|The Shiny Trinket Maneuver|
Season 5, Episode 12
January 12, 2012
"The Speckerman Recurrence"
"The Recombination Hypothesis"
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Howard deals with the fact that Bernadette doesn't want kids, while Sheldon gets in trouble with Amy when he is not impressed by her latest scientific accomplishment, and Penny must help him with their relationship.
The episode starts off in Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, where Howard is showing Leonard and Raj some magic tricks, as he is practicing for doing magic tricks at his cousin's birthday party. Raj is very amazed with what Howard does, but Sheldon is appalled, saying that such trickery is bad for the children's future (saying that it leads to adults who believe in astrology).
Later, at the Cheesecake Factory, Sheldon and Amy are on a date as, according to their Relationship Agreement, Date Night is every second Thursday of the month, and in the case of there being five Thursdays in a month, Date Night will be on the third Thursday instead. Penny comments sarcastically, "That is so hot". Amy starts off on a conversation, asking Sheldon how his day was. He remarks that he made a palindrome with his Alpha-Bits (a cereal). Amy reveals her very good news, that she has a paper that will be on the cover of Neuron, a prestigious science journal. Sheldon counters with his news that he has reached 100 followers on Twitter. Amy states she's been waiting her whole life for her paper to be published like that, and Sheldon agrees (but about his followers). It goes on like this for a while, until Penny comes back to take their order and Amy excuses herself from the table, furious. Penny accuses (as she was listening to their conversation) Sheldon of ignoring Amy's very good news, and that he should have been excited. Sheldon says he's not excited at all, and Penny counters that he should act as if he is excited; just smile and think about koalas. Sheldon says Amy sees right through his koala smile.
Back at the guys' apartment, Sheldon is playing a video game (Red Dead Redemption), but only walks around aimlessly in the game. Leonard asks him why he does not go on any missions. Sheldon says he wants to "clear his head". Leonard points out that he should have gone outside (in reality) and walked around. Sheldon counters that it is after nine in the evening, and that it wouldn't be safe. He then continues to say he will drown his sorrows in the game's saloon, but Leonard rebuts that "virtual alcohol" is never the answer. Leonard asks whether Amy and he had a fight, and Sheldon remarks that Amy had a fight, while he was being reasonable. Leonard continues to give Sheldon tips on how to handle women.
At Howard's place, he and Bernadette prepare magic tricks for a birthday party. She comments that he has a lot of tricks, and he says he started while he was a teenager, hoping that his magic tricks would help him get girls. She continues that she might not be the best person to be his assistant, as she isn't good with kids. Howard comforts her, saying that it's only because she hasn't been around them too much, but she'll be fine when they have their own kids. Bernadette shakily says yes, sounding unsure. At Howard's cousin's birthday party, Howard starts off with his tricks, but fails to impress the children, who seem to know how he does his tricks (being able to Google it on their phones). The only thing they are interested in is cake, and Bernadette snappily says that they can have cake after they are amazed by the show, and that anyone who keeps on commenting badly on the show, will not receive cake. Howard tells Bernadette to cool down a bit, and continues with his magic trick (which is pouring milk down a folded piece of paper at the front of his pants, and he hopes he won't get his pants wet as he only has one pair). His trick fails because Bernadette handed him the wrong pitcher.
Bernadette drives Howard back to his place, and says she told him she doesn't like kids (it seems the feeling is mutual). She goes on to complain that her mom was always busy, and so she had to take care of her siblings who didn't want to listen to her. Howard says that perhaps that will change when they have their own kids. Bernadette points out that that will ruin her body, her career and her life, hinting that she doesn't want kids, which upsets Howard.
Sheldon and Penny enter a jewelry store, in search of something for Amy. Sheldon is immediately distracted by the pocket watches, and Penny points out that Amy wouldn't want a pocket watch. Sheldon counters, saying that perhaps she would want a boyfriend with a pocket watch. Penny says he is saying stupid things again. An employee then comes up to ask what they want, or that he wants to get a ring for the lady. They both immediately argue that they are not a couple, and that instead, he is searching for an item for his girlfriend, as he got into a fight with her. The shop helper then shows them some items consisting of real diamonds, and goes on to say they are having a sale. Sheldon's attention is then diverted back to the pocket watches, which he ends up buying.
