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201 - A High-Pitched Buzz and Training Wheels

Aired Monday, September 24, 2018
A High-Pitched Buzz and Training Wheels

When Sheldon is plagued by a high-pitched noise emanating from the refrigerator, he takes matters into his own hands and learns about refrigerator maintenance. After he dismantles the appliance and lands his father with a hefty repair bill, Sheldon takes on a paper route to pay George back.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "A High-Pitched Buzz" refers to the irritating noise that prompted Sheldon to dismantle the refrigerator. "Training Wheels" refers to the stabilizers on his bicycle which broke during his paper route, making him late for school.

> Sheldon's Knock

After Sheldon gets up on his first day as a paperboy, he goes to his brother's room and knocks on Georgie's headboard to wake him up. Sheldon knocks three times and says Georgie's name, doing this twice.


Quote from Adult Sheldon

Adult Sheldon: Ignoring things that irritate me isn't my strong suit. Obsessively fixating on them, now that's what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Quote from Adult Sheldon

Adult Sheldon: My father's wisdom touched me deeply. Which is why, to this day, no matter what I'm going through, I am never irritating or abusive to any of my friends or loved ones. Ask them. They'll tell you.

Quote from Sheldon

Sheldon: When does the truck bring the papers?
George Jr.: When it does.
Sheldon: That's a tautology.
George Jr.: What?
Sheldon: A tautology. A statement that's true, but uninformative. Hey, you're supposed to be the one teaching me. That's funny.

Quote from Missy

Missy: You know if you cry, I can't enjoy your pain.
[As Sheldon cries, Missy goes over to hug him]

Quote from Sheldon

Sheldon: Do you know anything about surviving psychological torture?
Tam: Because my family escaped communist Vietnam, we have to know about torture?
Sheldon: That was my thought.

View more quotes from this episode

Featured Music

  • Slow Ride

    Slow Ride As Sheldon delivers papers on his route.

Episode Trivia

  • How much was the repair bill to fix the refrigerator?
    • $500
    • $100
    • $200
    • $1,000
  • What did the coffee mug that Sheldon took from the teachers' lounge say?
    • World's Greatest Mom
    • World's Greatest Principal
    • World's Greatest Teacher
    • World's Greatest Grandpa
  • What was the name of the paper Sheldon was delivering?
    • Medford Register
    • Medford Chronicle
    • Medford Time
    • Medford Daily News

Episode Recap

Adult Sheldon mentions that many people have said he is overly sensitive. During dinner he can typically tune out the noises of his family, but this night there was one sound he can’t tune out. At dinner, Mary wonders why Sheldon isn’t eating. When he explains that he’s being irritated by a high-pitched noise, nobody else can hear it. Later, in the kitchen, George accepts there may be a little hum coming from the refrigerator, but he tells Sheldon refrigerators inevitably make some noise. After Sheldon argues that this noise is new and could indicate a problem, George refuses to spend money calling a repairman to a refrigerator that is working fine.

In his bed that night, Sheldon is imitating the noise from the refrigerator. Missy encourages him to go to sleep, but Sheldon insists he can’t tune the noise out. When Sheldon refuses to put his fingers in his ears, fearing it might drive ear wax further into his ear canal, Missy realizes she has no such objections and does what’s necessary to get a peaceful night’s sleep.

The next morning, Meemaw is scared to wake up to Sheldon in her bed. He explains that the refrigerator was keeping him up with an irritating noise, but so was Meemaw’s nostril so he won’t be back tonight. Meemaw encourages him to go home before she calls the police, but Sheldon doesn’t believe she would do that to her Moonpie. When Meemaw threatens to call Mary instead, Sheldon finally goes, leaving his extra key behind.

As they eat lunch in the school library, Sheldon asks Tam if he knows anything about surviving psychological torture. When Tam wonders if he’s asking because his family escaped communist Vietnam, Sheldon admits that was his thought. Tam reveals that when his uncle was in a reeducation camp, he would imagine disemboweling his torturers with a bamboo spike. Fearing that advice might not be too helpful in his situation, Sheldon decides to get a book on refrigerator repair instead.

That afternoon, when Sheldon opens up a toolbox in the kitchen, Missy wonders what he’s doing. After Sheldon explains that he’s going to take apart the refrigerator and see what’s making that noise, Missy tells him she thinks it’s a great idea. Mary is horrified when she returns home to find the refrigerator in pieces on the kitchen floor. The good news is Sheldon found the part which was making the noise. The bad news is he can’t put it back together.

Later, George is upset to hear it will cost $200 to repair the refrigerator. Mary tells him it’ll be okay and they’ll find the money, but he’s not comforted. Hoping to spare the expense, George asks about the old refrigerator they keep in the garage. Mary admits she donated it to the church. A furious George goes to Sheldon and Missy’s room to harangue him for breaking the refrigerator. George asks Sheldon if he knows how hard he has to work for the money he gets. George tells him that however long it takes, Sheldon will pay back every cent of the repair bill. When George says he is very disappointed in Sheldon, he starts to cry. After their dad leaves, Missy goes over to comfort a sobbing Sheldon.

