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The Big Bang Theory / Season Eight

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Sheldon returns from riding the rails having never left any train stations. Leonard and Penny plan their wedding and Raj comes to realize his girlfriend Emily has a very dark sense of humor. Bernadette discovers she was the bully at her job. Howard's mother dies and he later meets his half-brother.

Tropes in The Big Bang Theory Season Eight

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: In "The Commitment Determination", Leonard confesses to Penny that he had a fling (while drunk) with one of the scientists in the research trip to the North Sea from Season Seven. He claims it didn't go further than kissing, but Penny is more upset that he chose to tell her while on their way to getting married in Las Vegas.
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  • Accidental Hero: Because of his lack of tact, Sheldon sheds light on how little effort Leonard and Penny had spent planning for their wedding. Because of that, though, they start expressing what they actually want for the wedding and make some real plans. They are forced to admit that Sheldon was responsible for them making some leeway on this.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Sheldon causes Leonard and Penny to get real defensive about their engagement when he points out they were engaged for a year and had no plans or goals so far.
  • As Himself:
    • Stephen Hawking in "The Troll Manifestation", as the eponymous troll.
    • Nathan Fillion in "The Comic Book Store Regeneration", eating at a cafe when Leonard and Raj approach him for a photo. He at first pretends to be someone else but eventually relents (although at the end it's left unclear whether it really was Fillion or not).
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    • Wil Wheaton has Penny on his podcast, and gets a call from Kevin Smith.
  • Bait-and-Switch
    • "The Locomotion Interruption": While stuck in a car, Sheldon asks Amy to plug her ears so he can talk to Leonard in private. He then tells Leonard he's interested in a sexual relationship with Amy. A few beats later, he reveals it as a ploy to see if Amy really can't hear them, and then moves on with his true intentions.
    • "The Colonization Application": Sheldon and Amy tell Leonard and Penny that they have an announcement. From the wording, it's assumed that the announcement is going to be their engagement, but it's then revealed to be that they're getting a pet turtle.
      • In Sheldon's Mars application video, he shows his sense of humor by playing the old snake-in-the-peanut-brittle-can prank. Leonard humors him, despite knowing full well what's coming, but is surprised to see that it's a real can of peanut brittle. He starts to ask what the deal is... and gets a Pie in the Face.
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    • In "The Commitment Determination", Sheldon is about to ask Amy something on the fifth anniversary of when they first met. Again, the implication is that he's about to propose, so when he asks instead whether he should commit to watching The Flash (2014), Amy has enough and calls for a break in their relationship. After she ends the Skype call Sheldon pulls out an engagement ring.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While always a part of her character, apparently Bernadette intimidates most of her co-workers, intentionally or not. Penny gets a job as a pharmaceutical rep by bonding with her boss - who is very intimidated by her - over this.
  • Blanket Fort: Sheldon and Amy build one in "The Fortification Implementation".
  • Celebrity Paradox: Sheldon mentions to Amy his desire to start watching The Flash (2014), which was starting to wrap up its first season at the time. One of the characters on that show, Cisco, can be seen wearing a "Bazinga" t-shirt. This is in addition to Sheldon's love of the Flash being very evident throughout the series, including the first season Halloween Episode where every character ended up dressing as the Flash.
  • Character Development: Penny is slowly becoming more responsible with her own life by accepting her acting career was a bust. While not really thrilled with being a pharmaceutical rep, she recognizes the need to step up and do her homework for once.
    • Sheldon finally admits he loves Amy in "The Prom Equivalency".
      • "The Commitment Determination" opens with Sheldon and Amy making out and ends with the revelation that Sheldon was planning to propose to her.
  • Clark Kenting: Discussed on "The Expedition Approximation" when Raj explains Hannah Montana to Sheldon, and Sheldon finds it absurd that she could pass unrecognized just by wearing a wig.
    Raj: But you're okay with Superman concealing his identity with a pair of glasses?
    Sheldon: He doesn't just put on a pair of glasses. He combs back his curlicue and affects a mild-mannered personality.
  • Cliffhanger: The season ends with multiple plots unresolved, Raj backs out of breaking up with Emily, Leonard and Penny head off to Vegas to get married but the mood is soured by a minor infidelity of the past Leonard confesses to and Amy breaks up with Sheldon with him musing what he is going to do with the engagement ring he bought.
  • Closet Geek: Played with in "The Skywalker Incursion". Penny is dismayed that she knows so much about Doctor Who, but freely admits to liking Game of Thrones because "It's got dragons and people doing it"
  • Continuity Nod: In "The Clean Room Infiltration", Leonard mentions the various times Howard has screwed up and tried to cover it up, including the time he lost the Mars Rover (Season Two's "The Lizard-Spock Expansion") and losing Raj's dog (Season Six's "The Proton Resurgence").
