|The Love Car Displacement|
Penny is in "The Love Car".
Season 4, Episode 13
January 20, 2011
"The Bus Pants Utilization"
"The Thespian Catalyst"
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The Gang (except Penny) is invited to participate on a science panel at a Science Conference. Amy invites Penny to come; she quickly agrees hearing there was a spa. Along the trip Howard and Bernadette end up quarreling, Sheldon can't find a place to sleep and Raj screws up Leonard's chance to hook up with Penny.
Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, Raj, Amy and Bernadette are invited to participate on a science panel at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies symposium on "The Impact of Current Scientific Research on Societal Interactions" in San Francisco. Amy reveals that Penny is her best friend and invites her to come along as Amy's plus one. Although Penny initially declines the offer with the excuse of her being "very busy" that particular date, her weekend quickly opens up when she hears they were going to an all expense paid spa at Big Sur, California. When they get back to the apartment, Sheldon carries out an orientation for their trip. The orientation covers Q&A (Questions and Answers), Quiz, Safety Drills and a pose for a commemorative Group photo. Penny seems to be the only one flabbergasted by the need for an orientation.
The gang, consisting of seven people, is divided into two cars, the lead car, driven by Leonard, will be Leonard, Sheldon, Amy and Penny, and the second car, driven by Bernadette, will be Bernadette, Howard and Raj. Amy is excited that she was able to "upgrade" her "best friend" Penny from the second car to the lead car, by making the argument that if it broke down Penny's "Nebraskan back-wood skills and brawny hands will give [the lead car members] the best chance to survive". Amy and Sheldon will not be sharing a room as they believe knowing each other's "toilet routine" may jeopardize their relationship. Amy reveals she will be sharing a room with Penny, and adds she is the ideal roommate as travel makes her constipated.
In the lead car, it seems that they are playing a guessing game about what element Sheldon is; Penny seems lost in the more intellectual crowd. This game annoys Penny and she questions the decision of giving Sheldon the post as "Road Trip God" (Travel Supervisor). Penny urges the rest of them to stand up against him, which results in her being demoted to the second car. Bernadette tells Penny to not worry, as she is in the better car. Howard adds that this car is the "Love Car".
Bernadette and Howard begin to sing "I Got You Babe" as a duet; Penny swiftly apologizes to Sheldon. As they enter the hotel Amy says she missed Penny. Penny misses Amy too after her bad experience in the second car. Bernadette reunites with Glenn (Rick Fox), her professor in college whom she dated for a year. He addresses her as Bernie. Howard is a little troubled by his height (6 foot 7 inches) and wonders about the size of his penis. Howard, still a little troubled, subtly tells Bernadette that his penis could not provide as much pleasure as Glenn's. He also accidentally implies that Bernadette isn't hot enough to date Glenn, but in a desperate attempt to mend the situation, he corrects himself by saying that Bernadette is too hot to date Glenn.
Bernadette asks Amy and Penny if she can stay in their room, as "Howard is a complete and total ass", which comes to no surprise to Penny. This results in Penny and Amy sharing a double bed. Amy warns Penny that she is prone to night terrors, and if she is suffering from one she asks Penny to pin her down and stroke her hair. Later, Penny comes to Leonard's room seeking to crash with them because "Howard is a complete and total ass, Bernadette is in my bed and no matter how much you stroke Amy's hair, she bites." As Penny refuses to sleep in Sheldon's bed, she sleeps in Leonard's. After she makes a Star Trek reference ("From the waist down, my shields are up"), Leonard tries to engage in sexual activities with Penny. This noise wakes Sheldon up; as Leonard cannot guarantee they won't have coitus in the middle of the night Sheldon leaves the room.
Raj enjoying his room alone takes some tissue and turns on the television implying he is about to masturbate, but the actually he is watching Bridget Jones's Diary and the tissues are to wipe his tears. Sheldon quickly interrupts him and requests to sleep in Raj's room because "Howard is a complete and total ass, Bernadette is in Penny's bed, Amy bites and Penny may or may not have coitus with Leonard". Raj allows it. Leonard and Penny have an awkward talk about their former romantic relationship, resulting in agreeing to have sex. But before anything happens they are interrupted by Raj, who received the room key from Sheldon after being kicked out of his own room. Leonard is infuriated by Raj's interruption.
The following morning, Sheldon opens the Science & Society panel with a poorly-received joke. Bernadette is asked to speak next; on mike she subtly hints that even Howard's penis size can pleasure her by saying "It's not just giant nuclear weapon can destroy the world, as a microbiologist I can tell you that even the tiniest micro-organism can tear you a new one." Howard then replies, "Though she claims her field of interest is micro-organism, she has spent her fair share of time around what we can assume is pretty massive weaponry." Bernadette then says she can get all the giant missiles she wants. Amy then asks whether they are talking about woman wanting penises. Raj clearly intoxicated then adds that he thinks they are talking about penises and that the mimosas are kicking his "little brown ass".
Leonard says he would like to kick Raj's "little brown ass" and explains he is still upset about Raj interrupting his chance to get back with Penny. Penny quickly clarifies that it was just a hook-up, and they weren't getting back together. Despite the hysteria, Sheldon tries to bring the topic back to center, but fails. As Howard and Bernadette continue their petty feud, Sheldon opens the audience to Q&A. Penny publicly asks if anybody can drive her back to Los Angeles. Glenn agrees to drive her; as Leonard sees Glenn's height he is quickly threatened and yells out. Later, in the second car they have an awkward drive, with a hung over Raj and a bickering couple, as Sheldon proposes a game of spotting what he sees. Annoyed; Howard throws out the walkie-talkie. Meanwhile, Leonard is still very upset, evident as he is driving at 120 miles per hour (about 180 kilometer per hour). Sheldon reveals that he spotted an aluminum tire rim on a police car. The police siren is sounded, implying Leonard is being pulled over for speeding.
