The Big Bang Theory

The Shiny Trinket Maneuver

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The Shiny Trinket Maneuver
The shiny trinket maneuver Amy's Tiara reaction
Oh, it' s a tiara!
The Big Bang Theory episode
Season 5, Episode 12
January 12, 2012
Guest star(s)
Carol Ann Susi as
Mrs. Wolowitz (Voice Only),
Jonathan Schmock as Jonathan,
Jadon Sand as Aaron &
Dusan Brown as Jeremy
Episode guide

"The Speckerman Recurrence"

"The Recombination Hypothesis"
Season guide

Season 4

Season 6

"The Shiny Trinket Maneuver" is the twelfth episode of the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Thursday, January 12, 2012.[1]


Sheldon and Amy encounter their first problem in their boyfriend/girlfriend relationship when Amy is hurt because he is not impressed by her latest scientific accomplishment, and Penny must help him with it. Meanwhile, Howard tries to deal with the fact that Bernadette isn't fond of children.

Extended PlotEdit

Howard doing a magic trick

Howard showing off his magic trick.

The shiny trinket maneuver Shamy date and Penny

Sheldon and Amy's date.

In Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, 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 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.

Howard showing his magic trick

Howard doing his magic show for the kids.

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.

The shiny trinket maneuver Sheldon and Penny 2

Sheldon and Penny at the jewelry store.

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.

Amy kisses Sheldon

Amy kisses Sheldon, thanking him for the tiara.

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 repeatedly exclaiming "Put it on me!". 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.


  • The TV Critic: "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."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • 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 with a rating of 5.3 (adults 18-49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on January 12, 2012 with 3.566 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on March 29, 2012 with 1.299 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #10.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on February 13, 2012 with 1.347 million viewers.[7]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume NotesEdit

  • Bernadette wears a "Kimichi Blue" dress from Urban Outfitters (discontinued).


  • 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. He also shows his fondness for a koala in "The Junior Professor Solution".
  • Sheldon thinks biology involves "yucky and squishy things".
  • Sheldon faking a smile for Amy is similar to something that happened in the earlier episode "The Griffin Equivalency" (S2E04), 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.
  • 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". 
  • 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. This episode 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.
  • 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 Rostenkowski.
  • The Donkey Kong Jenga that Howard, Leonard, and Raj play is real and is sold at Amazon for $19.99.[8]
  • 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.
  • First time that the phrase "Shamy" has been used since season 4's "The Zazzy Substitution" (S4E3).
  • Sheldon thinks his new pocket watch makes him look like a train conductor.
  • Howard's mother wants grandchildren.
  • 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.[9] 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" (S5E24), where she wore it along with her bridesmaid's dress. She wears it again in "The Convention Conundrum" (S7E14).
  • When Amy gets the tiara, she says "put it on me" seven times in a row, (which, in her blog, Mayim Bialik explains "was scripted to be said five times, but the audience was laughing so hard I just kept it going to cover the time until the next line so Kaley Cuoco (who plays Penny) would not be left hanging and waiting").
  • This episode is one of the few times Mrs. Debbie Wolowitz is heard not shouting and speaking in a normal voice.
  • Second episode where a gift makes a character ecstatic. First being "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis".


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#1: When are we gonna have cake?
Bernadette: After you've been thoroughly amazed.
Kid#1: But we want cake now!
Bernadette: Well, you're not getting cake right now, capisce?
Howard: Okay. Okay. Now, my lovely assistant is going to bring me an ordinary pitcher of milk.
Kid#2: I know how you do that trick.
Bernadette: (Quite cross) Do you know how to pipe down?
Kid#2: It's a fake pitcher
Bernadette: (shouts at him) You got wax in your ears? The man said it’s an ordinary pitcher. (now smiles to Howard) Howdini
Howard: Okay, we’re going to stick this in here (Puts newspaper into the waistband of his pants) and then I’m going to pour in the milk. I hope this works, because I didn’t bring a change of pants.
Kid#2: Look, I goggled it. it's a fake pitcher.
(The kids now gaze at Bernadette's frowny face)
Bernadette: (She is now really cross by this) That's it! no cake for you! (Almost in Howard's mom's voice.) Anyone else want to join the no cake club.
(the kids all look fed up)
Howard: (Chuckles) She's just kidding boys and girls. Everyone gets cake.
Bernadette: (Crossly and quietly.) Not him!
Howard: Just give me the pitcher. Behold!
(Howard pours the milk through the folded newspaper hole. the milk pours out of the bottom hole of the folded newspaper on his pants like somebody urinating and the children finally laugh at this).
Howard: Wrong pitcher.

