on the date to get them off her case. She then invites Sheldon to dinner, leaving everyone dumbfounded. Sheldon has no idea that he just stole Raj's date. Later, Raj informs his parents he struck out with Lalita because of Sheldon. This ultimately backfires when Sheldon reveals to them that Raj was drunk and obnoxious on his date. When Leonard later asks Sheldon if he was going to see Lalita again, he asks why since he already has a dentist.
Later, in a somewhat unrelated scene, Sheldon is singing "To Life" (L'Chaim) from Fiddler on the Roof at the Cheesecake Factory. Leonard is surprised by this, and Penny explains she put alcohol into his drink (which Sheldon specifically asked to be alcohol free or virgin).
[Penny is practicing mixing drinks for the guys in her apartment.]
Penny: Sheldon, what are you gonna have?
Sheldon: I'll have a Diet Coke.
Penny: OK, can you please order a cocktail? I need to practice mixing drinks.
Sheldon: Fine, I'll have a Virgin Cuba Libre.
Penny: That's, um, Rum and Coke without the rum.
Penny: So Coke.
Sheldon: Yes. And would you make it diet?
Penny: There's a can in the fridge.
Sheldon: A Cuba Libre traditionally comes in a tall glass with a lime wedge.
Penny: (sarcastically) Then swim to Cuba.
Sheldon: Bartenders are supposed to have people skills.
Sheldon is drunk and singing L'Chaim on the piano at Penny's bar.
Leonard: I don't believe it. What's gotten into him?
Penny: Oh, maybe a couple of virgin Cuba Libres that turned out to be kinda slutty. [holds a bottle of alcohol up to Leonard]
Leonard: [smiling] You didn't.
Penny: Hey, you do your experiments, I do mine.
Raj: I can't believe I'm sitting here next to little Lalita Gupta!
Lalita: Well you are...
Raj: Little Lalita...That's kinda fun to say. (Chants Little Lalita three times) You should try it!
Lalita: No it's okay....
[Raj sips his Grasshopper]
Raj: You have lost so much weight! It must have been so hard for you because you were so, so fat! You remember?
Raj: Of course you do! Who could forget being that fat!?
"I don’t think the major problem here is the racial humour. The problem is that the episode doesn’t develop Rajesh’s character well. He gets drunk and ruins a date which he didn’t really want to be on. It doesn’t say much about him and isn’t funny enough to compensate for the lack of progress in the plot." - The TV Critic's Review
- Title Reference: Penny practices mixing cocktails and mixes a Grasshopper for Raj
- With 9.32 millions viewers, The Grasshopper Experiment the third most watched episode in the first season.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card 
- This episode was watched by 9.32 million people with a rating of 3.8 (adults 18-49).
- Episode transcript 
- This episode reveals how Raj can only talk to women if he is drunk.
- Consequentially, this is the first episode in which Penny hears Raj speak to her.
- Raj's drinking and ruining dates and other important opportunities becomes a bit of a running gag throughout the series (such as in "The Pirate Solution").
- Regarding Raj, Howard says to Leonard, "No, no, let’s see how long it takes him." In "The Jiminy Conjecture", in reference to Sheldon, Howard similarly states to Raj, "Uh, no, no, no, don’t tell him, let’s see if he can figure it out."
- In this episode, Raj's parents try to fix up their son with a woman they approve of. This parental influence is seen again in future episodes.
- This episode also marks the first time in the series where Raj gets drunk.
- Penny also makes her first appearance as bartender in the show (though she rarely works at the bar throughout the series).
- Grasshoppers would become Raj's signature drink, as seen in “The Griffin Equivalency" (S2E04), "The Herb Garden Germination" (S4E22) and "The Stag Convergence"(S5E20). He almost orders one in "The Hofstadter Isotope" (S2E20), but Howard stops him from doing so because it's not a "manly" drink.
- This episode is the first appearance of Raj's parents.
- Sheldon explains how, as a child, his mother would read "The Monkey And The Princess" to him when he was sick, which was most of the time. His claim that he was usually sick is inconsistent with his strict hygiene habits.