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Raj wants to have a weekend marathon playing the new Star Wars online game like they used to before everybody got girlfriends. Sheldon is very excited except Amy informed him he already agreed to attend her aunt's 93rd birthday party at her nursing home, even following the Relationship Agreement of 72 hours notice, checking the tire pressure on her car, and calling the CDC to see what kind of inoculations are required for Orange County. (There aren't any). Sheldon reluctantly agrees.
Sheldon tries to find Amy's aunt a gift at the comic book store. Stuart can only suggest an Excalibur sword as a cane or a Batman utility belt to carry pills. Howard thinks Sheldon should just ignore Amy and join them.
He's a grown-up, he should be able to have a sleepover and play video games all weekend if he wants. Sheldon laments, "I always thought I would be enslaved by some advanced species from another planet, not by some hotsy-totsy from Glendale." Howard pulls out his phone and reveals something he feels is perfect for the moment: a "whipped" sound app.
Leonard checks with Penny and she was fine with it. He thought she’d have another reaction so using her acting she humors him telling him that he is stallion that has to run free. Sheldon came by and asked her to manipulate Amy into understanding why he wasn't going to the birthday party, Penny wasn't going to do it despite a bribe using either Gummy bears or “Cooper Coupons”.
On Saturday morning Sheldon gets into Amy’s car determined to come, but using his laptop and wifi connection to play off site. Amy doesn't want him ignoring her relatives and mistakenly tells him (in a sarcastic tone), if his gaming means more to him, he might as well stay. He then thanks her and leaves, though not before asking her to bring back a piece of birthday cake.
In the apartment, the guys prepare for their gaming session. Howard reveals that he mentioned his weekend plans to Bernadette in passing and she thought that it sounded like fun. When he explained it was just going to be with the guys, she then insinuated that he doesn't want to have her there or spend the time with her. To disprove it, he ended up knuckling under and inviting her to join them, buying her a laptop and a copy of the game. Sheldon asks Leonard if the whipped sound app, which he's downloaded, is contextually appropriate for the situation. Leonard answers that it is, but believes Sheldon waited too long for it to be funny; Sheldon tries it anyway and Leonard admits he was wrong while laughing.
After Amy returns from the party, she ends up at Penny’s telling her sad story. Amy was given crap about her lack of a boyfriend throughout the party. They thought he wasn't real like her made-up boyfriend Arman, the miniature horse breeder. She just wanted to show off Sheldon. Amy mused, “Think about it, I'm dating Sheldon Cooper. He's handsome, he's lanky, he's brilliant, and his skin has that pale, waxy quality.” Penny agreed that sickly is the new sexy. If one is in a relationship, it leaves you open to getting hurt. Penny thinks that it is hilarious that Leonard would ever hurt her.
Bernadette is really enjoying the game killing bad guys by pointing her finger at them and going "pew! pew! pew!" and shouting "whee!" to make the land speeder go. Very cute, but somewhat annoying for the guys. After clearing a group of enemies, they divide the loot and Bernadette gets a purple robe she likes: she convinces Howard to change into a matching robe, even though he worked hard for his current, better armor. Sheldon uses the whipped app on Howard to the other guys' amusement and Bernadette clearly doesn't mind.
Penny suggests she and Amy play quarters, but then they have to stop before Penny gets really drunk because Amy is really good at it. Then Penny tries to help Amy with her problem. Withholding sex will only work with Sheldon once he hits puberty, and the "silent treatment" doesn't work because Sheldon actually loves the quiet. Plan C: make a scene.
Raj reminds Bernadette that she's the team healer and is responsible for healing all of them, not just concentrating on her fiancée, ("My Howie Wowie has an owie."). Sheldon comments on how sickeningly sweet that is, like how he's using a Red Vine as a straw for his Kool-Aid. Penny and Amy interrupts, Amy threatening to leave Sheldon for Arman. Sheldon asks "Arman who?" throwing off her tirade. Penny takes over telling Sheldon how much he hurt Amy. Sheldon understand and concedes that calling him her boyfriend isn't enough if she can't lord it over others. He gives her some Cooper Coupons as restitution. Penny tells him that she doesn't want his stupid coupons, though Amy immediately redeems that one for a trip to the California Science Center. Leonard reveals he also has the whipped app on his phone: Sheldon tells him to grow up. Raj then complains that he was very much looking forward to this weekend. It was going to be just like the old days. The four of them, hanging out, playing video games, before everybody got girlfriends. Even if he gets one someday, he'll still be the guy who got a girlfriend AFTER SHELDON COOPER! Penny then tells Amy that that's how a girl makes a scene. Penny apologizes to Raj and all the girls leave. Amy is going to hold Penny’s hair as she throws up.