    • "The Fortification Implementation" brings up the time Howard threw the first pitch at the Angels game (this season's "The First Pitch Insuficiency") and the time Howard had a robot arm pleasure him (Season Four's "The Robotic Manipulation"). There's even a Call-Back to one of the latter episode's lines ("Because that's all you needed, right?").
  • Continuity Snarl: In "The Intimacy Acceleration", Sheldon tells Penny it's his birthday, something he supposedly never told her before, and Penny mentions that date makes him a Pisces. Except in the Season One episode "The Peanut Reaction", it's mentioned that Penny did all of their horoscopes and found out that Sheldon is a Taurus.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Howard is forced to administer it to a pigeon in "The Clean Room Infiltration". The clean part is subverted when Howard complains of the victim's breath.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Apparently when Bernadette gets excited, her voice gets so high pitched animals get annoyed.
  • Downer Ending: Nobody got what they wanted in the finale. Raj was too afraid to break up with Emily, Howard and Bernadette still have Stuart living in their house with them and it's implied that Leonard and Penny didn't go through with their elopement. Worst of all, Amy finally got fed up enough with Sheldon to leave him, and the scene ended with Sheldon pulling out an engagement ring and not knowing what to do with it, with absolute dead silence in the background.
  • Drama Bomb: In "The Comic Book Store Regeneration," after much argument with Stuart about his mother giving him the den furniture for the rebuilt store, Howard gets a call from his aunt that his mother has died in her sleep.
    • "The Commitment Determination" ends with Amy getting fed up with Sheldon for not advancing their relationship further and breaking up with him, followed by the revelation that Sheldon had bought her an engagement ring.
  • Elopement: Leonard and Penny in "The Commitment Determination".
  • Erotic Eating: Invoked in "The Anxiety Optimization" with Sheldon criticizing the way Amy eats a banana.
    Sheldon: Who eats them horizontally?
    Amy: My mother said that's how good girls do it.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Leonard came up with an idea about a missing link in vacuum superfluid theory mid-dining with Penny, explaining the theory to her. More awesome as after hearing the idea Sheldon he decided to stay up overnight, work out the math and write a paper out of it.
  • Face Palm: Leonard's mother Beverly does it in "The Maternal Combustion" in regards to Sheldon's mother Mary and her religiousness.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Invoked in "The Clean Room Infiltration", where Sheldon thinks the way to punish Amy for being forced to celebrate Christmas is to give her a present when they agreed not to, so she would feel bad that she didn't give him one. He chooses a photo of him with Santa with a recorded message saying "I hope you treasure this as much as I treasure you" , which would be touching if it wasn't done in spite. It backfires, as not only is Amy touched but she did get him an even more thoughtful present, cookies made with the recipe from Sheldon's beloved Meemaw. Sheldon is overwhelmed with emotion.
  • Gigantic Gulp: Amy and Bernadette drink margaritas from huge glasses in "The Focus Attenuation."
  • Grave Humor: Sheldon buys monogrammed funeral urns for him and Leonard in "The Septum Deviation". Leonard's reads "Here lie the ashes of Leonard Hofstadter. He thought he was right, but his roommate knew better." Sheldon's reads "I'm with stupid."
  • Hallucinations: In "The Anxiety Optimization", a sleep-deprived Sheldon sees the man sitting next to him on a bus as an armadillo.
  • Heel Realization: Bernadette thought she was a sweetheart, but it turns out most of her friends and co-workers are intimidated by her and sometimes offended by her remarks. Learning about this she is brought to tears, not realizing she came across like that.
  • High-School Dance: The gang organize a private prom in the roof of their building as a redo for their own missed proms.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Deconstructed with Dr. Lorvis (played by Billy Bob Thornton), who in "The Misinterpretation Agitation" tries to woo Penny after confusing her sales tactics for affection and later does the same with Amy.
  • Hot Scientist: Bernadette is offered to appear in a magazine promoting beautiful scientists. It goes south when Amy's complaining to the magazine over the sexist overtones gets the article pulled. Which makes Bernadette mad enough to insult Amy over her looks. But both forget about it when they have to rescue the guys from Dr. Lorvis & he's on the make with Amy.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Howard making jokes about Dr. Lorvis still living with his mother. Raj is not amused.
  • Identity Denial: See Nathan Fillion's entry As Himself.
