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The Relationship Diremption

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"The Relationship Diremption" is the twentieth episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Thursday, April 10, 2014.

Summary

Sheldon is depressed over his lack of progress in his twenty years of work on string theory. Howard and Bernadette go out with Raj and Emily who had an earlier very embarrassing date with Howard.

Extended Plot

In the Caltech cafeteria, the guys are discussing the recent primordial gravity wave discoveries.

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Geology is the Kardashian of science.

Their work on the Big Bang theory elevates those astrophysicists to the level of rock stars - though without the sex. Sheldon is not impressed because work on gravity waves doesn't help the man on the street. Sheldon is really jealous because the origin of the universe has been explained and he has been working on String Theory for the last twenty years, with no similar discoveries. Sheldon claims that he has had other, more important things on his plate including watching shows during this golden age of television. Kripke tells Sheldon that there is big string theory news from work done at the Large Hadron Collider. Sheldon is interested until Kripke taunts him; the news is that Cooper will believe anything. Sheldon reminds Kripke that he is also a string theorist. Kripke says he is really a string theory pragmatist; when there is something that cannot be proven, he applies for financial grants and spends the money on liquor and blondes. Sheldon then wonders if he is wasting his life on something that cannot be proven.

As Penny wakes up and heads for her morning coffee in apartment 4A, she finds Sheldon up early because he can't sleep. She asks what is bothering him; he doesn't feel that she would understand. Penny is still willing to listen. Sheldon feels he has wasted his life because he has concentrated on string theory and has had no significant discoveries - making him feel like a fool. Even though Penny didn't understand all the jibber-jabber in the middle, she admits that she knows what it feels like to put your heart and soul into something and get nothing out of it. Sheldon asks if she talking about her failed attempts in her acting career, going back to college, or the lack of progress with her interpersonal relationship with Leonard. Those were not the things that Penny was thinking about. Sheldon's string theory work sounds like a failed relationship. Penny has had many failed relationships; she has learned to put them behind her and have the courage to move on. Leonard comes in, blowing his nose loudly and asking where his inhaler is. Sheldon then tells her to break it off and move on.

At Caltech, Raj describes how dating two women is going. Lucy learned about Emily and couldn't handle it, so Raj is now dating only Emily. Howard wants to meet Emily soon before Raj screws it up. Sheldon brings in a box of his old string theory books, offering them to his friends. Since Penny compared his string work to a relationship, Sheldon read in Cosmopolitan magazine that one way to get over a relationship is to get rid of all reminders of that relationship. He would have burned them as suggested, but fears the smell would remind him too much of church picnics in East Texas. He reminisces over a doodle he made based upon his work for his dissertation, gets upset, and runs away. Howard then kids Raj, asking whether Raj was still together with Emily.

Em3

Having dinner with Emily.

Howard and Raj are playing a video game at Raj's Apartment. Howard tells Raj that he and Bernadette are free the next night for dinner. Dinner is fine with Raj, but he doesn't want Howard kidding him about Raj's extremely close relationship with his dog, or that Raj took ballet. Howard is still convinced that Emily is a blow-up rubber doll. Sheldon is now considering a makeover, which was also suggested by Cosmo, so Penny is giving him a new hair cut. Leonard thinks that his old look is "well-groomed ventriloquist doll". Sheldon wants to look like a cross between Bill Gates and Nikola Tesla. Leonard wonders what new work Sheldon is going to pursue. Sheldon suggests black holes and dark matter. Penny doesn't understand what dark matter is - and neither does Leonard (according to Sheldon). Penny finishes with Sheldon's hair and both Leonard and Penny think that Sheldon looks good. Sheldon sees himself as a member of a scientific boy band - as the dreamy one and the smart one. Amy shows up and doesn't like Sheldon's cute new look. She fears all the girls are now going to go after Sheldon since he looks like " sex on a stick." Sheldon agree that he looks "too hot."
Cut9

Amy thinks Sheldon looks like "sex on a stick".

