|The Terminator Decoupling|
Season 2, Episode 17
March 9, 2009
"The Cushion Saturation"
"The Work Song Nanocluster"
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While the guys go to San Francisco to a conference via train, they share their car with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Terminator actress Summer Glau whom everyone tries to hit on. Sheldon must rely on Penny back in their apartment to download and email him a research paper he forgot.
A train trip to a conference in San Francisco takes a major detour when Leonard, Sheldon, Wolowitz, and Raj discover that their favorite sci-fi actress, Summer Glau, is on board. But the fanboy frenzy quickly gives way to a heated mass debate when they realize one of them will have to approach her. They took the train because the vote was 3 to 1 for flying, with Sheldon the one vote for the train. While Howard tries to think of a clever opening line for Summer Glau, Raj starts talking to her after drinking what he later discovered was non-alcoholic beer. When he discovers this, of course, he quits talking. Wolowitz then takes over and creeps Summer Glau out. Leonard eventually gets his chance, but Summer Glau gets off the train before he can introduce himself.
In a subplot, Sheldon needs Penny to find his flash drive so she can email him a paper he wants to show to Dr. George Smoot (guest-starring as himself) in San Francisco. Leonard asks Sheldon why he can't just e-mail the paper when he returns, and Sheldon replies that he "wants to see Smoot's face light up when he reads it." Sheldon initially responds with hostility to Leonard's suggestion that Penny should retrieve the flash drive, reminding Leonard that "No one goes into my room". Sheldon relents, however, and spends most of the episode giving Penny meticulous instructions as to how to enter his room (of course, stipulating that he is granting her access for this one time only). She also finds letters from Sheldon's grandmother and learns that she calls him Moonpie. The instructions lead to a Japanese puzzle box containing the flash drive. Sheldon attempts to give Penny instructions as how to open the box, but she instead puts it on the floor and smashes it open with her foot. After all of this effort, George Smoot is not impressed with Sheldon's paper or his proposal that they work together, asking him "With all due respect, Dr. Cooper, are you on crack?" Sheldon then calls him a diva after Smoot has left.
Penny: [going through a box to find Sheldon's USB] Okay, I've got a box, but there's no key in here. Just letters.
Sheldon: [edgy] That's the wrong box. Put it back.
Penny: Oh, Sheldon, are these letters from your grandmother?
Sheldon: Don't read those letters!
Penny: Oh look! She calls you Moon Pie! That is so cute!
Sheldon: PUT DOWN THE LETTERS!
- Title Reference: Howard and Raj trying to talk with Summer Glau, who played the "Terminator".
- This episode was watched by 9.46 million people.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card 
- Reception: On the night of its first broadcast on March 9, 2009, the episode was watched by 9.46 million households, according to Nielsen ratings. The episode received a 3.6 rating/10 share among viewers aged between 18 and 49, and a 2.4 rating/8 share among viewers between 18 and 34.
- The episode received modestly positive reviews. Noel Murray of The A.V. Club praised the writers for evenly including all the main characters in the episode. IGN's James Chamberlain found Glau's acting lacking emotion, remarking "it felt as though Cameron were on the show and not Summer". Alan Sepinwall from The Star-Ledger also remarked this episode as a balanced one for the cast ensemble.
- When Sheldon initially calls Penny, she is talking to one of her friends about being in an upcoming play, which is her opportunity to portray Anne Frank. This is an in-joke referring to the fact that, when Kaley Cuoco was a cast member on 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter, her character also played the role of Anne Frank in a high-school drama production.
- George Smoot had written to the producers of the show and requested to be featured on the series. Smoot, who received Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 , is an admitted fan of the series. The scene involving Smoot was shot at the Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California on February 18, 2009.
- Summer Glau also appeared as herself in the episode. Summer Glau is part of the cast of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" which along with The Big Bang Theory is produced by Warner Bros. Television. Bill Prady, one of the creators of The Big Bang Theory, presented the script of the episode to Josh Friedman, creator of "Terminator: The Sarah Conor Chronicles" with the plan of casting Summer Glau as herself. [Friedman, impressed with the story, suggested it to Summer Glau.
- This episode reveals that Raj doesn't need to be drunk to talk to women, but at least think he is drunk.
- Before Penny opens Sheldon's Japanese puzzle box (a novelty he ordered on the internet) to retrieve his flash drive, the Dover Publications text Atomic Physics by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Born is visible in Sheldon's room amid a stack of books on his dresser.
"A nice plug for the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles provides the guys with an enjoyable new setting to deliver the same old jokes." - The TV Critic's Review
- ↑ Murray, Noel (2009-03-09). "The Terminator Decoupling". The A.V. Club . Onion Inc.
- ↑ Chamberlain, James (2009-03-10). "The Big Bang Theory: "The Terminator Decoupling" Review". IGN.com . IGN Entertainment Inc.
- ↑ Sepinwall, Alan (2009-03-10). "Big Bang Theory, "The Terminator Decoupling": Summer time blues". The Star-Ledger. NJ.com
- ↑ Lee, Ruby Elizabeth (2009-03-16). "Berkeley Professor Makes a ‘Big Bang’ on TV Sitcom". The Daily Clog.
- ↑ Walker, Dave (2009-03-09). "CBS' 'Big Bang Theory' is one of TV's few comedy bright spots". The Times-Picayune. Nola.com.
- ↑ Sanders, Robert (2009-02-23). "Cosmologist George Smoot meets TV's 'Big Bang' nerds". University of California Berkley.
- ↑ Fienberg, Daniel (2009-03-01). "Summer Glau talks 'Big Bang Theory'". Hitflix.