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The Proton Transmogrification

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"The Proton Transmogrification" is the twenty-second episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, May 1, 2014, three days before the real Star Wars Day.

Summary

Professor Proton passes away leaving Leonard and Sheldon upset, but still preparing for Star Wars Day. Leonard and Penny attend Professor Proton's funeral and talk about their rejected marriage proposals.

Extended Plot

The guys are planning their Star Wars Day activities. Penny asks if that is a real holiday like Star Wars' Christmas. Howard explains that that holiday is Wookiee Life Day per the critically panned Star Wars Christmas special. Star Wars Day is on May the Fourth as in "May the Fourth (force) be with you". Penny gets the reference but doesn't show any recognition in her face.

Bye16

Professor Proton has passed away, Sheldon.

That night Leonard knocks on Sheldon's door while he is finalizing the schedule for their celebration. He is including one hour after they see "The Phantom Menace" so that they can complain about it. Leonard has some bad news that he just read on-line that Arthur Jeffries (Professor Proton) has died. He tries to comfort Sheldon by hugging him, who tells him to stop. The funeral is Sunday on Star Wars Day. Sheldon says he is not upset about Professor Proton's death.

Later, at Amy's Apartment, Sheldon is watching an old episode of Professor Proton. He feels sad that he was struck down in the prime of his own life. Amy wants to know if he wants her to go to the funeral with him, but Sheldon thinks that he won't be able to tell the crying mourners from the sick mourners. Besides, mourning the inevitable is a complete waste of time. Amy mentions that watching all those Star Wars movies is a waste of time. Sheldon tells her that is a good reason for him to withhold sex, if they were in a physical relationship.

Penny dressed for the funeral enters Apartment 4A and gets greeted with "Happy Star Wars' Day". All kinds of Star Wars' themed food is available. Penny gets upset when she realizes she gets their Star Wars in-jokes. Sheldon is being quieter than usual, but says that Arthur is gone and there is nothing he can do about. He makes a reference to the death of Obi Wan where Penny finishes the scene and again gets upset. (Why do I know this?) Sheldon feels that since Arthur was a scientist he would not care about silly superstitions like funerals.

In Amy's Apartment, Amy and Bernadette are making a cake in the shape of the Death Star. Amy thinks that Arthur's death was harder on Sheldon than he wants to admit. As they get ready to decorate their spherical cake, it rolls off the table.

Cake7

Attending Professor Proton's funeral.

At the funeral, Penny admits this funeral is her first since she has never lost anybody close except for a pet pig that was used in a barbecue. Penny didn't know him much, but she liked him and she wants to cry. She can't so she tells Leonard to do it for them. He starts to reminisce about him and starts to tear up. Then Penny starts to cry and thanks Leonard for being the emotional one in their relationship.

The guys are debating which order to watch the movies in. Sheldon pops in "The Phantom Menace" which they all just want to get over with. After discussing other orders to watch the movies in, Sheldon gets upset because he wants to see the whole story in numerical order. Sheldon runs into his bedroom. Howard and Raj wonder if they should go after him, but they decide to watch the movies instead. Without Sheldon they decide to start with episode 4 and wonder if they should look in on him, but only after the cantina scene. (Do-do-do-do....)

Day1

Professor Proton appears as Obi Wan.

Sheldon dreams that he is in the living room looking at old pictures of Arthur Jeffries who then appears to him. He admits to being dead and enjoying not having any bladder problems. He doesn't really know why he is visiting Sheldon since he wants to haunt his ex-wife. Sheldon feels that he is there because he is his Obi Wan coming to advise him as the original did Luke Skywalker. Arthur is not familiar with Star Wars and is confused when he magically changes into Obi-Wan's Jedi costume. He activates his light saber and has fun swinging it around until he cuts himself and asks for a Band-Aid.

In the memorial room, Penny finds the funeral kind of a bummer, while Leonard tells her that she can rent a bounce house. Leonard is thinking about his own mortality and his regrets in life. He regrets not having traveled, taken more risks, learned another language (not Klingon) and having said no when Penny proposed to him. Penny reminds him that it wasn't the right time and then reiterates that "THIS" is also not the right time. The proposal count is currently 2 to 1. To even it out Penny asks if she should propose again so he can turn her down and they are even. Penny proposes. Again Leonard hesitates, but this time jokingly, and tells her that it is a big decision and is not sure he wants to say no.