The next day, Mary gets food out of their newly working refrigerator as Missy and Georgie sit at the kitchen table. Sheldon comes to tell his father that he’s got a job to pay back his debt. George is proud to hear Sheldon is going to be a paperboy, although Mary is more concerned about his safety. Sheldon plans on delivering the papers by bicycle, even though he doesn’t know how to ride one. After Sheldon leaves, Mary argues it’s too dangerous to let him deliver papers, but George accuses her of being overprotective. After George reminds Mary that he and Georgie were both paperboys at Sheldon’s age, Mary wants Georgie to teach Sheldon how to do the job.

Early the next morning, Sheldon knocks on Georgie’s headboard to ask for help with his first day on the job. After a reluctant Georgie finally gets up, they stand outside waiting for the truck to deliver the papers. Georgie tells Sheldon to take the papers into the garage to fold them, though Sheldon can’t even lift the bundle off the ground. Georgie shows Sheldon how to fold the paper and apply a rubber band, but Sheldon's concerned it isn’t folded evenly. Georgie takes a nap as Sheldon gets to work. Seventeen minutes later, Sheldon’s done; he’s successfully folded the first paper.

As a nervous Mary looks out her bedroom window, George assures her Sheldon will be fine. George argues Sheldon needs to experience the world a little bit, but it’s little comfort to Mary. Back in the garage, Sheldon has finally folded all forty newspapers and has his list of addresses ready. After Georgie says he’s going back to bed, Sheldon starts to thank him for being a wonderful teacher, but then freaks out as he notices his hands are covered in black newspaper ink.

In daylight, Sheldon cycles along the street towing a wagon full of newspapers, as Mary covertly follows him in her car. When Sheldon arrives at his first delivery, he attempts to launch a paper, but it barely makes it past the sidewalk. Sheldon instead decides to walk to the front door and deliver the paper by hand. When Billy sparks answers the door, he’s surprised that Sheldon is their new paperboy. After he and Billy chat about their jobs, Sheldon gets back on his bicycle for the next delivery. When Meemaw goes to talk to Mary in her car, she says Sheldon’s been out here twenty minutes and is only at his second house. When Sheldon throws the paper this time, it lands behind him.

Adult Sheldon admits the first day was challenging and the rest of the week didn’t get better. A montage shows Sheldon ducking away from the stack of papers being thrown on his driveway, being scared by a dog and a bird, chasing after papers blowing away in stormy weather, being soaked by rain and then blown backwards by the wind. By Sunday, a dejected Sheldon barely has the energy to jump out of the way of the incoming stack of papers. Unfortunately, the Sunday edition comes in two bundles, the second of which floors him.

After a week of braving the elements, Sheldon is ready to collect his reward. After he knocks on the Sparks’ front door, Brenda pays the bill and tips a dim. Sheldon says the tip doesn’t seem like very much, but Brenda points out he was late every day. After she laughs at the idea of him “braving” the elements, Sheldon turns around to talk to Billy Sparks.

When Sheldon and Missy are woken by his 5 a.m. alarm, she tells him he sucks. Sheldon apologizes as he has a job to do so he can pay their father back. At this rate, it should only take six months.

At school, Ms. MacElroy is telling the kids to get their permission slips signed as an agitated Sheldon walks into the classroom late. Sheldon angrily explains his training wheels broke. In the library that lunchtime, Tam gets a terse response from Sheldon when he asks why he’s drinking coffee. Sheldon says the job is killing him and he doesn’t think Tam would understand, but Tam points out he has a job at his family’s convenience store. Sheldon argues that’s different as he gets to do math all day, until Tam points out the cash register actually does all the calculating. Sheldon thinks that’s too bad.

At dinner that evening, as the family discusses a restaurant in the neighborhood, Sheldon is irritated by their chatter. When George asks if he has a problem, Sheldon wonders if it’s too much to ask for a dinner with a little peace and quiet after a long day. After Mary tells him not to speak to his father like that, Sheldon storms off to his room.  Meemaw offers to go talk to him but George says he’s got this. Mary wants him to calm down first, but George insists he’s got this.

In Sheldon’s bedroom, George asks Sheldon to explain himself. Sheldon says he’d rather just go to bed as he has to be up again in a few hours. George understands he’s tired but tells him it’s no reason to lash out. Sheldon says he’s not tired, he’s exhausted and everything hurts. He has to get up in the morning to do a job he doesn’t like for little money and he feels like he’s getting nowhere. Sheldon tells his dad if he’s going to yell at him or punish him, to just get it over with. George can relate to what Sheldon’s feeling and says he won’t be punishing him. George tells Sheldon about the difficult day he had at work, but he points out that he didn’t come home and take it out on him. George tells Sheldon to go apologize to his family and finish his dinner.

As the clock strikes 5 on a rainy morning, Sheldon is peacefully asleep in his bed. Adult Sheldon explains that he continued working his paper route, but by working he means delegating the job to Billy Sparks. As Billy braves the rain and throws a paper to a house, he realizes he has no idea where he is.

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