"The Big Bang Theory" The Occupation Recalibration (TV Episode 2014) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Sheldon tries to relax after he is forced to take a vacation. Leonard struggles to be supportive of Penny after she quits her job. Amy receives unwanted attention from a co-worker. Bernadette seeks Stuart's help in replacing one of Howard's comic books.

  • Following her recent acting disappointment, Penny decides she needs to take decisive action to make her career happen by devoting her time one hundred percent into the endeavor, which means quitting her waitressing job. Although he wants to support Penny outwardly in whatever she decides, Leonard does not support this move. He has to decide whether he will tell her the truth or lie about his feelings. Sheldon, who is affected by the goings-on between Leonard and Penny, is however more perturbed by a mandatory request by the college: that he take his vacation time. Meanwhile, Amy, with a little help from Howard and Raj, comes to the realization that one of her colleagues, Bert from the Geology Department, has a crush on her. Regardless of her dating status, she isn't interested in Bert, but she doesn't know how to show or tell him that she's not interested without hurting his feelings. And Bernadette is trying to find a replacement for a rare comic book of Howard's that she accidentally ruined. As Stuart doesn't have a copy of it at his store, she has to decide whether to be loyal to Stuart, or to buy the one available copy in town from Stuart's much hated rival, Jesse.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Last week, we left off with a drunk Penny (Kaley Cuoco) proposing to Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and he hesitated. He thought she would break up with him, but we'll hold off on that because Sheldon (Jim Parsons) has an even bigger problem. The university wants him to use his vacation days! The horror! While he went off on his usual tangent.

    SHELDON: Oh, this again! So Penny proposed, you didn't say yes, and you think you may have lost her love forever. How does this compare to me being forced to relax for a few days?

    LEONARD: (ready to kill him) IT DOESN'T!!!

    SHELDON: Thank you!

    While Sheldon goes to put on his pajamas and read a book to contend with his 'nightmare', Leonard goes to talk to Penny. (LEONARD: If you're going to break up with me, just say it. I take it back, don't say it! Just hate me but stay with me. It worked for my parents.) She thanked him for turning her down. And once he was done crying, she admitted she felt so frustrated that her career was going nowhere, and Leonard promised to support whatever she would do. She was considering quitting the Cheesecake Factory and concentrating on her acting career. Leonard thought that was a big decision and thought before she made any rash decision...

    PENNY: I already quit.

    LEONARD: ...and I support you!

    After Leonard left for work...and made Sheldon stay on the stairs and not follow him (yes, like a dog)...Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) went to the comic book store, much to the shock of Stuart (Kevin Sussman). But not because she was a woman; that any customer would show. She accidentally destroyed one of Howard's comics and had to get it replaced. (Bat-Man got his ass kicked by her curling iron) She needed it replaced right away so Howard wouldn't be proven right about being more careful with her curling iron (for her very straight hair), and she was willing to hook him up with some anti-depression medications if he could work fast. But Stuart was good in that department (perhaps a bit too good). Stuart did find a copy at Capitol Comics, only the guy there was a real jerk and was always putting Stuart down. But Bernadette still wanted the address. Stuart figured he could go there and make sure she didn't get ripped off, even though he would lose business...never mind.

    Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) go to Amy's (Mayim Bialik) lab to see if she was free for lunch. Given her only plans would have been with the vacationing Sheldon, she was in. But one of her colleagues from the Geology department, Bert (who looks NOTHING like the guy who wanted to horn in on Raj and Lucy's date at the library last season [/sarcasm]), wanted to give her a piece of rare quartz he found. Right away, Howard and Raj correctly guess Bert likes her, and the fact he brings her a pretty rock every day did sort of clue her in. She denies he's her boyfriend.

    RAJ: Are you sure? He's tall, pale, and awkward. Sounds like your type.

    AMY: Should someone as lonely as you really be making fun of me?

    Howard thinks Bert might be hitting on her because he didn't know about Sheldon, so Amy figures she has to let the guy down gently.

    RAJ: And does Sheldon know you're dating Sheldon?

    AMY: And I'm sorry, who are YOU dating?

    Sheldon, still whimpering on the stairs because Leonard told him to stay, perked up (yes, the way you think) when Penny let him go run errands with her. (PENNY: Come on, boy! Come on! Get in the car!)

    At the cafeteria, Leonard was telling the guys (with Amy substituting for Sheldon) that Penny really quit the Cheesecake Factory but he supported her 100%.

    LEONARD: She's a great actress and I'm proud she's taking this risk.

    AMY: (touched) That's nice.

    LEONARD: You bought that? Great! Now I gotta call her before I forget how I said it.

    He finds her at the Cheesecake Factory.

