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515 - A Lobster, an Armadillo and a Way Bigger Number

Aired Thursday, March 3, 2022
A Lobster, an Armadillo and a Way Bigger Number

Sheldon, Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn) and Dr. Linkletter (Ed Begley, Jr.) hit the road for a science trip. Meanwhile, George tries to spend time with Missy, and Georgie still hasn't told Mandy his true age.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "A Lobster" refers to George taking Missy to Red Lobster, "an Armadillo" refers to Dr. Sturgis's highway roadkill, and "a Way Bigger Number" refers to Meemaw's comment about Georgie and Mandy's age gap.
  • Opening Credits Sequence: Sheldon is dressed in his normal clothes as a black cow with horns approaches the family.
  • Features a flashback from 121 "Summer Sausage, a Pocket Poncho, and Tony Danza" of George and Missy at Red Lobster.
  • Sheldon's love of car games was well established on The Big Bang Theory. [205, 402]
  • Dr. Linkletter mentions he once worked at the CERN supercollider in Switzerland. In a Season 3 episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon hoped Leonard would invite him to visit CERN but he instead chose Penny. Sheldon and Penny would both fall ill, meaning neither of them made it to Switzerland. [315]


Quote from Dr. John Sturgis

Dr. John Sturgis: Societal norms are different on road trips. Normally, I don't eat junk food, but here, it's tradition. I'm not even sure what a chicharron is.
Sheldon: It's the deep-fried skin of a pig.
Dr. John Sturgis: That seems like something they should say on the bag.

Quote from Dr. John Sturgis

Dr. John Sturgis: I'm doing it. This is going quite well.
Dr. Linkletter: Feel free to pick up the pace. A butterfly just passed us.
Dr. John Sturgis: Well, what's the speed limit?
Sheldon: 75.
Dr. John Sturgis: And I'm going... ten. I'll pick up the pace.

Quote from Sheldon

Pat: Look, you seem like nice folk, but Yankees ain't popular around here. I suggest you be on your way.
Dr. Linkletter: Sorry to have troubled you. Let's go.
Sheldon: Excuse me. My colleagues may be from the North, but for your information, I'm a Texan, born and bred. I know that real chili has no beans, and when my meemaw says, "Bless your heart," she means something very different. Now, my friend here is in need of help, and since our state motto is literally "friendship," may he please use your phone?
Pat: Well, dang. [puts the phone on the bar]
Dr. John Sturgis: And could I trouble you for a yellow pages?
Dr. Linkletter: Oh, boy.

Quote from Dr. John Sturgis

Dr. Linkletter: I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the strength of the temperature deviations is looking rather spicy.
Sheldon: How spicy?
Dr. Linkletter: Five microkelvin.
Dr. John Sturgis: Muy caliente.

Quote from President Hagemeyer

Dr. Linkletter: On to more pressing matters. Does Sheldon Cooper have to come?
Dr. John Sturgis: Shouldn't he? He is part of the team.
Dr. Linkletter: But isn't there some rule against minors traveling?
President Hagemeyer: No.
Dr. Linkletter: Can there be?
President Hagemeyer: No, it's better for the project if he's out there in the field with you.
Dr. Linkletter: But isn't it better for his education if he stays here in class?
President Hagemeyer: Oh, I think that a trip like this could be very educational in its own way.
Dr. Linkletter: Mm. You just don't want him around here bugging you.
President Hagemeyer: Winner winner he's-going-with-you dinner.

View more quotes from this episode

Featured Music

  • Cry for the Bad Man
    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    Cry for the Bad Man Playing at the dive bar Sheldon, Dr. Sturgis and Dr. Linkletter unwittingly wind up at.

Episode Trivia

  • Where was the telescope Sheldon and Drs. Sturgis and Linkletter were traveling to located?
    • Chisos Mountains
    • Davis Mountains
    • Guadalupe Mountains
    • Franklin Mountains
  • What did George and Missy end up eating after she turned down Red Lobster?
    • Burgers
    • Ice Cream
    • Tacos
    • Pizza

Episode Recap

As Dr. Linkletter reads a printout in the lab, he tells Sheldon and Dr. Sturgis the temperature deviations is looking spicy with a result of five microkelvin. “Muy caliente”, Dr. Sturgis responds. After Sheldon asks when they should publish, Linkletter says not yet as there’s only a three-sigma difference. After John says that would require a much robust signal, Grant says you know what that means. “Road trip to the super telescope?”, John asks. Grant can barely contain his excitement as he confirms that’s right. After Sheldon asks when they’re leaving, a slightly startled Dr. Linkletter says “Oh, right. You.”

