|The Luminous Fish Effect|
Sheldon's goldfish night light.
Season 1, Episode 4
October 22, 2007
Lee Aronsohn &
"The Fuzzy Boots Corollary"
"The Hamburger Postulate"
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Leonard and Sheldon are attending a party to meet the new physics department head, Eric Gablehauser. Sheldon is displeased with Gablehauser because he feels that he is unworthy. After telling 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 fact is his first day off 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. He also mentions her check engine light for the first time. 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 weaving 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 action angers Sheldon and he runs to his bedroom. Mary makes dinner for the gang, and explains that Sheldon was always like it. 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 daddy. Mary answers cautiously, "We'll see". Sheldon then goes to sleep and we see he has succeeded in making "Luminous Fish" nightlights.
- "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
- IMDb user reviews.
- 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.
Sheldon wears a celestial graphic t-shirt, often called "Goodnight" at merchants like Zazzle.com. After being fired, he spends much of the rest of the show in a poncho or his pajamas and robe. Leonard wears a t-shirt with a graphic of a "Paradox Molecule" , a shirt featuring what looks like global satellite tracks, and an unidentified shirt resembling a bubble pattern. Howard wears a gold star belt buckle.
On the living room set, an aircraft vertical compass is seen on the island/stand to the left of the front door as Leonard enters.
As this time is our first glimpse of Sheldon's room, EVERYTHING is "new" for viewers. The main items seen, in addition to Sheldon's bedroom furniture, from left to right, are:
- Red lightning print framed to the left of the closet
- Green and black photo or image framed to the left of the bedroom door
- Seveille laundry sorter behind the bedroom door
- Building the Golden Gate Bridge poster behind the bedroom door
- Golden Gate Bridge 3-D metal rendering on the dresser
- Wicker basket on the dresser
- Media drawers on the dresser
- House of Secrets posters over the dresser/bookshelf
- Sterilite black storage crates on the bookshelf
- Apogee desk lamp on the nightstand
- Blue Brentwood bedrest/reading pillow on the bed
- Comic: Green Lantern #8 (1961) over the bed
- Comic: Strange Adventures #140 (1962) over the bed
- Comic: Superman #197 (1967) over the bed
- Comic: DC Special #17 featuring Green Lantern (May 1975 issue) over the bed
- Comic: Batman #592 (December 1993), in the bins on the shelf
- Comic: Superman:Man of Steel #29 (January 1992 issue), in the bins on the shelf
- Above the bed: blueprint of the Golden Gate bridge
- First appearance of Mary Cooper.
- First appearance of Dr. Gablehauser.
- First appearance of Caltech.
- Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert previously costarred together in "Roseanne" (1988), which also featured Laurie Metcalf.
- One of two episodes where Sheldon wears shorts; the other is "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" (S4E2).
- Sheldon weaving on the loom is mentioned again in "The Toast Derivation" (S4E17), 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 mother mentions that he was born in a K-mart.
- 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 fact is would be a Predestination paradox. A physicist like Sheldon should already understand it, 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. (Counterpoint: Penny does understand the point Sheldon was making, Penny was simply trying to get rid of him, or at least hint at him leaving for the duration of her shop because he was annoying her)
- Sheldon's family name Cooper is revealed for the first time in this episode.
- When Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny are talking with Mary Cooper in the living room, a turned-on lamp can be seen through the open door of the bathroom - this lamp is more easily seen when Sheldon escapes from the living room; however, in the bathroom scene in the Pilot (when Leonard talks with Penny who is in the shower), there is no lamp on the wall opposite to the door. This time is probably because that the bathroom scene is filmed in a separated bathroom setting, while in the living room setting, the (supposed) bathroom door does not really open to the aforementioned bathroom setting.
- Some time between Sheldon's mother ordering him to get dressed to go see Dr. Gablehauser, and Sheldon going to bed later that night, the comic books on the wall above the bed changed order. (Green Lantern is now on the right).
- Genetically modified luminous fish aren't just a thing of Sheldon's imagination. Genetically altered GloFish have been on the market since 2003. Fluorescent angel fish have been created, and were on display in Taiwan in July 2013. Cats have also been given florescent genes
- 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!
- Sheldon: Morning.
- 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?
- Sheldon: Yes.
- 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.
- Sheldon: No.
- 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.
- Sheldon: How’s this? Pleased to meet you, Dr. Gablehauser. How fortunate for you that the University has chosen to hire you, despite the fact that you've done no original research in 25 years, and instead have written a series of popular books that reduce the great concepts of science to a series of anecdotes, each one dumbed down to accommodate the duration of an average bowel movement. Mahalo.
- Leonard: "Mahalo" is a nice touch.
- Sheldon: You know, there are only eight consonants in the Hawaiian language.
- Leonard: Interesting. You should lead with that.
- Mary: Oh, you got yourself a loom. How nice.
- Sheldon: Thank you.
- Mary: Honey, why did you get a loom?
- Sheldon: I was working with luminous fish, and I thought, "Hey...loom".