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The Big Bang Theory / Season Seven

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Cured of his mutism, Raj finds that his life has not suddenly changed completely around. Penny quits her job as a waitress to focus on her acting full-time. Sheldon decides to move on from string theory research into dark matter, a big and unsettling change for him. When Raj finds a girlfriend and Leonard and Penny get engaged, Sheldon decides it is too much for him and goes on a cross country train trip to clear his head.


Tropes in The Big Bang Theory Season Seven

  • Accidental Marriage: Penny had one of those with Zach in Las Vegas. She does not realise she is legally married - she was so drunk she wrote it off as "one of those joke weddings you have in Las Vegas". Penny and Leonard are both suitably mortified; Sheldon helpfully points out that while stone-cold-sober, Penny has turned down three proposals from him.
    • But accepted one.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Amy doesn't think any of Sheldon's attempts at humor are very funny, until he drops his pants and she starts laughing.
  • Adam Westing: In "The Convention Conundrum", James Earl Jones befriends Sheldon and takes him on a wild night on the town, revealing himself to being a Star Wars geek and prone to playing practical jokes on Carrie Fisher, who turns out to be a little crazy herself.
    • Wil Wheaton bemoans the way his career has been going in "The Indecision Amalgamation". In The Tag, he has a role in Penny's movie, as the orangutan she has to wrestle with.
      • "The Gorilla Dissolution" shows that he got upgraded to Penny's love interest. When he gets fired for standing up for Penny, he gladly takes an audition for Sharknado 2.
  • Anti-Climax: Leonard and Penny's engagement was not nearly the big romantic gesture either of them were expecting or hoping for; it was at the tail end of an argument about what the other person wanted and they both eventually came to the conclusion of "Why not." Lampshaded by them, and then Leonard remembers a ring he kept in his wallet and turns it into something special.
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  • Bedmate Reveal: In "The Relationship Diremption", Sheldon wakes up next to a geology book.
  • Blatant Lies: Sheldon keeps insisting that he doesn't miss Leonard and that he's the one comforting Penny, not the other way around.
  • B-Movie: Penny was in one called Serial Apist, about a Killer Gorilla. She later has to take a part in the sequel, where her character becomes a human-gorilla hybrid.
  • Break-Up Bonfire: Sheldon considers burning his string theory books after "breaking up" with studying it, but "the smell of burning books reminds me too much of church picnics in Texas."
  • Catapult Nightmare: Sheldon when he dreams about Leonard being attacked by a kraken, although he's more disturbed about the DVDs of Back to the Future Part II and III being in the wrong boxes.
  • Character Development: After working through there Commitment Issues the previous season, Leonard and Penny relationship blossoms over this season and they fall deeper in love with one another. Despite the issues caused by Penny accidental marriage to Zack and her decision to quit her job, she and Leonard overcome all of these obstacles. Leonard despite understandable disapproving of Penny acting choice still comes through for her by buying her a car to keep her dream alive. This earns him Penny eternal gratitude and love and ultimately culminates in them getting engaged.
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  • The Chain of Harm: At the end of "The Itchy Brain Simulation", after Penny sets Raj up with one of her friends and the date goes horribly.
    Friend to Penny: What is wrong with you?!
    Penny to Raj: What is wrong with you?!
    Raj to mirror: What is wrong with you?!
  • Chasing a Butterfly: When Sheldon goes missing in "The Status Quo Combustion", Leonard tracks down his phone, a precaution he took ever since Sheldon wandered off chasing after a balloon at the swap meet.
  • Continuity Nod: A surprising number of them for a show that previously prided itself on being very self-contained in each episode. "Table Polarization" brings up the story of how Sheldon found his spot in season three's "Staircase Implementation" after Leonard brings in a couch to replace the lawn chairs Sheldon used previously, all as evidence that Sheldon is not as against change as he claims. "Indecision Amalgamation" also references the same episode in how Sheldon was excited for the Zune, not knowing how firmly it would be trounced by the iPod.
  • Deliberately Painful Clothing: The itchy sweater in "The Itchy Brain Simulation", which Leonard has to wear (with nothing underneath) until he can return a rented videotape, to show him how Sheldon feels about not having closure.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Invoked by Howard when he tries to patch things up with Sheldon in "The Friendship Turbulence".
    Howard: Seriously, I was talking to Bernadette last night and she made some great points. You and I have known each other a long time, and I didn’t hear the rest because she took her bra off.
    • Later that episode:
    Bernadette: I said to stop insulting each other. I didn’t tell you to take him on a romantic getaway.
    Howard: How do I know what you said? Damn you and your noise-cancelling breasts.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "The Relationship Diremption", Sheldon treats giving up studying string theory like breaking up a relationship, as per Penny's suggestion. The analogy even extends to him having a regretable "one-night stand" with geology, which he considers "the Kardashian of sciences".