The next day while everyone is asleep, Howard's mother stops by and screams at him for turning off his phone and making her spend a half-hour walking up those ferkakta stairs. Howard tells them that his ride is there and immediately prepares to leave. Sheldon fits in one last "whipped" before the credits roll.
- Guest starring:
- Teleplay: Steven Molaro, Eric Kaplan & Steve Holland
- Story: Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady & Tara Hernandez
- The TV Critic: "This was very simple and perfectly watchable. It would be harder to find a more believable plot than four geeks wanting to play video games. It was especially pleasant to see Sheldon excited by someone else's plan for once...Sheldon didn't really learn his lesson but maybe he took a step toward understanding Amy's position. Otherwise this was pretty basic."
- The A.V. Club gave this episode an A-
- IMDb user reviews
- Title Reference: The title is derived from the conflict Sheldon faces regarding how to spend his weekend, since he wants to join the Star Wars online game marathon with the guys yet he had promised Amy that he would attend her aunt's birthday party and meet her family, causing a vortex-like tension.
- Chuck Lorre's vanity card.
- This episode was watched by 15.04 million people with a rating of 5.1 (adults 18-49).
- This episode aired in Canada on March 8, 2012 with 3.648 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.
- In Australia, it aired on March 8, 2012 with 1.311 million viewers.
- Episode transcript 
- Sheldon wears his Flash distressed logo on black t-shirt.
- Penny wears a red button-down shirt with two pockets that at one time was available at Target but is no longer available.
- First episode to air after the show's mini-hiatus. The previous episode, "The Werewolf Transformation" (S5E18) aired on February 23, 2012.
- The poster behind Stuart in the comic book store is the poster for the game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
- The online game referenced in this episode is Star Wars: The Old Republic. (See this article.)
- Bernadette's character class can be determined. Sheldon informs the players, "the game offers us a choice between playing for the Republic and the light side, or the Sith Empire and the dark side." Leonard declares, "Well, we’re always the good guys." Among the group, Bernadette is the healer. Further, the purple robes worn by her character are the same as those worn by the Master of Questions in the Noetikon of Secrets during the "Shadows" mission on Coruscant (refer to time index 20:52 in this video and compare to this image). Thus, she is a Jedi Consular.
- Leonard declares they play as "the good guys." Yet, in "The Zazzy Substitution" (S4E3), Sheldon said, "Oh, I never identified with the Rebel Alliance. Despite their tendency to build Death Stars, I’ve always been more of an Empire man."
- Penny doesn't see any difference between Star Trek and Star Wars, despite knowing that the guys get mad when the two are mixed up. She will invariably guess Star Wars for anything, as seen in "The Vegas Renormalization" (S2E21), "The Bozeman Reaction" (S3E13), and "The Excelsior Acquisition' (S3E16). Yet, she quoted Yoda from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in "The Wheaton Recurrence" (S3E19). Also, Penny has mentioned, "in Star Trek, when you’re in battle and you raise the shields" in "The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition" (S2E19) and "The Love Car Displacement" (S4E13), recalled a scene from the 2009 Star Trek film in "The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation" (S3E1), and knew Kirk cheated in "The Apology Insufficiency" (S4E7).
- Howard has a print of Darth Maul that originally appeared in The Art of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
- A few years ago, the boys had a World of Warcraft party and the neighbors called the cops on them because of the smell and they thought they were dead.
- In "The Russian Rocket Reaction" (S5E5), Leonard asks Sheldon, "Well, they don’t have an Excalibur [sword] here, so what do you want to do?" Since then, Stuart has Excalibur at the comic book store.
- Leonard states he got a nosebleed over thinking Leonard and Penny's Relationship. In "The Speckerman Recurrence" (S5E11), Penny reveals that when Leonard jogs blood pours out of his nose.
- Penny compares Sheldon to a giraffe. She says he looks like a giant praying mantis in "The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem" (S2E6) when she first meets his date Ramona Nowitzki.
- Amy referred to Sheldon's pale skin, just as Penny said the physicists she knows are indoorsy and pale in "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" (S2E11).
- Howard's mom uses the Yiddish word "ferkakta" for the second time, with the first being in "The Cohabitation Formulation" (S4E16).
- Amy is from Glendale.
- Raj causes a bigger scene than Amy, showing another of his feminine characteristics.