Howard and Bernadette are waiting in the restaurant for Raj; Howard is hoping that Raj doesn't blow it with Emily.  When Raj and Emily arrive, Howard recognizes Emily from a previous embarrassing escapade. Emily recognizes Howard, but can't place him. She thinks perhaps she remembers him from spin class. Raj wonders when Howard ever went to spin class. Emily is a dermatology medical resident. She may have seen Howard because he was an astronaut who went to the space station. Finally, Emily remembers that they once had had a blind date, four years earlier. Howard, who was sick that night, clogged up her toilet and he was so humiliated that he escaped through the bathroom window like Lucy used to. Emily also blames Howard for not getting her apartment rental deposit back. Howard apologizes profusely. She is cool about it and says that all her girlfriends loved the story and call him "Clog-zilla" - then Howard becomes the butt of Raj's jokes. Later, Bernadette wonders why Emily got into dermatology. Emily says she likes to cut into people and, in all other circumstances that is illegal. Raj loves her because she is scary, but "cute" scary. The bathroom incident is still bothering Howard, however, Bernadette assures him that everyone else has moved on. Howard then mentions that the restaurant could have filled up his soup bowl more, causing everyone to snicker about his problem with the aforementioned overflowing toilet bowl.

While Penny, Leonard, and Amy have dinner, Sheldon is going through the books in the bookcase looking for a new field to work on until he found a geology book in the bookcase and describes geology as "the Kardashians of science." Amy and Leonard suggest other fields that Sheldon could get into including Loop Quantum Gravity Theory (which he used to argue with Leslie Winkle about and still has no respect for). Penny feels that he shouldn't rush into something new and maybe something will find him. Sheldon thinks that that isn't bad advice. He got into string theory because that was the biggest book some bullies used to hit him with. String theory found him. Penny gets the guys to toast to Sheldon's new-found freedom. Finally, Amy puts a drunken Sheldon to bed.

The next morning Sheldon wakes up, horrified, staring at the pillow next to him. But it wasn't Amy. In fact, he had been sleeping with a geology book. A hung over Sheldon comes out carrying the offending book and Leonard asks Sheldon to introduce him to his friend. Sheldon denies that the book is his friend. Leonard teases him that he was very loud last night reading from the book. Sheldon reacts as if Sheldon had a drunken one night stand. After he learns that Amy put him to bed, he starts to call her to apologize. Then he finds out that, the night before while he was drunk, he left multiple phone messages for Stephen Hawking.
Cut15

Drunken Sheldon spent the night reading a geology book. The horror!

Having lunch together, Howard and Sheldon are both depressed about the previous evening's embarrassing activities. Sheldon tells Howard the story of a king who had a ring made - a ring that would make him happy when he was sad. On the ring was inscribed. "And this, too, will pass." Barry Kripke then comes in and mocks Sheldon about calling Hawking and calls Howard "Cwog-zilla". Finally several of the messages Sheldon left are heard on Hawking's answering machine. Stephen Hawking is heard calling Sheldon a jackass.

Credits

Critics

  • Jesse Schedeen for IGN-"...really enjoyed the way the writers framed Sheldon's disillusionment with String Theory like a breakup with a woman he had been involved with for years. It allowed him to be vulnerable and hyper-emotional in a way he probably wouldn't be if he were dumped by Amy. Seeing him turn to Cosmo as a guide during these difficult times was a hoot. And it led to a number of memorable lines, with one of my favorites being, "Now I realize I was just a simple country boy, seduced by a big city theory with variables in all the right places." ...This was definitely one of his more entertaining episodes in recent memory, as he suffered through every phase in the stereotypical sitcom breakup saga, but with a fun twist. Yes, his material could have used more direct resolution, but when does this show ever wrap up an episode without loose ends?"
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a B-: "It seems as though the writers are facing a distraction at the office which is creating many tiny errors that have accumulated into episodes like these. This episode isn't bad because of its use of drama (like "The Friendship Turbulence"), but it's actually a little bit too ostentatious at its attempt to make us laugh. Furthermore, the writers really need to fix their distribution of screen time to each character, because I don't think it's fair to consider Melissa and Mayim as secondary characters after their hard work of almost four years now..." [1]
  • IMDb user reviews[2]

Notes

  • Title Reference: After advice from Penny, Sheldon starts to treat the ending of his string theory work as breaking off a personal relationship.
  • Taping date: March 25, 2014
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [3]
  • This episode was watched by 16.49 million people with a rating of 4.7 (adults 18-49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 21.65 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #2 for the week ending 15 April 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on April 10, 2014 with 3.549 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #1.
  • Episode transcript [4]

