It was a big night for The Big Bang Theory. While Mayim Bialik was winning the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Amy on the CW, over on CBS “The Solo Oscillation” was airing. Amy and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) relived the greatest hits of their youth science fair and spelling bee days, Footprints on the Moon debuted a new song and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) solved string theory. 


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The heart of the episode is Sheldon (Jim Parsons) having a professional crisis. He kicks Amy out of their apartment so he can “work” (read: call his mom (Laurie Metcalf) and procrastinate), so she camps out at Leonard and Penny’s, first demonstrating how to use a Neti pot, then engaging Leonard in a marathon spelling bee. She shows up again the next night, and they make “hot ice” together. (Below is a How To Make Hot Ice video I found on YouTube, although I’d watch it on mute to avoid the persistent music.)

Then they decide to make a Cobra Weave (I found a How to Make a Cobra Weave video for you, too!), using a wave speed formula to predict the amplitude. 

Penny opts to go out and pick up dinner, rather than spending the evening cramping their science geek style. 

When she gets home with the pizza, though, she can hear them continuing to enjoy science through the front door, so she changes course and treats Sheldon to a taste of his own knocking style (which he finds annoying when she does it), then crashes his pity party. 

Earlier, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) had brought everyone copies of the local paper that featured his new planetarium show as a “thing to do this weekend.” Amy used the opportunity to share that the “Journal of Prosthetic Medicine” wrote up the project she and Howard (Simon Helberg) are working on. Then Leonard chimed in that Bert (Brian Posehn) and he have started isolating zircons from meteorites for their dark matter search. This threw Sheldon into a tizzy, because he hasn’t been working on anything.

When Penny finds him, he’s been struggling to latch on to an idea worth pursuing. She asks him why he was excited about dark matter in the first place, and he replies that it seemed interesting when he decided to leave string theory. As they talk, she notices his face lighting up whenever he mentions string theory and correctly identifies dark matter as his “rebound science”– the one that made him feel pretty again after breaking up with his first love. 

Sheldon gives Penny a detailed primer on string theory, which we just catch the end of, and when he finishes she asks if the two of them had just solved it. He says: “I appreciate your enthusiasm, but this is not the sort of thing we can figure out in a night. People have been stuck on this for decades.”

genius penny bbtAghast, Penny says: “Decades?! Really?? It’s a string! How hard could it be? It’s straight, it’s in a loop, it gets knotted up with other strings…”

Sheldon begins to set her straight about how there are no knots in anything greater than four dimensions, but then he has a flash of inspiration: Unless he gets around it by considering strings as sheets.

Penny kicks back and says: “See? How long did that take me? Like a minute?”

When she returns home to find Leonard and Amy cleaning up the remnants of their Cobra Weave, they ask what happened to the dinner she promised. She says she had to stop by and help Sheldon solve string theory, which stops them in their tracks. An incredulous Amy says, “What?” and Penny explains that the answer turned out to be knots. 

Leonard tries to brush off her comment as evidence of her ignorance by citing the impossibility of knots in more than four dimensions, and Penny gets a sweet mic drop moment as she struts out of the room to: “You can if you consider them sheets. Goodnight!”

(Now if only they’d let this lead to an interesting storyline for Penny. Maybe co-author credit on whatever Sheldon produces that makes her a fluke science star?)

Meanwhile, Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) is still on bed rest (in one of the two most visible maternity accommodations on TV right now, next to Chelsea Perretti‘s long absence from this season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine). Because of this, Howard and Raj’s band, Footprints on the Moon, isn’t able to practice at the Wolowitz household in advance of a bar mitzvah they’ve booked. Howard begins to question whether he has time for the band, too, and encourages Raj to replace him. 

Footprints on the Moon BBT

Raj turns to Bert, who not only plays guitar but has also written an original song about boulders from the perspective of the boulder in Indiana Jones. Through a happy twist, Howard is able to rejoin the band in time for the big gig, where they debut the tune. Here are Bert’s boulder song’s lyrics:

Alone in my temple
in the middle of Peru
a giant stone ball
with nothing to do.

If you steal my idol,
I will roll right over you.

Because I’m six tons of granite
and micaceous schist.
Yeah, I’m six tons of granite
and micaceous schist.

I’m gonna crush you!
I’m gonna mush you!
You took my idol!
I’m homicidal!
I’m gonna roll over you until your brains come out!
And your bones will crunch and your blood will spout!
I’m not just a rock, baby.
I’m a boulder.

Because I’m six tons of granite
and micaceous schist.
Yeah, I’m six tons of granite
and micaceous schist.
And I’m six tons of granite
and micaceous schist.

Keep up with my Big Bang Theory Season 11 recaps HERE.


Leona Laurie