The Big Bang Theory

Season 3 Episode 1

The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Sep 21, 2009 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
587 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Discovering that Leonard, Raj, and Howard fudged the results of his Arctic research expedition, a disgraced Sheldon heads home to Texas.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • It Was Weird

    It was almost a little too much for a single episode, from returning from the trip, learning that it was all a sham, having Sheldon table flip his California life and return to Texas, the whole gang drives down to bring him back only have his mother do the convincing and finally Leonard and Penny finally hook up? It was too much. There wasn't enough time to focus on any one thing or enjoy the developments. But it did set a very different tone (and pace) for this season, so we'll see what they do with it.moreless
  • Season 3 Premiere

    Leonard & Penny getting together? The moment we've all been waiting for? I don't think so, I think the writers could have held this relationship over our heads for a while longer. I mean I know it's been 2 seasons, but these two getting together could ruin the chemistry of the show. I have no problem with these two getting together, in fact I was rooting for them. But we could have got more buildup or development between the two.

    The one liners were lazily written, and you could just tell TBBT lost a bit of it's spark. I mean the group going to Texas to apologize to Sheldon? The whole cowboy hat thing was ridiculously unfunny, and it was something you'd see on 2 1/2 Men. I just know that TBBT is known as a clever show, and this episode surely wasn't very clever. Hopefully the next episode is better, and Penny & Leonard sleeping together wont affect this show too much.moreless
  • Season Premiere.

    The Big Bang Theory returned and while there were a few solid laughs, it would be hard to describe this show as anything other than Two and a Half Men-lite. From the inappropriate "dictator" jokes to the odd, nonsensical dialogue, this is clearly Chuck Lorre's B show.

    So, how do I justify the high score? Because Jim Parsons is the best lead actor in a comedy and was royally screwed at the Emmy Awards the previous night. Sheldon Cooper is just such a well-written character and his performance here was enough to salvage this episode and the insane get together of Penny and Leonard.moreless
  • rather lazy, mildly entertaining, the show can do much better

    I found this episode to be a little underwhelming when compared to most of last season. First of all, I think the cheated by not showing how Penny and Leonard actually reunited upon his return. When we last saw them, Penny made a point of not telling Leonard how she relly felt about him. I know this is a sitcom where characterization often plays second fiddle to the jokes, but they could at least have shown a quick take where she just throws caution into the wind when he comes back. Even apart from that, the whole Sheldon storyline -- while providing us again with the highlight of the show, the exchanges between Penny and Sheldon -- pretty much went nowhere fast. He's angry and emvarassed, so he flees california only to return immediately after his friends follow him to Texas. Having said that, the banter between Penny and Sheldon was funny as always, plus there were a few solid laughs in the rest of dialogue, though the "we all slept naked together to keep warm" jokes wore out their welcome early on. All in all, it was mildly entertaining, but rather sub-par when compared to the latter half of last season.moreless
  • Back and still funny

    Sheldon flies back to Texas in disgrace when he learns the guys tampered with his arctic expedition data, forcing the guys to follow him and threatening Leonard's hopes for a romantic encounter with Penny. A great episode back for The Big Bang Theory, very funny and it continued the story well from the season 2 finale. I missed this show over the summer there wasnt much funny TV but I'm glad this is back because its back to what you want to expect from the series, loved the Comic con and Star Trek joke even though it was kind of seen it coming. Welcome back The Big Bang Theory.moreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In the TV version of this episode Mary tells Howard "you'll take a cola" but in the DVD versions she says "you'll take a coke".

    • Sheldon comments, "The fact that I'm home safe does not prove that [his mother's prayers] worked; that logic is post hoc, ergo propter hoc," using a Latin phrase which means "After this, therefore because of this." This is called the theory of coincidental correlation or the "post hoc" fallacy, which holds that it's incorrect to assume that if one event follows another, the first event caused the second event to occur.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Penny: You know, I do understand what you're going through.
      Sheldon: Really? Did you just have the Nobel Prize in Waitressing stolen from you?

    • Sheldon: Hello, Penny. I realize you are currently at mercy of your primitive biological urges, but as you have an entire lifetime of poor decisions ahead of you, may I interrupt this one?

    • Sheldon: No, mother, I cannot feel your church group praying for my safety. The fact that I'm home safe does not prove that it worked. That logic is post hoc, ergo propter hoc. (lowers his voice) No, I'm not sassing you in Eskimo talk.

    • (Leonard is kissing Penny as Sheldon knocks on her door)
      Leonard: (whispering) Do not make a sound!
      Sheldon: Whispering, "do not make a sound," is a sound!

    • Sheldon: What are they doing here?
      Leonard: We came to apologize again and bring you home. So why don't you pack up your stuff, and we'll head back?
      Sheldon: No, this is my home now. Thanks to you, my career is over, and I will spend the rest of my life here in Texas trying to teach evolution to creationists.
      Mary: You watch your mouth, Shelly. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.
      Sheldon: Evolution isn't an opinion, it's fact.
      Mary: And that is your opinion.
      Sheldon: (to the guys) I forgive you, let's go home.

    • Leonard: If you don't mind, Mrs. Cooper, there's a 3:05 nonstop back to Los Angeles, and you have no idea how much I want to be on it.
      Mary: A girl?
      Leonard: Yes, ma'am.
      Mary: Oh, good, I've been praying for you.

    • Howard: Sheldon, you remember the first few weeks we were looking for magnetic monopoles and not finding anything, and you were acting like an obnoxious, giant dictator?
      Raj: I thought we were going to be gentle with him.
      Howard: That's why I added the '-tator'.

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode's end titles has Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card #256, a picture of the audience at, and a thank you to, Comic-Con, where the show presented over the summer.

    • The Italian episode title is "La fluttuazione dell'apriscatole elettrico", the Spanish and Mexican title is "La fluctuación del abrelatas eléctrico", and the French title is "La Fluctuation de l'ouvre-boîte électrique", all exact translations. The German title is "Der Nordpol-Plan", meaning "The North Pole Plan".

    • With this episode, the show moved to a 9:30 timeslot.

    • International Airdates: Latin America: October 27, 2009 on Warner Channel; Australia: November 2, 2009 on Channel 9; Turkey: September 27, 2010 on CNBC-e; Finland: October 25, 2010 on Sub; Czech Republic: December 1, 2010 on Prima COOL; Slovakia: October 17, 2011 on Markiza


    • Raj comments on Howard's mustache as the "Mario and Luigi", a reference to the popular Italian plumbers, Mario and Luigi, from the popular "Mario" game series.

    • Sheldon says "Like the proverbial cheese, I stand alone." This is a reference to the classic children's song "Farmer in the Dell", where at the end of the song, after the farmer takes the wife, wife takes the child, and so on until the mouse takes the cheese, the cheese stands alone.

    • Raj comments that Howard looks like Sheriff Woody from Toy Story at Sheldon's mom house. Sheldon's mom is played by Laurie Metcalf who was the voice of Andy's mom in Toy Story.