"The Big Bang Theory" The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem (TV Episode 2008) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Leonard and Sheldon make an orientation presentation to the incoming graduate physics class, most of whom have a "deer in the headlights" look when listening to Sheldon's speech. One student in particular, though, looks that way for a different reason. Ramona Nowitzki is enthralled with everything about Sheldon. Sheldon is oblivious to Ramona's romantic intentions, despite her being obvious in her pursuit. He does however enjoy the idolatry she bestows upon him, and the associated slave work she does for him. Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny are amazed by what is happening between the two - especially Penny, who has never discussed with the guys what Sheldon uses as a sexual surrogate - and watch the interaction whenever they can out of pure curiosity except when it gets to be too embarrassingly gross in their view. But does even Sheldon have a limit on how much idol worship he can take?

  • Sheldon is flattered when a graduate student takes a shine to him, however her extreme devotion becomes too much to handle.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Leonard is very happy to welcome a new crop of graduate students to experimental physics with a lecture about what they should expect. Not to mention a lesson in what happens when you spill a peach Snapple on a helium-neon laser. (not recommended) Now it's time for Sheldon to introduce the theoretical physics department. Except that he refuses, saying it would be just as productive to "explain the laws of particle physics to a bunch of labradoodles." Thankfully, Leonard is prepared with some standard operational blackmail: do the lecture or he won't drive Sheldon to the comic book store. Sheldon reluctantly comes out and proceeds to tell the students what to expect, at least according to him. In the process, he gushes about how had already accomplished more by the age of 14 than any of them could ever dream. Even WITH a 9PM bedtime. Just to turn the screws in a little bit more, he condemns most of them to spending the rest of their lives teaching 5th graders how to make a volcano with baking soda. Somewhere down the line, someone has played a cruel joke on these students telling them they could make a meaningful contribution to science. Comic book store time!

    The boys are gathered at the cafeteria having lunch and enjoying the fall, especially Howard. "There's a whole new crop of female grad students who are about to put on just enough winter weight to make them feel needy and vulnerable." Raj wonders if there's a policy against dating university students. However, he is free to talk to them. ("There's always a catch.") Leslie arrives and engages in her usual browbeating of Sheldon, who apparently made one of those grad students at orientation throw up. Sheldon refuses to cater to the "lesser minds," until Ramona Nowitzki shows up. At Sheldon's lecture last night, she thought he was brilliant, which he completely agrees with. Howard has slowed, though. It took him a full 10 seconds before hitting on Ramona, trying the "designed the waste disposal system on the International Space Station" hook. However, it merely gets him an "Eww" from her. She is far more interested in Sheldon's paper on Grand Unification Using String-Network Condensates. He is impressed with her knowledge ("An intelligent labradoodle!") , and she wants to talk with him over coffee. He doesn't drink coffee, but he is also in fear of eating in strange restaurants because they may only have three-tined forks, which may as well be tridents to him. Ramona has another option: bringing food to his house. Sheldon has Thai food on Mondays, so he gives her what he likes. She says she'll bring it over, and she knows where he lives. Everybody is shocked.

    At the apartment, Ramona doesn't see the elevator's "out of order" sign, but Penny soon arrives and points it out to her. As they walk up, Penny finds out Ramona's going to apartment 4A. However, it is not for a date with Leonard. Ramona is here to see Dr. Cooper. Penny is shocked to say the least. "You're going to see Dr. Cooper? Dr. Sheldon Cooper? Tall, thin? Looks a little like a giant praying mantis?" Ramona has a date with him? This she has to see. She walks in with Ramona and takes a seat in the bleachers with Leonard, Raj, and Howard. As Sheldon and Ramona exchange small talk, the gang can only stare in disbelief. Clearly on some distant planet, this would be their Cinemax after midnight. Finally, on Ramona's "hint" about not bringing enough food, Leonard gets everybody out, ignoring Penny's pleas to stay, and wishes the two of them a fun...whatever this is. The gang consults out in the hall.

    Penny: "I know this is none of my business, but what is Sheldon's "deal"? Is it girls? Guys? Sock puppets?"

