'The Big Bang Theory': Raj and Penny resolve their hook-up, and Amy makes another pass at Sheldon


Image Credit: Adam Taylor/CBS

After ending its Emmy-nominated fourth season with arguably the most controversial episode in the history of The Big Bang Theory — namely, Raj and Penny getting drunk and getting it on, in Leonard’s bed — the show roared back tonight in fine style with two back-to-back episodes to launch its fifth season. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! In the first episode of the night, “The Skank Reflex Analysis” writers crafted a sneaky way to please both fans who thought Penny and Raj’s horizontal mambo was a plot twist too far, those who thought it was just funny, and those rare Pennaj ‘shippers who desperately want these too to finally see what they have together. How to put this? Turns out Raj’s excitement was a bit premature.

With Penny off the hook — a secret that remains, for now, between her and Raj — by “The Infestation Hypothesis,” the second episode of the night, things between her and Leonard seemed to be settling back to normal, just in time for Leonard to struggle with long-distance cybersex with Priya. Meanwhile, Sheldon warred with Penny over the comfy chair she grabbed off the street, and Amy discovered why said chair should never have been brought up in the first place. (Anyone else oddly reminded of the Ceti eels from Star Trek II? Anyone? No?)

Anyhoots, let’s get to the best geekery, science, lines and exchanges from both episodes!


“The Skank Reflex Analysis”

This is easy: Amy Farrah Fowler’s secret language. A sample: “Sounds great!” is actually “Sounds gop rop e a top!” More of this, please.

“The Infestation Hypothesis”

This entry may also classify as science, insofar as it involved Howard engineering an Internet-based human interface mechanism that would allow Leonard and Priya to kiss each other long distance. But it’s boys with toys, which falls directly within the geek sphere. Really, though, how we should classify this device belongs is moot, since it provided Howard and Raj with their most hilariously (and obliviously) homoerotic moment yet, as they both tried out the device, on each other. Apparently, Raj likes to nibble, playfully.


“The Skank Reflex Analysis”

This is more like the grossest science, but, well, Sheldon, take it away: “Raj is from India, a tropical country, third-world hygiene. Parasitic infections are common, such as pinworms. The procedure for diagnosing pinworms is to wait until the subject is asleep, and the worms crawl out of rectum for air. [Leonard spits out his spaghetti.] Yes, just like that!”

No, the best science was Amy Farrah Fowler’s explanation for Penny’s sexually loose behavior. Take it away, Amy: “You can’t blame yourself. When your pre-frontal cortex fails to make you happy, promiscuity rewards you with the needed flood of dopamine. We neuro-biologists refer to this as the skank reflex.”

“The Infestation Hypothesis”

Other than Howard’s kiss-o-bots, the only thing that really qualifies as science in this episode was the $175,000 hydraulic thermoforming press the boys used to make paninis.

NEXT PAGE: “For the record, I do have genitals. They’re functional and aesthetically pleasing.”

Comments (118 total) Add your comment
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  • Angela

    Amy’s secret language was in one of the Babysitter’s Club books. Jessi taught it to some of her charges as “Op Talk”.

    • LM

      Did they switch writers or something? These episodes weren’t bad, but they just felt…off. Nowhere near as funny as last season. I hope they get better from here.

      • Mike

        these episodes were epic

      • Lisapeth

        Amy’s secret language was not that funny. Not not funny, exactly, but certainly not funny enough to be mentioned in a recap.

      • SLB

        I think the secret language was kinda stupid, otherwise, the episodes were hilarious!

      • linda3

        My best friend has just announced her wedding with a great man who is a cele+brity!
        They met-via { himillionaires*c”o’M }
        It is nice club for rich men or pretty girls mate.
        You do not need to be wealthy or famous, but you can meet your true love, it’s worthy a try.

      • Gandalf47

        I agree, LM. I had the same feeling. The sex jokes seemed to be veering slightly into “2 1/2 Men” territory just a bit. I felt the writers were trying too hard, and for me, the series up until now has not felt that way at all, and, given the premise of the show and its idiosyncratic characters, that has been what has set it aside from the typical sitcom formula requiring cheap jokes.

    • theperv

      I tried watching this show once, but I found it annoying and irritating. But one thing that I found funny is that Kaley Cuoco has a more imposing stature than any of the lead actors. Pathetic nerds…

  • why?

    I will never understand how Leonard is the desirable one of the group. He is the shortest, not any better looking than the rest, and a bit of a jerk. Kind of tired of tv portraying white men with minority women as okay but minority men with white women is still considered taboo/revolting.

    • why?

      Raj would be a step up from Leonard.

      • teej

        Raj is now even creepier than Howard was before Bernadette.

      • Tommy

        How would that be since Leonard is the main character, a nice guy, and good to his friends? He’s the “MAIN CHARACTER” for a reason.

    • Jen

      He does look less geeky than the rest a nice guy and kinda short but who cares

    • Mike

      New series whitney has an indian guy with a white woman

      • Stormy

        People from northern India are mostly white while those in southern India are mainly Dravidians. Sendhil Ramamurthy [Covert Affairs] is white as is Kunal Nayyar sp..

