The Big Bang Theory

The Isolation Permutation

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The Isolation Permutation
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 5, Episode 8
November 3, 2011
Episode guide

"The Good Guy Fluctuation"

"The Ornithophobia Diffusion"
Season guide

Season 4

Season 6

"The Isolation Permutation" is the eighth episode of the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, November 3, 2011.[1]


Amy is hurt when Bernadette and Penny go bridesmaid dress shopping without her, so she turns to a reluctant Sheldon for comfort.

Extended PlotEdit

Shamy cuddle

Sheldon cuddling with an upset Amy.


Howard complains about Bernadette's non-stop texting.

Amy, Penny, and Bernadette are excitedly discussing dresses for Howard and Bernadette's wedding. Sheldon gets fed up with the quality of conversation, unsuccessfully trying to be discreet in his blaming Penny for it, and attempts to discuss the validity of a Swiss discovery concerning faster-than-light particles at CERN, after which the three women leave for Penny's apartment.

The next day, Amy is in the Caltech cafeteria after being given a grant to purchase a strain of Mad Cow Disease, making everyone uncomfortable. However, Howard absent-mindedly complains at constantly being texted non-stop by Bernadette with pictures of the dresses they want to buy. This revelation makes Amy realize they are doing it without her, and she leaves, looking visibly upset.

Amy busy with her work

Amy in her lab.

Later at apartment 4A, Leonard is playing Champion Jockey: G1 Jockey & Xbox Kinect horse racing, but Sheldon becomes concerned when Amy doesn't respond to any of his attempts to contact her, and Leonard offers to drive him there to find out what's going on. When they arrive, she is playing "Everybody Hurts" on her harp, while crying, and Sheldon, unwilling to proceed, attempts to persuade Leonard to take him home. Leonard sees an opportunity and immediately knocks on Amy's door using Sheldon's triple knock, and leaves, stranding Sheldon at Amy's apartment. He says that he doesn't have to put up with this problem because he is single. Amy initially desires to be left alone, but she invites him in and explains that Penny and Bernadette's snubbing her has left her feeling depressed. After asking him to keep an open mind, she explains her desire for physical contact, and makes a list of proposals involving them getting intimate, while Sheldon makes a series of counter-proposals (French kissing) that involve less intimacy (patting her and neck massage), but will still be soothing to her. They eventually agree to just cuddle, and she snuggles up to him on her couch.

Bernadette trying on wedding dresses

Bernadette trying on a wedding dress.

The next morning, Sheldon storms into Caltech cafeteria and confronts Howard and Leonard, explaining that his night of building a Lego Death Star had been ruined by his having to spoon with Amy, and demands they get Penny and Bernadette to apologize to Amy (even though Leonard is not Penny's boyfriend).

That evening, after Howard and Leonard explain what happened, Penny and Bernadette are dismayed, and explain they had gone without Amy because she was over-enthusiastic and would've been a hindrance to their dress shopping. They never-the-less feel guilty, and visit Amy at her laboratory to apologize. However, their efforts to do so are merely brushed off by Amy, who describes herself as a "tumor" in an otherwise functional brain. Penny is so sickened by looking at the dissected brain on Amy's table that she vomits into the waste basket.

That night, Sheldon gets a call from Amy, who has gotten drunk in a liquor store parking lot, and he and Leonard rush over to help her. She once again attempts to persuade Sheldon to have sex with her at a nearby motel, and embarrasses him by calling him "cuddles". He instead insists that he and Leonard take her home, and Leonard helps her up finding Amy's "second base". The next day, Penny and Bernadette return to Amy's laboratory, and Bernadette, in an effort to apologize to her once and for all, asks her to be her Maid of Honor. Amy is immediately excited and forgives them at once.

The episode ends with Amy filming a dress shopping trip with Penny and Bernadette as part of the pre-wedding events. She is as over-enthusiastic as they had feared. She agrees that Bernadette is beautiful in a wedding dress, but not "Penny beautiful", which annoys them. Penny is taking a long time so Amy barges into Penny's dressing room with her camera while she's in her underwear, taking a second quick look as she leaves.