    Leonard: "Actually, we've been operating under the assumption that he had no deal."

    Howard: "Over the years, we have formed many theories about how he would reproduce. I'm an advocate of mitosis. I think one day Sheldon will consume too much Thai food and split into 2 Sheldons."

    Leonard: "On the other hand, I think Sheldon will evolve into the larval form of his species. He'll wrap himself up in a cocoon and, two months later, will emerge with moth wings and an exoskelton."

    Penny thanks them for the time (and nightmares) and departs. Clearly, Howard's mom's brisket is not enough of an enticement.

    The next day, Leonard meets Sheldon for breakfast. Hoping that Sheldon is not experimenting with nutritional suppositories again, he quizzes Sheldon on his date last night with Ramona. Sheldon is smitten with how Ramona reveres him. To prove it, she delivers his spinach-mushroom omelette, completely untouched by human hands. She is trying to save him the 20 minutes a day he waits in line at the cafeteria so he can use it for his studies. She apparently has also taken up the task of being his bodyguard, as she cuts off Leslie from her daily insult with a stern, almost psychotic rebuke. She insists that Leslie cease and desist any and all insults and be respectful and quiet if she wishes to stay. She promptly leaves...quickly followed by Leonard.

    Penny walks into the apartment to deliver something for the boys and gets a gross-out worthy of the Farrelly brothers: Ramona clipping Sheldon's toenails while he works. Ramona suggest she leaves, as Sheldon is busy. She's only too glad to leave and warns Leonard not to go in there. "I can only describe it in a therapist's office...with dolls." He ignores it...and immediately regrets it as well. He does tell Sheldon that it's Halo night at Koothrappali's. Ramona is shocked; Sheldon is not going to Halo night. "Didn't a great scientist once say 'science demands nothing less than the fervent and unconditional dedication of our entire lives'?" Well, Sheldon can't go; after all, she quoted him, and how can he argue with...himself? To make matters worse, Ramona tells Sheldon he must shed all of his distractions and wastes of time if he wants that Nobel prize. This includes Halo night, paintball on weekends, even Battlestar Galactica on DVD. What follows is a sequence of Ramona enforcing these rules, to the tune of the appropriately-titled "You Can Be My Yoko Ono."

    Sheldon has become desperate. He goes to Penny for help because he needs to get rid of this "relationship" with Ramona, and he feels she is an expert at ending relationships. However, Ramona has woken to find him with Penny. Shooing him back in to return for work (of course, Sheldon tries to pass it off as Penny's fault), Ramona starts to resemble Laura Prepon channeling Kathy Bates from "Misery," making the assumption that Penny is in love with Sheldon. She insists that Penny let Sheldon continue to be a "gift to the world." "Yeah, he's a gift alright," she replies.

    Sheldon's next tactic is to contact Leonard. While he's sleeping. With morse code against his bedroom wall. Leonard rebukes him, but this only results in Sheldon entering his room. Sheldon needs Leonard to help him. He invokes the Skynet Clause, but Ramona is not a cyborg that Sheldon created and has gone crazy. The Body Snatchers Clause doesn't work either. By the time Leonard tells Sheldon invoking the Godzilla Clause only works if Ramona is destroying Tokyo, she has ferried Sheldon back to his bed.

    The next day, some great news: Sheldon has finished proving his theory of string-network condensates. He and Ramona are very excited, and he says he couldn't have done it without her. As a thank you, she makes one tiny request: he names the theory the "Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem." He asks if she wants him to share credit for the theorem, and she says yes. That was the string that broke the physicist's back: he throws her out.

    Back at the university, another woman walks up to Sheldon to say what a big fan she is of him. His completed paper completely took his breath away. She's going to come to his house with his traditional Thursday night pizza from Giacomo's. It's deja vu all over again, but of course Sheldon doesn't realize it.

    Leonard has had enough. Unfortunately, Sheldon has had too much. Thai food, that is. The fifth helping of pad thai has a horrifying effect on Sheldon, and he splits into two! TWO SHELDONS!!! Thankfully, it was only a Thai food-induced nightmare for Leonard.

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