    • Jamie

      Did you miss the episodes tonight where they resolved the issue of the white woman “hooking” up with the minority man?

      • Futurama

        I think the point is why was Penny so grossed out at the thought of being with Raj after their hookup but didn’t feel the same way after she and Leonard did the same.

      • Mandy

        She wasn’t grossed out because he’s Indian, Idiot, she’s grossed out because he’s a) her friend, b) her ex’s friend and c) see a&b

    • Another why?

      And I’m afraid I’ll need to speak like Sheldon to get past the censors.
      Why was Penny so upset when she thought she had coitus with Raj, but so relieved to find that she had “only” provided direct manual stimulation to his urogenital area, causing Raj to, (how shall I put this?) erupt ahead of schedule.
      That seems to be only a difference of degree, not intent.

      • Denise

        I was thinking the same thing. Well, not in Sheldonese (btw, great) but the same idea. She would have and she still touched him there.

      • JLC

        I think this is an example of sitcom logic. If a friend of mine made a move on a girl I obviously still had feelings for, it would take a lot more than “one episode” for me to get over it. The writers’ solution of “they would have, but they didn’t really” was about the best solution they could come up with after they painted themselves into that corner. The show will probably end with Penny and Leonard’s wedding and the breakup of the group, but we’ve probably got 2-3 more seasons until that happens.

      • Melissa in CA

        Perhaps it’s my own perverse mind and coital life, but when discussing what happened between Penny and Raj, I first assumed that her “help” had been oral.

      • Stormy

        I took it as unintentional digital manipulation. So Raj is “Quick Draw Kuthrapali.

      • Acaseofgeo

        @JLC. You’re implying that Leonard gets to “have it all, have it both ways”. He’s dating Priya and was practically LIVING with her. Raj sleeping with Penny isn’t any kind of insult at all, regardless of whether Leonard still had feelings or not. And to the people asserting that there is racism in this storyline, I just don’t buy it or even see it. Remember, Penny is far more grossed out by Howard. Her reaction was two fold: She couldn’t believe she slept with a member of her “group” (I mean hooked up for casual sex) and she was probably feeling cheap that she did it in Leonard’s bed.

    • Daisy Steiner

      Yes, it’s definitely about race and not about the fact that in order for Raj to be in a relationship with Penny, he’d have to be drunk off his arse the entire time.

    • Tommy

      You idiot. It has nothing to do with that. You are trying to pull the race card on an issue that has nothing to do with it! Penny NEVER liked Raj that way. In fact, she found him annoying. Your whole arguement is based off of nothing.

  • Rebecca

    I dunno, he looks pretty good without a shirt on.

    • Shannon

      Word!! I was surprised he was so toned since I imagined him to be more soft!!

      • Fran

        Probably was- but then again, been in TV all his life…and the standard seems to be- work it.

  • Marcia

    Who played the “mother” in Penny’s commercial?

    • Lbktx

      The mother was played by Carolyn Rhea, formerly of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Biggest Loser.

      • Marcia

        I would recognize Carolyn Rhea. Just rewatched online. Not her.

      • Sarah C.

        That wasn’t Caroline Rhea.

    • Barack Palin

      According to the credits, Stacey Travis played a character called Sandy. I’m assuming Sandy was the actress who played the mother.

  • Tootz

    Just to say Raj’s couple name of ‘Koothrapenny’ is better than yours of ‘Pennaj’.

    • Hola


  • Jellybean

    I loved when Amy brought up the “op language.” In high school, my friends and I would speak in op lol

    • Stormy

      We talked in Ibo. Insert ibo before every vowel.

  • I wish I could say it was good

    I’ve tried so hard to like this show, I really have, but I just don’t see the appeal AT ALL. Jim Parsons’ character is SO. DAMN. UNLIKABLE. I honestly don’t know how A.) He won an Emmy, and B.) People can sit through 30 minutes of him overplaying a nerd stereotype to the point where I want to punch him in the face. Every one else on that show = not that bad; likeable.

    But that damn Parsons…

    • Acaseofgeo

      Well I respect your opinion but I absolutely LOVE Jim Parsons’ portrayal of Sheldon. I think Sheldon is a great character. He makes me laugh hysterically. I think he’s like the flame to the moths of those around him. Bad for them but they cannot resist. I’m ecstatic he won TWO Emmies and I’m OK with giving it to someone else now. I do have to say though, especially with shows like LOST and HOUSE that get so much press and adoration, there are times when I feel like you do with Sheldon/Parsons.

    • lskjfo

      I think Jim Parsons deserved the first Emmy, but not the second. He’s still good, but he’s not doing anything new with the character and it is beginning to seem like the same old same old.

      • Bakes

        not doing anything new with the character??? the entire last season was about him having a “relationship” with a woman (Amy) for the first time that wasn’t exclusively limited to the scientific field. his character grew by leaps and bounds last season, and he MORE THAN DESERVED THE EMMY for showing how even Sheldon can change and adapt.

