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The Misinterpretation Agitation

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"The Misinterpretation Agitation" is the seventh episode of the eighth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Summary

A middle-aged client of Penny's becomes infatuated with her. When a local magazine recognizes Bernadette as one of California's 50 Most Beautiful Scientists, Amy is not amused.

Extended Plot

The girls are having tea with Penny and Amy mentions that she is working on finding how to produce shame in one cell organisms. Bernadette tells them that she has been picked as one of the fifty sexiest scientists in California for a magazine article. Amy thinks the news is awful because Bernadette is a successful microbiologist and should be celebrated for her achievements and not her looks. Women have enough problems that she should not have to flaunt her sexuality to get ahead. Penny disagrees since she does flirt with her clients to sell product. Now Bernadette feels bad; however, Penny tells her to do whatever makes her feel best. She cracks that if fashion magazines highlighted female scientists, she might have become a theoretical physicist. Amy and Bernadette share a knowing smile between each other and turned away from them, Penny tells them to stop smirking at each other.
Creep6

The Posse discussing Bernadette being picked as a sexy scientist for a magazine article.

In the stairwell, Sheldon runs into a middle-aged man carrying roses, Dr. Oliver Lorvis, that Sheldon mistakes as a deliveryman. Sheldon has a great respect for the unsung heroes of American commerce. They allow him to limit his contact with other people by bringing him things. He is actually a doctor who is delivering the flowers to a female pharmaceutical sales rep who was very flirty with him. He thinks he can impress her since he tracked her down on the Internet and shows up to her door with flowers. Sheldon is surprised when he walks up to Penny’s door.

In the apartment Leonard tells him that dinner is ready and offers to let Sheldon have his peanut sauce since he didn't get extra for Sheldon. On the topic of sharing things that are his, Sheldon mentions the guy with flowers calling on Penny. Leonard approaches the doctor and as if he can help him. He wants to know if Penny lives there. They met in his office on a sales call and he was hoping to initiate a romantic relationship. She winked at him seductively and touched his arm for two Mississippi's (i.e. a substitute for counting one second of time) Leonard explains that he must be mistaken since Leonard is engaged to Penny. The doctor didn't see her wearing an engagement ring. The other guys exclaim "Really," as they are eating their dinner and watching Leonard's predicament. The doctor concludes that she was just trying to make a sale which Leonard reluctantly agrees with. The same thing happened to him with a cute girl at a pet store when he bought a $2000 iguana habitat. She touched his arm for five Mississippi's. He gives the flowers to Leonard to give to Penny and calls Leonard a lucky man though he does take back the sexually explicit gift card. He walks away looking sad so Sheldon invites him in for a hot beverage. Leonard says that he tried to score with Penny. Sheldon snaps back that so have Howard and Raj and they are still having dinner with them.
CRP26

She winked at me.

Amy and Bernadette are at a bar having wine discussing the day's events. Bernadette says that the magazine cancelled the article she was to be in which should make Amy happy. Amy says that it's probably for the best since they should be celebrating her achievements and not staring at her breasts in a magazine. Bernadette catches Amy staring at them. Amy then admits that she wrote an email complaining about the article since they would not have written about male scientists exploiting her sexuality. She figures both the magazine and Bernadette are fine with the cancellation so everything worked out for the best. Bernadette is angry that Amy got jealous and took away her chance to get some publicity. Also she thinks that Amy doesn't want her to express her sexuality since no one would ask Amy to do it. Amy gets insulted and leaves even though Bernadette tries to apologize.
CRP31

I got them to cancel your article.

