The Big Bang Theory

Season 1 Episode 4

The Luminous Fish Effect

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 15, 2007 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
571 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sheldon's getting fired forces him to explore what life has to offer outside physics, leaving Leonard to take drastic action to snap his friend out of his funk.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Nightlight

    Still very disjointed, but getting into that routine. Sheldon's on the fence for me. Sometimes I feel like he's my favorite, but others I just hate him. This was one of those times I hate him. It's nice to see the facet of his and Leonard's friendship that allows mothers to be called in when one is being unreasonable. I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere down the line Leonard's is called as well. On that note, it was a bit of a wake-up call to realize that these people are supposed to be older than they appear. Not sure where we're going yet or when the terrible inserted laughter is going to end, but time will tell.moreless
  • Great Sheldony Goodness

    I absolutely love this show and episodes revolving around Sheldon's strangeness just make me laugh that much harder. Also meeting Sheldon's mom was a big step forward in the overall depth of the show.
  • 104

    Another awesome episode of this show. Even though sometimes it feels like the plot doesn't go anywhere, I can finally say that I am a fan of this show. All the characters are just so intriguing even though I'm having trouble trying to find a reason why.

    The interaction between Penny & Sheldon was the most enjoyable scene throughout the whole episode. Finally it's not just Penny & Leonard interactions, and the writers decided to branch out. To be honest, they should get Penny & Sheldon together more often, easily some of the best character interactions I've seen in a while.

    Sheldon's mother was a bit over the top, but she was funny regardless. I'm just so intrigued with this ensemble, so far this show has done nothing but impress me.moreless
  • Cool.

    Sheldon is fired from his job as a physicist at the university when he insults his (in his opinion less-gifted) new boss Dr. Eric Gablehauser (Mark Harelik). His change of circumstance sends him into a downward spiral of depression which Leonard tries to cure by sending for Sheldon's mom (Laurie Metcalf). When she arrives for a visit, the boys realize she is completely the opposite from what they expected. She is down-to-earth, sweet, and a devout Christian ("All that science stuff comes from Jesus"). After waiting it out his mother finally forces Sheldon to apologize and he is given his job back, after she flirts with Dr. Gablehauser (she is apparently widowed). Sheldon asks if Dr. Gablehauser will be his new daddy and his mother replies, "We'll see..." I love this show already, it is so interesting and of course it's a very funny and clever show. I always love the scenes in the stairway of their apartment and outside the doors. I find what the characters talk about interesting and it's always something nerdy. I love all the characters in this show they are all awesome in a different way. Some awesome scenes in this episode: Sheldon and Lenny especially, when Penny and Sheldon go food shopping, - hilarious. I love all Sheldon's experiments and also the scenes with Sheldon and his mother.moreless
  • Sheldon loses his job at the university, causing him to take on hobby after hobby to fill his time. Ultimately, Leonard calls Sheldon's mother to get him back on track.

    One of the best episodes of Season One. Laurie Metcalfe is brilliant as Sheldon's mother and we see new (and even crazier) aspects of Sheldon's personality. We also get some more insight into Sheldon's childhood (i.e. he once tried to build a "sonic death ray" to shoot the "neighbor kids," he threw a fit when the government would not let him buy and store plutonium in his shed, and he has other siblings, who, of course, are not as smart as he is). Overall, this episode delves into all of the character's personalities a bit more. There are a lot of really funny one-liners and it is a definite must-watch for any fan of the show, any fan of Sheldon, and any fan of the wonderful actress Laurie Metcalfe!moreless
Sierra Edwards

Sierra Edwards


Guest Star

Laurie Metcalf

Laurie Metcalf

Mary Cooper

Recurring Role

Mark Harelik

Mark Harelik

Dr. Eric Gablehauser

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Sheldon: How's this? "Pleased to meet you, Dr. Gablehouser. How fortunate for you that the University has chosen to hire you, despite the fact that you've done no original research in 25 years, and instead have written a series of popular books that reduce the great concepts of science to a series of anecdotes, each one dumbed down to accommodate the duration of an average bowel movement. Mahalo."

    • Sheldon: I can't believe he fired me.
      Leonard: Well, you did call him a "glorified high school science teacher whose last successful experiment was lighting his own farts."
      Sheldon: In my defense, I prefaced that with, "with all due respect."

    • Howard: (to Mary) Forgive me for being so bold, but I now see where Sheldon gets his smoldering good looks.
      Mary: Honey, that ain't gonna work, but you keep trying.

    • Mary: Leonard, the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. Thankfully, he blessed me with two other children who were dumb as soup.

    • Sheldon: This car weighs, let's say, 4,000 pounds. Now add 140 for me, 120 for you...
      Penny: 120?!?
      Sheldon: Oh, I'm sorry. Did I insult you? Is your body mass somehow tied into your self-worth?

    • Mary: (to Raj) I made chicken. I hope it's not one of the animals that you people think is magic.

    • Sheldon: You know what's interesting about caves, Leonard?
      Leonard: What?
      Sheldon: Nothing.

    • Mary: Now, you listen here. I have being telling you since you were four years old, it's okay to be smarter than everybody but you can't go around pointing it out.
      Sheldon: Why not?
      Mary: Because people don't like it. You don't remember all the ass kickings you got from the neighbor kids. Now lets get cracking. Shower, shirt, shoes and let's shove off.
      (Mary leaves the room)
      Sheldon: There wouldn't have been any ass kickings if that stupid death ray had worked.

    • Leonard: Where are you going?
      Sheldon: To my room and no one is allowed in!!

    • Penny: This is the best cobbler ever!
      Mrs. Cooper: You know what the secret ingredient is?
      Penny: Love?
      Mrs. Cooper: Lard.

  • NOTES (5)

    • This episode's end titles has Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card #187.

    • The German episode title is "Die Leuchtfisch-Idee", meanings "The Glowing Fish Idea". The French title is "Les Poissons luminescents", meaning "The Luminous Fish". The Italian title is "L'effetto del pesce luminoso", the Spanish title is "El efecto del pez luminoso", and the Mexican title is "El efecto luminoso del pez", all exact translations.

    • This episode was part of the show's Emmy Awards 'For Your Consideration' DVD for this season.

    • Original International Airdates:
      Turkey: September 30, 2008 on CNBC-e
      Czech Republic: April 28, 2009 on Prima COOL
      Germany: August 1, 2009 on ProSieben
      Slovakia: August 22, 2011 on Markiza

    • Laurie Metcalf (Mary) is the second of Johnny Galecki's former Roseanne co-stars to guest-star on this show; the first being Sara Gilbert in the previous episode.