On the first new Big Bang Theory in ages– and one of the last few of all time– “The Laureate Accumulate,” the wicked Drs. Campbell (Kal Penn) and Pemberton (Sean Astin) are back, and ShAmy isn’t having it. 

RELATED: Catch up here with our recap of the last episode!

If the Nobel Prize is just a popularity contest, Campbell and Pemberton are winning. They’ve landed on Ellen because a video of them singing a physics revamp of Olivia Newton-John‘s “Physical” is just one of their viral offerings. Everyone loves them. 

To try to swing the pendulum in Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) favor, President Siebert (Joshua Malina) arranges a reception at the university and invites a number of Nobel Laureates. Unfortunately, Sheldon has insulted so many of them in the past that none of them want to come. 

Amy and Sheldon try to win them over with boxes of cookies, but the gesture is fruitless. 

When Sheldon surprises Leonard (Johnny Galecki) with the depth of his regret that Amy is paying for his behavior, Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard step in. They personally visit each of the wronged Laureates and convince them that if you average out (math!) Sheldon and Amy’s personalities, you have one OK person. 

At the reception, Sheldon is managing his verbal tendencies with the help of Leonard monitoring him and using their code word, “shut up,” each time he’s about to get himself in trouble. They don’t anticipate that it will be Amy who loses her cool, though.

Amy takes the bait when Samwise Gamgee and Kumar crash the party and effortfully grasp for the phrase “impostor syndrome” to express how they’re feeling in the limelight. She rips them a new one in front of Dr. Frances Arnold, Dr. George Smoot, Dr. Kip Thorne and the rest of the guests, which may hurt her reputation but also gives Sheldon an object lesson in how he affects people. 

Meanwhile, the Wolowitzes are struggling with Halley having developed a slate of new fears that interfere with her going to sleep at night. Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) is out of ideas when Howard (Simon Helberg) comes home and calms their daughter with a story about how he was afraid when he was an astronaut.

Bernadette hears the whole thing over the baby monitor, and she finds it so sweet that she tries to turn it into a book for the kids. Stuart (Kevin Sussman) sees her sorry attempt at drawing an astronaut and steps in to handle the art. The resulting book is so cute that Stuart shows it to a publisher friend and gets an offer on it. 

When Howard hears that “The Frightened Little Astronaut” will be published, he freaks out. He has psychological scars from being teased by the other astronauts in space, and he doesn’t want everyone to know that he was scared to go. Bernadette pulls out her best guilt trip, followed by sweet talking him about how brave he would have to be to let the book be published, and Stuart points out how big a deal it would be for him to have his art in a book. 

Ultimately, Howard agrees, saving himself from completely earning the alternate title Raj (Kunal Nayyar) pitched, “The Bitchy Little Astronaut”

RELATED: Follow my Season 12 recaps here!


Leona Laurie