The Big Bang Theory recap: 'The Focus Attenuation' |

TV Recaps | The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory recap: 'The Focus Attenuation'

The guys take a break from their female counterparts for a science weekend; the ladies use the chance to go to Vegas.

Big Bang Theory

ROLE REVERSAL Bernadette and Amy enjoy a night out while Penny stays in to study. (Michael Yarish/CBS)

The Big Bang Theory

Season 8, Ep. 5 | Aired Oct 13

With all the comics, TV, and video game obsessions our nerdy Big Bang gang have, it’s easy to forget that they are actually geniuses. And apparently they forgot, too. They used to have ideas for inventions and scientific breakthroughs. Now they have women. So the guys decide to sequester themselves for a science weekend, so they can work without women interfering. The women decide to go to Vegas, because why not?

The Guys

After settling on a location (Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment because all other options are out as Sheldon has seen Cabin in the Woods, The Shining, The Lake House, and Jaws), the guys decide all they need to do to change the world is focus. This reminds Raj of The Social Network, which Howard has never seen. Leonard, the Negative-Nancy-Party-Pooper-Nagging-Mother of the weekend, shoots down the movie night idea. Instead he finds their old ideas book—which is mostly just sex robot ideas.

Sheldon says they need to pull inspiration from fiction (à la cell phones and Star Trek). Naturally, this leads to a viewing of Back to the Future Part II, so they can figure out how to make a real life hoverboard. (They should have just asked Tony Hawk.) Which then, of course, led to a discussion about the space-time continuum and the proper tense of verbs for past events which in the future have not happened yet… or something like that.

(Sidenote: Although funny, I had a problem with this scene. There’s no way these guys haven’t discussed the timeline wackiness of Back to the Future Part II. That’s Geek 101. And allegedly they’ve discussed it for Hot Tub Time Machine, but not Back to the Future Part II? That’s less plausible than the existence of hoverboards.)

The timeline whiteboard and discussion of Biff begats Pillsbury dough sounds, which begats Howard’s profession of his love of pigs in a blanket, which begats Sheldon explanation of the word “wiener” coming from Austria, which begats Raj’s note that Austria looks like a weiner. These guys’ minds travel a mile a minute. Meanwhile, Leonard stands crankily in the corner.

And so they go to Leonard’s workroom, where they can get into the right headspace for actual thinking and creating. It quickly devolves into watching online videos of pigeons playing Ping-Pong (which sadly doesn’t seem to exist—yes, I Googled it) and ripping duct tape off one another’s arms to keep them on topic. This causes Sheldon to mention how “negative reinforcement” is consistently used incorrectly—including by Bill Murray in Ghostbusters.

So the guys end their night at the apartment with a Ghostbusters viewing (how timely!)—a movie night like the evening started. They didn’t change the world, but they proved that the ladies haven’t changed their world either; they’re are just as unfocused with or without women around.

The Ladies

The three women—they’re not about to let Emily into the clique just yet—take a trip to Vegas, where Penny stays in to study and Bernadette and Amy drink giant frozen margs, get drunk, and watch Australian male strippers. Not much to say here except more drunk Bernadette, please.

The Laughter Surplus

“You thought of it September 22, 2007. Two days later, Penny moved in, and so much blood rushed to your genitals, your brain became a ghost town.” —Sheldon

“Listen to this: ‘Hi! Hope you’re having a good day.’ Who has time for this constant sexting?” —Sheldon

“Did you see The Lake House?” —Sheldon
“Nothing bad happens in The Lake House.” —Raj
“Not to them—to me. Time traveling mailbox? Only time that travels is an hour and a half of my life down the toilet.” —Sheldon

“I’ll check flights.” —Penny
“I’ll check hotels.” —Bernadette
“I’ll check my underpants—I’m so excited I think I peed. ” —Amy

“We didn’t think you’d make it. You have a steady girlfriend now, and we assumed you’d have to stay home to lower food down to her in the pit.” —Howard
“For your information, Emily is working tonight.” —Raj
“One would assume on getting out of the pit.” —Sheldon

“Scientist to scientist, how big are those Hadron colliders?”—Amy

“But we didn’t see them bust one ghost.”—Sheldon