Back at apartment 4A, the guys at playing Jenga. Howard confides in his friends about his worries. He goes on to say that he always wanted to be a dad. Raj agrees with him, saying that he always imagined Howard guiding a young boy into manhood. Leonard says Raj should have Howard's kids--problem solved. Raj asks Howard whether he is sure that Bernadette said that she doesn't want kids, and he says yes, commenting that the feeling seems to be mutual. Howard doesn't know what to do, saying that perhaps it isn't meant to be with him and Bernadette, and that his mother would be heartbroken, knowing that she won't have any grandchildren.
In Penny's apartment, Sheldon is waiting on Amy's arrival, as Penny tricked her to come over (under the pretense that the girls would hang out). Amy is still hostile towards Sheldon, and also a little disappointed in Penny, but says that that won't last long. Sheldon says he is sorry and congratulates Amy on her accomplishment, showing his koala smile, which she recognizes as being fake. Penny brings over the package with the jewelry in it, and Amy rants on about how Sheldon is the shallowest person she knows, trying to buy her forgiveness with a gift. She stops mid-rant, as she sees it is a tiara, exclaiming "Oh, it's a tiara!" Overjoyed about owning a tiara, she hops over to Penny, asking her to to help put the tiara on. Amy kisses and hugs Sheldon where he stands with her in his arms, confused.
In the last scene, Howard is practicing a card trick, when Bernadette comes in (after Mrs. Wolowitz announced her arrival). Bernadette reveals that she came to return the vest (that she used at the magic show). Howard says that she should keep it, for hunting and whatnot. Mrs. Wolowitz shouts whether they are talking about the fact that Bernadette doesn't want children. Howard yells back then slams the door shut. Howard mentions that he was upset and needed someone to talk to, and that is why his mom knows about their conversation. Bernadette recognizes that this whole kid thing is a big thing to him, and says she figured out to keep everyone happy: she will continue working, as she earns much more money than him, and he can stay at home to take care of the kids and be a stay-at-home dad. He hesitantly answers "yes". Bernadette doesn't know whether they just had a fight, but she suggests makeup sex, to which Howard answers with a magic trick, pulling a condom package out from behind her ear.
"These were two solid relationship stories. I kind of like the way Howard and Bernadette failed to reach a conclusion over the issue of having children... Sheldon's decision to buy off Amy's hurt feelings rather than change himself also fit the characters well...Within The Big Bang Theory formula this was very solid stuff." The TV Critic's Review
- Title Reference: The shiny trinket (a tiara) that Sheldon gives Amy as a way of apology after he is not impressed by her latest major career accomplishment in biology.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card
- This episode was watched by 16.13 million people for a 5.3 rating.
Sheldon: (regarding Howard's trick of a coin in an ear) Coins lodged in body parts is not a source of amusement. When I was five, Billy Sparks put a Mexican peso up my nose.
(rest of the guys laugh)
Howard: How is that not amusing?
Sheldon: It's still there. Takes me 45 minutes to get through airport security.
(Sheldon leaves the kitchen)
Howard: Look, I made Sheldon disappear--tada!
Leonard: Next time you should open with that.
Bernadette: And now, the great Howdini's next miraculous illusion!
Kid: When are we gonna have cake?
Bernadette: After you've been thoroughly amazed.
Kid: But we want cake now!
Bernadette: Well you're not getting cake right now, capisce?
Penny: Sheldon, what is wrong with you?
Sheldon: Not much. Although, I can't be faulted for being overly fond of koala bears. I don't know what it is, when they start munching on eucalyptus I just melt inside.
Penny: Okay, Amy just told you some exciting news and you acted like it was no big deal.
Sheldon: Oh, I see why you're confused. No, her news "sounded" important, but what you're forgetting is, it was an achievement in the field of biology, that's all about yucky squishy things.
Penny: Honey, she's upset! You're her boyfriend, you have to at least try to be excited by the things she's excited by.
Sheldon: What if they simply don't excite me?
Penny: Well, just smile and think about koalas.
Sheldon: She'd see right through that! We go to the zoo all the time, she knows my koala face. If, for future reference it's this: (shows his koala face)
Sheldon: Hard as this may be to believe, it's possible that I'm not boyfriend material.
Leonard: Glad I was sitting down for that.
Amy: Jewelry? Seriously? Sheldon, you are the most shallow, self-centered person I have ever met. Do you really think that another transparently-manipu...OH, IT'S A TIARA! A tiara; I have a tiara! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me! Put it on me!
(Penny puts the tiara on her)
Penny: You, look, beautiful.
Amy: OF COURSE I DO, I'M A PRINCESS AND THIS IS MY TIARA!
