|The Hawking Excitation|
Leonard meets his idol - Professor Hawking.
Season 5, Episode 21
April 5th, 2012
"The Transporter Malfunction"
"The Stag Convergence"
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Howard got an email that Dr. Stephen Hawking was coming to lecture at the university and needed Howard to maintain the equipment on his specialized wheelchair. Everybody thinks that is neat and Howard plans on introducing him to Sheldon. Sheldon comes over describing his work on the Higgs boson particle, which Howard doesn't need to pay attention to because he wouldn't understand it. Howard changes his mind very quickly.
And as Sheldon begs and pleads for Howard to introduce him to Stephen Hawking. That way Howard can go to Jewish heaven or stay out of Jewish hell, though he already lives with his mother which is Jewish hell. Finally, Howard compromises, and agrees to give Hawking Sheldon’s paper on the Higgs boson particle. However Howard has a few tasks for him to perform. “Sheldon, are you familiar with the 12 Labors of Hercules? You should be so lucky,” explained Howard.
First task, polish Howard’s entire collection of belt buckles. There are what looks like water marks on some of them, but that’s not what it is. Sheldon does an immaculate job which included using turtle wax on them.
Next task, he had to wear the French Maid outfit Howard originally bought for Bernadette and walk through the university cafeteria. (What are you all staring at? You never saw a man trying to get a meeting with Stephen Hawking before?)
Bernadette thinks that Howard is being mean. Sheldon doesn't know what he is doing because "the part of Sheldon's brain that should know he's being mean is getting a wedgie from the rest of Sheldon's brain." Bernadette wants Howard to stop until she remembers she had to take Howard's Mother dress shopping.
At the dress shop Mrs. W called out, “SHELDON, I NEED YOUR HELP!! IT'S THIS DRESS. WHEN I PUT MY FRONT IN, MY BACK POPS OUT!! WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK AS A TEAM! GET IN HERE, GRAB A HANDFUL AND START STUFFING!”
Sheldon finally comes home hoping that he has done his last task. Howard still wants him to compliment him about his job instead his constant ribbing. Sheldon replies, “I have never said you that you are not good at what you do. It's just what you do is not worth doing.” Leonard tells him to take because that was nicer than anything he'd ever said to him. Again Sheldon to Howard, who actually gave Hawking his paper three days before. And Hawking wants to meet him. Sheldon thanks Howard and tells him that he will be available at Hawking's convenience. Sheldon disappears into his room and everyone hears him shouting for joy.
Dr. Hawking thought Sheldon’s theory on a boson being in the center of a black hole accelerating backwards through time was fascinating except its wrong. He made a math error on page 2. It was quite the boner. Sheldon faints which Hawking observes, "Great, another fainter."
- The TV Critic: "The last seven episodes have been below par and I really hope this isn't the beginning of the decline and fall of The Big Bang Theory. Certainly in the short term the craft has gone from the stories and jokes in favor of the most basic stories and punch lines."
- The A.V. Club gave this episode a B-
- IMDb user reviews
- Title Reference: The title is derived from the excitement that Sheldon feels when Howard gets to work with Stephen Hawking, opening up the opportunity for Sheldon to meet his idol.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
- This episode was watched by 13.29 million people with a rating of 4.4 (adults 18-49).
- This episode aired in Canada on April 5, 2012 with 3.181 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.
- In Australia, it aired on April 5, 2012. with million 1.867 viewers.
- Episode transcript 
- Sheldon wears his Justice League Star Power shirt.
- Penny and Bernadette only have one scene each in this episode that they have appeared in:
- Penny only appears with Sheldon in the laundry room scene of this episode
- Bernadette only appears in the bedroom scene with Howard at his apartment in this episode.
- This is the third episode of the fifth season not to feature Mayim Bialik; the first was "The Good Guy Fluctuation" (S5E7), and Bialik was also absent from the previous episode.
- First episode to feature Stephen Hawking as a guest star, though he was mentioned in the episodes "Pilot", "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis", and "The Agreement Dissection".
- On December 22, 2011, a new job listing actually was posted to Hawking's website, seeking an assistant (like Howard) to help develop and maintain his electronic speech system as well as help him operate his motorized wheelchair. According to the website's description, the ideal candidate must work well under pressure, and must be knowledgeable about computers and electronics. (See "Stephen Hawking is Hiring: Seeks Assistant to Help Him Speak" and "Stephen Hawking Advertises For Wheelchair Assistant".)
