The Big Bang Theory

The Transporter Malfunction

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The Transporter Malfunction
The Transporter Malfunction - Sheldon, Leonard and Penny
Big Bang Theory episode
Season 5, Episode 20
March 29, 2012
Guest star(s)
Episode guide

"The Weekend Vortex"

"The Hawking Excitation"
Season guide

Season 4

Season 6

"The Transporter Malfunction" is the twentieth episode of the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on March 29, 2012.[1]


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.

Extended PlotEdit

Sheldon and Gorn
Gorn in Sheldon's Dream.
Little Spock.
AskeuhdAdded by Askeuhd

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 and thus will never sell it, Sheldon's guilty conscience forces him 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."

The cast and the man!
Jim and leonard nimoy
Jim Parsons and Leonard Nimoy.
Ms ChelseaAdded by Ms Chelsea

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 'metrosexual my ass'.


  • The TV Critic: "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."[2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode an A[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • 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 with a rating of 4.7 (adults 18-49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on March 8, 2012 with 3.388 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.[5]
  • In Australia, it aired on March 8, 2012 with 1.506 million viewers.[6]


Vintage Mr. Spock Action Figure by Mego 1975-1977, 1979
Vintage Mr. Spock action figure by Mego.


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.

Penny: Ta-da!
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.
Sheldon: Spock?
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'.

Penny: What is the truth?
Sheldon: My Mr. Spock doll came to me in a dream and forced me to open it. And when the toy broke I switched it for yours. Later he encouraged me to do the right thing and I defied him. And then I was attacked by a Gorn.
Leonard: Okay, that I believe.

Spock: Fine. I will just use the teleporter. Oh, right. You broke it.



  • Sheldon and Leonard with their Star Trek transporters.
  • Penny buys Sheldon and Leonard vintage Star Trek transporters.
  • Sheldon and Leonard fighting over the transporter Penny bought them.
  • Sheldon doing Spock's signature hand gesture.
  • Raj, Sheldon, Leonard, and Howard talking over dinner.
  • Howard, Bernadette, and Raj at Raj's apartment.
  • Raj and Lakshmi on their date.
  • Raj and Howard at work.
  • Kaley Cuoco with Leonard Nimoy (Behind the scenes).
  • Behind the scenes: Jim Parsons who plays Sheldon with Leonard Nimoy who voices Spock.
  • (front row) Melissa Rauch, Johnny Galecki, Leonard Nimoy and Jim Parsons, (back row) Kunal Nayyar, Simon Helberg and Kaley Cuoco (Behind the Scenes).
  • Penny is excited as she gives Leonard his label maker.
  • Sheldon looks at his Spock figurine.
  • Sheldon working on Quantum Physics on his white board.
  • Leonard working on his laptop, as Sheldon works on Quantum Physics.
  • Sheldon's dream, where Spock is communicating with him.
  • Sheldon experiences Gorn-infested REM sleep again.
  • The Spock figurine.
  • Leonard wonders where his gift is, while Sheldon examines his.
  • Penny is proud of the fact that she gave two guys asthma attacks.
  • Penny hopes for a rare 'Sheldon Cooper hug'.
  • Sheldon's way of saying "thank you".
  • Sheldon's dream, where his guilt is haunting him.
  • Lalshmi Choudry having dinner with Raj.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #382


  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Transporter Malfunction (TV Episode 2012) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. The Big Bang Theory: “The Transporter Malfunction” - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  4. Thursday Final Ratings: 'American Idol',"The Big Bang Theory', 'Missing' and 'Vampire Diaries' Adjusted Up, 'Rules' and 'Touch' Adjusted Down - Zap2it
  5. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) March 26 – April 1, 2012 - BBM Canada
  6. Tuesday 24 April 2012 - TV Tonight
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