The Big Bang Theory: Dude, Where’s my Nimoy?

The Big Bang Theory: S05E20 “The Transporter Malfunction”

When I was told that Leonard Nimoy would be guest-starring on an episode of The Big Bang Theory, certain expectations took root in my nerd brain. Specifically, that the mighty Nimoy (we are not worthy!) would actually, you know, make an appearance on The Big Bang Theory.

I know, I know, he was there, technically. But providing the voice for the plastic Spock figure in Sheldon’s dreams just isn’t the same, man. I waited. I waited. I waited some more. Then the credits ran and I thought, hey, maybe I misunderstood what the definition of "appearance" is.

Negative, Ghostrider. But I’ll live with it. In a way, it’s kinda refreshing to see that even though The Big Bang Theory dangled the Nimoy in front of the nerd hoards like a marble before the Hungry Hungry Hippos, the show can practice restraint from time to time. I was expecting some zany chain of sitcom events that put the gang in the presence of the Great One, followed by lots of Trek jokes and hero worship and, I don’t know, Penny getting stuck babysitting the man’s puppy, only to lose it in a bowling alley or something.

So even though I’m mildly disappointed by the lack of flesh-and-blood Nimoy in “The Transporter Malfunction,” I have to admit, I wish I had a plastic Spock in my dreams like Sheldon does. Plastic Dream Spock put his logic to good use in convincing Sheldon to open his mint-condition original Star Trek transporter toy. The function of a toy is to be played with. Therefore, it would be illogical not to play with the transporter.

I’ve faced the collector's dilemma before. Admittedly, I’m more of Star Wars geek than a Trekkie, and though it made my mother cry that her sole female child preferred Han Solo to Barbie, my father indulged me... and completely freaked out if I took anything out of the box. There was still a twinge of residual guilt when unboxed the Indiana Jones bobblehead and placed him on the mantle this past October. It’s hard to destroy your investments... but totally logical. Plastic Dream Spock as voiced by Leonard Nimoy said so.

Then there was Raj. Fretting over his impending status as the "Guy With No Plus One" at Bernadette and Howard’s wedding, Raj asked his parental unit to arrange a marriage for him. He went on a date with the lovely Lakshmi and it was great. He used his words. She liked his cooking. They really hit it off.

Until Lakshmi admitted that she wasn’t looking for a husband so much as a front to get her own parents off her back. She liked girls, thought Raj liked boys, and thought it was a match made in repressive society heaven. Despite the intended laughs, the sad part is that they were very much a good match. I wouldn’t be opposed to Lakshmi hanging around. I’ve never seen Raj more at ease with a woman. He even considered taking her up on the marriage offer because, well, the guy just doesn’t want to be alone anymore.

So Bernadette and Howard bought him a puppy. That works, too.



The Stray Observation Addendum


– “Quantum physics is like looking at the universe naked,” said Sheldon. I think it was meant to be creepy, but it was actually oddly poignant. No really.

– Raj claimed that, if anything, he's metrosexual. That means he likes women and their skincare products. I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a more accurate definition.

– According to Penny, your virginity is more fun when you take it out of the box and play with it. I say that depends on the playmates.


What are your own thoughts on this long-anticipated Leonard Nimoy episode?

Comments (21)
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As said below he's retired, he's fairly integral to the Fringe universe and they could only get him to voice over so TBBT was never going to get him onscreen. It wasn't the episode it could have been though that much I agree with.
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No AFF so this episode rocked
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Haha penny and bernedettes lines made me laugh so hard in this episode! specially the virginity line. Tbh I've never understood the point in getting a toy if it just stays in the box, I always took the toys out and played with them as a kid but thats just me. I think giving raj a puppy coz he's lonely was a little sad but oh well.
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This isn't Community... broken link on the front page.
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If Penny is the playmate. Ill definetly play!!
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Uhhh, I'm trying to get to the Community article, but it just keeps leading me here? I call conspiracy!
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Me too! WTF? the link's broken or as u say it's a conspiracy!
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Whatever it is, it's crazy frustrating!
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Nimoy in person would have been a distraction to these characters, the way they provided it felt exactly right, I loved watching a repro of Mego Spock converse with Sheldon. Nimoy was playing Spock tongue in cheek, something he doesn't get to do nearly as often as clearly he should, and I applaud that. Plus, he's retired essentially, so making him shlep down to CBS Television City, slap on makeup, and stand around in front of a studio audience seems somehow worng; also, on a personal note, now that he's older, he looks just like my recently-deceased grandmother.



