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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 1 E 13 The Bat Jar Conjecture

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Plot

The guys decide to participate in the annual Physics Bowl. For their first practice round on a Saturday with Penny hosting, Sheldon keeps cutting in and trying to answer the questions for his partners. Leonard, Howard and Penny point out Sheldon is being selfish and he should share the glory with his teammates out of consideration. Sheldon refuses, wanting to keep hogging the spotlight all for himself and dismissing there's such a need to "share" the questions. Fed up with Sheldon's ego, Leonard boots him off the team with a Batman cookie jar as compensation.

Leonard fills in Sheldon's gap with his ex Leslie as while Sheldon hires CalTech's janitors and cafeteria workers but requiring they all stay quiet and not give answers. Both Leonard and Sheldon do very well against each other in the Physics Bowl but then neither of them can answer the Final question that will break their tied score. Leonard gives a very weak guess, and Sheldon stays quiet until suddenly his teammate answers "Negative 8 pi alpha". Sheldon lashes out at him, saying their arrangement was only he may answer questions. The teammate, Dmitri, confesses to being a former renowned physicist himself back in the Soviet Union before moving to America for a new life. Sheldon doesn't care for his background, and so Sheldon revokes that answer, allowing Leonard to win. Leonard, while proud of his new trophy, wonders if Sheldon will ever realize the true potential of teamwork.

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Tropes

  • Almighty Janitor: Dmitri.
    Dmitri: Here, I am janitor. In former Soviet Union, I am physicist.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Sheldon remarks, "By that logic I should answer all the anthropology questions because I'm a mammal!" Anthropology encompasses the study of specifically humans and their ancestors regarding cultures and evolution, not mammals in general.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The final Physics Bowl question was badly written and the answer could not have been what was stated in this episode.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Referenced by Raj, who wonders why everyone on Star Trek: The Original Series has the same parts.
    Raj: How come no one ever said "Hey, Captain Kirk, get that thing out of my nose?"
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Sheldon complains to and scolds Dmitri for answering the Physics Bowl's final and notoriously difficult question instead of thanking him for it. Had he taken Dmitri's answer, or just sit there and stayed quiet, Sheldon would have won the Physics Bowl and taken home the trophy.
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  • Early-Bird Cameo: "TV's Blossom" and "that girl from The Wonder Years" are both mentioned. Mayim Bialik would later join the main cast as Amy Farrah Fowler, and Danica McKellar would appear as a Girl of the Week. No one comments on their resemblance to these actors.
  • Evil Laugh: Raj demonstrates one.
  • Four-Man Band: The Physics Bowl requires four people. Sheldon snarks that by that logic, they should also play bridge or enter the Olympic Bobsled competition.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Dmitri. See Almighty Janitor above.
  • Plot Hole: Sheldon at first didn't want to be part of the Physics Bowl complaining it's too easy for him, but then he gets obsessed with taking over the team and is pissed when Leonard discharges him.
  • Salt the Earth: Referenced as one of the ways the Romans conquered their enemies.
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  • Straw Misogynist: Sheldon telling Leslie she should abandon her particle atomic research for laundry and child-bearing.
  • Strong Ants: Sheldon wants to name the team the Army Ants, because relative to their size, Army Ants are the strongest creatures.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
    Sheldon: Oh, and another thing. It's on, bitch!
  • Unfortunate Names: Army Ants (AA) and Perpetual Motion Squad (PMS).
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Leonard asks Sheldon if losing as an individual means better to him than winning as a team and take only partial credit for victory. Sheldon most likely would have answered "Yes" if he understood this question when Leonard asked him.
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: Dmitri's Physics training from Mother Russia.
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