  • Insomnia Episode: "The Anxiety Optimization," where Sheldon is keeping his anxiety levels up as a way of optimizing his work environment. This leads to him becoming sleep deprived and hallucinating about Isaac Newton being an armadillo.
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: Defied. Amy was working up the nerve to tell Sheldon she loved him and prefaced it with a long-winded ramble about how she isn't expecting anything in return. Sheldon ended up cutting her off by saying "I love you too," explaining he already concluded love was the only explanation for his feelings for her.
  • Important Haircut: Penny sports a shorter pixie haircut as part of a new adult look. Sheldon, of course, hates it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: One of the astronauts who bullied Howard in the ISS told him not to take the first pitch on the Angels game. If he succeeds, nobody cares; if he fails, everyone laughs at him. Howard fails.
  • Killed Off for Real: Mrs. Wolowitz at the end of "The Comic Book Store Regeneration".
  • Locked in a Room: Sheldon and Raj spend much of "The Expedition Approximation" down on a steam tunnel under the university to practice for when they have to do dark matter experiments on an abandoned mine.
    • In "The Misinformation Agitation", Dr. Lorvis locks the guys in his rec room while he tries to go out with Penny. Only they don't mind since they're too busy playing Donkey Kong.
  • Long-Lost Relative: After Ms. Wolowitz dies and the lawyers contact Howard's father for things like the title on the house, Howard gets a surprise visit from his previously unknown half-brother Josh. Howard was initially very upset until Josh sees that he was an astronaut and acquires a Big Brother Worship, which Howard soaks in with delight.
  • Love Confession: In "The Prom Equivalency", Amy tries to make her feelings for Sheldon known but Sheldon beats her to the punch.
  • Mary Sue: invoked Amy, after it is revealed she writes Little House on the Prairie fanfiction casting herself as "Amelia". note 
  • Mermaid Problem: One of the things Sheldon is working on when Raj comes to his office in "The Expedition Approximation" is figuring out how mermaids have babies. Raj solves it by suggesting she just lays eggs.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Invoked when Howard, Raj and Sheldon suggest a way to bring more customers to Stuart's comic book store.
    Leonard: So your idea is to get a van and cruise the streets looking for kids to pick up?
    Sheldon: Yes.
    Leonard: And are you going to use candy to lure them in?
    Raj: We are now!
  • Nap-Inducing Speak: Sheldon refuses to go to sleep in "The Anxiety Optimization" but after one chorus of "Soft Kitty", he's out like a light.
  • Old Shame: invoked A trifecta between Penny, Amy and Bernadette in "The Troll Manifestation." Amy and Bernadette learn of Penny's last ultra-low budget film she shot last season being available on demand, and watch it at her expense. In retaliation, Penny finds a video of Bernadette competing in a beauty pageant singing Spice Girls songs, which eventually leads to discovering Amy's Little House on the Prairie fanfiction and reading it out loud.
  • Operator from India: Spoofed on "The Graduation Transmission" when Howard calls tech support, complaining that it'll probably be some foreigner with the same manual he has. Then Raj's phone rings. It's actually his father calling at coincidentally the same time.
  • Out of Focus: In the last few episodes of the season Amy appeared very sparingly, mostly limited to the Cold Open. This was apparently because Mayim Bialik's father was sick and passed away in early April, and she wanted extra time to be with him.
  • Parental Favoritism: When Stuart moves in with Mrs. Wolowitz, Howard becomes jealous that she treats him better than her own son.
  • Parting Words Regret: In "The Intimacy Acceleration", Howard regrets not driving his mother to the airport, knowing now that it would have been the last time he would see her alive.
  • Pass the Popcorn: While Leonard confronts Dr. Lorvis about trying to date Penny in "The Misinterpretation Agitation", Sheldon, Howard and Rajesh stand by the doorway, Chinese take out in hand.
  • Personality Swap: When the girls go to Vegas in "The Focus Attenuation", party girl Penny has to stay and study, while the usually more responsible Amy and Bernadette go get drunk.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: A rather subdued example, Penny and Bernadette clash over how casually Penny was treating her new job. Most of the plot was how Amy was stuck as friends to both and was happy over the new focus on her. Penny and Bernadette civilly talk things out, which left Amy a little disappointed.
    • Discussed on "The Hook-up Reverberation", when Sheldon mentions research suggesting that a man entering a romantic relationship loses an average of two friends as a result, in regards to Rajesh and Emily's relationship.