Amy and Bernadette are fixing their damaged Death Star cake, this time with a flat bottom. Neither of them watched Professor Proton when they were younger, though that was the reason that Sheldon got interested in science. Bernadette got interested because she wanted to invent a cure for being short. Amy wanted to be in the Girl Scouts, but her mother thought that they just sell cookies on the street like whores. She found her interest in science when she checked a biology book out of the library to look up what a whore was.

On their way back in his car, Leonard is debating whether to say yes or no. Penny again asks Leonard to marry her and he considers a new proposal. With two proposals in one day, Leonard wonders if she wants to spend the rest of her life telling people how to spell Hofstadter. Penny tells him to do whatever he wants, so he soften and tells her that he loves her and then he doesn't want to marry her right now. She thanks him and then he brings up the second proposal he heard.

SheldongiveLeonardaHug

Sheldon is hugging Leonard.

Back in Sheldon’s dream they are now in a swamp on on the Star Wars planet Dagobah from "The Empire Strikes Back". Arthur thinks that he is in Florida. Obi Wan advised Luke while he was getting his Jedi training, so Sheldon wants to hear wisdom from Arthur. He tells him to make sure he has a pre-nuptial agreement. Then they start talking about death and Sheldon mentions losing his Pop-pop and father and eleven Doctor Who's. Since Arthur left, all the men Sheldon looked up to have left. Professor Proton tells Sheldon that people may leave us, but he should cherish and appreciate those who are still with us. Sheldon admits that he does appreciate those around him. Leonard returns, wakes Sheldon up and Sheldon gives Leonard an appreciative hug. Sheldon wants to rejoin the movie festival, but insists that they start over.

Bye21

Death Star cake to celebrate Star Wars Day.

Penny and Leonard join watching the Star Wars movies with Penny still making fun of them. Amy and Bernadette show up with their Death Star cake which everybody loves. They apologize for missing the movies, but are informed that the movies were started over so Sheldon could watch them which did not thrill Amy and Bernadette.

Much later the guys (minus all three girls: Bernadette, Penny and Amy who obviously went to bed in thier own apartments) have all fallen asleep in front of the television and Professor Proton again appears to Sheldon. Arthur thinks that he appears to him whenever he needs him. He tells Sheldon that he is wasting his life watching these movies. He is even dreaming about watching the movies. Sheldon doesn't understand what he is talking about so the Professor leaves.[1

Credits

Critics

  • Jesse Schedeen for IGN- "Sheldon may be the comedic bedrock of this show, but I find he's often at his best when the writers touch on his troubled childhood. And Proton's guidance - that Sheldon should appreciate the people in his life he cares about while they're still around - was very appropriate. Heck, Sheldon hugging Leonard might just be the most emotionally satisfying moment in this show's history. It was a validation of a friendship whose basis too often seems to be built on snark and mutual disdain. It might have been nice to see Sheldon show Amy a similar dose of affection, but one step at a time. Leonard and Penny featured in the other half of the episode, attending Proton's funeral in Sheldon's absence. Their scenes were mostly played for laughs, which seemed the right approach given how heavy Sheldon's material got towards the end. There was a nice moment where Leonard cried at the knowledge that he was able to briefly work with his childhood idol, but Penny kind of ruined the moment when she joined in. Nice going, Penny."
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a B+: "Once again, well done. Finally, for the comedy in the episode, there's Amy and Bernadette's mini-plot involving their cake-baking day to avoid the Star Wars marathon. The employment of naturalism is very subtle, and I like it that way. The drop-by-drop method of comedy and naturalism works well here, but the heavy allusions to Star Wars isn't everyone's cup of tea..." [1]
  • IMDb user reviews [2]

