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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 11 E 19 The Tenant Disassociation

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The Tenant Disassociation is an episode from season 11 of The Big Bang Theory.

Plot Synopsis: Sheldon banishes the Pearl of Sandwich food truck because he's annoyed that the delicious aroma of their sandwiches keep distracting him from his physics research. Leonard and Penny get angry because they love the sandwich truck and challenge Sheldon's position as President of the Tenants Association to restore the sandwich truck as well as fight off many ridiculous rules Sheldon imposed just to spite them.
Subplot: Howard and Raj find a drone that crashed and landed in Howard's backyard, making Raj determined to find the drone's owner in hopes that owner is a beautiful woman.

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The main plot focusing on Leonard, Penny, Sheldon and Amy contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: If you use presidential power just to bully other people, you risk losing that power.
    • Even your closest ones (in Sheldon's example, his fiancee Amy) might change their minds about supporting you if you get too indulgent in hurting other people.
  • A God Am I: Sheldon as he abuses his power of being the Tenants Association president, guiding the apartment however he wants it at the displeasure of others (especially Leonard).
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sheldon, Penny and Leonard all badger Amy for her vote on the Presidency each respectively on account of being her fiancee, her best friend, and her lender of a battery in spite of not talking much to each other.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Although he is forced to abdicate from his throne as President of the TA because Amy voted him out using the majority rule, Sheldon declares that even with Leonard being President, Sheldon can now be the "vocal opposition" badgering and criticizing the President at every turn. Amy encourages him to go for it, while Leonard and Penny cringe in anguish over what horrible mistake they made by putting themselves in charge.
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  • Big Bad: Sheldon in this episode.
  • The Bully: Sheldon (as usual). As President, he decides to ban Leonard and Penny from using the laundry room, takes away their sandwich truck, even bans Leonard from the hallway by putting out the rules "No Inhaler" and "No Glasses", mocks Leonard for his short height and charges Penny gratuitous fees for leaving her clothes overnight in the laundry room. After Leonard wrests the Presidential position away from Sheldon, the latter declares he can still bully Leonard by attacking every and any presidential policy Leonard comes up with.
  • Butt-Monkey: Leonard.
  • Call-Back: Sheldon waging war on Penny over the laundry room by charging her a late fee of $14.99 as failure to pick up her laundry on time could mean Sheldon is still angry at her for taking up all the washing machines out of spite back in Season 2's "The Panty Pinata Polarization" 9 years ago.
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  • Control Freak: Sheldon
  • Democracy Is Flawed: This trope gets spoon-fed to the viewers by Sheldon at the end: even if you're in charge, you will be endlessly harassed by vocal opponents who will do everything in their might to kill your self-esteem and drag you down from power so that they can still get whatever they want. Being a leader can be a privilege, but it's also a hard commitment and huge responsibility.
    • There's also the matter of Leonard and Penny trying to find enough people to get a majority vote to kick Sheldon out of power, but all the tenants in the apartment refuse to help them out.
  • For Want of a Sandwich: The entire democratic conflict in this episode began all because Leonard and Penny wanted the Pearl of Sandwich food truck to stay, and Sheldon for it to leave.
  • Going Cold Turkey: Sheldon complains the sandwich truck smells so good, but he's resisting the urge to buy and eat a sandwich from the truck since he knows it's salty and fattening.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The only reason Leonard and Penny challenge Sheldon for the position as President of the Tenants Association is because they want their sandwich truck (Pearl of Sandwich) back. Even the Wolowitzes (Howard and Bernadette) decide to try the sandwich because of how good it smells.
  • It's All About Me: Sheldon.
  • Loophole Abuse: Leonard invokes this to oust Sheldon as president of the tenants association when it turns out that he was technically no longer a tenant; he was taken out of the lease of his previous apartment when he moved in with Amy, who is leasing Penny's old apartment. He is no longer leasing an apartment, and therefore ineligible to lead the tenant's association. Sheldon also invokes this trope when he points out the California Provisional Law that "a person who occupies a dwelling for 30 consecutive days becomes a tenant at will".
  • Merciful Minion: Amy to Sheldon. Amy ends up voting in Leonard into power because she realizes that her fiancee is too corrupt and abusive to be in charge, seeing that Penny is her best friend and Sheldon is hurting Penny too much. But then she ends being this trope by cheering for Sheldon to vocally oppose and badger Leonard.
  • Never My Fault: Sheldon for blaming the food truck itself for making him want to have a sandwich, when really he could just go to some other place like a public library to continue his research.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Amy misquotes Spider-Man by "telling off" Sheldon that with minimal power comes minimal responsibility. Sheldon, whose Berserk Button is this trope, complains about her failure to accurately describe even the most basic facts about Spider-Man.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Leonard does win by becoming the President at the end, but now he has to deal with Sheldon's vocal opposition.
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: Leonard learns that Sheldon is the head of the tenant association when he sends an e-mail in front of Sheldon, and Sheldon receives it on his phone at that very moment.

The subplot focusing on Howard and Raj contains examples of:

  • Enhance Button: Parodied. When Raj and Howard find a downed drone, they review the memory card footage to see if they can locate its owner. Using a laptop, they see a button on her shirt and Raj instructs Howard to zoom in. Howard says "Okay" and then physically moves the laptop closer to Raj's face.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: The drone recorded Raj screaming out loud how much he wants to have sex with the drone's owner while being naked and impregnate her, thus causing Cynthia to axe any plans to stay friends with Raj because of course his comments were repulsive and sexist.
  • The Unsmile: Stuart has been trying a new smile when flirting with women. He shows it to Howard.
    Howard: Now, I don't use the word "ghoulish" a lot, but... I-I just can't think of another word.
  • William Telling: Howard tries to use the drone to knock a bowl off Raj's head. Bernadette tells them to be careful... because they don't make that bowl anymore.
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