02x01 - The Bad Fish Paradigm

Scene: The stairwell.

Leonard: So you see, what you’re eating is not technically yoghurt, because it doesn’t have enough live acidophilus cultures. It’s really just iced milk with carragenin added for thickness.

Penny: Oh, that’s very interesting.

Leonard: It’s also not pink and has no berries.

Penny: Yeah, but it doesn’t really answer my question.

Leonard: What was your question again?

Penny: Do you want some.

Leonard: Oh, right, no, I’m lactose intolerant.

Penny: Right.

Leonard: So, gas.

Penny: Got it.

Leonard: Well, good night. (They kiss. Camera cuts away to a wall mounted security cam above the lift. Leonard spots its movement and shuffles Penny away.)

Penny: What are you doing?

Leonard: There was a draft.

Penny: I didn’t feel a draft.

Leonard: Why don’t we just go into your….

Penny: Oh, yeah, you know what, maybe we should just slow things down a little.

Leonard: No, no, I didn’t mean to go into your apartment to… go fast.

Penny: No, I know, I… I know what you meant, it’s just… it’s only our first date.

Leonard: Yeah, okay, sure, no problem, why don’t we just figure out where we’re going, and when we want to get there, and then rate of speed equals distance over time. Solve for R.

Penny: Or we could just wing it.

Leonard: That might work too.

Penny: Goodnight Leonard.

Leonard: Goodnight. (He throws the camera a dirty look.)

Cut to inside the apartment.

Raj: He’s coming. Screen saver.

Howard: Oh, hey, Leonard, how was your date?

Leonard: Bite me. Sheldon, how could you just sit there and let them spy on me?

Sheldon: They were clever, Leonard. They exploited my complete lack of interest in what you were doing.

Howard: You should thank us. When future generations try to determine why your relationship with Penny crashed and burned, this right here is the black box.

Leonard: What are you talking about, the date went fine.

Raj: Dude, she said she wants to slow things down.

Leonard: Okay, so, she said she wants to slow things down. It’s like saying “I’m really enjoying this meal, I’m going to slow down and savour it.”

Howard: No, it’s like “this fish tastes bad, so I’m going to slow down and spit it out.”

Raj: You being the fish.

Leonard: I’m not the fish.

Howard: Oh really, did you make a second date.

Leonard: Well, we sort of decided to wing it.

Sheldon: Oh, even I know that’s lame.

Leonard: Okay, alright, let’s assume your hypothesis. We went to dinner, we talked, we laughed, we kissed, where could I have possibly gone wrong.

Howard: Think back, Leonard, the littlest things can set women off. Like, hey, the waitress is hot, I bet we could get her to come home with us. Or, how much does your mom weigh, I want to know what I’m getting into.

Leonard: I didn’t say anything like that.

Howard: Good, ‘cos they don’t work.

Raj: They also don’t care for it if you stare at them and hyperventilate. Sadly, that’s my home run swing.

Leonard: Look, everything went fine. I didn’t even have to refer to my impromptu conversation starters. The woman across the hall is into me.

Howard: Let’s go to the tape. Look at her reaction to the goodnight kiss, no change in respiration, pupils un-dilated, no flushing of the chest.

Raj: Nice close up, by the way.

Sheldon: Interesting, her jaws are clenched, no tongue access, clearly a bad sign amongst mating humans.

Leonard: That’s not a bad sign.

Sheldon: Please, you might as well have been two iguana with no dewlap enlargement.

Raj: And the worst sign of all is, you’re here and not there.

Leonard: I’m not there because I’m taking things slow. Which, by the way, compared to you guys approaches warp speed. And take down that camera.

Raj: He was a lot more fun when he had no hope.

Howard: Give him time.

Credits sequence

Scene: The laundry room. Sheldon is folding shirts.

Penny (entering): Hi.

Sheldon: Oh, hi Penny. FYI, the hot water is inadequate on machine 2 so colours only, and 4 is still releasing the fabric softener too early in the cycle so I’d avoid using that for your delicates.

Penny (tipping all her laundry into one machine at once): Thanks.

Sheldon: Oh, good Lord. Why don’t you just take your clothes down to the river and beat them with a rock?

Penny: Sheldon, may I ask you a question?

Sheldon: I would prefer that you not, but I won’t go so far as to forbid it.

Penny: Alright, I heard yes, so… okay, here’s my question, has Leonard ever dated, you know, a regular girl.