Notes

  • Title Reference: Professor Proton passes on and transgresses to the other side.
  • Taping date: February 11, 2014
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [3]
  • This episode was watched by 16.07 million people with a rating of 4.5 (adults 18-49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 23.07 million.
  • This episode aired in Canada on May 1, 2014 with xx million viewers with a weekly ranking of #X.
  • Episode transcript [4]

Costume Notes

Starwarstie

Red Star Wars Tie Fighter t-shirt

Trivia

  • The third appearance of Bob Newhart as television science host Arthur Jeffries, aka Professor Proton. Bob Newhart requested a recurring role if he was to appear. Chuck Lorre agreed, and the trilogy completes the arrangement.
  • Star Wars Day is celebrated by Star Wars fans and science fiction enthusiasts every May 4th ("May the fourth be with you"). This episode was first broadcast on May 1st, 2014.
  • Filmed out of sequence by almost twelve weeks, to both accommodate Bob Newhart's schedule and give Lucasfilm's famous special effects division, Industrial Light and Magic, time to complete post-processing effects work on the episode (specifically, Newhart as a Jedi ghost ala Obi-Wan Kenobi, complete with light saber).
  • Amy told Bernadette in "The Wildebeest Implementation" (S4E22) that she was in the Cub Scouts for two years before they found out she was a girl; here, she tells her in this episode that she was forbidden from joining the Girl Scouts by her mother.
  • After Arthur tells Sheldon to cherish his friends, he wakes from his dream and hugs Leonard, not Amy as some fans had wanted. This time makes sense, as it was Leonard, not Amy, who considered Professor Proton an influence in his life. It also book-ended the beginning of the episode, where Leonard attempted to give Sheldon a comforting hug; it wasn't until Arthur told Sheldon to appreciate the people in his life that he was finally able to understand and reciprocate the gesture. Also everyone Sheldon mentions he lost are men, while all the female characters he's been close to including his Meemaw, sister and mother are still alive.
  • In the previous episode ("The Anything Can Happen Recurrence"-S7E21), Sheldon was told to give into his relationship with Amy. In this episode, Arthur told him to cherish his friends. Presumably, there will eventually include a deeper relationship with Amy, an event that's been building for quite a while.
  • On the planet Dagobah, Arthur is trying to help Sheldon deal with his feelings in a manner similar to psychologist Bob Hartley, Bob Newhart's character on The Bob Newhart Show.
  • Arthur Jeffries' exact date of death is May 1, 2014.
  • At the funeral, Penny says that she can't cry, though she's able to do it on cue when acting, as in "The Indecision Amalgamation" (S7E19).
  • Penny acts upset that she knows a lot of Star Wars references, yet she once quoted Yoda ("Do, or do not; there is no try," from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) in "The Wheaton Recurrence" (S3E19) and didn't seem particularly upset about it. This behavior continues a pattern of Penny becoming more and more familiar and comfortable with the boys' geek world, as she has also referenced Star Trek trivia on several occasions.
  • Sheldon claims his father died when he was 14 which he told Bernadette's father Mike in "The Thanksgiving Decoupling" (S7E9). This is a continuity error because in the episode "The Pancake Batter Anomaly" (S1E11), Sheldon said at the age of 15, he got sick in Germany, and his mother had to fly back to Texas to help his dad at that time.

Quotes

Sheldon: Gentlemen, since Star Wars’ Day is rapidly approaching we should finalize our plans.
Penny: That’s a real thing? What is it? Star Wars Christmas?
Howard: No, don’t be ridiculous. That’s Wookie Life Day.
Penny: So, when is it?
Leonard: Uh, well, it’s not May the fifth, and it’s not May the third. It’s May the fourth.
Sheldon: Get it?
Raj: May the fourth be with you?
Leonard: May the force be with you. Get it?
Penny: Oh, no. This face wasn’t because I didn’t get it.

Sheldon: What are you doing?
Leonard: Comforting you?
Sheldon: Your heart might be in the right place, but your head, chest and arms certainly aren't.

Sheldon: I’ll be at home celebrating Star Wars Day as planned.
Amy: Are you sure you don’t want to say goodbye?
Sheldon: Amy, mourning the inevitable is a complete waste of time.
Amy: And watching a bunch of goofy space movies you've seen hundreds of time isn't?
Sheldon: If we were in a physical relationship you just lost sex tonight.