BTW, that Transporter is a way-expensive item since it was only released in the UK from Palitoy. I guess only a collecting geek like me would know it's a little far-fetched that Penny would know Sheldon and Leonard had the right Mego figures to enjoy that Transporter, it's not a satisfying toy without Star Trek Mego figures specifically (keeping in mind that she bought them with the intention of being used). On the other hand, anybody who collects Mego Trek figures would already own the Transporter as it was part of the very-common Enterprise playset, albeit not in those colors and not in UK Palitoy packaging.



And then Sheldon did the unthinkable, he OPENED THE PACKAGE! I am a huge Star Wars collector, and everything I have is open - I believe toys should be experienced fully, plus they make great imagination-fuel, most of my collectibles I don't play with, I just have out to spur my imagination when I'm too busy thinking about work or not getting ideas onto the page - so watching Sheldon open the box was joyful to me. Of course, Sheldon using a hobby knife to open it was silly, those packages clearly had no tape (nor would they ever have unless they were resealed). And then he broke it immediately (38-year-old plastic would probably hold up under a few uses before breaking, but the spinning-to-stop-open-or-closed nature of that Transporter likely would break down quickly) and all I could think is "this guy is a SCIENTIST! Nobody would bother taking it out of the box to enjoy and then not try to fix it! It's just glue inside a housing"... now that I think about it, there's no way he would have let his Mego figure get stuck in there in the first place and try to muscle it back open, it's not going to be hard to take apart and remove the figure safely.



And I wonder too where they got them, they didn't seem to be reproductions - if they were, their props dept did a great job. But I'm not a vintage Trek collector, so it's all academic to me.



Raj's storyline made me sad, that he found someone who fit him pretty well and then turned out to be a non-mate only to consider throwing away the rest of his life for the company was a bummer. I know guys who would do that, but it's pathetic and has no hope of working, hence it made me sad. The puppy idea seemed too messy for Raj, but we'll see if that goes anywhere.



I agree with your take on Sheldon's "naked universe" line, it was the first time I think Sheldon ever came off as the true mega-physist they play him as. Also Raj's "metrosexual" line made me laugh my ass off.
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It was definitely good to hear from Nimoy. Given that most people knew his guest starring role was only going to be a voice spot, including me, I had no problem wh this episode. In fact, it was quite hilarious. I also loved Penny's virginity line. Hopefully, Raj can get a girl at some point, but I still found his bit with Lakshmi quite funny.
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What kanniballl said. It was still great to see him in this episode. The episode was great. I loved Penny's line about her virginity. I hope Raj meets a girl he can actually be with soon, Although i actually liked his lesbian-wanna be-a-wife. She was funny. I loved Bernadette at the end, "Metrosexual my ass!"



No Amy Ferrah Fowler this week, I think that's the only thing that would've made this episode just a bit better.
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Any episode without AFF is always better.
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I like AFF too, I just don't like Shamy...I think AFF deserves better than to be used as a surrogate mother/nanny/nursemaid for Sheldon. I would have liked to see her get with Leonard before he got back with Penny.
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not really she is good addition to the cast
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Yeh, Nimoy's retired from acting and only does voice work now. Hence how they snuck him into a recent episode of Fringe (done as animation).



So yeh, without even knowing much about the upcoming episode... most of us figured it would just be a voice spot.
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Actually, even voice active is very rare these days. He really means when he said "retired". So kudos for getting this much done.
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Well it was nice to hear him again. But I do hope Leonard Nimoy will step back on the board and do a real guest spot on Big Bang Theory. I know the guys who make the show would love that just as much as the fans.
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I thought it was inventive and really funny, the best part of the episode. Much better than forcing some random meeting. Oh, I also think Lakshmi might stick around in a friend capacity, the dog bit was nice but this show has a way of rotating B-characters to keep things from getting too stale.
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They already had Stan Lee as a guest star and he is so much better than Leonard Nimoy so who cares.
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Stan Lee is such a shill, try sitting through 2 episodes of "Stan Lee presents Stripperella" and tell me he's better than Nimoy. Stan Lee is great, but he's all false bluster to hide his insecurities and to sell something, Nimoy is great because he handled the "I am not Spock, ok, I am Spock but I'm also me" thing pretty honestly.
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Nimoy is retired from physical acting. It was well known it would only be a voice role.
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