Sheldon: Well I assume you’re not referring to digestive regularity? Because I’ve come to learn that such inquiries are inappropriate.

Penny: No, I meant has he ever been involved with someone who wasn’t a braniac?

Sheldon: Oh. Well, a few years ago he did go out with a woman who had a PhD in French Literature.

Penny: How is that not a braniac?

Sheldon: Well, for one thing, she was French. For another, it was literature.

Penny: So, do you think that if Leonard and I keep dating he’ll eventually get bored with me.

Sheldon: That depends.

Penny: On what?

Sheldon: Do you have a working knowledge of quantum physics?

Penny: No.

Sheldon: Do you speak Klingon?

Penny: No.

Sheldon: Do you know any card tricks?

Penny: Okay, okay, you know, I get it, Leonard has no business being involved with a waitress slash actress who felt so insecure that she lied to him about finishing community college.

Sheldon: Why would you lie about that?

Penny: Well, he was going on and on about this college and that grad school and I didn’t want him to think I was some stupid loser.

Sheldon: You thought the opposite of stupid loser was community college graduate?

Penny: You know, there are a lot of successful people in this country who are community college graduates.

Sheldon: Yeah, but you were neither.

Penny: Right, okay look, this is between you and me, you cannot tell Leonard any of this.

Sheldon: You’re asking me to keep a secret?

Penny: Yeah.

Sheldon: Well I’m sorry, but you would have had to express that desire before revealing the secret, so that I could choose whether or not I wanted to accept the covenant of secret keeping. You can’t impose a secret on an ex post facto basis.

Penny: What?

Sheldon: Secret keeping is a complicated endeavour. One has to be concerned not only about what one says, but about facial expression, autonomic reflexes, when I try to deceive, I myself have more nervous tics than a lyme disease research facility. (Long pause.) It’s a joke. It relies on the hominymic relationship between tick the blood-sucking arachnid, and tic the involuntary muscular contraction. I made it up myself.

Penny: Okay, look, if Leonard finds out that I lied, I will absolutely die of embarrassment.

Sheldon: Physiologically impossible.

Penny: Oh Sheldon, please, look, I’m asking you as a friend.

Sheldon: So you’re saying that friendship contains within it an inherent obligation to maintain confidences?

Penny: Well, yeah.

Sheldon: Interesting. See, one more question, and perhaps I should have led with this, when did we become friends?

Scene: The stairwell.

Sheldon: I.e, I couldn’t become Green Lantern unless I was chosen by the guardians of Oa, but given enough start-up capital and an adequate research facility, I could be Batman.

Leonard: You could be Batman?

Sheldon: Sure. (In a gravelly voice) I’m Batman. See.

Penny (arriving): Hi guys.

Leonard: Hey.

Sheldon (looking the other way uncomfortably): Hi Penny.

Leonard: Hey, Penny, if you’re not doing anything Friday night I thought maybe we could go and see a movie.

Penny: Oh, um, you know, I think I have the dinner shift on Friday.

Leonard: What about Saturday?

Penny: You know, I’m not sure, the manager hasn’t posted the schedule yet, how about I let you know.

Leonard: Great. So you just let me know when you know. So… (she leaves) Oh God, I am the bad fish! What did I do wrong?

Sheldon: Why are you asking me, I have no information about your interactions with Penny other than what you provided me, nor do I have any method of learning such things. (Runs away.)

Leonard (chasing him): What does that mean?

Sheldon: Nothing. You seem to be implying an informational back channel between me and Penny where obviously none exists.

Leonard: No I didn’t.

Sheldon: I just think you need to be careful how you phrase things, sir.

Leonard: What’s going on with you?

Sheldon: Well I might ask you the same question. Why do you insist on attempting to drag me into matters which have nothing to do with me? But exist between you and Penny. A person to whom I barely speak. (His eye begins to twitch.)

Leonard: What’s wrong with your face?

Sheldon: There’s no reason to bring my looks into this. Good day, Leonard.

Leonard: What?

Sheldon: I said Good Day! (He leaves)

Leonard: Good day?

Scene: The Cheesecake Factory

Penny: Also today we have a fresh caught Alaska salmon, and that’s served with a teriyaki glaze and sticky rice. Our soup of the day…

Sheldon (appearing behind her): You must release me from my oath.

Penny: Sheldon, I’m working.

Sheldon: Why don’t you take a minute to decide (leads her away)I can’t keep your secret Penny. I’m going to fold like an energy based anobo protein in conformational space. Like a renaissance triptych. Like a cheap suit.

