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"The White Asparagus Triangulation" is the ninth episode of second season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, November 24, 2008.

## Summary

Sheldon believes that Leonard will wreck his relationship with Stephanie like he did all his previous relationships. To prevent this break-up Sheldon decides to take matters into his own hands.

## Extended Plot

Sheldon freaks Penny out when they ascend the stairs together and he tries to have a normal conversation with her using urban slang. Sheldon is concerned that Stephanie is the only girl Leonard has dated that he "finds tolerable" including Penny. Sheldon also requests that Stephanie not see Penny as a sexual rival. Sheldon proposes a scenario where Penny's "is swimming in a soup of estrogen and progesterone that even Leonard seems like a viable sexual candidate." He asks her to suppress her libido to which she remarked that she could think about him.

Leonard and Stephanie are having dinner together which Sheldon is enjoying and keeps interrupting. Sheldon describes her as the new Doctor McCoy in their group's Star Trek landing party.

On their next date, Sheldon finds the movie theater that they are at by hacking into Leonard's computer and checking his movie searches. Then he proceeds to make noises are various places in the theater to find the acoustic sweet spot which just happens to turn out to be where Leonard and Stephanie sat anyway. He even moves in front of Leonard to get the full THX-feel of the sound in the theater.

That night Sheldon wakes up Leonard with the disturbing news that he feels that they're losing Stephanie. She does not state that she is in a relationship on her Facebook page and she is throwing digital sheep at another guy. Sheldon feels that Leonard is not running his relationship properly so he says, "Pursuant to Starfleet General Order 104, Section A, you are deemed unfit and I am relieving you of command." Leonard gets mad and replies that General Order 104 does not apply because this world isn't Star Trek.

Befuddled, Sheldon runs to Penny for advice. Sheldon asks why her and Leonard's relationship went south, so she gives him the plot to "The Lake House" movie. Sheldon goes to Wolowitz and Koothrappali on how to save Leonard and Stephanie's relationship, however Howard mocks Leonard by stating that Leonard's relationship with Joyce Kim lasted 27 days, Leonard's relationship with Leslie Winkle lasted two booty calls, Leonard's relationship with Penny lasted over a three-hour dinner, and therefore by geometric progression, his relationship with Stephanie should have ended after 20 minutes, time=27 days/(12^n). When Sheldon asks how do they circumvent Stephanie's inevitable rejection of Leonard, the only non-helpful advice Raj and Howard offer to save Leonard and Stephanie's relationship, are "apocalyptic genocide" and "go easy on the cologne". Sheldon once again runs to Penny, but she refuses to talk.

Sheldon attempts to prove Leonard's physical superiority to Stephanie during another date by having him open a jar of white asparagus. Leonard shatters the jar by accident and gets a deep enough cut on his hand, requiring that he go to the hospital for stitches. Wondering why Leonard can't supposedly keep a girl, Sheldon, remarks, "You seem like a perfectly pleasant person. I can't understand why women have such a hard time loving you."

Later, Penny announces to Leonard that his Facebook status has been changed to "In a relationship". Penny says that his move is bold; Howard thinks that he looks needy and Leonard had never made the change. Sheldon has hacked his Facebook account. At first Leonard yells at Sheldon that Sheldon is going to ruin Leonard and Stephanie's relationship. All of a sudden, Stephanie has updated her own status to mirror Leonard's. Leonard comments that he now has a girlfriend.  Sheldon closes the episode by bragging "If I am permitted to speak again, Dr. Sheldon Cooper for the win."

## Critics

• "The Big Bang Theory is like a state-of-the-art ship being sailed in the wrong direction. The cast is strong, the writing can be excellent and is certainly creative. And yet the show’s priorities are all wrong and they are producing television which is a lot less good than it could be." - The TV Critic's Review

## Notes

• Title Reference: The contents of the jar that Leonard breaks, as well as to the dysfunctional relationship "triangle" (Leonard -> Stephanie -> Sheldon) that features prominently throughout the episode.
• Chuck Lorre's vanity card [1]
• This episode was watched by 10.19 million people with a rating of 3.9 (adults 18-49).
• Episode transcript [2]

## Quotes

(Leonard left for the movies with Stephanie, leaving Sheldon with a note that he was going to the movies)
Sheldon: If you were trying to make it impossible to locate you, you couldn't have done a better job.
Leonard: Oh, clearly I could have.

Sheldon: So, the only advice you got for me is "apocalyptic genocide" and "Go easy on the cologne."

(After Leonard got stitches from Stephanie)
Sheldon: You seem like a perfectly pleasant person. I can't understand why women have such a hard time loving you.