Costume Notes

Trivia

  • The discovery of primordial gravity wave (AKA gravitational wave) that makes Leonard and Raj excited was made by Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in reality, and announced on March 17, 2014. This discovery is considered a key proof to support the theory of Big Bang, thus it makes Sheldon realizes, as he himself says in the show, he is "wasting his life on a theory (Sheldon's string theory) that can never be proven" - thus he becomes jealous and frustrated. 
  • Sheldon refers to "exciting areas" such as black holes and dark matter. Leonard suggests the Standard Model of particle physics and loop quantum gravity for new fields of inquiry, while Amy posits nuclear matrix elements, all of which Sheldon quickly shoots down. Notably, Sheldon has already done research in dark matter and loop quantum gravity.
  • Sheldon's doodle of a hyperelliptic Riemann surface was the basis of his postdoc fellowship.
  • Sheldon looks down upon geology again after "The Pants Alternative" (S3E18) and "The Skank Reflex Analysis" (S5E1). In the former episode he also got into an embarrassing scientific situation due to alcohol.
  • When trying to remember Howard, Emily asks him if she knows him from spin class; coincidentally in "The Wiggly Finger Catalyst" (S5E4), Penny introduces a girl called Emily to Raj as someone she knows from spin class.
  • Second time Sheldon has let Penny cut his hair; the first was in "The Werewolf Transformation" (S5E18).
  • Again, Sheldon humiliates himself after getting drunk. The first time is in "The Pants Alternative" (S3E18).
  • Sheldon again berates Loop Quantum Gravity Theory, which he used to argue about with Leslie Winkle who specialized in that field. 
  • Howard at first is kidding Raj about his foibles at dinner and ends up to be one being joked about. 
  • Howard and Raj are seen playing Killer Instinct (2013) at Raj's Apartment.  No game footage was shown, but certain sound effects from the game can be heard if listened to closely and an opened case of the game can be seen next to Raj's television.  At the date of this episode no retail version of the game was available, this game was a digital download only till the retail version was available, on Sept. 23rd 2014 (US).
  • Four years before this episode aired Howard jumped out of the bathroom window at Emily's house similar to Lucy (Raj's ex-girlfriend) jumped out of bathroom windows.
  • The equations on the boards are taken from the paper On orbifolds of M-strings.
  • Third time Sheldon is seen topless after "The Parking Spot Escalation" (S6E09) and "The Convention Conundrum" (S7E14).
  • Bernadette shares no scenes with Leonard, Amy, Sheldon and Penny in this episode.
  • Raj and Howard share no scenes with Penny and Amy in this episode.

Quotes

Bernadette: I’m excited to meet Emily.
Howard: Me, too. I just hope he doesn’t blow it.
Bernadette: Why would you say that?
Howard: Because he’s Raj, that’s his thing. Beckham can bend it, Ralph can wreck it, Raj can blow it. Look, I don’t want it to happen, but odds are he’s gonna find a way to… Oh, crap, I know that girl.
Bernadette: How?
Howard: In a bad way, very bad.
Raj: Hey, guys.
Howard: Whatever you hear tonight, just remember I love you. Hey.

Raj: Emily, these are my good friends, Howard and Bernadette. Guys, this is Emily.
Emily: Nice to meet you.
Bernadette: Hi.
Emily: Have we met before?
Howard: Uh, no. I, I don’t, I don’t think so.
Emily: You sure? You look familiar.
Howard: Well, you sure don’t. You I know, you I know, you? Total stranger. Even if you had yummy candy, I would not get in your van.
Emily: Did you go to that spin class on Green Street?
Howard: That must be it.
Raj: Since when do you go to spin class?
Howard: Wow. Now who doesn’t listen?

Sheldon: Am I wasting my life on a theory that can never be proven?

Penny: What do you think?
Sheldon: I suppose I can see myself in a scientific boy band, and of course, I'd be the dreamy one and the smart one.

Stephen Hawking: What a jackass!

Leonard: I got to tell you the more I read about the primordial gravity wave discoveries the more excited I get.
Raj: So being an astrophysicist right now is like being a rock star.
Howard: Only without the sex.

Penny: OK, I get it. Not all the jibber jabber in the middle. I know what it’s like to put your heart and soul into something and get nothing out of it.
Sheldon: You mean your acting career.
Penny: No.
Sheldon: Your relationship with Leonard.
Penny: No.
Sheldon: Your failed attempt to go back to college.
Penny: NO!! I’m saying your string theory sounds like a relationship and I know what it’s like to be in one and realize it’s never going to turn out the way you want.
Sheldon: I said Leonard. You said no.
Penny: I’m talking about other guys.
Sheldon: OK. Well. What do you do?
Penny: I just have to have the courage to end the relationship. You know, break it off, shake hands, walk away.

