|The Luminous Fish Effect|
Season 1, Episode 4
October 8, 2007
"The Fuzzy Boots Corollary"
"The Hamburger Postulate"
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Leonard and Sheldon are attending a party to meet the new department head, Eric Gablehauser. Sheldon is displeased with Gablehauser because he feels that he is unworthy. After expressing this to him, he is swiftly fired.Back in the apartment, Leonard is confident that Sheldon will get his job back if he apologizes to Gablehauser, but Sheldon refuses, as he explains this is his first off day in decades. He starts out by conducting experiments with scrambled eggs. Penny comes in and asks if Sheldon needs any groceries. As his demands for various types of eggs confuse her, Sheldon tags along. He manages to annoy her after lecturing her on the distance between cars, fun facts on tomatoes, multivitamins, and buying tampons in bulk. Leonard comes back to find Sheldon experimenting with luminous (glow-in-the-dark) fish. He plans to market them as night lights. Next, he buys a loom, making clothes, place mats, and other odds and ends.
Leonard brings Sheldon's Mother; Mary Cooper to Pasadena to help with Sheldon, who was making serapes and ponchos. This angers Sheldon and he runs to his room. Mary makes dinner for the gang, and explains that Sheldon was always like this. Refusing to eat dinner with them, Sheldon does come out of his room for some peach cobbler. Mary says that "you have to let Sheldon come to you". Leonard clearly ignores her warning and soon enough, Sheldon has locked himself in his room again. Mrs. Cooper remarks that Sheldon has her eyes, but the science stuff comes from Jesus.The next day, Mary forces Sheldon to apologize to Gablehauser after reminding Sheldon of a similar thing that happened when he was younger. It was fine to be smarter than everyone else, you just can't keep talking about it. At Caltech, Mary introduces herself to Gablehauser and prods Sheldon to apologize. Sheldon swiftly gets his job back in a manner suggesting sexual barter between Gablehauser and Mrs. Cooper. In the final scene, Sheldon asks his mother whether Gablehauser will become his new dad. Mary answers cautiously, "We'll see". Sheldon then goes to sleep and we see he has succeeded in making "Luminous Fish" nightlights.
Leonard: Howard brought a date?
Sheldon: A more plausible explanation is that his work in robotics has made an amazing leap forward.
Mary: (to Raj) I made chicken. I hope that isn't one of the animals ya'll people think is magic.
Howard: (with a woman) Hey, what up, science bitches?
[Sheldon is sitting in his room, working on a genetic sculpture, when his mom walks in]
Mary: Good Morning, Snickerdoodle!
Mary: [looking at Sheldon's sculpture] Aw, now that looks awful fancy - what is that?
Sheldon: It's my idea of what DNA would look like in a silicon based life-form.
Mary: But intelligently designed by a creator, right?
Sheldon: What do you want, Mom?
Mary: You know how your Daddy always used to say that you can only fish for so long before you've gotta throw a stick of dynamite in the water?
Mary: [Picking out a shirt, pants, and shoes from Sheldon's closet] Well, I'm done fishing. You, put those on.
Sheldon: What for?
Mary: Because you're gonna go down to your office, and you're gonna apologize to your boss, and get your job back.
Mary: I'm sorry, did I start that sentence with the words, "If it pleases you your highness"?
Sheldon: I'm not going to apologize. I didn't say anything that wasn't true.
Mary: Now you listen here. I've been telling you since you were four years old, it's okay to be smarter than everybody else but you can't go around pointing it out.
Sheldon: And why not?
Mary: Because people don't like it! Remember all the ass-kickings you got from the neighbor kids? Now let's get cracking. Shower, shirt, shoes, and let's shove off. [Leaves]
Sheldon: Wouldn't have been any ass-kickings if that stupid Death-Ray had worked!
Sheldon: [reluctantly apologizing to Dr. Gablehauser] We may have gotten off on the wrong foot when I called you an idiot. I was wrong... to point it out.
"A strangely written episode. The story is passable as are the jokes but the focus is all wrong. The story should be about Sheldon’s place in the world and how he feels about it and yet we learn very little. The writers don’t seem to know what they were trying to achieve." - The TV Critic's Review
- Title Reference: Sheldon produces glow-in-the-dark fish for use as nightlights in this episode.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card 
- This episode was watched by 8.15 million people with a rating of 3.1 (adults 18-49).
- Episode transcript 
- This is the first time we see the inside of Caltech in the series.
- Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert previously costarred together in "Roseanne" (1988), which also featured Laurie Metcalf - a guest star in this episode.
- Sheldon weaving on the loom is mentioned again in "The Toast Derivation", where it is revealed that he made matching serapes for Leonard, Howard and Raj, the latter most of whom still wears it when the weather gets cold.
- Sheldon's 'estimate' of 4,000 pounds for Penny's vehicle is grossly inaccurate. Modern midsize sedans average 3,200 pounds while her small Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet weighs closer to 1,900-2,100 pounds.
- Sheldon's idea that he could simply invent a time machine in the future, go back in time, and give it to himself, thereby eliminating the need to invent it, is impossible as this is would be a Predestination paradox. A physicist like Sheldon should already understand this, as he points to such in "The Nerdvana Annihilation".
- Penny misses the point of Sheldon's lecture on the 'dynamics of bacterial growth' when she says he should start heading out of the supermarket then, as Penny intends to drive Sheldon home when she is ready.
- Sheldon's family name Cooper is revealed for the first time in this episode.