Penny: Oh, look, why is it so hard for you to keep one little secret?

Sheldon: I’m constitutionally incapable. That’s why I was refused clearance for a very prestigious government research fellowship at a secret military supercollider, located beneath a fake agricultural station 12.5 miles south east of Travers City, Michigan. Which you did not hear about from me.

Penny: Look, just forget I told you about me not graduating from community college. Okay?

Sheldon: Forget! You want me to forget? This mind does not forget. I haven’t forgotten a single thing since the day my mother stopped breast feeding me. It was a drizzly Tuesday.

Penny: Okay, look, you promised me you would keep my secret so you’re just going to have to figure out a way to do it.

Scene: The apartment.

Sheldon (entering): Leonard, I’m moving out.

Leonard: What do you mean, you’re moving out? Why?

Sheldon: There doesn’t have to be a reason.

Leonard: Yeah, there kind of does.

Sheldon: Not necessarily. This is a classic example of munchausen’s trilemma. Either the reason is predicated on a series of sub-reasons leading to an infinite regression, or it tracks back to arbitrary axiomatic statements, or it’s ultimately circular, i.e., I’m moving out because I’m moving out.

Leonard: I’m still confused.

Sheldon: Leonard, I don’t see how I could have made it any simpler.

Howard (entering): Hey, qu’est q’wass up?

Raj: We just got back from that exhibit of those plasticised human cadavers.

Howard: And some of those skinless chicks were hot.

Sheldon: If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pack.

Howard: That’s kind of an overreaction to a little harmless necrophilia.

Leonard: It’s not you, Howard, he says he’s moving out.

Raj: What did you do? Did you change the contrast or brightness settings on the television?

Leonard: No.

Raj: Did you take a band aid off in front of him?

Leonard: No.

Howard: Did you buy generic ketchup, forget to rinse the sink, talk to him through the bathroom door?

Raj: Adjust the thermostat, cook with cilantro, pronounce the T in often?

Leonard: No.

Howard: Did you make fun of trains?

Leonard: I didn’t do anything, he’s just gone insane.

Raj: Well, we all knew this day was coming.

Leonard: That was fast.

Sheldon: It’s my pre-packed disaster evacuation bag. Recommended by the department of homeland security. And Sarah Connor.

Leonard: Where are you gonna live?

Sheldon: Until I find a permanent place I will stay with friends.

Howard: Bye (runs out.)

Raj: Well you can’t stay with me, I have a teeny tiny apartment.

Sheldon: Excuse me, but isn’t hosting guests an aspect of Menushya Yajna, one of the five central religious duties or sacrifices of the Hindu householder?

Raj: I hate trains.

Sheldon: Don’t be ridiculous, you love trains.

Raj: Yes I do, come on. See you later Leonard. (Sheldon drops keys in bowl and leaves without a word.)

Leonard: This could work.

Scene: Raj’s apartment.

Sheldon: This is a very old building.

Raj: Sixty years. Used to be a watch factory.

Sheldon: Uh-oh.

Raj: What?

Sheldon: Don’t you worry about the residual radium from the luminous dials?

Raj: Not until now.

Sheldon: I can’t believe I didn’t bring my gieger counter. You know, I had it on my bed and I didn’t pack it.

Raj: Well, if you’re not comfortable staying here, Sheldon…

Sheldon: I’m kidding, I packed it. It was a joke, I was subverting the conversational expectations. I believe they call that the, um, old switcheroo.

Raj: Terrific.

Sheldon (referring to Bollywood singing on television): Is that woman Aishwarya Rai?

Raj: Yes, isn’t she an amazing actress.

Sheldon: Actually, I’d say she’s a poor man’s Madhuri Dixit.

Raj: How dare you. Aishwarya Rai is a Goddess. By comparison Madhuri Dixit is a leprous prostitute.

Sheldon: Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. Obviously you’re not that familiar with Indian cinema.

Scene: Howard’s house. The door rings.

Howard: Who is it?

Voice: Strippergram. (Howard opens door. Outside are Raj and Sheldon.)

Raj: Tag. You’re it. (Runs away.)

Howard: Shouldn’t you have put him in a brown paper bag and set him on fire?

Scene: Howard’s bedroom. Howard is in bed, Sheldon is on a blow up mattress on the floor.

Sheldon: I’ve never slept on an air mattress before. No lumbar support whatsoever.

