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Recap / The Big Bang Theory S 7 E 9 The Thanksgiving Decoupling

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The Thanksgiving Decoupling is the 9th episode of the 7th season of The Big Bang Theory. It originally aired on November 21st, 2013.

It's Thanksgiving at the Wolowitz's, as Howard tries to bond with Bernadette's father, and a surprising revelation about Penny's past leads to complications.


  • Accidental Marriage: Turns out Penny and Zack got drunk in Las Vegas one Thanksgiving and had a "fake" marriage in a chapel there; thus they had been technically married for three years without knowing it.
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  • Bastard Girlfriend: Penny, who's also a pathetic girlfriend. She spends the whole episode denigrating Leonard over something she did that was wrong. Using Insane Troll Logic, Penny states that Leonard pointing out her mistakes is morally wrong while her doing mistakes and refusing (or lashing out when pressured) to correct them "isn't".
    Leonard: Why are you mad at me? You're the one that did the stupid thing. I'm just trying to fix it.
  • Blunt "Yes":
    Sheldon: Now I know how the African slaves felt. Being dragged from their homes to work under the yoke of the white man.
    Amy: Are you honestly comparing going to Thanksgiving dinner at Mrs. Wolowitz's house to one of the worst tragedies in human history?
    Sheldon: Yes.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: Sheldon and Bernadette's father Mike both bond over beer, football and their inability to see their fathers again on Thanksgiving. And also because they both can't stand Howard.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Zack comes back after 3 years of absence. Leonard still thinks it's too soon, mainly because Zack is a painful reminder of how many men Penny slept with (which of course made Penny the butt of sexual slurs such as slut).
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Bernadette towards her father for bullying Howard.
  • Commonality Connection: Given they're both inconsiderate asses who love bullying others and they both didn't want to come to Mrs. Wolowitz's house for Thanksgiving dinner, Sheldon and Mike become fast friends by chiding football player strategies and bullying Howard together.
  • Cow Tipping: The opening of the episode is an argument over this. Sheldon and Leonard argue it's not possible using physics, Penny claims that she did it before, Howard guesses probably not judging by how he can't flip his fat mom on her bed when she sleeps, while Raj (who is Hindu) just complains that cows are sacred. When Penny objects that he loves hamburgers, Raj denies there's anything wrong with that.
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  • Creepy Doll: Much is made of the clown figurines in Mrs. Wolowitz's bathroom and how creepy they are.
  • Elvis Impersonator:
    Penny: You know neither of us thought this was real. I mean, we were married by an Elvis impersonator!
    Zack: Of course it was an impersonator. We could never afford a real Elvis.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Bernadette is infuriated by the idea of having to Stay in the Kitchen and cook all the dinner herself. However, she's fine with the idea of Raj doing it.
    • Raj complains cow tipping is wrong because he believes cows are sacred, but Penny points out he loves hamburgers.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: The only reason that convinced Mike to come into the house Howard's mother is in is because he can watch the football game on TV and enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Howard's mother is said to be a great cook - but then she suffers a serious pain in her toe from gout though this hardly comes off as a surprise because Howard frequently complains she's very obese. As a result, she can't make Thanksgiving dinner and the whole purpose of the main cast coming over for dinner is thrown out the window.
  • In Vino Veritas: Sheldon gets chummy with Mike after a few beers. He even slaps Amy on the ass (which she secretly enjoys).
  • Jerkass: Sheldon and Penny.
    • The real reason Sheldon's mad he has to have Thanksgiving dinner made by Raj and Bernadette is because now he can't get to insult Leonard's cooking again.
    Sheldon: Fine, I'll go. But if her (Howard's mother) food is delicious, Thanksgiving is ruined! And it's on you.
    • Penny keeps telling Leonard to "cool it" with her marriage to Zack under alcoholic influence.
    • There's also Bernadette's father Mike. His own daughter calls him out for his bullying ways.
  • Jerkass Ball: Penny complains Leonard should really stop pointing out her mistakes, including when Leonard points out that she invited Zack over to dinner even though Penny proudly and recently invited Zack out of anger.
    • Penny even mentions she opened a bottle of wine in the car before she presented it to Howard as a Thanksgiving gift.
  • Mouthful of Pi: A drunken Sheldon burps the numerical value of pi to amuse Mike.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Sheldon keeps comparing himself to those African slaves brought over into the United States for labor work by being forced to have Thanksgiving at Howard's place. Amy keeps complaining that he's being racist for those statements.
  • Shoot the Television: Discussed when Mike and Sheldon talk about the 1993 Thanksgiving football game in which Miami beat the Dallas Cowboys.
    Mike: I was so pissed, I wanted to shoot the TV.
    Sheldon: So was my dad. And then he did.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Bernadette suspects that Howard expects her to do all the cooking for Thanksgiving dinner and she puts her foot down saying she won't do all the work (at least not alone). Howard then states he'll just make Raj do all the cooking. Bernadette applauds him for that idea.
  • Sweet Tooth: Bernadette, who won't stop eating the marshmallows.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: According to Leonard, this isn't how they normally celebrate Thanksgiving because usually Leonard would make a dinner and Sheldon would bitch about his cooking. Sheldon is disappointed he can't do it to Leonard again this Thanksgiving because of course Leonard's now given up making food for him.
  • Visual Pun: Raj is honored to do the cooking for Thanksgiving dinner because it's about an Indian making Thanksgiving dinner. Technically, it was Native Americans who were labelled Indians by Columbus who are associated with the holiday, not Indians of the namesake country.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: After too many beers, Sheldon excuses himself to the bathroom. When he comes out...
    Sheldon: I just threw up on a bunch of clowns.

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