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • invoked"The Hesitation Ramification" has Sheldon trying to learn about humor, but his attempts at telling jokes fall flat, especially when Penny gets depressed after her one scene on NCIS gets cut.
    Sheldon: [Shortly after Penny leaves] I've been studying comedy, and they say comedy equals tragedy plus time. [looks at watch for a few seconds] Let's tickle some ribs.
    • It gets played with in the last scene when Sheldon conforts Leonard after Penny's failed marriage proposal probably caused them to break up. Leonard is actually surprised that Sheldon didn't try to make an inappropiate joke, but then after he pats Leonard on the back...
    Leonard: Did you just put a "kick me" sign on my back?
    Sheldon: No, that wouldn't be funny at all. [removes sign]
    • In "The Thanksgiving Decopulation", Amy childes Sheldon for comparing being dragged to Mrs. Wolowitz's house for Thanksgiving to being made a slave.
  • Fake Shemp: In-universe. When Penny gets fired from the Serial Apist movie, she objects on the grounds that she's the main character. The director points out that she just shot the last scene in which her face is shown, and that the rest of the film will feature another actress in a gorilla mask and blonde wig.
  • Fat Suit: One of the what-if scenarios in "The Cooper Extraction" is of Leonard getting fat from being pampered by Raj. Stuart and Raj also become fat as the sequence continues.
  • Formerly Fat: Played with. In "The Mommy Observation", Rajs claims that he was fat as a child and so got by telling stories and planning mystery parties in the hope that one day he could share them with friends. Leonard then says he saw pictures of him as a child and he was not fat, to which Raj confesses that he was "svelte like a gazelle".
  • Heel Realization: Penny begins to realize just how important Leonard really is to her this season. Shortly after getting fired from her only real acting job, she vows to start making better decisions and suggests the idea of marriage to Leonard again — soberly this time. This prompts Leonard to get down on one knee and formally propose.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: The itchy sweater Leonard is forced to wear in "The Itchy Brain Simulation".
  • Imagine Spot: "The Cooper Extraction" is full of them.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: Sheldon makes Leonard wear an itchy sweater to show him how his obsession with closure is like an itch in his brain he can't scratch. He even mentions this phrase, stating that it's metaphorical, as Leonard can't literally wear Sheldon's shoes for having "feet like a toddler".
  • Insurance Fraud: Invoked in "The Status Quo Combustion". When the comic book shop burns down, everyone assumes that Stuart did it for the insurance money, including the insurance company, the person's mother and Howard.
  • It's All About Me: Sheldon doesn't take kindly to the idea of Leonard moving in with Penny in The Status Quo Combustion.
    Sheldon: You're putting your future bride's happiness above mine!
  • Journey to Find Oneself: Sheldon at the end of "The Status Quo Combustion".
  • Killed Off for Real: Professor Proton in "The Proton Transmogrification".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sheldon tortures Leonard with the itchy sweater during "The Itchy Brain Simulation". Later Leonard ends up dissproving Sheldon's discovery, thus robbing him of his greatest accomplishment.
  • Moral Myopia: The girls repeatedly go to Penny with their problems but the moment she needs a shoulder to cry on they quickly get annoyed by her complaining.
  • No Sympathy: Penny has a breakdown after her car breaks down, and she has no job, no money and no hope. Leonard tries to comfort her. Enter Sheldon...
    Sheldon: Leonard, could you wrap it up? We're waiting on you.
    Penny: I'm sorry, is the fact that my life's falling apart interfering with your board game?!
    Sheldon: ...It is.
  • N-Word Privileges: When watching Star Wars Episode I, Penny agrees with the others that Jar-Jar Binks is stupid, only for them to get offended and Raj saying that only they are allowed to do that.
  • Noodle Implement: In “The Relationship Diremption” Sheldon wonders why there is a geology book in the apartment as there's no reason there should be. Sheldon doesn't think it's a real science and Leonard has never shown any interest in it. Of course Sheldon wakes up next to the book after a night of drinking. See Bedmate Reveal above.
  • Parody Assistance: The show celebrated May 4th, Star Wars Day, with an extended homage where Sheldon envisions Professor Proton as his Spirit Advisor dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic helped with the sets and visual effects.
  • Primal Scene: In "The Mommy Observation".
    Sheldon: I saw Mommy with a naked man and she was trying to be a mommy again!
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Raj at the end of "The Itchy Brain Simulation".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Penny gives Lucy a brutal one in "The Itchy Brain Simulation", mainly calling her out for bailing too easily in their relationship. She even flat out calls her a bad person.
  • Running Gagged: The gag of Penny ignoring the "Check Engine" light on her car is put to an end when the car breaks down for good in "The Friendship Turbulence". Fortunately, Leonard bought her a new one.
  • Scar Survey: When Emily mentions that she has tattoos, Raj says he has a hole on his belly that might be a piercing. She offers to show him her tattoos if he showed it to her.