- Lubos Motl and a reader of his blog the reference frame corrected an error in a Hartle-Hawking-Hertog paper with a "thesis that the accelerated Universe is an anti de Sitter space exposing its cosmological constant in the backwards way," providing a spoof of dialogue from this episode. (See "Sheldon Cooper's revenge to Stephen Hawking: Hawking made a boo boo".)
- In "The Agreement Dissection", Howard recalls that he said to Sheldon (in Stephen Hawking's voice), "I wish to discuss your theories of black holes. Meet me at the Randy’s Donuts by the airport at 2:00 a.m." In the episode of this article, Hawking tells Sheldon, "Your thesis that the Higgs boson is a black hole accelerating backwards through time is fascinating."
- Stephen Hawking's original singularity theorems from the 1960's and 1970's were written up on the whiteboards on-set.
- Sheldon believes that Stephen Hawking is "perhaps [his] only intellectual equal."
- Leonard believes Sheldon will receive a restraining order from Stephen Hawking, like the ones from Leonard Nimoy, Carl Sagan, and Stan Lee. In "The Excelsior Acquisition", Sheldon refers to the legal documents from Nimoy and Lee, while, in "The Vacation Solution", Sheldon reveals the one from Sagan.
- Strangely, Leonard and Raj never ask to meet Hawking, but are excited to receive gears and springs from his wheelchair.
- In "The Terminator Decoupling", Sheldon is similarly excited to present a paper of his to another famous cosmological physicist, George Smoot.
- Sheldon tells Hawking, "it came to me one morning in the shower." There is a whiteboard in the apartment 4A bathroom for this reason, clearly seen in "The Staircase Implementation".
- In the hallway outside the Cal Tech cafeteria, there is a poster for Lisa Randall's book Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World.
- Raj is the "group historian."
- Sheldon states, "I have never said that you are not good at what you do." However, he referred to him as a "minor league engineer" to Agent Page, in "The Apology Insufficiency", and directly told Howard he couldn't press enter when he typed "World's Greatest Engineer" into the label maker, in "The Bus Pants Utilization".
- The Princess Leia vs Jabba the Hutt Polystone Diorama in Howard's room (see this image) was previously at the comic book store in "The Russian Rocket Reaction" (see here). It is still in Howard's bedroom in "The Launch Acceleration" (see here).
- Howard also has a "Carbonite Is Forever" limited edition Star Wars Boba Fett print by Cliff Chiang on his wall.
- Amy did not appear in this episode, making it the first time in season 5 that Amy did not appear for two episodes back-to-back. However she is mentioned by name once in the laundry room of this episode.
- Mrs. Wolowitz speaks for the second time in a normal tone of voice, rather than her usual bellowing register.
- Howard states in this episode that he owns only one belt. However, throughout the series he has been seen with a number of different belts, including piano keys, studs, and various other designs, as well as simple belts of various colors.
- Jim Parsons revealed that initially, he was asked to wear bikini a la Princess Leia during the scene at the cafeteria. He refused, and would only agree if he were given six months and a personal trainer. The writers agreed to replace the bikini for a French maid costume.
- In one review, Stephen Hawking was complimented on his comic timing.
- Raj says Sheldon has only begged three times, but he begs Leonard to go to Switzerland in "The Large Hadron Collision", which is not mentioned.
- Second episode where Sheldon was humiliated in drag. The first was "The Wheaton Recurrence".
- Sheldon's insults towards Howard derived from finding his field inferior. This fact has been foreshadowed in season 1's "The Jerusalem Duality" and "The Porkchop Indeterminacy".
- Second episode where a character says they're in hell because of a woman problem. First was "The Gorilla Experiment".
- Sheldon: He's a famous physicist.
- Penny: Hang on, I know. He's the wheelchair-dude who invented time.
- Sheldon: Close enough.
- Raj: (to Howard) You can make him do anything you want.
- Raj: Oh boy, well, Sheldon's going to freak out!
- Leonard: Yeah, he worships Hawking.
- Howard: I was actually thinking of bringing him along when I go over there so he can meet the great man.
- Raj: It's really nice of you, Howard.
- Howard: It's no big deal.
- Leonard: Boy, a restraining order from Stephen Hawking. It'll look so nice next to the ones he's already got from Leonard Nimoy, Carl Sagan, and Stan Lee.
- (Sheldon comes over to the table)
- Sheldon: Leonard, do you recall when I said that I was going to revolutionize humanity's understanding of the Higgs boson particle and you said Sheldon, it's 2 a.m., get out of my bedroom!?
- Leonard: Like it was 10 hours ago. What about it?
