"The Big Bang Theory: The Lizard-Spock Expansion (#2.8)"
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Saturn 3 or Star Trek: Deep Space 9? That is the question that Sheldon and Raj must answer. Both want to watch the respective shows, and using Leonard's suggestion of Babylon 5 as a compromise just won't work. Raj suggests the old standby of rock-paper-scissors, but Sheldon declines. Explaining that people who know each other will tie 75-80% of the time, he suggests Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock. (Which we'll call RPSLS so I don't make my carpal tunnel worse.) The rules:

1. Scissors cuts Paper

2. Paper covers Rock

3. Rock crushes Lizard

4. Lizard poisons Spock

5. Spock smashes Scissors

6. Scissors decapitates Lizard

7. Lizard eats Paper

8. Paper disproves Spock

9. Spock vaporizes Rock

10. Rock crushes Scissors

Of course, Sheldon and Raj both pick Spock. Fortunately, there's a knock at the door. Unfortunately, it's Howard, regaled in an interesting satin shirt with a Mardi Gras-like pattern and an eye patch. (this time, it's not pinkeye) As Howard is going to a club tonight, he needs a "hook," something that the ladies will take note of. Then it's time for the "negs": negative statements that sound like compliments to throw women off their game. He tries one on Penny. "You know, not a lot of women can look as hot as you with greasy hair." That gets him a pull and snap-back on his eye patch.

Sheldon has another problem with the TV: he refuses to watch "The Clone Wars" TV series until he first sees the "Clone Wars" movie, as he "wants to be disappointed in the order George Lucas intended." Since Leonard does want to see it, it's time for another round of RPSLS. Only this time, Leonard is smart enough to give up. Leonard gets a call from Howard, who seems to be in trouble at the Mars Rover Control Room. It's a Defcon 5 situation, which Leonard doesn't realize means "no danger." But Sheldon, clearly familiar with the movie "Wargames," is more than happy to tell him. However, Raj thinks 5 IS worse than 1, as the Star Trek films demonstrate. Before Sheldon and Raj get into a big shouting match, Leonard goes.

As they get to the university (and thankfully, the end of the Star Trek movie argument), Howard explains the big problem: he ran the Mars Rover into a ditch and can't get it out. Clearly he does not appear to be having a case of RWI (Rovering While Impaired), so there's only one other explanation: he convinced a woman she could drive the Mars Rover. We are introduced to his date: Dr. Stephanie Barnett. As the eye patch and shirt motif was copied by 3 other guys at the club, he resorted to allowing her to drive the Mars Rover. Howard needs Leonard to get Stephanie home and for Sheldon and Raj to help him with the Rover. Howard is convinced she likes him. However, going by the fact that Stephanie is all over Leonard in the car, one might say she likes Leonard more. Truth be told, Howard never had a shot with Stephanie. He did have an eye patch, after all. Clearly, Leonard likes this turn of events and asks if he can see her again. Her reply: "You're not done seeing me now." All this while Howard is in a river of excrement in a Native American vessel without means of propulsion. They get out of the control room after getting the hard drives, surveillance tapes, and wipe off all the counters of their fingerprints. (Fortunately, it works.)

Back at home, Leonard secretly signals to Sheldon he wishes to talk. Sheldon goes...after informing everybody that Leonard is secretly signaling to him that he wishes to talk. Leonard wants Sheldon to cover for him as he goes out. However, he doesn't tell Sheldon where he's going, so this exercise really isn't necessary. However, Sheldon is trapped and needs something. Leonard just says to tell them he went to the office. But who would ask? Leonard just leaves and doesn't worry about it, until nobody asks where he's going. Thankfully, he doesn't have to hear Penny's retelling of Howard asking her to drive the Mars Rover once, asking her "are you from Mars, because your ass is out of this world."

On their date, Stephanie relates her day, taking out an appendix, a gall bladder, and a foot-and-a-half of bowel...all from one guy (and all for nothing since the guy croaked, anyway). It was certainly busier than Leonard's day of thinking of stuff (and writing some of it down). Stephanie finishes dinner...and starts on Leonard. All of this would be great, only Howard calls. Her answering machine picks it up, on which Howard says that he wants to invite her to dinner. The brisket at his mother's house practically melts in your mouth, according to Leonard. Later, another message: Howard's aunt and uncle are coming in from Palm Springs, and that Stephanie is half-Jewish on his mother's side. They make it to the bedroom, and ANOTHER message: his cousins are coming in from Florida to meet her, and they're going to the Olive Garden. (Well, his mother thinks so, she has a coupon.)

In the laundry room, Penny notices Leonard's new shirts and asks who the new girl is. Apparently, the last time Leonard bought a new shirt is when he and Penny had their date. ("Next time you see Koothrappali, could you tell him that?" Leonard pleads; Raj didn't believe that Leonard and Penny had dated.) Leonard asks her if he is a bad person because he is dating someone that his friend thinks he is dating, even though he's not. As this friend is Wolowitz, her reply is to the point: "Screw him. You're fine." She's even more impressed with Leonard when she correctly guesses they've slept together. However, Leonard knows he has to tell Howard the truth. He goes to Howard's house---or as Howard puts it, his little slice of hell---and asks to talk to him. He wants to confess, but it turns out not to be necessary...Stephanie dumps him right then and there over the phone. Leonard may as well be Fredo, because he is dead to Howard. (at least Howard doesn't have to worry about Leonard trying to visit his mother)

Back at the apartment (and another failed round of RPSLS for the last dumpling), Leonard tries to talk to Howard, but he's having none of it. According to Howard's translator, Sheldon, "he is employing a schoolyard paradigm in which you are, for all intents and purposes, deceased. He intends to act on this by not speaking to you, feigning an inability to hear you when you speak, and otherwise refusing to acknowledge your existence." Leonard is upset because he didn't intend this. These sorts of things can happen---never to Leonard, but they do happen. Stephanie, AKA Mrs. Dead to Me, enters, disappointed that Leonard can't make headway. Dinner will just be for 3, then. Stephanie's friend, Lisa, just went through a bad breakup, and Stephanie thought she could use a date with someone fun like Howard.

"Leonard!! Stephanie!! You're alive!!!"

However, judging by the message Howard later leaves for Lisa, which sound strangely like the ones he left for Stephanie, it may not be good for Howard to be too optimistic. Even worse, Howard won't get the credit that the Mars Rover he crashed inadvertently found proof of previous life on Mars.


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