- Raj may complain about getting a girlfriend after Sheldon; however he was the one who originally suggested that they sign him up for on-line dating and found Amy. That being said, at the time it was supposed to be an exercise in forcing the 'guaranteed' system to fail; neither he not Howard thought it would actually work.
- Continuity: Leonard mentions "yogurt that helps women poop". This statement may be a callback to "The Plimpton Stimulation" (S3E21), where Sheldon purchased a supply of fiber-based yogurt for his guest Elizabeth Plimpton.
- In the ending scene where the guys wake up, the Star Wars novel Revan can be seen lying near Howard's head on a table. Curiously, the novel Revan was part of a tie-in series for The Old Republic.
- Howard's middle name is Joel.
- Bernadette only has two Apartment 4A scenes with the guys (Raj, Howard, Leonard, and Sheldon) in this episode.
- Raj: Hey, wanna spend some time playing the new Star Wars game this weekend?
- Leonard: Uh, I don't know. I kind of promised myself I'd get off the computer, be more physically active, get some exercise.
- Howard: You're about to walk up three flights of stairs.
- Leonard: Good point. I'm in!
- Raj: You know what would be great? Let's do it like the old days.
- Leonard: You're talking gaming marathon?
- Raj: Yeah! Starts Saturday morning, go 48 hours, sleeping bags, junk food...
- Howard: Turn off our phones so our moms can't call...
- Leonard: It'd be like that World of Warcraft party from a few years ago when the neighbors called the cops on us.
- Howard: (Fondly) They called the cops because of the smell--they thought we were dead.
- Raj: We were bad-ass back in the day.
- Leonard: Alright, let's do it!
- Howard: 48 hours of Star Wars gaming.
- Raj: It's on, like Alderaan!
- Amy: (Hearing the guys yell from across the hall while play their marathon Star Wars game) "That would be my boyfriend; happier playing his dopy Star Trek game with his friends instead of hanging out with me."
- Penny: "Wars."
- Amy: "What?"
- Penny: "Star Wars. They get all cranky when you mix the two up.
- Amy: "What's the difference?"
- Penny: "There's absolutely no difference."
- Sheldon: Movies or video games? Or board games, or trading card games, or LEGOs, or dress up, or comic books, or dramatic readings of novelizations? Yes to all!
- Amy: (About Sheldon) He and I have other plans. We are attending my Aunt Flora's 93rd birthday party.
- Howard: You're a grown man! Act like one. Tell Amy you wanna spend the weekend having a sleepover and playing video games with your friends.
- Amy: All the food is incredibly soft. It's like a vacation for your teeth.
- Sheldon: I always thought if I were enslaved, it would be by an advanced species from another planet. Not some hotsie-totsie from Glendale.
- Sheldon: (Knocking) Penny...Penny...Penny...
- Penny: (To Leonard) Sorry Stallion, your weird friend Giraffe is here!
- (The morning scene at the ending clip at the apartment where all the guys wake up by the sunlight)
- Mrs. Wolowitz: (Three loud knocks on door) HOWARD JOEL WOLOWITZ! I'VE BEEN WORRIED SICK FOR TWO DAYS AND I KNOW YOU'VE TURNED OFF YOUR PHONE! YOU OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE! I'VE BEEN TO THE MORGUE AND THE HOSPITAL AND I'VE SPENT THE LAST HALF-HOUR WALKING UP THESE FERKAKTA STAIRS!
- Howard: That's my ride. Gotta go!
- (Whip sound)
- Leonard: Hey, listen, I kind of made plans with the guys this weekend, but then I wondered, because we’re in this relationship-beta-test, if I should have asked you first. Then I thought if I did check with you first, you’d think that I was taking things to seriously. And then, then I got a nosebleed.
- Penny: You don’t have to check with me. Do whatever you want.
- Leonard: Oh. I guess I was hoping for a different reaction, but okay.
- Penny: Really, what were you hoping for?
- Leonard: I don’t know, maybe that you’d be a little upset, and then you’d realize that I’m a stallion that has to run free. And that would turn you on a little.
- Penny: Okay, I’m an actress. Ask me again.
- Leonard: Do you mind if I spend the weekend playing video games with the guys?
- Penny: Wha… the entire weekend? You mean I wouldn’t see you at all? But I ju… No, no, I knew what I was getting into. You can’t put a saddle on Leonard Hofstadter. Oh, my, is it getting hot in here? Ay, papi.
- Leonard: Ay papi? What is that?
- Penny: An acting choice.
- Leonard: Oh. So you chose that when you become turned on, you turn into Speedy Gonzalez?