- Sheldon: Well, I believe I've done it. And I'm only saying believe to sound modest, because Sweet-Sam-Houston, I did it.
- Leonard: Really?
- Raj: That's incredible! (Takes out a pen from his pocket) Oh, here! Breakout the math.
- Sheldon: Oh, okay, let me see this. (Starts writing) Alright! So, this particle here, is the boson, moving forward in time. Now, I was thinking... (pauses) Howard, you go ahead and eat. This isn't going to make any sense to you.
- Howard: Sheldon, I have a working understanding of physics.
- Sheldon: Yeah, good for you! Don't stop working on it.
- Raj: You still going to tell him about you-know-who?
- Howard: Yep.
- Leonard: Still going to introduce him?
- Howard: Not on your life!
- Sheldon: Alright! What would you like me to do first?
- Howard: I thought I'd start you off by polishing my belt buckles.
- Sheldon: Ooh, by all means. When I was a boy, I would polish my Meemaw's silver, then, she would entertain me with stories about growing up in Oklahoma. She's an interesting woman. You know, she once killed a prairie dog with a gravy boat.
- Howard: That's nice. (Pours out all his belt buckles from inside a container)
- Sheldon: That's a lot of belt buckles.
- Howard: Funny thing is I only have one belt. Anyway, I'll let you get started. Oh, by the way, the little marks that look like waterspots... I tend to stand too close to the urinal so, what you're seeing there is splash back.
- Sheldon: You make sissy on new belt buckles? Meemaw's forks never have that.
- Howard: Here is a blacklight, to check them. And for your own peace of mind, you might not wanna shine that around the rest of the room.
- (Sheldon is finished polishing Howard's belt buckles)
- Howard: Sheldon, these look great! They're like magnificent little crowns that hang over my magnificent little jewels. How did you get them so shiny?
- Sheldon: Oh, I, uh, buffed them with Turtle Wax. The man down at Pep Boys says that from now on, the urine should just bead up and roll right off.
- Howard: Way to go the extra mile, your Meemaw would be proud.
- Sheldon: My Meemaw must never know of this. Now, will you give Professor Hawking my paper?
- Howard: Oh, my dear boy, no. OK. (Howard gives Sheldon a white box) Next, this is a sexy French maid costume I brought for Bernadette, I thought it might spice things up and get her to dust my room at the same time. I was wrong and really wrong.
- Sheldon: And you want me to return it for you.
- Howard: No, no, no, mon petit cherie.
- (The next day Sheldon walks through the cafeteria in the French maid costume and everyone suddenly stares at him)
- Sheldon: What are you all staring at? D'you never seen a man try to get a meeting with Stephen Hawking before?
- (Sheldon storms out and the three guys burst into fits of laughter)
- Howard: Sheldon, you're a condescending jerk why would I do anything nice for you?
- Sheldon: Um, to go to Jewish heaven?
- Howard: Jews don't have heaven.
- Sheldon: Well, to avoid Jewish hell?
- Howard: Have you met my mother? I live in Jewish hell!
- Sheldon: Professor Hawking, it's an honor and a privilege to meet you, sir.
- Stephen Hawking: I know.
- Sheldon: I want to thank you for taking time to see me.
- Stephen: My pleasure. I enjoyed reading your paper very much. You clearly have a brilliant mind.
- Sheldon: I know.
- Stephen: Your thesis that the Higgs boson is a black hole accelerating backwards through time is fascinating.
- Sheldon: Thank you. It just... it came to me one morning in the shower.
- Stephen: That's nice. Too bad it's wrong.
- Sheldon: What do you mean wrong?
- Stephen: You made an arithmetic mistake on page two. It was quite the boner.
- Sheldon: No, no... that can't be right. I... I don't make arithmetic mistakes.
- Stephen: Are you saying I do?
- Sheldon: Oh, no, no, of course not. It just, I was thinking... (spots his mistake) Oh, gosh, golly. I made a boo-boo, and I gave it to Stephen Hawking.
- (Sheldon faints)
- Stephen: Great, another fainter.
- Sheldon: Try to put yourself in my place. Imagine you’re the sole human being living on a planet populated with nothing but dogs. And then it turns out there’s another human being.
- Howard: Hang on. Are you saying the rest of us are dogs?
- Sheldon: Yeah, okay, I can see you’re going to take this the wrong way. Let me try again. Imagine you’re the sole human being living on a planet populated with nothing but chimps.
- Howard: Get out of my lab.
- Sheldon: Oh, now they’re so much smarter than dogs. Have you seen them on those little bicycles?
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