  • Self-Insert: Stuart starts inserting himself in the other's fantasy scenarios in "The Cooper Extraction".
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: "The Itchy Brain Simulation" The movie Leonard rented using Sheldon's card and didn't return had been paid for long ago. Sheldon never mentioned it because it might serve as a "teachable moment" down the road.
    • Sheldon's discovery of a new element, turns out the team who discovered it faked the results.
  • Shout-Out: Raj maintains that Sherlock Holmes is really Indian as he was stolen from an Indian detective character. This echoes a recurring character in British-Indian comedy show Goodness Gracious Me who insists everything is Indian.
    Sherlock Holmes? Indian!
  • Spirit Advisor: Arthur Jeffries (Professor Proton) appears in Sheldon's dreams in "The Proton Transmogrification" after the real Arthur passes away. Sheldon imagines him as Obi Wan in The Empire Strikes Back, much to Arthur's confusion. ("Why am I in a swamp, dressed like Friar Tuck?")
  • Spoiled Brat: Penny is particularly childish and selfish in this season. Notably in "The Friendship Turbulence", where she storms off after Leonard points out that it's not a good idea to turn down a paid role in a B-movie just because she thinks it's beneath her (implying that he's reluctant to keep paying for everything for her, while she sits at home all the time). Then when her stubborn refusal to admit that she's wrong blows up in her face and her car breaks downnote , Leonard pacifies her by buying her a brand new car. Basically, it's like an episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen.
  • Stage Names: In a notable aversion, Kaley Cuoco got married mid-season and is officially Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, and she proudly had her name changed in the credits at the start of an episode.
  • Start My Own: When the gang can't get tickets to Comic Con in "The Convention Conundrum", Sheldon decides to start his own convention rather than go with the others' plan to buy scalped tickets.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "The Workplace Proximity", Sheldon visits Amy at her lab while she is conducting an experiment with a monkey, showing it pictures and gauging its reactions. As the experiment continues, Sheldon's reactions to the pictures exactly mimic those of the monkey.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Sheldon kissing Amy in "The Locomotion Manipulation" was originally intended as this, but it became something more.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "The Thanksgiving Decopulation".
  • Third Wheel: Eric in "The Locomotion Manipulation", a fellow Rail Enthusiast that Sheldon meets while on what is supposed to be a Valentine's Day dinner with Amy. Sheldon invites him to his table, much to Amy's chagrin.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: In "The Indecision Amalgamation", Sheldon debates whether to buy an X-Box One or a PS4. Just as he thinks he's made a decision, he realizes that many of his previous decisions ended up being for the losing format - Betamax over VHS, HD-DVD over Blu-Ray, Zune over iPod.
  • Toilet Humor: In "The Relationship Diremption", Howard once had an embarrassing date with Raj's date Emily, in which he clogged her toilet, earning him the nickname "Clogzilla".
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "The Locomotion Manipulation".
  • Wham Episode:
    • "The Hesitation Ramification": Depressed at having lost a big acting job, a drunken Penny proposes to Leonard. Leonard just says "Um...", which Penny does not take well. The episode ends with them seemingly broken up for good.
    • Followed by "The Occupation Recalibration," Penny sobers up and is okay with the proposal incident, although new problems are introduced because Penny chooses to quit her job so she can focus on her acting career. This causes different types of stress because the burden of keeping Penny afloat without a source of income falls on Leonard, who struggles to be genuinely supportive while thinking her actions were rash.
    • "The Locomotion Manipulation": In a rant about being romantic, Sheldon kisses Amy as an attempt to mock her, only to linger for a moment, suggesting he liked it better than he expected.
    • "The Gorilla Dissolution" ends with Penny and Leonard getting engaged.
    • Season finale "The Status Quo Combustion": Sheldon is overwhelmed by all the changes in his life and decides to travel around in trains until he can clear his head. Also, Stuart's comic book store burns down and he takes a job taking care of Mrs. Wolowitz.
  • What If?: "The Cooper Extraction", where the gang, inspired by It's a Wonderful Life, imagine what their lives would be like if they never met Sheldon.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: From "The Proton Transmogrification". Sheldon is watching an episode of Professor Proton:
    "Here's a fun fact: after owls eat, they spit out the parts of their food that they can't digest, in the form of a pellet. Isn't that a hoot? We'll be right back after I fire my writers."
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: An interesting version, done between both Leonard and Penny in "The Gorilla Dissolution." Penny loses her one, mediocre acting job and starts to take stock in where her life is going. She suggests to Leonard they should get married, and Leonard gets a turn to tell her he doesn't want to be the safe, responsible decision "like a bran muffin" but wants her to be excited like you would be for "a Cinnabon or a Pop Tart." When he says she's just depressed over losing an acting job, she rebukes that by explaining that she's thinking clearly on what she really needs in order to be happy and that is to spend her life with Leonard.
    Leonard: Well what do you need?
    Penny: YOU, you stupid Pop Tart!

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