|The Transporter Malfunction|
Season 5, Episode 20
March 29, 2012
"The Weekend Vortex"
"The Hawking Excitation"
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Penny buys Sheldon and Leonard vintage collectible Star Trek transporter toys, but Sheldon accidentally breaks his when he tries to play with it. When he switches his with Leonard's, his conscience, in the form of his Spock action figure (voice of Leonard Nimoy), starts to get the better of him.
After Sheldon complains about Penny's constant mooching, she buys Leonard and Sheldon each a mint-condition vintage 1975 Star Trek transporter toy. She is disappointed when they both refuse to take them out of their boxes since they both wanted to preserve the toy's value. Sheldon has a dream that his Spock figure tells him that it is illogical to not use a toy that is meant to be played with. Sheldon opens his transporter and, while playing with it, it breaks. Changing his broken one for Leonard's, he figures Leonard will never find out since he doesn't plan to open his. Later, Sheldon has a nightmare where his Spock chastises him for switching the two toys. When Leonard decides to play with his toy, since it was a present from his girlfriend Penny, Sheldon is forced to confess that he broke it and returns Leonard's transporter. He has trouble explaining himself telling several stories each ending with "That's a lie."
Howard and Bernadette push Raj to send back his RSVP which he has not done due to him not having a date yet to the wedding. Desperate, Raj tells his parents to set him up with someone. He seems to hit it off with his prospective bride until he found out that she is gay. Thinking he is also gay, she is willing to enter into a lavender marriage (but which would really be a mixed-orientation marriage) to take the pressure off both of them to wed. To cheer him up, Howard and Bernadette buy him a female Yorkie puppy. Raj then comments if the puppy will fit in his 'man purse' which Bernadette comments 'heterosexual my ass'.
"The Sheldon story was a simple old-fashioned morality play with the voice of Leonard Nimoy present to spice things up. At times it felt a bit slow but overall I think it worked nicely. As usual Sheldon was fun to watch as he went through the stages of excitement, regret and guilt... On the surface these are two very simple moral conundrums with gentle comedy all round. However one of them hints at depth that the show may not have intended." The TV Critic's Review
- Title Reference: The title is derived from Sheldon playing with and accidentally breaking his vintage Star Trek transporter toy given to him by Penny.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card
- This episode was watched by 13.96 million people for a 4.7 rating.
Sheldon: Quantum physics makes me so happy.
Leonard: Yeah, I'm glad.
Sheldon: It's like looking at the universe naked.
Sheldon: I thought where you come from they don't have emotions.
Spock: I come from a factory in Taiwan.
Sheldon: (Gasps) A vintage, mint-in-box, 1975, Mego Star Trek Transporter, with real transporter action. Hot darn!
Leonard: Where did you get that?
Penny: That's from Stuart at the comic book store.
Leonard: You went to the comic book store by yourself?
Penny: Yeah! It was fun. I walked in and two different guys got asthma attacks. Felt pretty good.
Sheldon: This calls for an expression of gratitude.
Penny: Ooh, am I about to get a rare Sheldon Cooper hug?
Sheldon: No, not this time, then it wouldn't be special. (makes a finger-gun gesture and clicks his tongue) Thanks, Penny!
Penny: You're welcome. (to Leonard) Don't worry, I didn't forget about you. Leonard, I got you... (takes something out from her shopping bag) a label maker!
Leonard: (looks stunned) Wow...oh, it's great. Also... in mint-in-box.
Penny: (takes something from her shopping bag) And I got you a transporter too!
Leonard: (throws away the label maker) Awesome!
Spock: Dr. Cooper! Dr. Cooper!
Sheldon: (looks around) Is someone there?
Spock: Down here, on your desk.
Spock: I need to speak with you.
Sheldon: Fascinating! The only logical explanation is that, this is a dream.
Spock: It is not the only logical explanation. For example, you could be hallucinating after being hit on the head by say, a coconut.
Sheldon: Was I hit on the head by a coconut?
Spock: I'm not going to dignify that with a response. Now, to the matter at hand, you need to play with the transporter toy.
Sheldon: Yes, but it's mint-in-box.
Spock: Yes, and to open it would destroy its value. But remember like me, you also have a human-half.
Sheldon: Well I'm not going to dignify that with a response.
Spock: Consider this. What is the purpose of a toy?
Sheldon: To be played with.
Spock: Therefore, to not play with it would be?
Sheldon: Illogical. Oh, dammit Spock you're right! I'll do it!
Spock: Sheldon, wait. You have to wake up first.
Sheldon: Oh, of course. Set phasers to dumb, right?
Penny: Oh my God, I love this chicken!
Sheldon: You know what they say, 'Best things in life are free'.
- Leonard Nimoy makes his guest star debut on this episode. Nimoy joins the extensive list of other Star Trek actors who have guest-starred on the show: LeVar Burton, Wil Wheaton, George Takei, and Brent Spiner. According to the producers, they had been attempting to get him to do a guest spot for years, but had been unsuccessful due to his having mostly retired from acting. This would also likely explain why he only did a voice-over, rather than appear on-screen (not to mention the fact that, in the continuity of the show, Nimoy had filed a restraining order against Sheldon, as revealed in "The Excelsior Acquisition").
- The vintage Spock action figure is by Mego (1975-7,9), as is the transporter room.
- This is the second episode to prominently feature action figures, with the first being "The Nerdvana Annihilation".
- This is the second time guilt causes "Gorn-infested REM sleep" for Sheldon, the first instance being in "The Apology Insufficiency".
- The third direct accusation of Penny eating Sheldon and Leonard's food occurs in this episode, following "The Financial Permeability" (Raj implies she uses her body to get dinner) and "The Vegas Renormalization" (Sheldon says she is "the milk thief"). Indirect statements were made in "The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition", where Alicia says Penny lets the guys do stuff for her, and in "The Thespian Catalyst", wherein she is referred to as a "freeloader". Notably, she also uses their Wi-Fi, as revealed in "The Panty Piñata Polarization", "The Roommate Transmogrification", and "The Thespian Catalyst".
- Amy did not appear in this episode because the actress who plays her, Mayim Bialik, was away to promote her new book, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way.
- Raj's parents, Dr. V.M. Koothrappali and Mrs. Koothrappali, appeared via Skype in this episode. They were last seen in "The Wiggly Finger Catalyst". In "The Herb Garden Germination", Mrs. Koothrappali says, "We're very rich in a very poor country. So, all in all, can't complain." She similarly states that there is nothing to complain about in this episode.
- Lakshmi was mentioned in "The Guitarist Amplification" in the context of a date for Raj at his cousin Sanjay's wedding. Mrs. Koothrappali: "Sheldon, ask our son what we're supposed to say to Mr. and Mrs. Choudhry, whose daughter, Lakshmi is flying in from London for the sole purpose of meeting him." Mr. Koothrappali: "Yes, Lakshmi just got her stomach stapled. You have an opportunity to get in good with her before she loses weight and her self-esteem goes up.")
- Raj is given a Yorkshire Terrier ("Yorkie") puppy by Howard and Bernadette. Interestingly, Bernadette shows no signs of discomfort when she pulls the puppy out of her bag and hands it to Raj, despite the fact that she claims to not like puppies as she had been bitten in the face by one in the past (as revealed in "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary", when Howard asks where she stands on puppies on their first date).
- One of the rock formations in the background of Sheldon's second dream sequence looks very similar to the Guardian of Forever from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". This was very likely intentional, given this episode's Star Trek theme.
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