Sheldon gives the doctor his tea, who is impressed by the Star Trek mug. He mentions that he has one of the original series phasers because Gene Roddenberry needed a vasectomy. The doctor turns out to be a celebrity urinary specialist. He carry around James Cameron's kidney stones. James Cameron was so happy to get those out that he gave him a terminator. He has been collecting since he was a kid, but didn't get serious until William Shatner's bladder infection. Shatner gave him a tribble or a toupee, he's not sure which. The doctor offers to show them his collection. Originally he thought it would be a good way to meet women, but that didn't work out. Then he wants to know how Leonard got a girl like Penny, since they are so much alike. Leonard says that he was just being himself; however, Sheldon describes it as implacably relentless badgering. Penny shows up and is surprised to see the doctor. He admits to coming to see her. Leonard describes her flirting without her engagement ring on. Penny is embarrassed and upset since she is not supposed to see her clients after hours though the doctor is her biggest client. Leonard confronts Penny in the hallway who says that she does flirt to make sales. She also lets them think that she is a single person by not showing off her engagement ring which is on her other hand and in her pocket. Penny wonders what he is doing in their apartment. Leonard explains that Sheldon invited him in. It made Leonard upset so Sheldon made him a hot beverage. Penny tells Leonard that he's a bit creepy. Leonard feels that he is harmless and a nice guy, but Penny still wants him to get rid of him since she can't fraternize with clients. The other guys are off to see this great movie prop collection and Leonard joins them.

The guys enter a room full of like-size movie manikins, vintage quarter video games, posters and other assorted moving props including a large iguana habitat. Sheldon admits to being wrong and that heaven does exist. The doctor welcomes them to his fortress of solitude. His mother calls down to him that she is going to bingo. Howard finds it odd that he is living with his mother though Raj just stares at him. Leonard finds his favorite video game, Donkey Kong. Sheldon thinks it interesting that the game is about an oddly shaped man pursuing a blonde, women, but don't fret Leonard you got the girl. Sheldon tells the doctor that Leonard and Penny’s relationship is destined to fail. The doctor excuses himself.

Amy is entering the apartment building as the doctor grabs the closing door behind her. She admires the flowers which he says are for a girl who is sending him mixed signals. Amy tells him that all anyone wants is to be loved to which the doctor agrees. Amy tells him that she hopes he gets it as she puts her hand on his back. He starts counting: One Mississippi, two...

The guys are still in the doctor’s den playing a table game while wearing helmets.
CRP18

Dr. Lovis's geeky basement collection.

The doctor and Amy reach the fourth floor with Amy now holding the flowers. She says that she can't take the flowers. He says that they both want the same thing and that they had two wonderful Mississippi's. Amy wonders about the other girl. He goes over to Penny's apartment to tell her that they'll just be friends. Penny answers the door and the doctor says that he wants to be friends. He turns to Amy and asks if she is happy now while Penny realizes what is going on with Amy.

Back in the doctor’s den, Raj and Howard are staring at the iguana in the large habitat. Leonard wonders where the doctor went and then finds out that the door is locked. Sheldon thinks that the day keeps getting better.

Penny, Amy and the doctor are having tea with Penny. He explains that he left the guys so he and Penny could get to know each other better, but then he met Amy. Penny replies that what he is doing is a bit creepy. The same thing happened when he followed Sigourney Weaver into the restroom. Penny tells him that the just can't chase after every girl that is nice to him. He replies that that is not what Sheldon says and he knows his way around the ladies. Amy smiles to herself. Leonard calls Penny saying that they are locked in and Penny demands that they go over right now and the doctor let them out. Penny pushes him out the door as he starts counting the Mississippi's since she has touched him. They meet Bernadette who came to apologize to Amy. Amy tells her where they are going, while Dr. Lorvis tells Penny that she seems nice. Penny pushes him out the door.
CRP11

Amy ends up with the flowers.

All the guys are excitedly watching Leonard going for his personal best in Donkey Kong. After they open the den door, Penny asks if Leonard is OK. He is having the game of his life. The doctor apologizes for locking them in. Howard says that that was uncool, but never takes his eyes off the game. The guys cheer again. Penny wants to leave; however, Leonard doesn't want to stop playing his game. The doctor offers to show them Toby Maguire’s prostate sonogram and they agree to leave with him.