Bernadette: (Sighs and then speaks.) I told you I’m not good with kids.
Howard: Yes, you did. (Groans) Oh, I think my crotch is starting to curdle.
Bernadette: The thing is, my mother worked full-time. I had to take care of my brothers and sisters.
Howard: Yeah, so?
Bernadette: Ugh, it was horrible. With their snotty noses and their poopy diapers and their little shrieky voices, always complaining. I don’t want to get dressed. Joey keeps spitting in my mouth. This isn’t the way Mom makes waffles. Well, okay, (Nearly in Howard's mom's voice) put your hand in here. Let’s see how you like this waffle!
Howard: All right, settle down. Red light. Red light, red light! Okay, we’re fine.
Bernadette: I’m sorry. I know it makes me sound like a bad person, but I just don’t like children.
Howard: Yeah, no, we all got that. But don’t you think it’ll be different when the child is ours?
Bernadette: Right, when it’s our kid that’s ruined my body and kept me up all night and I’ve got no career and no future and nothing to be happy about for the next 20 years, (nearly in Howard's mom's voice once again) sure, that’ll be completely different.
Howard: (Sadly and sarcastically) well, yeah.

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.
(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 was 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.

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: Ooh, look who's out on a date. Pasadena's favorite power couple, Shamy.
Sheldon: And that is the answer to the question. What is wrong with eating at the Cheesecake Factory.
Penny: So we celebrating anything special tonight?
Amy: Oh, yes. Our relationship agreement specifies that the second Thursday every month, or the third Thursday in a month with five Thursdays is date night.
Penny: (Sarcastically) That is so hot.


  • Howard demonstrates his magic trick to the guys.
  • Sheldon and Amy on their date at the Cheesecake Factory with Penny as their waitress.
  • Howard demonstrates his magic trick to Leonard and Raj.
  • Howard gives Bernadette her costume as his magician's assistant.
  • Howard and Bernadette talk.
  • Howard practices his magic trick with Bernadette watching.
  • A dejected Sheldon seeks advice from Leonard regarding his problems with Amy.
  • Sheldon and Penny look over an item at a jewelry store.
  • Sheldon seeks Penny's help to get a gift for Amy
  • Howard made Sheldon disappear.
  • Penny talks to Sheldon after Amy left their date upset.
  • Amy thinks Sheldon is the most shallow, self-centered person she has ever met.
  • Amy's reaction upon receiving a tiara from Sheldon.
  • Sheldon tells that he still has a Mexican Peso up his nose, a result from a prank on him as a child.
  • Amy hugs Sheldon happily after receiving the tiara.
  • Sheldon's koala face.
  • Bernadette holding some magic equipment.
  • Howard doing a magic trick for the gang.
  • Raj looking at a goldfish jar.
  • Sheldon looking miserable about his situation with Amy.
  • Sheldon's video game character in Red Dead Redemption.
  • Howard doing a magic trick for the kids.
  • Howard playing Donkey Kong Jenga blocks.
  • Amy kisses Sheldon to thank him for the tiara.
  • Penny smiles when she sees Sheldon's koala smile.
  • H&B happy together.
  • Leonard.
  • Shopping for Amy.
  • Howard and Bernadette.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #372.


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