The Big Bang Theory

Season 1 Episode 17

The Tangerine Factor

Aired Monday 8:00 PM May 19, 2008 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • This episode is rated TV-PG-DL.

    • Sheldon says he has Eidetic memory, so he shouldn't be having this hard a time learning Chinese since he would be able to flawlessly recall what he heard from Howard and what he read.

    • Sheldon asks Howard to help him learn to speak Chinese, though in "The Dumpling Paradox" Chen inquires about Howard by asking "Where is your annoying little friend who thinks he speaks Mandarin?"

    • Penny dispenses an enormous amount of Hershey's Syrup into the ice cream container she's eating from, yet the subsequent shot shows her eating ice cream without even the tiniest hint of syrup. Also, when Penny was saying that a number of prisoners found her boyfriend's blog, she only ate a small amount of the ice cream from her spoon. The camera then switches angles where we can see that her spoon has no more ice cream and she started scooping more.

  • Quotes

    • Leonard: I don't think I can go out with [Penny] tonight.
      Sheldon: Then don't.
      Leonard: Other people would say, "Why not?"
      Sheldon: Other people might be interested.

    • Raj: Hey, look, I found an iPod!
      Howard: Smashed beyond repair—what are you going to do with it?
      Raj: What else? Sell it on eBay as 'slightly used'.

    • Leonard: I'm her friend, I'm not going to take advantage of her vulnerability.
      Howard: Wait, so you're saying that if in the depths of despair she throws herself at you and demands you take her right there, right now, you'll just walk away?
      Leonard: I said I'm her friend, not her gay friend.

    • Leonard: (reading ex's blog about he and Penny's sex life) Okay, well, you know, this isn't that bad. It just paints the picture of a very affectionate woman who's open to expressing her affection in... non-traditional locales.
      Penny: Oh, God!
      Leonard: Elevators, parks, movie theaters—out of curiousity, is this "subway" the transportation system or "Subway" the sandwich shop?

    • Penny: Maybe we should talk first.
      Leonard: Okay, but before you say anything, have you ever heard of Schrödinger's cat?
      Penny: Actually, I've heard far too much about Schrödinger's cat.
      Leonard: Good.
      (he kisses Penny)
      Penny: Alright, the cat's alive. Let's go to dinner.

    • Leonard: Now that I'm actually about to go out with Penny, I'm not excited, I'm nauseous.
      Sheldon: Then your meal choice is appropriate. Starch absorbs fluid which reduces the amount of vomit available for violent expulsion.

    • Penny: I was just wondering if I could talk to you. It's about Leonard.
      Sheldon: Why me? Why not Koothrappali or Wolowitz?
      Penny: Well, Raj can't talk to me unless he is drunk, and Wolowitz is, you know, disgusting.

    • Penny: I swear to God, I am done with guys like that. You know, macho with the perfect body and hair, and money.
      Leonard: Yeah, that must get old quick.

    • Leonard: What happened?
      Penny: Well, I went over to Mike's to make up with him.
      Leonard: Yeah. No, I know that part.
      Penny: But he had already moved on.
      Leonard: Already? That was quick.
      Penny: (beginning to cry) That's what I said to the woman who had her legs wrapped around his neck!

    • Leonard: Why are you learning Chinese?
      Sheldon: I believe the Szechuan Palace has been passing off orange chicken as tangerine chicken, and I intend to confront them.
      Leonard: If I were you, I'd be more concerned with what they're passing off as chicken.

    • Penny: Leonard isn't the kind of guy I usually go out with.
      Sheldon: Leonard isn't the kind of guy anyone usually goes out with.

    • Howard: You know, I'm really glad you decided to learn Mandarin.
      Sheldon: Why?
      Howard: Once you're fluent, you'll have a billion more people to annoy instead of me.

    • Penny: Yes, I will go out with you.
      Leonard: Really?
      Penny: Yeah. Why not? I mean, what do I have to lose?
      Leonard: Yeah. That's the spirit.

    • Penny: (shouting out the window) Hey, jerk-face! You forgot your iPod!
      (she throws the iPod, which breaks on the pavement)
      Leonard: What's going on?
      Penny: (fuming) I'll tell you what's going on. That stupid, self-centered bastard wrote about our sex life in his blog! (shouting out the window) Drop dead, you stupid self-centered bastard! (calmly to Leonard) Thank you.

  • Notes

    • This episode's end titles has Chuck Lorre's Vanity Card #212.

    • The German episode title is "Schrödingers Katze", meaning "Schrödinger's Cat". The French title is "La Rupture", meaning "The Break-Up". The Italian title is "Il fattore mandarino", and the Spanish and Mexican title is "El factor mandarina", both exact translations.

    • International Airdates:
      Turkey: January 6, 2009 on CNBC-e
      Germany: September 26, 2009 on ProSieben
      Slovakia: September 12, 2011 on Markiza

  • Allusions

    • Sheldon responds to Penny's knowing Leonard has a "little crush" on her with, "A little crush? I suppose so, same way Menelaus had a little crush on Helen of Troy." This refers to events from Homer's The Iliad.

    • Sheldon mentions being, "through the looking glass anyway," referring to Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There Lewis Carroll's 1871 follow-up to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.