Credits

Notes

  • Title Reference: One of Penny's clients misunderstands her flirting, falls for her and every girl that's nice to him.
  • Taping date: October 21, 2014
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [1]
  • This episode was watched by 16.25 million people with a rating of 4.1 (adults 18-49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 21.59 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #3 for the week ending 2 November 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on October 30, 2014 with 4.414 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #1.
  • In Australia, it aired on February 3, 2015 with 0.91 million viewers.
  • Episode transcript [2]

Critics

  • Kyle Fowle at the AV Club - "...tonight’s episode lends that theory some credence. “The Misinterpretation Agitation” is a funny, insightful, loose half hour of comedy. It’s the perfect distillation of this show...The central theme to this episode is female sexuality, specifically as it pertains to women in the workplace...The premise is a little tired, but the (surprise guest!) performance by Billy Bob Thornton as the sad urologist (to the stars) was pitch perfect. His awkwardness, his forward sexuality, his seductive wink; Thornton sold every bit of the character, to the point where he even freaked Sheldon out a little bit...What’s wonderful about this episode is how fast and loose it is, how every character–from the actions they take, to the lines they deliver–feel like the characters we’ve seen grow over the years." Rating: [A+]. [3]
  • Jesse Schedeen at IGN - "The good news is that the rest of the episode was pretty solid. In a way, you can't really blame the writers for getting so caught up on Thornton's character, as he's a pretty significant guest star even for a show as popular as this...(T)he guys took Lorvis under their wing. Sheldon offered him a hot beverage, there was talk of kidney stones and vas deferens, and before you knew it they were visiting Lorvis' extremely impressive basement of nerdy wonders...In the end, it all boiled down to Penny coming to terms with the danger of using sexuality for professional gain...It's tough not to feel that "The Misinterpretation Agitation" wasted some of its significant potential by downplaying the rift between Amy and Bernadette. There's too much lurking beneath the surface of their friendship for the writers not to take advantage sooner or later." [4]
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club (A-): "The comedy here is The Big Bang Theory being itself in the best manner possible while completely redefining big comedy episodes in shows. The introduction of Penny's flirtation at work is a major plot development that could easily lead to intense episodes in the following weeks. It reminds me of How I Met Your Mother's classic episode "How I Met Everyone Else", when the characters narrated how they met each other in various comic tones. The comedy is classic HIMYM, but the rich character development made the episode a classic. Many episodes in the following seasons have alluded to that one, and that's what made it a fan-favorite. In the case of TBBT, there aren't as many allusions, so fan-favorites and classics are solely based on how much they advance the plot line while balancing the comedy element of the show."
  • IMDb user reviews [5]

