The Big Bang Theory

The Vacation Solution

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The Vacation Solution
Sheldon getting ready to work in Amy's lab
Big Bang Theory episode
Season 5, Episode 16
February 9, 2012
Guest star(s)
Episode guide

"The Friendship Contraction"

"The Rothman Disintegration"
Season guide

Season 4

Season 6

"The Vacation Solution" is the sixteenth episode of the fifth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang TheoryThis episode first aired on February 9, 2012.[1]


When Sheldon has to take a vacation, he ends up testing his relationship with Amy when he goes to work in her lab. Howard is being forced to sign a pre-nuptial agreement by Bernadette's father.

Extended PlotEdit

Sheldon goes back to Amy's lab
Sheldon returns to apologize.
ChaniqueAdded by Chanique
Sheldon and Amy move on to other work
Working with Amy.
ChaniqueAdded by Chanique

Sheldon is forced to take a vacation by the university president. After a failed attempt at sneaking into work with Leonard, Sheldon takes a cue from Richard Feynman and dabbles in biology at Amy's lab. She has him clean laboratory glassware and count growth cultures in Petri dishes. He fails at both tasks, yet insists that he can do more meaningful work. When Amy lets him try to dissect a brain she is working on, he is unable to and faints after cutting his thumb with the scalpel.

Meanwhile, Howard hears through the grapevine that Bernadette's father wants him to sign a pre-nuptial agreement. He's reluctant and tells her that he'll talk to her father himself. When Bernadette explains her father still carries his police revolver, he decides to put off the discussion until after he's up on the International Space Station.

At The Cheesecake Factory, Penny sets both Howard and Sheldon straight. She tells Howard how lucky he is to have Bernadette and he should sign anything put in front of him because he will never find anyone as good as her. Sheldon gets scolded for fainting at the sight of a little blood, and he eventually goes back to apologize to Amy.


  • The TV Critic: "In terms of story I didn't think much was done to flesh out Sheldon's arrogance. We know that he thinks he is a genius but he should have enough logic to know some basic facts. Of course he wouldn't be able to dissect a brain without first studying what each tiny part of it was called or practicing with easier tasks first...This was a flat episode which continued themes we've seen many times before." [2]
  • The A.V. Club gave this episode an A[3]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: The title is derived from the solution to Sheldon's dilemma of where to have his forced vacation, and his solution is working with Amy at her laboratory.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
  • This episode was watched by 16.21 million people with a rating of 5.6 (adults 18-49).[4]
  • This episode aired in Canada on February 20, 2012 with 3.216 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #2.[5]
  • In England, this episode aired on February 20, 2012 with 2.28 million total viewers and a weekly ranking of #2.[6]
  • In Australia, it aired on February 20, 2012 with 1.344 million viewers.[7]



Sheldon: They tried to make Richard Feynman take a vacation, but he chose instead to expand his mind and learn something new. He went to work in his friend's biology lab. (aside to Howard) Richard Feynman was a famous American physicist — part of the Manhattan Project.
Howard: Everyone in the world of science knows who Richard Feynman was.
Sheldon: Now you do, too.

Howard: Isn't that just Feynman's idea?
Sheldon: Ten seconds ago you never heard of him - now you're an expert.

Raj: Mr. Roper is dead? You can't just spring that on a guy!

Sheldon: (Carrying a tray of beakers) Here you go! This is now the only lab with glassware washed by a man with two doctorates and a restraining order signed by Carl Sagan.
Amy: (Inspects a beaker) Soap spots! Wash 'em again.
Sheldon: You're being ridiculous! Those are perfectly clean.
Amy: (Picks up a large beaker) Sheldon, this beaker used to contain cerebral spinal fluid from an elephant that died of syphilis. If it's, in fact, perfectly clean, (holds it out to him) drink from it.
Sheldon: (Long pause, then picks up the tray of beakers again) Biologists are mean.

Penny: Ha ha, you cut your thumb and fainted!

Sheldon: What do we start with? Slicing some genes? Clone a sheep? Perhaps grow a human ear on a mouse's back? Haha, I'm a freak! (laughs)

Amy: I'm excited to work with my boyfriend, it's gonna be romantic.
Sheldon: Way to kill the mood.

Amy: Are we nervous, Dr. Cooper?
Sheldon: No. What you see is a man trembling with confidence... Does the locus coeruleus usually bleed that much?
Amy: No, but your thumb does.
Sheldon: Oh dear! (faints)
Amy: Yeah, YOU'RE a biologist. (goes for first-aid kit on the wall)

Sheldon: I have plenty of experience in biology. I bought a Tamagotchi in 1998... And.... it's still alive.

Sheldon: Excuse me, but you have Doctor Cooper in your lab! Are you gonna make him do the dishes? That's like asking The Incredible Hulk to open a pickle jar.

Raj: No 'Hi, Raj!', no 'How are you, Raj?', just straight to 'Where's the other white guy?'?

Penny: I’m so glad you talked Howard out of having your wedding invitations in Klingon.
Bernadette: Turn it over. I’m hoping my relatives think it’s Hebrew.

Sheldon: Mahalo for nothing, Hawaii.



  • Eating take-out (take-away) food.
  • Leonard singing in the car.
  • Leonard meets Penny on the way to do her laundry.
  • President Siebert telling Sheldon to take a vacation.
  • Sheldon at Amy's lab.
  • Amy working with Sheldon.
  • Sheldon at Amy's lab.
  • Sheldon at Amy's lab.
  • Sheldon apologizing to Amy.
  • Sheldon hiding in Leonard's car to get into work.
  • Having lunch in the cafeteria.
  • Sheldon counting cultures.
  • Sheldon cleaning glassware.
  • Amy talking to Sheldon.
  • Sheldon annoying Amy.
  • The girls working on the wedding invitations. The back is in Klingon.
  • The Caltech cafeteria.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #377


  1. The Big Bang Theory - The Vacation Solution (TV Episode 2012) - IMDb
  2. The TV Critic's Review
  3. The Big Bang Theory: “The Vacation Solution” - TV Club - The A.V. Club
  4. Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory,' 'American Idol,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'The Mentalist,' 'Vampire Diaries' Adjusted Up; 'Rob,' 'Private Practice,' 'The Finder,' 'Up All Night' Adjusted Down - Zap2it
  5. Top Programs – Total Canada (English) February 6 - February 12, 2012 - BBM Canada
  6. BARB via Wikipedia
  7. Monday 27 February 2012 TV Tonight
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