Raj and Lucy have coffee together after they meet at the comic book store and get along until she unexpectedly runs off. Raj gets depressed and won't leave his apartment. Sheldon has Penny as a guest on "Fun with Flag" honoring the flag of her home-state, Nebraska. The gang goes to see Penny in her acting class' performance of "A Streetcar Named Desire." Sheldon is dragged to it and is impressed by Penny's acting skills. Howard takes a note to Raj from Lucy with her phone number on it. They get together and find that both of them have social skill problems and agree to another date.
Raj is heartbroken that his coffee date with Lucy ended when she snuck out into the night through the coffee shop bathroom window, especially as he thought the date was going so well up to that point. Depressed, Raj decides to retreat from life and all worldly pleasures, and in turn hole up in his apartment forever. Leonard, Howard and Bernadette try to get him out of his funk, but truly understanding why Lucy left may be the only way Raj will willingly reenter the real world, at least as he knew it before this incident. Meanwhile, Sheldon's next guest on "Fun with Flags" is Penny, who ends up giving him what he considers constructive advice on how to appear on camera. Sheldon is as grateful as Sheldon can be, but based on advice from Amy, Sheldon has to decide what form that gratitude will take while still remaining within his own sensibilities.
Raj falls apart after his date sneaks out on him, and Sheldon reluctantly returns the favor after Penny helps him out with his "Fun With Flags" program.
- Last week, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) told the motley crew of comic book aficionados they were a community and would always have each other. A woman named Lucy (Kate Micucci) liked his speech and asked to get a cup of coffee with him. One "LATER, LOSERS!!!" later, Raj is telling Lucy all about himself, how he went to Cambridge because it "totally looks like Hogwarts." He fell in love with astronomy and came to work at CalTech. (RAJ: So Raj is my name and stars are my game. And rhyming is also my game. So, uh, two games.) OK, enough about Raj, he wanted to hear about Lucy. She excused herself to go to the bathroom, and Raj celebrated a successful date by himself. Appropriate because Lucy snuck out the bathroom window and ran, so he really was by himself now.
Back at the apartment, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) taped another Fun With Flags (his episode dedicated to Black History Month didn't go that well...The Man's always putting him down) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) was gracious enough to volunteer as a Flag Virgin. (SHELDON: Not a real virgin! She's had coitus many times. Sometimes within earshot of this flag enthusiast. One time while he was trying to watch The Incredibles (2004).) They started talking but Penny had him pause the tape. She told him he should look at her while they were conversing and not be so robotic. Several commenters had agreed with her, but Sheldon thought they were being complimentary. She told him to work on his body language so he was more open to the viewer instead of closed. And that open is the good way to go. Sheldon's efforts...well, I found Howard less creepy in the early seasons when he was trying to hit on Penny. And his definition of "open" was to open his legs wide. (SHELDON: Spread your legs, invite them in.)
Howard (Simon Helberg) took Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) with him to Raj's apartment because he sensed something wrong with him. (BERNADETTE: How close were you guys before we got married?) Pretty close, because Howard's Spidey senses were quite accurate. Raj answered the door in what looked like one of my t-shirts (ripped and full of stains) and his aparment was so messy it would make Oscar Madison retch. He was humiliated once again and planned to never leave his apartment again. He figured he could order things online, like a case of Dinty Moore Beef Stew on Amazon (yes, I looked it up, you can) and order lobsters as well. A little surf-and-turf thought came to Leonard's and Howard's minds while Bernadette confronted Raj. (BERNADETTE: We're trying to get him out of here, not you in!) But Raj couldn't be persuaded and locked himself in his bedroom. Bernadette thought they could talk about it at Red Lobster. (BERNADETTE: Oh, we were all thinking it! I just had the decency to wait for him to leave!)
Sheldon called Amy (Mayim Bialik) on teleconference, but she was quite busy with the final day of her nicotine addiction study. The monkeys were down to one cigarette a day and they were MAD. (AMY: Makes me miss my marijuana-abusing flatworms. Those guys were mellow!) Sheldon told her Fun With Flags was a success thanks to Penny's advice. Amy asked if he thanked Penny but he didn't know he should. Amy told him to do so, and Sheldon did. Leaving Amy alone.
AMY: (to the monkeys) Yeah, you want a cigarette? I want a normal boyfriend! DEAL WITH IT!
Sheldon goes to thank Penny, somehow working his three-knock-Penny cadence into the conversation. She invites Amy and him to her acting company's play and he thinks that's crazy. And tells Amy that, who told him he was being rude and left her to be hit by monkey feces while he went to apologize. Several awkward/angry/confusing minutes (mostly on Penny's part) later, and Sheldon was going to her play.
At the comic book store, Sheldon finds out about Raj sequestering himself. (SHELDON: Brilliant! I've been itching to pull that trigger!) Lucy stopped by and Howard read her the riot act. She apologized and asked Howard to give him a note. (RAJ: Raj is a proud, passionate man. If you go running out on him again, you're only gonna get three or four more chances before you are history!) Howard goes to tell Raj, who is now down to a lobster bib and tighty-whiteys. (and managed to top Sheldon's creepiness) Raj said it was too late, that he was renouncing all worldly pleasures. Except for lobster. And garlic butter. (HOWARD: I want to say it's her loss, but you're not making it easy.) Howard gives up and leaves. But not for long, as Raj chases him down the street to get her number back. (yes, in the lobster bib and tighty-whiteys)
Leonard got ready for Penny's play...by shaking down Sheldon for all the games he hid on his person, including the Rubik's Cube in his crotch and the Etch-A-Sketch down his underwear. Amy stops by to get ready for the play, having been dropped from her nicotine addiction study.
AMY: Typical bureaucratic nonsense. You can get animals addicted to a harmful substance, you can dissect their brains, but you throw their own feces back at them, and suddenly you're "unprofessional."
LEONARD: I'm so sorry...that I even asked.
Sheldon said he wanted to get to that stupid play, despite Amy pointing out A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) is one of the great American plays. But the streetcar sold Sheldon on it. Everybody enjoys themselves. Sheldon was quite impressed with Penny's work. (SHELDON: How can she remember all those lines, but as a waitress she can't remember 'no tomato on my hamburger'?)
Lucy stopped by Raj's apartment to apologize. She wanted to see him but she had a hard time being around people she didn't know. She didn't even like comic books; she saw the light on at Stuart's comic book store and forced herself to go in. She was ready to leave, but Raj admitted he was just as scared as she was. Had it not been for the beer in his hand, he wouldn't even be able to talk to her. (RAJ: There are many things wrong with me! And not, like, quirks either. Like...diagnosable psychological problems. There might be brain damage.) He proposes she go out on a date with him and he'd prove it. She agrees.
RAJ: You won't regret it! I'm the most pathetic guy you've ever met! (she smiles and leaves) And that, boys and girls, is how it's done.