  • The TV Critic: "This was a solid attempt to make Amy a more sympathetic character. She doesn't really seem to learn much by the end of the episode but at least her vulnerability added an extra layer for us to see...Of course the conclusion of the story demonstrated why Amy is a trying friend. She is rude and pushy and made dress shopping more about her than the bride...So often the instincts of the writers are good (Amy needs to be humanized) but their execution isn't right (she remains basically unchanged)."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode a B+[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Amy feels isolation when her fellow bridal party members go dress shopping without her.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 15.98 million people, with a rating of 5.4 (adults 18-49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on  November 3, 2011 with 3.762 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on E4, this episode aired on December 15, 2011 with 1.506 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #7.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on November 14, 2011 with 1.359  million viewers.[7]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume NotesEdit

  • Leonard wears a "Lunar Cycle" t-shirt by Urban Outfitters (discontinued).



Sheldon building his Lego Death Star.


Amy: Wait for moi!
Sheldon: Wha.. you're leaving?
Amy: Sheldon, sometimes you forget, I'm a lady. And with that comes an estrogen-fueled need to page through thick, glossy magazines that make me hate my body.

Sheldon: Stand back! While I turn this conversation into a conver-sensation.
Leonard: How long will it take for Mad Cow disease to kill me?
Amy: Four, five years.
Leonard: No, that's not gonna do it.

Leonard: I would have been a great jockey had I not been too tall.

Sheldon: Leonard, in your own simple way, you may be the wisest of us all.

Amy: I was hoping you wouldn't notice. Irene was always a slave to a good bargain, and sadly as it turned out, space heaters.

Sheldon: She sounds weepy. I don't like weepy.

(Leonard imitates Sheldon's knock)
Leonard: (knocks 3x) Amy, (knocks 3x) Amy, (knocks 3x) Amy. (walks away)
Sheldon: Where are you going?!
Leonard: I'm single; I don't need this crap.

Sheldon: Would you like to talk about it? And keep in mind that 'no' is a perfectly viable answer.

Amy: Oh, look. It’s Sheldon and little Leonard. Hi, little Leonard.
Leonard: Hi, Amy.
Amy: (to Sheldon) Hey, Cuddles.
Leonard: "Cuddles"?
Sheldon: Yes, "Cuddles". We cuddled. Grow up, Leonard.
Leonard: Amy, what are you doing here?
Amy: Well, I came here to get a bottle of wine like Penny taught me to do when you're sad.
Leonard: Yeah, but why didn't you go back to your apartment?
Amy: Didn't you go to high school, Leonard? Parking lots are where all the cool kids hang out. Not that the rat bastards ever invited me.
Leonard: Maybe we should get you home.
Amy: Oh, hang on, hang on, hang on. Sheldon, what would it take for you to go into that liquor store, buy a bottle of hooch, take me across the street to that motel, and have your way with me?
Leonard: Yeah, Sheldon, what would it take?
Sheldon: I'm begging both of you, please, let's go.
Leonard: Okay. Come on. Upsy-daisy.
Amy: Whee! Ooh, finally someone found second base.

Amy: Sheldon, I’m going to ask you something, and I’d like you to keep an open mind.
Sheldon: Always.
Amy: At this moment, I find myself craving human intimacy and physical contact.
Sheldon: Oh, boy. You know ours is a relationship of the mind.
Amy: Proposal: one wild night of torrid lovemaking that soothes my soul and inflames my loins.
Sheldon: Counter proposal: I will gently stroke your head and repeat, "aw, who's a good Amy?"
Amy: How about this? French kissing, seven minutes in heaven culminating in second base.
Sheldon: Neck massage, then you get me that beverage.
Amy: We cuddle. Final offer.
Sheldon: Very well. Oh, boy. (they cuddle awkwardly)
Amy: I’m just saying, second base is right there.

Amy: This is us. Bernadette, you are the analytical, scientific left hemisphere. Penny, you’re the creative, spontaneous right hemisphere. And where’s Amy? She’s right here, the sad little tumor no one wants to go dress shopping with.


The Big Bang Theory - 5x08 - The Isolation Permutation Promo00:21

The Big Bang Theory - 5x08 - The Isolation Permutation Promo


  • Working on Lego Death Star.
  • Amy happy about becoming the Maid of Honor.
  • Snuggle Bunny.
  • Bernadette trying on wedding dresses.
  • Amy in her lab.
  • The posse at Leonard and Sheldon's apartment.
  • Amy's amazing bridal video.
  • These are the bridesmaids' dresses never used by my dead cousins.
  • Get your women in line!
  • Amy singing "Everybody Hurts".
  • Reaction to Amy's "not Penny beautiful" comment.
  • Amy!
  • Amy is this little tumor.
  • Amy!
  • Bernie sends him the text where Amy learns that they are dress shopping.
  • Amy tries on purple formal.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #364.


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