The Big Bang Theory

The Vengeance Formulation

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The Vengeance Formulation
Big Bang Theory episode
Season 3, Episode 9
November 23, 2009
Guest star(s)
Episode guide

"The Adhesive Duck Deficiency"

"The Gorilla Experiment"
Season guide

Season 2

Season 4

"The Vengeance Formulation" is the ninth episode of the third season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on November 23, 2009.

Extended PlotEdit

Howard kissing Bernadette.
Adam hoAdded by Adam ho

Howard and his new girlfriend Bernadette are walking home when she asks him where he sees this relationship heading towards. Howard is stunned and is unable to come up with an answer, so Bernadette tells him to call her when he has an answer. The next day, Sheldon wants to make an announcement, but Kripke interrupted him and announced that Sheldon will be on Science Friday (Radio Segment) with Ira Flatow. Later, Sheldon has printed out his talking points for Science Friday and hands it to Howard for checking because he considers Howard to possess average intelligence. Penny comes in and asks Howard about why he hasn't called Bernadette. Howard explains he doesn't want to settle for her and is holding out for someone hotter. On the day of the Science Friday interview, Kripke plants a hose connected to a helium tank, which he releases into Sheldon's room. Because of the helium, Sheldon's voice becomes higher and squeakier. After some time, he finds the hose and strives to take his revenge. Howard is in the bathtub ready to masturbate with a mental image of Katee Sackhoff. She eventually starts talking about. 

BBT 309 Katte
Howard and Katee Sackhoff.
Adam hoAdded by Adam ho

Bernadette. Sheldon is depressed in bed about being publicly humiliated, but Leonard is able to convince him to take his revenge upon Kripke. Howard has made up his mind about Bernadette; he heads for the Cheesecake Factory to see her, then he proposes to her as he says he will never find anyone else that will like him and is real. But Bernadette rejects him because they have only been on three dates and she believes it is too early. Back at the apartment, Sheldon demonstrates how he will carry out his revenge; by causing a chemical reaction which releases a lot of foam. He then show them a live video of Kripke's office where the foam is about to be released. But, Kripke comes in with the Board of Directors (BOD) of the University, all of them soon became a victim of the foamy trap, on Kripke's computer screen a prerecorded message popped-up telling him and the BOD that it was he, with the help of Leonard and Raj, who was responsible for the mess. Back at the Cheesecake Factory, Howard sings a song for Bernadette asking for a second chance; although Penny thinks it's weird, Bernadette finds it romantic.


  • "There’s a lot of good stuff in this episode. The writing definitely makes Howard seem more real and more interesting. The dynamic with Bernadette works quite well. The idea of her not understanding his jokes is simple and had plenty of comic potential. It also adds to the idea that she could believably fall for him. His desire to be with even hotter women is understandable and does fit his character. Clearly a relationship with Bernadette would offer more interesting stories for now so it’s nice to see the show go in that direction." - The TV Critic's Review
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title reference: Sheldon's revenge against Kripke by dropping a chemical foam from the ceiling in Kripke's lab.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
  • This episode was watched by 14.13 million people with a rating of 4.7 (adults 18-49).
  • This episode aired in Canada on November 23, 2009 with 1.078 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #29. 


  • Prior towards this episode, Howard doesn't know that three dates with the same women is the threshold for sexual intercourse.
  • As Penny undermines Leonard, he says, "Again, I’m right here." This is similar to "The Maternal Congruence", when he tells his mother, "Once again, I’m driving. I’m right here." His mother reasons he needs approval.
  • Sheldon talks on the radio with Ira Flatow.
  • The foam-forming chemical reaction that Sheldon uses to revenge Kripke is a famous experiment known as "Elephant toothpaste". It can be performed premixing concentrated hydrogen peroxide and a liquid detergent (Sheldon uses dish soap), and then mixing the above with a catalyst (Sheldon uses saturated sodium iodide solution) that causes rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. The decomposition produces large amount of oxygen and heat; foams are formed due to the liquid detergent and the released oxygen, while the heat causes prominent expansion of the foams.
  • The song that Howard sings to apologize to Bernadette is following the tune of the song "Bernadette" by the band "Four Tops".


