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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 3 E 17 The Precious Fragmentation

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Plot

When the guys discover an actual One Ring prop from The Lord of the Rings, they argue over what to do with it, with Sheldon becoming a real life Gollum.

Tropes:

  • Apple of Discord: The prop ring brings out the worst in the four friends.
  • Daydream Surprise: Sheldon wakes up to find that he's the only one holding the ring, and excitedly runs to the bathroom to wash it. Then he looks at the mirror and discovers that he's turned into Gollum. He screams and wakes up for real.
  • Disappeared Dad: Howard mentions his dad disappeared when he was 11 when discovering the ALF doll in the box.
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  • Four-Man Band: Discussed when Leonard complains about being the one who has to carry the box they bought. Sheldon gives a partially inaccurate explanation for how the 4 men fit this.
    Leonard: Why do I always have to carry the heavy stuff?
    Sheldon: Well, it's simple. In our ragtag band of scientists with nothing to lose, I am the smart one, Wolowitz is the funny one, and Koothrappali is the loveable foreigner who struggles to understand our ways and fails. That leaves you, by default, as the musclenote .
    Leonard: One more floor, and I'll be the pulled muscle.
  • Game of Chicken: In order to decide who gets the ring, the guys all grab hold of it, the last one to let go being the winner. Leonard is the first to go after Penny lures him away with something from Victoria's Secret. The other three keep at it, even driving to and from work while still holding the ring.
  • It's All About Me: Penny lashes out at Leonard for not bringing her Chinese food last night as while she herself honestly brought food for Leonard at the Cheesecake Factory. By this logic, Penny is equating Leonard to a Chinese delivery boy which he isn't let alone his real job is being a physicist at CalTech, as while she herself is a waitress and it's her job to bring him food. On top of this, Leonard actually paid for his meal, Penny was expecting a free meal for nothing.
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    • Even so, Penny acts like she can't buy Chinese food on her own, she just waits for Leonard to buy her free food.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sheldon tries to steal the ring from Penny while she is sleeping, but accidentally wakes her. Penny freaks out and punches him in the face, which apparently breaks his nose and he runs off screaming while bleeding.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: While fighting over who can hold on to the ring longer, Howard and Rajesh try to psych Sheldon out by invoking this about his beloved grandmother.
    Howard: Think about it. The only reason you exist is because your grandmother had sex.
    Raj: Yeah, Meemaw did the nasty!
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure:
    • Howard jokes that his Disappeared Dad must have gone to Melmac, the home planet of ALF. However, ALF mentioned that his planet Melmac exploded in a nuclear war and so there is nothing left of it, all the surviving Melmacians fled to other parts of the universe. Therefore, Howard's joke is inaccurate and shows he doesn't have an accurate recounting of ALF.
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    • Penny claims she doesn't know who Adam West is, aggravating Sheldon. A Running Gag on this show is that Penny is unfamiliar with works of art associated with superheroes, sci-fi and fantasy that the men cherish.
  • Potty Emergency: When Sheldon starts mentioning things like 'waterfalls,' 'drippy faucets' and 'leaky gutter' in an attempt to get Raj and Howard to let go of the ring and go to the bathroom, it backfires and all three of them end up needing to relieve themselves.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Leonard delivers one to the guys after he steals the ring while they fall asleep on the couch.
    Leonard: There wasn't going to be a winner! There was going to be a selfish and petty person with a ring and three people who used to be his friend! Is that really what you guys want? 'Cuz if it is, fine, I don't want anything to do with you!
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