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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 12 E 21 The Plagiarism Schism

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Kripke has proof that Dr. Pemberton plagiarized his thesis in college, and Sheldon and Amy aren’t sure if they should turn him in or not. Also, Wolowitz is happily surprised to learn that Bernadette wasn’t the only waitress at the Cheesecake Factory who had a crush on him back in the day.

Episode Tropes:

  • Acting Unnatural: It was actually Leonard who picked up the evidence of Pemberton's plagiarism from Kripke without the knowledge of either Amy or Sheldon, and he gets nervous when he bumps into Amy while leaving Kripke's office.
    • Later this applies to Penny, when she reveals Amy what Leonard had done.
  • Blatant Lies: While drunk, Campbell blows up Pemberton's plagiarism and then goes to Sheldon and Amy, trying to use them as an alibi for not blowing up the plagiarism by claiming he was with them the whole time. They rebuff him (also because he had a misogynist reaction to Linda dumping him).
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Barry Kripke acts all pals with Pemberton, but actually confesses to Amy and Sheldon that he hates him and was only polite because he is a "grade-A weasel" whose M.O. is to "take other's ideas and turn them into his own" whose only work for his thesis was googling "where can I buy a thesis?", and that he can actually prove Pemberton plagiarized with some calls.
    • Sheldon actually confesses to Barry he has doubts whether he's not just acting nice with them, while the latter confesses he does not want to see either Sheldon or Pemberton winning a Nobel, and states "squeazy is where I thrive".
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • Regarding Sheldon and Amy whistleblowing Dr. Pemberton's plagiarism: On the one hand, Howard and Penny are correct that Sheldon and Amy shouldn't do it (especially when the thesis plagiarism took place a long time ago) and take the higher moral ground. On the other hand, Bernadette and Leonard are right that they should say something as plagiarism is serious, even if it ruins Dr. Pemberton's career. Raj is in the middle ground as while he knows Sheldon and Amy want to win a Nobel Prize, whistle blowing on somebody just to do so isn't honorable. (According to Barry Kripke, Pemberton is a reincident in lacking ethical standards.)
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    • Later, after Amy and Sheldon discover Leonard collected the evidence of Pemberton's plagiarism, they go over to Penny and Leonard's apartment and argue about what Leonard did. Although they did not want it and Amy thinks it's sweet of him to have done it and be willing to be the whistleblower, she doesn't want him to compromise his integrity for them. Sheldon is more ambiguous on that point, believing the situation to be complicated, and really just doesn't want to look bad. Leonard points out that he's doing the whistleblowing, not Amy and Sheldon - thus he's OK "doing something shifty" for them - and that it's just as wrong for them to not get their well-deserved recognition.
  • Creator Killer (In-Universe): Dr. Campbell ends up uploading the plagiarism evidence, ending not only Dr. Pemberton's career, but his chances of winning a Nobel Prize.
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  • Creepy Cute:
    Bernie: The restaurant manager already called. You really creeped a lot of people out.
    Howard: And I... regret that. Because the only woman I wanna... creep out is the... mother of my children. (Touches a sliver of Bernie's hair.)
    Bernie: Yeah, rough but a good start... (Looks slightly scared with Howard, who stops touching her hair.)
  • Everyone Has Standards: While Kripke isn't the world's nicest guy, even he is disgusted by Pemberton's thesis plagiarism.
  • Food Slap: When Campbell confesses he's in love with Pemberton's wife, Pemberton is so angry he throws a drink in his face during a lunch with Sheldon and Amy. Then Campbell throws himself at Pemberton, knocking him out of his chair, and they start a fist fight on the floor.
    Sheldon: That was my iced tea!
  • Karmic Jackpot: In the end, Amy and Sheldon decide to give the plagiarism evidence to Dr. Pemberton so nobody else can use it against him, as they don't want to resort to dirty tactics to win the Nobel Prize. This results in Dr. Campbell being pissed off at Dr. Pemberton for that as it could jeopardize his own career, and he ends up being the whistleblower instead. This means that Amy and Sheldon manage to eliminate competition for the Nobel Prize in Physics, but they still get to retain the moral high ground.
  • The One That Got Away: Howard learns that there was another waitress who was interested in him while he was dating Bernadette and starts obsessing about it.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Kripke has evidence that Pemberton plagiarized his college thesis, and much of the episode focuses on the debate of whether to use the information in Sheldon and Amy's favor.
  • The Un-Reveal: Who was the other waitress that was interested in Howard - even though he actually went to The Cheesecake Factory to know who she was.
  • Vanity: In a heartwarming moment Howard confesses to Bernie this was the reason he actually went to The Cheesecake Factory to know who was that waitress (which she already knew because the manager called her about that).
  • What Does She See in Him?:
    Sheldon: (After Amy closes door on Campbell's face) Frankly, I don't know what Linda ever saw in either of them!
  • Your Cheating Heart: Dr. Campbell confesses that he's in love with Dr. Pemberton's wife, Linda,note  and mentions to Sheldon and Amy he was once sleeping with her. The former also discovers at some point that he was being cheated upon with (and eventually dumped for) her contractornote .
    • Campbell reveals he was Linda's confidant:
    (After finding out about Pemberton's plagiarism, which he justified as being due to not being "smart enough to do it":)
    Campbell: Linda was right. You're always looking for shortcuts.
    Pemberton: When did you talk to my ex-wife?
    Campbell: She's not your ex-wife. You keep dragging your feet on those papers.
    Pemberton: I'm trying to get the lake house.
    Campbell: You're not getting the lake house. You're never getting the lake house. She picked it out, she decorated it. The lake house is hers!
    Pemberton: What is going on here?!
    Campbell: I'm in love with Linda!!
    Pemberton: YOU SON OF A BITCH!! (Food slaps Campbell.)
    • Campbell on Linda and the contractor:
    (After revealing to Amy and Sheldon they had ended their relationship) Not anymore. Apparently, just because I'm better than her husband, doesn't mean I'm as good as her contractor. Women, huh? (Amy throws him out of the office.)

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