Howard: Maybe you’d be happier on a park bench?

Sheldon: I don’t see any way to get a park bench in here.

Howard: Do you want to switch?

Sheldon: No, that’s fine. I’m perfectly comfortable sleeping on a bouncy castle.

Howard: Get out of bed, we’re switching.

Sheldon: Now, only if you want to.

Howard: Just get in the bed!

Howard’s mother (off): What’s going on? Are you boys roughhousing?

Howard: We’re just talking ma.

Howard’s mother: If you don’t settle down right now, I’m not going to let you have any more sleepovers.

Howard: For God’s sake, ma, I’m 27 years old. It’s not even a school night! (To Sheldon) Comfy now?

Sheldon: Meh. That poster of Halle Berry’s a little unnerving.

Howard: So don’t look at it.

Sheldon: She’s like my fourth favourite catwoman.

Howard: No kidding?

Sheldon: Yeah, Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfieffer, Eartha Kitt and then her.

Howard: What about Lee Meriwether?

Sheldon: Oh, I forgot about Lee Meriwether.

Howard: Well I’m glad that’s settled.

Sheldon: That makes Halle Berry my fifth favourite catwoman. There’s Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfieffer, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether…

Howard: Please, I’m begging you, go to sleep.

Sheldon: I’m trying, I’m counting catwomen. She did make a fine mutant in the X-Men movies though.

Howard: Oh for God’s sake.

Sheldon: But she’s not my favourite of the X-Men, in order that would be Wolverine, Cyclops, oh wait, I forgot Professor X. Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Iceman, then Storm, Angel, the Beast, oh wait, Nightcrawler. Professor X, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Cyclops, Iceman, then Storm, Angel….

Scene: Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment. There is an urgent rapping at the door.

Leonard: I’m coming! (Opens the door. Sheldon falls inside, wearing his pyjamas. Howard is outside.)

Sheldon: Hey, there he is, there’s my old buddy-bud-bud.

Leonard: What’s with him?

Howard: Koothrappali dumped him on me, and he couldn’t get to sleep, so I gave him a glass of warm milk with a handful of my mom’s valium in it. But he still wouldn’t shut up, so, tag, you’re it.

Sheldon: I’m ba-ack!

Leonard: I still don’t know why you left.

Sheldon: I can’t tell you.

Leonard: Why not.

Sheldon: I promised Penny.

Leonard: You promised Penny what?

Sheldon: That I wouldn’t tell you the secret. Shhhhh!

Leonard: What secret. Tell me the secret.

Sheldon: Mom smokes in the car. Jesus is okay with it, but we can’t tell Dad.

Leonard: Not that secret, the other secret.

Sheldon: I’m Batman. Shhhhh!

Leonard: Dammit, Sheldon! You said Penny told you a secret, what was the secret.

Sheldon: Okay, I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell Leonard.

Leonard: I promise.

Sheldon: Penny lied about graduating from community college because she is afraid she’s not smart enough for Leonard.

Leonard: So it’s nothing I did? It’s her problem?

Sheldon: I drank milk that tasted funny.

Leonard: Penny thinks I’m too smart for her, that’s ridiculous.

Sheldon: I know, most of your work is extremely derivative. Don’t worry, that’s not a secret. Everybody knows.

Scene: The hallway. Leonard is outside Penny’s door.

Penny (opening door): Hi.

Leonard: Yeah, hi, listen, I know what’s been bothering you about us, and I have the answer.

Penny: What are you talking about.

Leonard: First I want to say that it’s not Sheldon’s fault, he tried very hard to keep your secret, if Howard hadn’t drugged him he would have taken it to his grave.

Penny: He told you?

Leonard: Yes, but it’s okay. Now that we know what the problem is, there’s a simple solution. (Hands her a brochure.)

Penny: Pasadena city college?

Leonard: A place for fun, a place for knowledge. See, this man here’s playing hacky sack, and this girl’s going to be a paralegal.

Penny: Wow, I get it, because Dr Leonard Hofstadter can’t date a girl without a fancy college degree.

Leonard: Well, it’s really not that fancy, it’s just a city college.

Penny: Right, but I have to have some sort of degree to date you?

Leonard: That doesn’t matter to me at all.

Penny: So, it’s fine with you if I’m not smart.

Leonard: Absolutely. (She slams the door in his face.) Okay, this time I know where I went wrong. (Looking up and seeing the camera) Oh bite me!