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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 3 E 1 The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation

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Plot

The gang returns from their project in the North Pole. Sheldon is excited about his findings, but the guys tampered with his results, humiliating him in front of everyone at the university. Penny lets Leonard know how she feels, but they're interrupted when Sheldon runs home to Texas.

Tropes appearing in the episode

  • Batman Gambit: It's implied that Sheldon's mom pulls one on him to make him go back to California with the guys.
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  • Break the Haughty: Sheldon when he discovers that the guys messed with his experiment to keep him from driving them crazy.
  • A Dick in Name: Howard referring to Sheldon as a "giant dictator", saying that he added the "tator" to make it less harsh. Raj also adds to this by referring to Sheldon as a "Dickensian" at one point, where he added the "ensian".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Upon hearing that the others wanted to lock him out of the cabin and let him freeze to death, Sheldon thought that was a bit of an overreaction. Leonard disagreed; that would be the plan to tie his limbs to four different sled dog teams and yelling "Mush!".
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Discussed when the guys go there to get Sheldon and Raj mentions that Texas is nothing like the Western movies he saw as a kid. Also, Howard wears a red cowboy hat to "blend in", which is mocked by Leonard.
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  • Noodle Incident: Combined with Let Us Never Speak of This Again, apparently at one point of the expedition, the heat in the cabin went out and they were forced to sleep together naked. Howard doesn't like to bring it up.
  • Not Hyperbole: Leonard says they messed with Sheldon's results to make him happy, because when he wasn't happy they wanted to kill him. He then says they actually had a plan ready to kill him before they messed with his results, two in fact.
    Leonard: We were going to throw his Kindle outside, and when he went to get it, lock the door and let him freeze to death.
    Sheldon: (gasps) That seems like a bit of an overreaction.
    Leonard: No, the overreaction was the plan to tie your limbs to four different sled dog teams and yell "mush"!
  • Running Gag: Poor Leonard just can't catch a break with Penny until the end of the episode. Raj's complete inability to talk to women is also referenced briefly.
  • Shout-Out:
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    • Toy Story is mentioned in regard to Howard's cowboy hat.
    • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is brought up while driving through Texas.
  • Their First Time: After two seasons of UST, Penny finally makes a move on Leonard. And it's weird.
  • Time-Passage Beard: After three months in the North Pole, the guys sport long, shaggy beards. Except for Sheldon, whose beard is neatly trimmed.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: While the guys complain about the conditions on the Arctic expedition, Sheldon thinks it was "a hoot-and-a-half."
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