- The TV Critic: "I did enjoy the gang changing scenery for an episode and the opportunity for hotel hi-jinks. There were fun moments along the way such as Howard and Bernadette's car karaoke, Raj's desire to watch Bridget Jones or Sheldon listing his credentials...However this was a messy story which tried to cover a lot of ground but ended up achieving nothing. This was a clear reminder of what is wrong with the way the producers approach The Big Bang Theory. There were two plots which needed to be addressed here, one was Howard's jealousy and the other was Penny's feelings for Leonard."
- The A.V. Club gave this episode a C-.
- IMDb user reviews
- Title Reference: Howard refers to the car they are in during the trip as "the love car", which is referenced in the title. Penny gets bumped out of the lead car and thus "displaced" from it and into "the love car".
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
- This episode was watched by 13.63 million people with a rating of 4.2 (adults 18-49).
- This episode aired in Canada on January 20, 2011 with 3.189 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.
- In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on June 30, 2011 with 1.283 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #7.
- Episode transcript 
- Sheldon wears his distressed Flash logo t-shirt.
- First episode where all of the gang (now including Amy and Bernadette) are together in the apartment.
- Bernadette does not appear as The Cheesecake Factory waitress with Penny in the opening Cheesecake Factory scene of this episode. She might have a different shift.
- Neither Raj nor Howard is sitting on that empty chair next to Amy on that same table where Sheldon and Leonard are sitting opposite Amy on her own in the Cheesecake Factory scene during the opening of this episode. Not even one of those guys (Raj or Howard) is there in that same scene either.
- Amy announced that Penny as her best friend or "bestie" on her blog, which Penny never read. As a consolation, Penny reveals she never read Leonard's blog either although they used to have sexual intercourse.
- When Raj wanted to drink some coffee during the orientation, Sheldon's interjects and says "Remember, people, we are only as strong as our weakest bladder."
- Penny's hands are bigger than Leonard's.
- Leonard describes Penny's toilet routine as an "eye-opener".
- Sheldon prefers Road Trip God as opposed to Travel Supervisor.
- Sheldon has an abundance of degrees when he said "I'm Doctor Sheldon Cooper, B.S. (Bachelor of Science), M.S. (Master of Science), M.A. (Master of Arts), Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) and Sc.D. (Doctor of Science). OMG (Oh My God), right?"
- During the orientation, Sheldon uses a SMART Technologies SmartBoard to show where each of the group members will be sitting in the car, representing them with their Wii avatars from the Nintendo Wii.
- Leonard says he dated three women since he broke with Penny they are: Elizabeth Plimpton, Joy and Priya Koothrappali.
- Penny makes another geeky reference from Star Trek, stating that while she was in bed with Leonard, below her waist, her shields are up. Leonard also makes a reference to Star Trek describing the space between him and Penny in bed as the Neutral Zone.
- "The Love Car Displacement" title is reminiscent of the TV series The Love Boat and the sudden changing of the bedrooms reminiscent of a plot from that show.
- Rick Fox, who played Glenn, has dated Eliza Dushku, who played Angela Page, likewise a Season 4 cameo.
- Penny: Hey, you guys ready to order?
- Sheldon: Since we come in every Tuesday night at 6:00 and order the same exact thing, and it's now…[checks his watch] 6:08, I believe your question not only answers itself, but also stands alongside such other nonsensical queries as "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and, uh…"How are they hanging?"
- Amy: Shame. Since you’re my best friend, I thought it would be a good bonding opportunity.
- Penny: I’m your best friend?
- Amy: Don’t you read my blog?
- Penny: Oh, don’t feel bad. I never read Leonard’s and I used to sleep with him.
- Leonard: So, how do you wanna do this?
- Penny: Well, I’m not getting in bed with him.
- Leonard: Yeah, it is a little like getting into Dracula’s coffin.
- Sheldon: Howard is a complete and total ass, Bernadette is in Penny’s bed, Amy bites, and Penny may or may not have coitus with Leonard.
- Sheldon: Okay. Why don't we open up to Q&A from the audience?
- Penny: Yeah, I have a question. Is there anyone who can get me the hell out of here and back to Los Angeles tonight?
- Glenn: I'm driving back to L.A. tonight.
- Bernadette: Penny, that's Glenn. Glenn, that's Penny.
- Leonard: No!
- Sheldon: Good morning and welcome to Science and Society. I’m Dr. Sheldon Cooper, BS, MS, MA, PhD, and ScD. OMG, right? (sarcastic laugh) Perhaps that joke was a little too hippie-dippy for this crowd.
- ↑ The Big Bang Theory - The Love Car Displacement (TV Episode 2011) - IMDb
- ↑ The TV Critic's Review
- ↑ The Big Bang Theory: "The Love Car Displacement" - TV Club - The A.V. Club
- ↑ Thursday Final Ratings: '$#*! My Dad Says' Adjusted Up, 'Bones' Adjusted Down - Zap2it
- ↑ Top Programs – Total Canada (English) January 17 – January 23, 2011 BBM Canada
- ↑ BARB via Wikipedia