    LEONARD: You got your job back. That's great news. I didn't want to say anything, but I think that is the right choice. I mean, to put yourself into debt right now would be literally insane.

    PENNY: Yeah, I'm just returning my uniform.

    LEONARD: (foot deeply in mouth) And I support you!

    Sheldon's attempts at meditation over his iPhone failed because breathing in and out seemed too obvious. Penny returned to the car rather ticked off and without Sheldon's lemonade. (SHELDON: A fitting swan song to your career as a waitress: to forget my order one last time.) Penny asked him if quitting her job was a mistake. Surprisingly, Sheldon said it wasn't. He said the best way to achieve a goal is to dedicate 100% of your time and energy to it. He did it when he decided he wanted to be a physicist, even when Ms Pierson wanted him to be chalk monitor. Which helped her a bit, but she couldn't understand why Leonard couldn't see that.

    SHELDON: Because he's not like us, Penny. We're dreamers.

    PENNY: Yeah, I'm going to have to start cracking a window when I leave you in the car.

    Bert stopped by, and Amy stopped him before he could invite her to a rock and mineral show in Santa Monica by telling him she had a boyfriend. But he figured that's what all women say because he had an off-putting personality. (AMY: That's not true. My boyfriend has an off-putting personality, too. Like, way worse than yours.) But Bert wasn't buying that. He thought he was a monster, which guilted Amy into saying she'd go to the rock and mineral show with him. Naturally, he was elated he had a date.

    AMY: (shocked) No, it's not.

    BERT: Too late!

    How to tell someone she wasn't interested? She needed some experts in the field. Yes, Howard and Raj. They were even both rejected by the same counter girl at Starbucks. Amy thought she had no choice but to be honest. (RAJ: You can't do that. He'll be so upset, he'll climb up the Empire State Building and start swatting at planes.) They volunteered to do the dirty work for her.

    RAJ: So we tell him she's a lesbian?

    HOWARD: Of course we tell him she's a lesbian!

    Capitol Comics looked just like Stuart's comic book shop...with more comics, sci-fi memorabilia and actual customers. Even Bernadette was impressed. Jesse, the owner, sounded like that arrogant douchebag kid whose parents were rich and he liked to remind you of that on a daily basis. He commented on how gray Stuart's skin had gotten and sympathized with Bernadette for thinking she could get a comic in Stuart's store. But it was a nice store; even Captain Sweatpants was there. ("Free popcorn") Jesse offered Bernadette a coffee and Stuart directions to the nearest soup kitchen. That crossed the line for Bernadette, who gave Jesse both barrels and chose not to buy the comic book from him. She leads Stuart out of the store.

    STUART: You know, Jesse, I have something more important. Friendship! (turns away) Which I would trade in a heartbeat for all of this.

    Bernadette came back later to berate Jesse more for insulting Stuart. Yes, she bought the comic book. And had a cappuccino and a chocolate chip scone. (they didn't have blueberry)

    Penny actually convinced Sheldon to do some yoga to relax, mainly because he thought she said Yoda. But Sheldon was on board. Shame they would not get as good as some yogis who have such control over their bodies, they could actually take in water through their genitals. (SHELDON: It seems like a good way to drink a milkshake without getting brain freeze.) Leonard comes in and wonders how she convinced Sheldon to do yoga, but unlike Leonard, Sheldon supports her. Leonard tries to explain he supported her, even though he pissed her off on the phone earlier.

    LEONARD: Fine, I'm not sure you should have quit, but if you care so much about it, why didn't you ask me before you quit?

    PENNY: (livid) Now I need your permission to quit my job? Would you have asked me before you quit your job?

    LEONARD: Yes! I thought we were in the kind of relationship where we make decisions together. But if I'm wrong, maybe we need to talk about the kind of relationship we're actually in.

    PENNY: Well, maybe we do!

    SHELDON: I'm in if you guys are.

    Sheldon, clearly not getting the fact that Penny and Leonard are trying to plan their own lives together and refusing to give them some privacy, demanded to know where their relationship was going, if they were going to get married, and if so where would the three of them live? Neither Penny nor Leonard knew how it got off on this tangent, but to refocus, Penny admitted what she was doing could be reckless but she had to take her shot.

    SHELDON: No kidding! Despite what it says on her resume, she is no longer 22!

    Leonard again tried to say he was on Penny's side but she wasn't buying it. Nor was Sheldon.

    LEONARD: I could never do what you're doing. I would be terrified. My point is, just because I couldn't do it doesn't mean you shouldn't, and I am so proud of you.

    That helped. Penny thanked him, and Sheldon thought they should celebrate with a milkshake. (SHELDON: Penny, you'll need a straw.)

    Well, Raj and Howard did tell Bert about Amy...and now they were his date for the mineral and rock show.

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