Sheldon: If I am permitted to speak again, Dr. Sheldon Cooper for the win.

Stephanie: Hey! How's my big crybaby?
Leonard: I didn't cry.
Stephanie: Okay, I'm just teasing you. But, yeah, you did.

(Scene: Outside Penny’s door)
Sheldon (Knock, knock, knock) Penny. (knock, knock, knock) Penny.
Penny: What?
Sheldon (Knock, knock, knock) Penny. Zucchini bread.
Penny: Oh, thank you.
Sheldon: May I come in?
Penny: No.
Sheldon: I see. Apparently my earlier inquiry regarding you and Leonard crossed some sort of line. I apologize.
Penny: Well, thank you.
Sheldon: So, have you and I returned to a social equilibrium?
Penny: Yes.
Sheldon: Great. New topic. Where are you in your menstrual cycle?
(Penny now gets very cross by that embarrasing question Sheldon has asked her)
Penny: (she asks with quiet angriness) What?
Sheldon: I’ve been doing some research online, and apparently female primates, you know, uh, apes, chimpanzees, you, they find their mate more desirable when he’s being courted by another female. Now, this effect is intensified when the rival female is secreting the pheromones associated with ovulation. (Penny turns around to slam the door in his face) Which brings me back to my question, where are you in...?
(The door is now slammed closed as Sheldon thinks for one last second).
Sheldon: Clearly, I’m 14 days too early.

## Trivia

• Howard and Raj have a small role in this episode, only appearing in two scenes.
• Sheldon is right that a strawberry is not technically a fruit (derived from the ovary of a plant), but is rather an accessory fruit (derived from some tissue around the plant's ovary).
• Sheldon attempts to invoke "Starfleet General Order 104 Section A" to relieve Leonard of his command of his own relationship with Stephanie. This section has not been clearly spelled out in a Star Trek episode, though the two sections that follow it (B and C) have.
• The best resource for compiled Star Fleet/Federation General Orders, rules, regulations, etc. is at Memory-Alpha.org.
• Leonard's time periods have become a geometric progression expressible as $Y=\frac{27 \mbox{days}}{12^n}$. When substituted in, this shows that Howard's estimation of 20 minutes was correct (22 minutes, 30 seconds).
• When Sheldon brings bread to Penny for a second time, Penny opens her apartment door after only two rounds of Sheldon's signature knocks. Sheldon, due to his OCD behavior, performs a subtle third round to complete his traditional set of three.
• Leonard frequently uses the password "Kal-El" which is Superman's real name and a favorite superhero of Leonard.
• Sheldon says he was born at the same hospital where Stephanie did her internship; however, in "The Luminous Fish Effect hospital ", his mother states he 'fell out of [her] at the K-Mart'.
• Second episode where Leonard considers punching Sheldon, only for Sheldon to stop him for a reason other than to avoid pain. First was "The Nerdvana Annihilation".
• Penny compares her date with Leonard to "The Lake House" movie.
• This episode reveals that Howard was once studying to become a doctor, only to drop out of medical school due to a weak stomach and being easily disgusted.
• Sheldon's love plan has decent foundation; his attempt to display Leonard as the alpha male serves not to merely impress Dr. Stephanie but to incite the release of oxytocin – a hormone that acts as a neuromodulator. With the addition of intercourse the hormones would continue flowing which would then create the biochemical reaction known as “falling in love” Oxytocin is known as the “bonding” hormone due to the role it plays in forming relationships. This ties it directly to coupling sexually active individuals. Read more at 10 Interesting Things The Big Bang Theory Taught Us
• The hospital set where Leonard's hand is stitched is identical to the one from Two and a Half Men, which was also created and written by Chuck Lorre. Despite the similarity, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men are not set in the same continuity since TBBT has been mentioned on TAAHM.
• Second episode of the "Dr. Stephanie" trilogy.
• S02E08: "The Lizard-Spock Expansion" - Howard tries to seduce Stephanie by showing her the Mars rover, however Stephanie ends up interesting in Leonard
• S02E09: "The White Asparagus Triangulation" - Sheldon worries that Leonard and Stephanie's relationship is not progressing well enough and goes to Penny, Raj, and Howard for advice on how to stop Stephanie inevitably ending the relationship with Leonard - Leonard and Stephanie are officially in a relationship by the end of this episode, in part, thanks to Sheldon
• S02E10: "The Vartabedian Conundrum" - Stephanie has moved into the apartment without Leonard even noticing; Leonard wants to slow things down with Stephanie.