    • Defied in "The Troll Manifestation" where Leonard brings an idea involving theoretical physics to Sheldon (who is better versed in the field) and Sheldon surprises Leonard with a paper he wrote on the subject overnight. Leonard initially believes Sheldon is trying to take credit away from him, but Sheldon assures him they will share authorship. It comes back around in a later episode, "The Leftover Thermalization," when a science magazine omits Leonard's name on the theory and leaves it as "Sheldon and his team." Sheldon is actually concerned about Leonard's feelings on the matter, but his attempts to make him feel better slowly degrade into an argument anyway (His analogies regarding whose name is on the phone or cable bill go sideways, and he was complacent in accepting the title of lead scientist on the theory).
  • Reality Ensues: You might be a former child prodigy who has a dozen degrees to your name and has written numerous well-respected scholarly papers, but you still can't barge into George Lucas' private studio area without getting arrested. Just ask Sheldon.
    • The escape room game in "The Intimacy Acceleration". Designed for a group of normal people, The four certified geniuses complete the $200 game in six minutes.
  • Secret Other Family: When his half brother Josh appears, Howard becomes upset that his father left him and his mother to start another family.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Leonard is upset that he and Sheldon didn't make it to their speech presentation because they were arrested by George Lucas' security guards, Sheldon points out that for all his complaining, Leonard finally got to see Sheldon tasered by Lucas' security guards. Leonard actually cheers up.
  • Sexy Whatever Outfit: In "The Graduation Deterioration", Penny gets Leonard a cap and gown for his commencement speech, but the store only had the "sexy graduate" costume with the short skirt gown.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Dr. Lorvis. He's shown to be a very shallow person who doggedly stalks any woman who makes physical contact with him. Indeed, the girls find him extremely creepy, and when they learn he's locked the boys in his game room the girls forcefully march him back to free the boys.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: According to Howard in "The Graduation Deterioration," it's "those who call tech support, and those who laugh at those who call tech support."
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: By the end of the season, Stuart has become this to Howard and Bernadette, who desperately want him to move out but cannot bring themselves to tell him.
  • Time-Travel Romance: Amy's Little House on the Prairie Fan Fic, as seen in "The Troll Manifestation", about a girl from the 19th century named Amelia falling in love with a time traveling physicist named Dr. Cooper.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: In "The Focus Attenuation," when the guys are discussing the timeline in Back to the Future Part II.
    Sheldon: Wait, whoa, whoa. Is "placed" right? Is "placed" the right tense for something that would have happened in the future of a past that was affected by something in the future?
    Leonard: Had will have placed?
    Sheldon: That's my boy.
  • Troll: Leonard and Sheldon deal with one in "The Troll Manifestation" who posts a negative comment on the paper they just published. It turns out to be Stephen Hawking, who actually liked the paper but trolled them because "after being stuck on a chair for forty years, you want to have a little fun."
  • Tuckerization: In "The Intimacy Acceleration" the group goes to a real life "locked room" game where they are informed, as part of the story, that they are about to enter the lab of a recently deceased "Dr. David Salzberg." He is the science consultant for the show.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: The girls go to Las Vegas in "The Focus Attenuation".
  • Wham Episode: "Comic Book Store Regeneration" ends with Howard learning his mom passed away while visiting friends.
    • "The Commitment Determination" has some really heavy stuff happen to the characters. The least of which is Raj's question if him and Emily are compatible and Bernadette and Howard trying to get Stuart to move out of their house and live on his own. The big events are Leonard and Penny running to Vegas to elope, only for Leonard to ruin the mood by confessing a minor infidelity (Penny's not happy about it, but is more angry about telling her right before they are to get married). Then Amy breaks up with Sheldon over Skype because she didn't feel he was invested in their relationship, with Sheldon afterwards musing what he was going to do with the engagement ring he bought for her.
  • Wham Line: In "The Prom Equivalency"
    Amy: Sheldon, there's something else I've been wanting to say. But before I do, just... I want you to know you don't have to say it back. I know you're not ready, and I don't want you to say it because social convention dictates...
    Sheldon: I love you too.
    • At the end of "The Commitment Determination", right after this:
      Amy: (via Skype) Okay, well... this isn't easy to say, because I love you but... I need some time to take a step back and reevaluate our situation.
      • We get this:
        Sheldon: ... (turns his Gollum figure towards him) Well, Gollum... you're an expert on rings... (pulls out an engagement ring from this desk drawer) What do I do with this one?
  • Wham Shot: "Commitment Determination" has Sheldon, after Amy breaks up with him, pull out an engagement ring from his desk drawer.
  • Wiki Walk: In "The Focus Attenuation", the boys try to come up with new inventions, but keep getting sidetracked watching movies and looking up random stuff on the internet.

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