Trivia

  • This week will be the first episode back on Thursdays, due to CBS Thursday Night Football ending.
  • Even though this is the seventh episode to air of season eight, it is the eighth one to be taped.
  • This episode is not going to be a Halloween episode unless you consider the creepiness of the guest star.
  • Penny's suitor is a middle-aged Howard Wolowitz complete with living with his mother, collecting movie memorabilia, a perverted and creepy approach to women and thinking that every woman wants him. He counts how long a woman touches him "One-Mississippi, two Mississippi..." like Leonard did to Penny when she hugged him on the "The Monopolar Expedition". He easily gains feelings for other women like Raj did with Penny after they "slept together" and Bernadette for being nice to him. He seems to be a lonely man with very little experience with women and close friendships with celebrities, similar to Stuart. He also thinks that Sheldon knows his way around women which touched Amy. The doctor is a bit of all of the guys.
  • Though it is not the first time, this episode aired only nine days after they filmed it.
  • The helmet that Sheldon wears during his game with Leonard is the helmet worn by Magneto in the X-Men (film) series. Leonard's helmet was taken off the Arnold Schwarzenegger manikin dressed as Batman's arch enemy Mr. Freeze.
  • Amy ruining Bernadette's chance for the article is very similar to how Sheldon ruined Howard's chance for the giant laser team when he revealed Howard was the one who crashed the Mars rover to the FBI agent. Amy did it out of jealousy, while Sheldon was rambling on about Howard's inadequacies.
  • Also included in the props seen in the basement were Superman's costume, two different versions of Batman's costume, the gun from Hellboy, a Robocop, a Terminator, Magneto's helmet, Indiana Jones' hat and whip, several framed comic books and posters, a model of a UFO, Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still, and several arcade games such as Gotcha, Asteroids, and Donkey Kong.
  • Other characters in the basement include also a Robby the Robot and a poster with Leslie Nielsen from 1956's film Forbidden Planet, the female robot from 1927's Metropolis and a Martian from Mars Attacks!
  • When Leonard was playing Donkey Kong, he had beaten the high score, as it was seen at the top that the high score was growing. His score was over 464,000 points.
  • Annie O'Donnell played Dr. Lorvis' mother as she also played Amy's Mother.
  • Throughout this whole episode, Bernadette is the only gang member not to speak to Dr. Lorvis and she has no speaking parts with Leonard, Raj, Sheldon and Howard in this episode either.
  • This is the second episode after "The Hofstadter Insufficiency" (S07E01), where Bernadette says something that deeply offends and angers Amy.

Quotes

Bernadette: So, what are you working on these days?
Amy: I’m studying one-celled organisms to try and find the neurochemicals that lead to the feeling of shame.
Bernadette: What would a one-celled organism have to be embarrassed about?
Penny: Same as all of us, getting out of a car without underwear.
Bernadette: Speaking of underwear, I have some interesting news.
Penny: Okay, if it’s sometimes Howie wears yours, Leonard already told us.
Bernadette: He was being funny. I’m pretty sure. Anyway, I was asked to be a part of a magazine article about the 50 sexiest female scientists in California. Isn’t that cool?
Amy: I think it’s awful.
Penny: Why would you say that?
Amy: Bernadette is a successful microbiologist. She should be celebrated for her achievements, not her looks. I mean, what kind of message does that send?
Penny: I think the message is check out the rack on that scientist.
Bernadette: Why can’t someone be thought of as both smart and pretty?
Amy: I just don’t think a professional woman should have to flaunt her sexuality in order to get ahead.
Penny: Okay, what’s the big deal? Look, if it helps me make a sale with a physician, I don’t think it hurts to flirt a little. I mean, laugh at their joke, touch their arm, maybe crank up the AC in the car beforehand, you know, to wake up the girls.
Amy: Maybe it’s different in the world of sales, but it’s already hard enough for women to be taken seriously in science.
Bernadette: I was kind of excited about the article, but now you’re making me feel bad.
Penny: No, I think you should do whatever you want. You know, maybe if fashion magazines not female scientists in them I would have become a theoretical physicist. [Amy and Bernie smile at each other] Stop smirking at each other.

Sheldon: Deliverymen are the unsung soldiers of American commerce. If It wasn't for people like you, people like me can limit their human contact.

Dr. Lorvis: So am I to presume that her flirtation was just a sales technique?
Leonard: I think so.
Dr. Lorvis: When will I learn? It’s just like the cute girl at eh pet store all over again.
Leonard: Excuse me?
Dr. Lorvis: Oh, uh. She touched my arm for five Mississippi’s and I bought a $2000 iguana habitat. Which she was always too busy to come over and see.

