The Big Bang Theory

Season 2 Episode 11

The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Dec 15, 2008 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
836 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sheldon irks the gangs with his obession with proper Christmas gift protocol. Leonard's crushed when Penny dates a colleague of his.

Who was the Episode MVP ?


    This episode centered around one of the founding blocks of the series: Leonard watching Penny date a good looking boyfriend, who happens to be a scientist like Leonard. Little did viewers know that these type of episodes that were so funny would give way to the writers linking Penny and Leonard, which would yield numerous unfunny episodes.
  • Napkins

    That was the first time I've really felt this show do something because it finally made Sheldon a human being. There were plenty of interpersonal moments, but when it comes to Sheldon and Penny, they're the ones I really want to see interact and the writers completely nailed it with this episode. There wasn't really all that much reliance on Sheldon until the very end, too, which made it work all the better. Absolutely amazing episode, keep 'em coming!moreless
  • One of the best TV moments for me

    The ending was one of the best scenes I have seen on television and will stick with me for a long time. Seeing Sheldon open his gift from Penny was absolute gold and the reaction there after was a perfect touch. Loved it and have watched it several times already.
  • One of the best ever episodes of Big Bang. The 'Bath Item' has it all. Leonard gets closer to Penny and Sheldon gets his best ever Christmas pressie.

    This will probably prove to be the most popular episode of all time of this series, it has it all, I was in tears at the end - tears of joy mixed with tears of compassion all washed down with tears of laughter as they all swap presents. And at least one unforgettable line with - 'you put no thought into that whatsoever'.

    Brilliant writing and performance come together in the second half of this show in fantastic style and although this is best seen with a good background knowledge of the characters it stands alone too as a fantastic comedy show in it's own right.

    I noticed that this review has received many negative votes so I decided to edit it. Then I notice that all reviews for this episode have been knobbled so someone is fooling around with the site. And this is still the best episode so far!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • The last 3 minutes make the entire episode worth watching.

    Without doubt this was the sweetest episode of The Big Bang Theory ever. While Leonard once more faces his feelings for Penny as she starts dating his handsome colleague, Sheldon frets over reciprocating Penny's Christmas present.

    But there's no way Sheldon - or the viewer - will see coming what the episode ends with. Penny's incredibly thoughtful present, and Sheldon's priceless (and totally unexpected) reaction, had me simultaneously in fits of laughter and tears of happiness - and I'm normally very emotionally distanced from the shows I watch.

    This episode is one of those rare modern reminders of the endearing power of a sitcom - how the simplest of actions can bring joy to even the greatest Scrooge. I'm willing to overlook the episode's major plothole (did the writers completely forget Leonard's currently in a relationship?) and once more appreciate the comic and emotional genius of The Big Bang Theory.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Penny: Dave is not smarter than you, he's an idiot.
      Leonard: Really? Why would you say that?
      Penny: Because a smart guy takes the nude photos of his wife off his cell phone before he tries to take nude photos of his girlfriend.
      Leonard: He tried to take nude photos of you?
      Penny: That's what you took from that?

    • Sheldon (after seeing that Penny has bought him a present): The essence of the custom is that I now have to go out and purchase for you a gift of commensurate value and representing the same perceived level of friendship as that represented by the gift you've given me. Ah, it's no wonder suicide rates skyrocket this time of year.

    • Sheldon: If I were to give you this gift basket, based on that action alone, and no other data, infer and describe the hypothetical relationship that exists between us.
      Woman: Excuse me?
      Sheldon: Here. (gives woman gift basket) Now, are we friends, colleagues, lovers? Are you my grandmother?
      Woman: I don't understand what you're talking about, and you're making me a little uncomfortable.
      Howard: See, sounds just like you and Penny. We'll take it.

    • (shopping for Penny's Christmas gift)
      Howard: Come on. Bath stuff. It's perfect. You got scented candle, a cleansing buff, spearmint, and green tea scented bath oil promotes relaxation.
      Sheldon: That pre-supposes Penny's tense.
      Rajesh: If she knows you, she's tense. We all are. Buy a basket.

    • Raj: If you don't like this stuff, let's just go next door and build her a bear.
      Sheldon: I told you before, bears are terrifying.

    • Sheldon: I possess the DNA of Leonard Nimoy? Do you realize what this means? All I need is a healthy ovum, and I can grow my own Leonard Nimoy!!

    • Penny: Hey, Sheldon, are you and Leonard putting up a Christmas tree?
      Sheldon: No, because we don't celebrate the ancient pagan festival of Saturnalia.
      Howard: Gather round, kids, it's time for Sheldon's beloved Christmas special.
      Sheldon: In the pre-Christian era, as the winter solstice approached and the plants died, pagans brought evergreen boughs into their homes in an act of sympathetic magic intended to guard the life essence of the plant until spring. This custom was later appropriated by northern Europeans and eventually becomes the so-called Christmas tree.
      Howard: And that, Charlie Brown, is what boredom is all about.

    • Sheldon: I don't see anything in here a woman would want.
      Howard: You're kidding. You've got lotions and bath oils... soaps; that's the estrogen hat-trick.
      Sheldon: What it is is a cacophonous assault of eucalyptus, bayberry, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's as if my head were trapped in the pajamas of a sultan.

    • Sheldon: You got me a present?
      Penny: Uh-huh.
      Sheldon: Why would you do such a thing?
      Penny: I don't know. 'Cause it's Christmas.
      Sheldon: Oh, Penny! I know you think you're being generous but the foundation of gift-giving is reciprocity. You haven't given me a gift; you've given me an obligation.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode's end titles has Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card #233.

    • The German episode title is "Die Geschenk-Hypothese", meaning "The Gift Hypothesis". The French title is "L'Hypothèse des cadeaux de Noël", meaning "The Christmas Gifts Hypothesis". The Italian title is "L'ipotesi dei sali da bagno", meaning "The Bath Salts Hypothesis". The Spanish title is "La hipótesis del regalo de artículo de baño", an exact translation. The Mexican title is "La hipotesis del obsequio de baño", meaning The Bath Gift Hypothesis".

    • International airdates: Latin America: February 24, 2009 on Warner Channel; Australia: July 27, 2009 on Channel 9; Turkey: November 16, 2009 on CNBC-e; Finland: December 21, 2009 on Sub; Czech Republic: November 9, 2010 on Prima COOL; Slovakia: September 28, 2011 on Markiza