(turns around and kisses Sheldon and gives him a big hug; Sheldon gently hugs her back, but is not fond of Amy's over-reaction)
Sheldon: (to Penny) You're right; the tiara's too much.
Leonard: That's not necessary when someone is trying to help you.
Sheldon: I'm sorry, it's the alcohol talking.
Amy: (to Penny over her trick, so she can come over to her apartment) I'm pretty disappointed in you too. But we both know that won't last.
- This was the first new episode to air in 2012, since the last new episode aired on the 8th of December 2011.
- Sheldon is fond of the Australian marsupial, the koala, and seeing them eat eucalyptus makes him melt inside. He even has a koala facial expression for that.
- Sheldon thinks biology involves "yucky and squishy things".
- Sheldon faking a smile for Amy is similar to something that happened in a earlier episode in season 2's "The Griffin Equivalency", where Sheldon faked a smile (a very creepy smile, to be specific, much like how Sheldon now has a koala smile) for Raj to show him he is happy about his accomplishment. Amy knows his koala face when he tries to look happy for her after she publishes an important paper.
- Despite being Sheldon's girlfriend, Amy thinks he is the most shallow and self-centered person she has ever met, although this criticism may be due to the fact that she was angry at him. Amy is the only member of the gang whose criticism that Sheldon listens to and sometimes takes action on.
- Quite contrary to his usual mysophobic behavior and the care given to his comic books, Sheldon brings a Batman comic with him to read as he spends time in the bathroom and folds it. In "The Plimpton Stimulation", he even recommends disposable reading gloves to browse his comic book collection, while in "The Hofstadter Isotope", he complains about a dent in a comic book caused by "Howard Ham-Fisted Wolowitz". However, it is possible that he already disposed of the gloves and had taken extra care of his comic. It is also possible that given the show's habit of changing labels on brand name products, the page was folded over to conceal a "?" brand name in an advertisement on the back page of the comic book.
- In "The Einstein Approximation", Bernadette reveals that she knows how to deal with stubborn children, as her mother used to run an illegal day care center in their basement. The episode of this article further depicts her treatment of such children. However, Howard erroneously says she hasn't spent much time with children. It is possible that he meant that she hasn't spent much time around children since they were together. It is not only the illegal day care center that has made Bernadette dislike children; her mother worked full time and she had to take care of her younger brothers and sisters, who were always annoying.
- Bernadette states she is not the best choice to be a magician’s assistant because of her discomfort with little children. Yet, she doesn't really like magic either, as revealed in "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary".
- Though she supposedly is not a free spirit willing to wear costumes ("The Justice League Recombination"), Amy does not object to wearing a tiara and pretending to be a princess, nor would she later object to dressing up as a giant pretzel during filming of one of Sheldon's "Fun with Flags" podcasts ("The Beta Test Initiation"), or wearing a Star Trek doctor uniform ("The Launch Acceleration").
- Amy is allergic to Penicillin and wears a silver bracelet that states this fact. At the same time, the bracelet is also her favorite piece of jewelry.
- The jewelry store is named "Frank & Sons" an obvious nod to the southern California collectible and comic show of the same name.
- According to "The Relationship Agreement", Sheldon and Amy's Date Night is every second Thursday of the month or the third Thursday in months with five Thursdays.
- Bernadette has a brother named Joey.
- The Donkey Kong Jenga that Howard, Leonard, and Raj play is real and is sold at Amazon for $19.99.
- Sheldon has had a Mexican peso (a Mexican coin) in the back of his nose since he was five, when a neighborhood bully, Billy Sparks, put it there. To this day, it takes Sheldon 45 minutes to get through airport security.
- Sheldon believes Nathan Fillion was a better choice to play Green Lantern in the movie, rather than Ryan Reynolds.
- Howard has a younger cousin.
- This is the first time that the phrase "Shamy" has been used since season 4's "The Zazzy Substitution".
- Sheldon thinks his new pocket watch makes him look like a train conductor.
- Howard's mother wants grandchildren, just as much as Howard wants to be a father.
- The journal article that Amy wrote: "Cooperative long term potentiation can map memory sequences on dendritic branches", to have been published in the journal Neuron is the title of an actual paper published in Trends in Neuroscience in February of 2004. Mayank Mehta is the author of that paper - he published it when he was at Brown, but currently (at the time of the episode) faculty at UCLA, where Mayim Bialik (actress who plays Amy) went to college and got her PhD.
- Amy's tiara would appear again in "The Countdown Reflection", where she wore it along with her bridesmaid's dress.
- When Amy gets the tiara she says "put it on me" seven times in a row.