Sheldon: It suggests that I set these on fire, but the smell of burning books reminds me too much of church picnics in East Texas.

Sheldon: But now I realize I was just a simple country boy seduced by a big city theory with variables in all the right places.

Leonard: As you sure you want to do this?
Sheldon: The magazine article suggests that one of the ways to get over a breakup is a new look.
Leonard: What about your old look? Well groomed ventriloquist doll.
Penny: [Using Sheldon as a doll] OH my God. I do look like that!

Sheldon: I suppose I could see myself in a scientific boy’s band because I’d be the dreamy one and the smart one.

Bernadette: Emily, what do you do?
Emily: I’m a dermatology resident at Huntington Hospital.
Raj: Mmm, and you know what that means. Someone’s skin’s about to be softer than ever.
Emily: This is making me crazy. I know I know you from somewhere.
Raj: Oh, uh, Howard was an astronaut. Maybe that’s where you saw him.
Emily: Wow. That’s amazing. What was that like?
Howard: It was the most incredible experience of my life. Up there in the space station, you’re…
Emily: Oh, my God, I remember.
Howard: Can I finish my astronaut story?
Emily: It was four years ago.
Howard: Please don’t say it.
Emily: We were set up on a blind date.
Howard: Please don’t say it.
Emily: You came to my apartment.
Howard: You’re saying it.
Raj: Wh, what happened?
Bernadette: Yeah, what happened?
Howard: Okay, I’ll say it. I was on the way to pick her up. My stomach felt a little funny. When I got there, I asked if I could use her bathroom.
Bernadette: (crossly) Please don’t say it.
Howard: One roll of toilet paper and 20 minutes later, I was so humiliated, I snuck out the window and never saw her again.
Emily: You know what else I never saw again, my security deposit.
Howard: I’m sorry. I tried to unclog it, but you didn’t have a plunger, and water was spilling out everywhere.
Emily: Right, just water.
Howard: Look, I have felt terrible about this for years, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to tell you just how sorry I am.
Emily: It’s fine. All my friends love this story. They call you Clogzilla.
Raj: Get it? Because you clogged up her bathroom like a radioactive monster!
Howard: Yeah, yeah, I get it.
Bernadette: Howie.
Howard: Well, hey, it’s not like cotton candy comes out of you.



Amy: What did you do?
Penny: I gave him a new look. Cute! Huh?
Amy: Yes, cute. That’s the problem. I don’t want other girls seeing him walk around like sex on a stick.
Sheldon: She’s right. I’m too hot.

Penny: What’s wrong with geology?
Sheldon: Let me put this in a way you’ll understand Penny. You remember how you explained to me that the Kardashians aren't real celebrities? Well, geology is the Kardashians of science.

Sheldon: I didn't seek out string theory. It just hit me over the head one day.
Amy: How did that happen?
Sheldon: A bully chased me through the school library and he hit me over the head with the biggest book he could find.

Bernadette: So Emily. Why did you decide to specialize in dermatology?
Emily: I like cutting people with knives, but all the other jobs where you get to do that are illegal.
Bernadette: You’re kidding, right?
Raj: She’s scary, but it’s a cute scary.
Howard: Can I say just one more thing? I had some kind of food poisoning that day. Sure, in retrospect, gas station sushi, maybe not the best choice. Nor was climbing out your window and running away. But I think we can all understand how humiliating that was, and I’d really appreciate it if we could move on.
Bernadette: Howie, we moved on a long time ago.
Howard: I’m just saying…
Bernadette: We moved on.
Howard: Okay. Fine.
Bernadette: How’s your soup?
Howard: Ah, it’s all right. They could’ve filled the bowl a little more. Excuse me.
Bernadette: Where are you going?
Howard: I need some fresh air.
Emily: Been there.

Leonard: [Sheldon waking up with a Geology Book.] How you feeling?
Sheldon: Not so good.
Leonard: Are you going to introduce me to your friend?
Sheldon: It’s not my friend. Nothing happened!
Leonard: I don’t know. I heard you reading pretty loud last night.
Sheldon: Oh dear lord. Where’s Amy?
Leonard: After she put you to bed, she went home.
Sheldon: Oh. I should call her and apologize. Oh no.
Leonard: What?
Sheldon: Apparently, I called Stephen Hawking last night.

Gallery

References

  • [5] Taping Report by menamena


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