Sheldon: Biologically speaking, Howard is perfectly justified in seeking out the optimum mate for the propagation of his genetic line.

Howard: Thank you, Sheldon.

Sheldon: And whether that propagation is in the interest of humanity is, of course, an entirely different question.

Leonard: You'd have a better shot with the three-breasted Martian hooker from Total Recall.

Howard: Okay, now you're just being unrealistic. Anyway, that movie was, like, 20 years ago. Imagine how saggy those things would be.

Sheldon: (about his appearance on NPR) My mother is very excited. She's convening her Bible study group to listen in and then pray for my soul.

Sheldon: All right. These are the talking points for my NPR interview tomorrow. I need to make sure that they're simple enough for the less educated in the audience to understand. Howard, look this over and tell me what's unclear to you.

Howard: Excuse me, I have a master's degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It required the completion of 144 units of grad work and an original thesis.

Sheldon: Yes. Look this over and tell me what's unclear to you.

(entering Sheldon and Leonard's apartment)

Howard: Greetings, homies, homette.

Penny: Why are you back from your date so early?

Howard: In romance, as in show business, always leave them wanting more.

Penny: What exactly does that mean?

Leonard: He struck out.

Sheldon: What are you talking about?

Leonard: The cultural paradigm in which people have sex after three dates.

Sheldon: I see, now are we talking about date, the social interaction, or date, the dried fruit?

(Sheldon lies on his bed, humiliated)

Leonard: Are you willing to admit defeat?

Sheldon: I never admit defeat.

Leonard: Good.

Sheldon: However, on an unrelated topic, I'm never getting out of this bed again.

(Sheldon is sitting in his office ready to be interviewed via speaker phone by Ira Flatow. Meanwhile, Kripke is in the next room feeding a small hose connected to a helium tank through a hole into Sheldon's office)

Ira Flatow: (Over the radio) This is Ira Flatow and you're listening to NPR's "Science Friday". Joining us today by phone from his office in Pasadena, California is Dr Sheldon Cooper.

(Kripke proceeds to release helium from the gas tank)

Kripke: Oh, this is gonna be a riot.

(Cut to Sheldon's office)

Ira Flatow: (Through speaker phone) Thanks for being with us today, Dr Cooper.

Sheldon: My pleasure, Ira.

Ira Flatow: Now, let's talk about magnetic monopoles. Can you explain to our audience just what a monopole is?

Sheldon: Of course. First, consider an ordinary magnet which has, as even the most uneducated...

(Sheldon's voice gradually increases in pitch)

Sheldon: your audience must know, two poles...

(Sheldon clears his throat, his voice is still increasing in pitch)

Sheldon: ...a north and south pole. If you cut that in half, you have two smaller magnets, each with it's own north and south pole.

Ira Flatow: Dr Cooper, I think there might be something wrong with our connection.

Sheldon: No, I hear you fine. As I was saying, an ordinary magnet has two poles. The primary characteristic of a monopole is that it has only one pole, hence, "monopole".

(Cut to cafeteria where Kripke is holding a radio, Leonard, Howard, Raj and others are listening and laughing)

Sheldon: (Over the radio and still high pitched) A requirement for string theory, or M-theory if you will, is the existence of such monopoles. I myself led and expedition to the Arctic Circle in search of said particles. KRIPKE, I FOUND THE NOZZLE. I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!


Howard: I'm taking a bath!


Howard: Don't remind me!


The Big Bang Theory - Sweet Bernadette Song(01:26)
Howard singing the Sweet Bernadette Song.
Adam hoAdded by Adam ho


  • Apologizing to Bernadette.
  • First time he proposes.
  • Revenge is planned.
  • Howard kissing Bernadette.
  • Discussing their relationship.
  • Howard's fantasy.
  • Katie.
  • Singing at the Cheesecake Factory.
  • Howard.
  • Elephant toothpaste.
  • Sheldon gloating over his prank.
  • Get some vengeance.
  • Kripke's lab is dunked.
  • Howard and Katie.
  • Bernadette and Howard.
  • Bernadette and Howard.
  • Sheldon's webcam view of Kripke's Lab.
  • Chuck Lorre Productions, #269
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