- Penny: Choo got a problem with that, papi?
- Leonard: Uh-uh.
- Bernadette: Get that guy! Get that guy! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew!
- Sheldon: Dr. Rostenkowski, it may interest you to know that saying pew, pew, pew isn’t as effective as pressing your blaster key. In the same way that saying whee doesn’t make the land speeder go.
- Bernadette: Pew!
- Leonard: Raj, Imperial Troopers on your tail.
- Raj: Got him. When Gandhi advocated his philosophy of non-violence, I bet he didn’t know how much fun it was killing stuff.
- Leonard: All right, I think we got them all. Let’s divide up the loot.
- (Scene of a blonde in a purple spacesuit-type robe on Bernadette's laptop)
- Bernadette: (off-screen) Ooh, look at this pretty purple robe I just got. You should put on yours and then we’ll match.
- Howard: But I worked hard to get this armor.
- Bernadette: (she informs him crossly) Sorry, I just thought it’d be nice if people knew we were a couple.
- Howard: Fine, I’ll change. (Whip sound, Leonard and Raj laugh)
- Sheldon: Hah-hah!
- Raj: Bernadette, remember, your character’s the healer in our group. You’re in charge of healing all of us, not just Howard.
- Bernadette: I can’t help it. My Howie Wowie has an owie.
- Sheldon: That is the most sickeningly sweet thing I have ever experienced. And I am sipping Kool-Aid through a Red Vine.
- Amy: (she's bursting into the apartment looking very cross) Sheldon Cooper, I’ve got a bone to pick with you, and I’m about to do it in front of all your friends.
- Penny: Yeah, you pick that bone. You pick that bone clean!
- Amy: I’m gonna publicly shame you, and then sit back as societal pressure compels you to modify your behavior.
- Penny: Ooh, burn!
- Amy: And if you don’t start treating me better, I’m leaving you for a miniature horse breeder named Armin.
- Sheldon: Armin who?
- Amy: Armin… damn it.
- Penny: Sheldon, she wanted to show you off to her family, and you stood her up, okay? Look at this adorable, smushy face. Smush, smush, smush, smush.
- Amy: You’re hurting me.
- Penny: No, Sheldon hurt you.
- Amy: Before; now it’s you.
- Penny: Oh.
- Sheldon: I think I understand. You’re the one person who can say Sheldon Cooper is your boyfriend, but that rings hollow if you can’t lord him over others in the flesh. I forget what I bring to the party and what I take away when I leave. Please accept these valuable Cooper Coupons as restitution.
- Penny: Sheldon, she doesn’t want your stupid…
- Amy: Ooh, Science Center. Redeeming. Let’s go.
- Sheldon: Well played, Amy Farrah Fowler. Let me get my coat. (Whip sound) Oh, grow up, Leonard.
- Raj: But e-excuse me, I have something to say. None of you may realize it, but I was very much looking forward to this weekend. It was gonna be like the old days, the four of us hanging out playing video games before you guys all got girlfriends. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be the only one without a girlfriend? Even if I get one someday, I’ll still be the guy who got a girl after Sheldon Cooper!
- Penny: And that’s how a girl makes a scene. I’m sorry, sweetie. You’re right. You deserve your weekend. Come on, Amy, let’s go.
- Amy: What about the Science Center?
- Penny: I’ll let you hold my hair while I throw up.
- Amy: Rain check.
- Bernadette: I’m gonna go, too.
- Howard: I’ll miss you.
- Bernadette: I’ll miss you.
- Howard: I’ll miss you more.
- Bernadette: No, I’ll…
- Raj: Just leave! (Bernadette happily leaves as Raj tells her to, she now shuts the door behind her. The shutting sound is played to the scene of the four men who are alone at last) Okay, now. This is the way it’s supposed to be. Men together, fighting the forces of evil.
- All four men: Hear! Hear!
- Raj: I can’t believe this is only 64 calories.
- Taping report from bigbangbuzz.com by Roxanne
- ↑ The Big Bang Theory - The Weekend Vortex (TV Episode 2012) - IMDb
- ↑ The TV Critic's Review
- ↑ The Big Bang Theory: “The Weekend Vortex” - TV Club - The A.V. Club
- ↑ Thursday Final Ratings: ‘American Idol’ Adjusted Up; ‘Parks & Recreation’ Adjusted Down. - Zap2it
- ↑ Top Programs – Total Canada (English) March 5 – March 11, 2012 - BBM Canada
- ↑ Monday 19 March 2012 - TV Tonight