Howard: (To Sheldon, who is sitting in his spot with a blank expression on his face) Are you upset or just rebooting?

Raj: If you're not in the mood for coffee, I can always make you a Chai Tea-Threepio.
Penny: Oh, I get it, like C-3PO... what happened to me?!
(later)
Sheldon: When Darth Vader struck down Obi-Wan, did Luke cry like a baby and go to his funeral?
Penny: No, he blew up the Death Star... why do I know this?!!
(later)
Raj: Before you go, at least let me pack you some Attack of the Scones for the road.
Penny: Oh, like Attack of the Clones... we are leaving right now!!!

Amy: Arthur passing away was harder on Sheldon than he’s ready to admit. I’m hoping this will cheer him up.
Bernadette: (she is really sad) Me too. Although it might have been thoughtless of us to make a Death Star cake.
Amy: No it combines two of Sheldon’s favorite things: Chocolate chips and the ability of destroying a planet with a push of a button.
Bernadette: Well, anyway, it’ll be a nice surprise for the boys. And Howie doesn’t think I take his interests seriously, so hopefully this will keep him fooled for a while.
Amy: Okay, let’s get the fondant and start decorating.
Bernadette: This is pretty cool. You don't see too many spherical cakes.
(Cake rolls off the table and hits the floor with a loud splat).
Amy: (sarcastically) I wonder why that is

Sheldon: Arthur. I thought you were dead.
Arthur: I am. It’s fantastic. I mean this is the longest I've gone without running into a men’s room in years.
Sheldon: Why are you here?
Arthur: I don’t know. I was going to haunt my ex-wife.
Sheldon: I know why. You've come to me because you’re my Obi-Wan.
Arthur: I’m not…I’m not familiar with that Is that an internet?
Sheldon: Wow. You’re dead so I’m gonna let that slide. Obi Wan Kenobi is a character from Star Wars. After his physical demise he comes to Luke Skywalker as his mentor in spirit form.
Arthur: Well that clears that up.
Sheldon: You must be here to give me advice.
Arthur: [Appears in Obi-Wan Kenobi Jedi robes.] Well this…this is weird. Most of my robes open in the back.
Sheldon: Those are your Jedi robes.
Arthur: Oh wait...what? What…what is this? [Activates light saber.]
Sheldon: Oh, be careful with that.
Arthur: Whoa. Whoa. Oh, neato. [Waves light saber around.] I’m uh. I’m going to need a Band-Aid.

Leonard: Well? What did you think of your first funeral?
Penny: Well, I don’t want to be a jerk, but it was a bummer.
Leonard: Well, when I go you can rent a bounce house.
Penny: You think about dying.
Leonard: Well, no I think about if I have any regrets.
Penny: What do you regret?
Leonard: Um. You know, I didn't travel more, take more risks, learn another language .
Penny: You know Klingon.
Leonard: That’s true.
Penny: I meant that as a regret.
Leonard: Just thought of one more.
Penny: what’s that?
Leonard: I regret not saying yes when you asked me to marry you.
Penny: Well, that just wasn't the right time.
Leonard: Yeah.
Penny: And this is also not the right time to propose.
Leonard: What?
Penny: I know that face; that’s your propose face.
Leonard: I was not going to propose. It’s already two to one.
Penny: What two to one?
Leonard: I proposed twice, you proposed once. It’s two to one.
Penny: Oh my God. It’s not a contest.
Leonard: I don’t know what you’re upset about. I’m the one who is losing.
Penny: Fine. Would you feel better if I proposed and you could turn me down again?
Leonard: I think I would.
Penny: OK, Leonard. Will you marry me?
Leonard: Hm?
Penny: No, don’t you dare. You reject me right now and tie things up.
Leonard: It’s such a big decision. I don’t want to have any regrets.