Amy: So, how was work today?
Bernadette: It was fine, but you’ll be happy to know they pulled the sexy scientists article.
Amy: What happened?
Bernadette: I don’t know. They just canceled the photo shoot and said they’re rethinking it.
Amy: Well, I’m really sorry, but I think it’s for the best. You want people focusing on your achievements, not staring at your breasts in some magazine.
Bernadette: I guess. It’s really not that important. Hey, up here.
Amy: Sorry, it’s just we’re, we were talking about them. So, look, I, I wasn’t going to say anything, but since you seem to be okay with the article being canceled, I have a little confession. I’m the reason it was pulled.
Bernadette: What? How?
Amy: I sent the editors of the magazine a pretty scathing e-mail.
Bernadette: Amy, what did you say?
Amy: I simply pointed out that they would never consider doing an article ranking male scientists on their sexuality, let alone showing them in various stages of undress.
Bernadette: (she is now very cross) No one wants to see Neil deGrasse Tyson in a wet t-shirt bent over the hood of a Porsche.
Amy: Well, it doesn’t make a difference, because they agreed it was in bad taste, and now you agree, so Amy saves the day.
Bernadette: (1st time: she's still very cross) No, what happened was you got jealous, so you took away a chance for me to get some publicity.
Amy: But it was bad publicity.
Bernadette: (2nd time: she's still very cross) That’s for me to decide, not you.
Amy: I disagree. As a female scientist, I think what you do affects all of us.
Bernadette: (3rd time: she's still very cross) And I think you don’t like people expressing their sexuality because no one wants you to express yours.
(Amy opens her mouth with a huge shock)
Bernadette: Oh, Amy, I’m so sorry. That was over the line.
(Amy is now up from the table
Amy: (yells at her angrily) You have a nice night.
Bernadette: Please don’t go. Up until my vicious attack, you were the one in the wrong.
(Amy now strides out of the bar in huff)

Dr. Lorvis: Welcome to my Fortress of Solitude. This is where I get away from…all my other solitudes.

Leonard: Wow. Donkey Kong. This was my game when I was a kid.
Sheldon: Because it’s the story of a pretty blonde girl tirelessly pursued by a small, oddly shaped man?
Leonard: No, because I liked it.
Sheldon: Well, now, don’t get defensive. You're oddly-shaped, but you got the girl.

Penny: Doc, you got see that what you’re doing is a little creepy.
Dr. Lorvis: You sound just like Sigourney Weaver when I followed her into a restroom.
Penny: You can just go chasing after every girl that’s nice to you.
Dr. Lorvis: That’s not what Sheldon says. And he seems to know his way around the ladies. [Amy smiles.]

Penny: OK Leonard. Let’s go.
Leonard: Just hang on.
Dr. Lorvis: Well, while we wait would you like to see Tobey Maguire’s prostrate sonogram.
Amy: Sure.
Dr. Lorvis: Oh, spoiler alert. He was worried about nothing.

Dr. Lorvis: So I noticed that Leonard gets teased a lot about his relationship with Penny.
Sheldon: Yes, if you would like to join in. the premise is that their love seems unlikely and doomed to failure.
Dr. Lorvis: So, you think she’ll be single soon?
Sheldon: So, if you want to get in on the pool you’re too late. All the squares have been purchased.
Dr. Lorvis: Interesting. Excuse me. I have to take care of something.

Sheldon: You can do this.
Raj: One ladder left.
Leonard: Oh-hom yeah.
Howard: Yes.
Leonard: Next level.
Penny: Leonard, are you okay?
Leonard: Better than okay. I am having the game of my life.
Amy: Dr. Lorvis, isn’t there something you want to say?
Dr. Lorvis: Yes. I’m very sorry for locking you in my home.
Howard: Yeah, that was very uncool. Get the hammer. Get the hammer.
Leonard: Got it.
Penny: Okay, Leonard, let’s go.
Leonard: Just hang on.
Dr. Lorvis: Well, while we wait, would you like to see Tobey Maguire’s prostate sonogram?
Amy: Sure.
Penny: Yeah.
Dr. Lorvis: Oh, spoiler alert. He was worried about nothing

Gallery

References

  • [6] Taping Report by bigbangsheldon

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