      • Scott

        agreed Bakes. nice comment.

    • cregis

      I love this show and I’m a senior citizen. Jim Parsons is this generation’s Tony Randall with a little Paul Lynde thrown in, sorry if nobody else knows who they are.

      • pattycupcake

        cregis, yeah! and for the person who can’t get into this show, i know what you mean. there are a lot of weak episodes (these two were not good IMO) but when it’s great, it’s really great. you should check out youtube for some of the most viewed scenes.

    • lisa

      I think your comment is interesting — I absolutely don’t get the love for Modern Family. I think it has its cute moments, but I don’t think it’s the comic genius it’s so wildly described as being.

      • Ian

        same here. It’s ok, but it’s not the second coming. I’d much rather watch BBT or Parks & Rec.

      • Melissa in CA

        I agree also. I did not LOL during this week’s Modern Family hour nearly as much as I did watching Big Bang.

    • Kate

      I really don’t understand why people insist on reading articles and commenting on things that they don’t like.
      If you don’t like the show then please stop reading articles that aren’t even meant for you. I don’t care if you like it or not, just stop trying to ruin it for people who do. Find something more constructive to do with all the time you obviously have to do nothing.

      • agree

        Exactly!! Well said Kate.

      • Robin

        So, you think you should only comment if you love something? What happened to differing opinions. I don';t see that you should only comment with positive things, there are times when the show isn’t that good and why not share both sides. This episode was good, love BBT but I think some of the shows are not as good as others. I will comment however I want to as long as it is not offensive. Your comment was offensive to me though.

      • Sahara

        Robin, I think what Kate meant was not that dissenting opinions are not allowed, but why comment that you absolutely hate the show?? If you like the show and watch the show, but find some negative things about it, that’s great to share. But I think it’s dumb when people just come on here to say all kinds of negative things about it for no reason (like saying “this was awful, never watching again!”). What’s the point?

    • Zorro-3

      Hello, you must be my opposite… nice to meet you. I watch the show only for him. The others annoy me.

  • Milo L

    I think the premiere episodes are really disgusting, filled with crude jokes that aren’t funny. And that kissing machine? WTF!

    • Dicazi

      You must never have watched this show before.

  • brittany

    Hahaha i am so grossed out by penny’s chair but watching the two of them scream down the stairs was uber funny.
    Can we just dump priya already? I agree that Raj should be dating someone, and I think penny might have considered it but bear in mind if she did, she would kiss leonard goodbye for good. Plus it would ruin everyone’s friendship, or just make it… awkward. ( hello joey and rachel)
    The thinking cap was funny too, and is it me or mayim balik made her character more relatable and less sheldonesque this season?

    • SSlow

      The Chair was the best part – serious heebie-jeebies! I liked Amy’s secret language but them I have a toddler. Penny could do worse than Raj, oh I believe she HAS. However girl needs to lay off the other main characters or ruin the durn show. And also agree Sheldon was not at his best with the thinking cap – a stretch even for his character. Overall happy with the return.

  • Wordchick

    I vote for Koothrapenny also. Great episodes, I loved Sheldon’s variety of reasons for Penny to give up the chair. But I agree with those who indicate that the science is starting to get a little lame. And, the homoerotic stuff? They can let that go, it’s turning into a tired joke. When Howard and Raj didn’t have anything going on with women, it was much funnier.

  • Kacey

    Raj spent a lot of time talking to & in the vicinity of the girls. Was he drunk for the entire 2 episodes?

    • Lisapeth

      Yeah, I was wondering when they were going to explain that, then they never did. And he didn’t just say a few words, he had entire conversations with both Bernadette and Penny. Not too happy with that.

      • lskjfo

        He had a beer in his hand when Bernadette entered the room and, if I remember correctly, didn’t he take a swig from a flask while standing in Amy’s doorway?

      • Jenn

        They showed him drinking a beer before Bernadette knocked. I’m not sure about the Penny scene though…

      • JLC

        Yes, he took a drink from a flask right as Amy opened the door.

    • Dicazi

      He doesn’t have to be drunk. Just one sip enables him.

    • Sheldor

      The Raj thing is getting old and annoying. He’s used to Penny and Bernadette and should be able to talk to them without drinking!

  • kim in kentucky

    Another great line – Leonard (about Sheldon) – He’s like a chihuahua !!

  • Nick

    Very funny but I do not like the Leonard/Priya thing. It takes too much time away from Penny and Sheldon.

    • Lisapeth

      I didn’t like Priya when she was there, I hope they have them break up soon. The only thing less fun than a long distance relationship is watching one.

  • frank wright

    Uneven episodes , which is par for the course . I like the show but it get ‘s wearing after a while .

  • Angela

    I like the old married couple bit between Sheldon and Penny.
    Yeah! I am wondering if Johnny has been working out because he look buff shirtless.
    The paintball bit was cute. A little Plattoon shout out.

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