Amy: Did you ever watch Professor Proton when you were a kid?
Bernadette: No. My dad controlled the TV, so unless someone was a Texas Ranger, Jake or the Fatman, we didn’t see it.
Amy: I never watched him, either, but he seems to be the reason that Sheldon got interested in science.
Bernadette: Not me. I got into science ’cause I was always the smallest kid in school, so I thought if I became a scientist, I could invent a formula that made me taller.
Amy: That’s cute.
Bernadette: Yeah. I thought it was working for a while, but then I just found out my brother was lower the pencil marks on the door frame. How about you?
Amy: I guess it must have begun back when I was in the girl sprouts.
Bernadette: Girl sprouts?
Amy: My mom made it up as an alternative to the Girl Scouts. She didn't want me selling cookies on some street corner like a whore.
Bernadette: How did that get you into science?
Amy: Oh, I went to the library to check out a book on biology to see what whores did.

Leonard: On the one hand if I say yes..
Penny: It isn't funny anymore. Just say no so we’re done with this. Will you marry me or not?
Leonard: Ooh, Interesting. Did you propose to me again?
Penny: No.
Leonard: Really, because I just hear “Will you marry me?” That’s two proposals in one day. Sounds like someone wants to spend of their life telling people how to spell the name “Hofstadter”.
Penny: You know what? Fine. Do whatever you want.
Leonard: Hey, Penny, Don’t get upset. Here. I love you, but no. I will not marry you.
Penny: Thank you.
Leonard: Now about that second proposal. On the one hand…

Arthur: Where are we?
Sheldon: This is the swampland of Dagobah. It’s where Luke was trained in the ways of the Jedi.
Arthur: Oh, too bad. I thought it was Florida.
Sheldon: When Obi-Wan came to Luke on this very spot he gave him all sorts of helpful advice. So, um, what have you got for me?
Arthur: Um, always get a pre-nupt.
Sheldon: That’s it? I thought there would be more of a reason why you are here.
Arthur: Why do you think I’m here?
Sheldon: I suppose it has something to do with your recent passing.
Arthur: Is this the first time you lost someone close to you?
Sheldon: Oh no, no. I already had to say good-bye to eleven Doctor Who’s.
Arthur: Yeah, I out lived a few of my doctors, too.
Sheldon: Of course my grandfather died when I was five and my father died when I was fourteen.
Arthur: I’m sorry about that.
Sheldon: And now you’re gone too. It’s like all the men I've looked up to have gone away.
Arthur: You know it’s all right to be sad about it, but just make sure appreciate those who are still there for you.
Sheldon: But I do appreciate them.
Arthur: Well then what am I doing in the swamp dressed like Friar Tuck? Appreciate them Sheldon.

[The ending apartment 4A scene where all four guys are falling asleep in front of the TV in the sitting room while the girl trio is nowhere to be seen, Leonard and Howard are sleeping grumpily for a second, Sheldon struggles to get to sleep as he is thinking for one second. The ghost of Professor Proton enters Sheldon's spot on the couch, Sheldon opens his eyes and looks up at Professor Proton's ghostly frown for one second. Sheldon now speaks.].
Sheldon: You’re back.
Arthur: Yeah, apparently I’m here whenever you need me.
Sheldon: That’s nice.
Arthur: Maybe for you.
Sheldon: Well why do I need you now?
Arthur: Well as near as I can tell you fell asleep watching Star Wars and now you’re dreaming you’re watching Star Wars.
Sheldon: So?
Arthur: Don’t you see a problem there? I mean how you’re spending your limited time on earth.
Sheldon: Not at all.
Arthur: OK. Good luck to you.
[The ghostly Professor Proton walks out of shot and Sheldon has a one second gaze at the apartment]

Howard': Boy, some of the physical comedy with Jar Jar is a little tough to watch.
Leonard: At least they toned him down in the second one.
Penny: Yeah, he is pretty stupid.
:Raj: Hey, we can say it. You can’t.
Amy: Hey guys.
Bernadette: Happy star wars day. [Walks inside the with the Death Star cake]
Sheldon: Wow! A death star cake.
Amy: Yeah, we were hoping it might cheer you up.
Bernadette: And even though we had to miss the movies, we can still be part of the fun.
Howard: You didn't miss anything, we just started over.
Bernadette: (whispers to Amy crossly) Son of a bitch.

Gallery

References

  • [5] Taping Report by Delsino

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