The Big Bang Theory

The Vacation Solution

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The Vacation Solution
Sheldon getting ready to work in Amy's lab
Sheldon is spending his vacation working with Amy.
The 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 Thursday, 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.

Sheldon and Amy move on to other work

Working with Amy.

To get kids excited about science, Sheldon invents Physics Mad-Libs which are very funny to him since they sound ridiculous to a scientist, but as usual misses the point on how the rest of the world sees it. President Siebert comes by in a bad mood looking for Sheldon. Sheldon has to take his required vacation even though Sheldon doesn't see the need for them. Siebert tells him to take a trip and suggests Afghanistan.

The next day, Leonard enjoys the Sheldon-free ride to work where he can listen to music until he finds him hiding in the back seat almost causing an automobile accident. Leonard drives him right back home.

Penny and Amy gave Bernadette a hand with her wedding invitations. Penny was glad that they weren't in Klingon though Howard managed to get it printed on the back. Bernadette hopes her relatives think it's Hebrew. Her father is pressuring her to have Howard sign a prenuptial agreement since she makes more money than him. Amy had the same problem with her mother forcing her to shave her legs which she let her do last year. Penny tells her to break the news to him in bed. Bernadette doesn't want to manipulate him, but Penny chuckles that that is was sex is for. Talking about the wife’s dowry in earlier times, Amy believes that Bernadette would easily go for two oxen and a goose while Penny would fetch a unicorn.

They try to come up with a vacation idea for the finicky Sheldon. Hawaii? A former leper colony built on a volcano where the disappointing ending to "Lost" was filmed. Florida? Sheldon once went there and got his hot dog taken by a seagull. Richard Feynman, a brilliant physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, once took his vacation in a biology lab. Bingo, so does Amy.

In the hallway, Penny tells Leonard about Bernadette needing a pre-nup. Then Penny asks Leonard if he would sign one if she became a famous actress. Absolutely not. If he’s at home with the kids while she’s on location cheating on him with Ryan Gosling, Leonard gets paid.

Sheldon is excited to be working in Amy's lab, and Amy's glad to have her boyfriend with her since its romantic. Amy thinks of it like Marie Curie and her husband working together under the glow of the radium that eventually killed her. Sheldon's first assignment is to clean some beakers for her which Sheldon thinks is beneath him. Amy explains that he has no experience in biology.

Leonard talks to Raj about breaking the news about the pre-nup to Howard. Howard is sort of cool with it he has his Vespa, some vintage comics, and the double-plot at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery. The plot is next to the guy who played Mr. Roper on "Three's Company". Raj gasps, “Mr. Roper's dead?”

Sheldon cleans the beakers, only they have soap spots and has to do them over again. His next task of counting spores seemed much more up his alley though Amy makes him lose count. Finally he asks for a challenge and has to cut the hair-thin locus coeruleus from a brain sample. He cuts his thumb instead and faints. Amy remarks, “Sure, you're a biologist.”

Howard and Sheldon go to drown their sorrows at the Cheesecake Factory bar, which Penny is manning. Penny asks them what they're doing there in the middle of the day, which they claim they have no particular reason for. She informs them that their girls text her about pretty much everything that happens to them and therefore is completely aware of both their situations, and they quickly confess. She decides to set both of them straight. “All right, Howard Wolowitz. Listen up. You will sign anything she puts in front of you because you are the luckiest man alive. If you let her go, there is no way you'll find anyone else. Speaking on behalf of all women, it's not going to happen. We had a meeting.” Turning to Sheldon, “And you fainted at the sight of a little blood, haha!” Sheldon shows her his substantial wound and faints again.

Sheldon apologizes to Amy and still has to finish cleaning the beakers.

Howard decides he would talk to Bernadette's dad. Although she did warn him he was a retired police officer who still wore a gun and avoid topics like Jimmy Carter, gardeners, homosexuals, foreigners, Sean Penn, Vatican II, the designated hitter rule, organic food, or that he's Jewish. Then Howard changes his mind and that he’ll call him from the International Space Station.


  • 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 the United Kingdom, 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]
  • Episode transcript [1]

Costume NotesEdit



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.

Leonard: What the hell are you doing?
Sheldon: Bleeding from my ears.
Leonard: What are you doing hiding back there?
Sheldon: I’m sneaking into work. Now, if the guard at the university asks what’s under the blanket, you tell him it’s some lobster traps.
Leonard: Lobster traps?
Sheldon: Yes. That’s how Velma and Scooby smuggled Shaggy into the old lighthouse.
Leonard: What are you going to do when you get to the university? People are going to recognize you.
Sheldon: Will they, Leonard? (Puts on cap and long-hair wig)
Leonard: Fine. Just get back under your blanket, and I’ll drive you there.
Sheldon: And no more singing.
Leonard: Fine.
Sheldon: I have GPS on my phone. I know you turned around.



  • 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 colonies.
  • Sheldon cleaning glassware.
  • Amy talking to Sheldon.
  • Sheldon annoying Amy.
  • The girls working on the wedding invitations. The back is written in Klingon.
  • The Caltech cafeteria.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #377.

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