When Dr. Sturgis and Dr. Linkletter join President Hagemeyer in her office, John tells her the data is extremely promising. Hagemeyer is unsure of the significance of “five microkelvin”, but she can tell John is excited so that’s enough for her. After Dr. Linkletter explains they need budgetary approval to travel to the radio telescope in the Davis Mountains, Hagemeyer says it’s fine by her. On to more pressing matters, Dr. Linkletter asks if Sheldon has to come. Linkletter wonders if there’s a rule that minors can’t travel, but Hagemeyer says no. Linkletter wonders if there could be a rule… When Hagemeyer tells Grant it’s better for the project if Sheldon joins them in the field, Linkletter counters that Sheldon’s education is better served by remaining at the university. After Hagemeyer argues a trip is educational in its own way, Linkletter realizes she just doesn’t want Sheldon around to bother her. “Winner winner he's-going-with-you dinner.”, she jokes. 

When Meemaw notices Mandy in the laundromat, she goes over and asks if she’s Georgie’s friend. After Mandy confirms she is, Meemaw wonders if she grew up around there. Mandy says she did but she moved to San Antonio for a bit after college. Meemaw is surprised to hear Mandy’s old enough to have been to college. As Mandy talks about her career as a TV weathergirl, Georgie arrives at the laundromat and is nervous to see his girlfriend and grandmother talking. After Georgie goes over and interrupts their conversation, Meemaw tells them that she’ll let “you two kids” be. Meemaw chuckles about describing them as kids, like they were still teenagers or something…

Back home, Sheldon goes to his mother in the kitchen to ask if he can borrow her AAA card so he can order a TripTik for his trip to Fort Davis. After Mary asks who said he could go,  Sheldon says President Hagemeyer. When Mary points out she hasn’t said he can go, Sheldon insists it’s fine, saying he’ll only be gone for three days and he’s traveling with Dr. Sturgis and Dr. Linkletter. Mary wonders if the two doctors are okay with that. “Why wouldn’t they be?”, Sheldon questions. Mary says no reason, but just the same, she’s going to check in with them.

When Meemaw goes to see Georgie as he stocks the supply closet at the laundromat, she says Mandy seems nice and wonders if they’re getting serious. Georgie says he doesn’t know. Why? Meemaw says she was wondering when he was going to tell Mandy his real age. After Georgie insists age is just a number, Meemaw points out Mandy’s number is much bigger than his. Georgie doubts grandmother has never lied about her age, but Meemaw claims there’s different rules for women. Georgie argues it’s not a big deal, saying they’re just having fun. Meemaw warns him to tell Mandy before they have too much fun. Georgie says that sounds like less fun. “Welcome to being an adult. It sucks.”, Meemaw retorts.

When Mary phones Dr. Linkletter, he’s glad to hear from her, figuring this call is about Mary’s “very understandable reluctance to let Sheldon come” on the upcoming trip. Mary admits she does have some concerns. As you should, Grant tells Mary, before asking if she'd prefer for Sheldon not to come with them. Mary sighs as she says Sheldon would be so disappointed. “Not more disappointed than me,” Linkletter claims. As Mary asks if Grant’s comfortable having Sheldon come along, Linkletter admits he’s just an “absentminded academic who's never had children”. Undeterred, Mary points out Linkletter’s been a great help looking after Sheldon at the university. When Mary admits Sheldon can be a nervous traveler, Dr. Linkletter thinks it sounds like Mary doesn’t want him to go. Mary insists she’s okay so long as he and Dr. Sturgis are okay with it. Unwilling to come out and say no, Dr. Linkletter says they’re okay if Mary’s okay with Sheldon tagging along. Not wanting to disappoint Sheldon, Mary says she’s okay with it. A suddenly-glum Linkletter notes that it sounds like they’re both okay with it.

As Sheldon studies a map at the kitchen table, George asks if he’s ready for the trip. Sheldon explains he’s plotting bathroom breaks, but it’s hard as he doesn’t know how often Dr. Sturgis or Dr. Linkletter urinate. When Missy enters, she wonders what all the maps are about. After Sheldon explains he’s taking a trip to a radio telescope in the Davis Mountains with Drs. Sturgis and Linkletter, a sardonic Missy responds, “Of course you are”, with a sigh. After George wonders if something is wrong, Missy complains that Sheldon gets to do whatever he wants while she can’t even go to the beach with her friends. George insists it’s just a school trip. A deflated Missy insists it’s fine and walks off.

When Georgie goes to Dale’s office at the sporting goods store, he admits he’s dating a girl who’s a lot older than him. How much older? Like ten years. “But she’s blond and she’s really hot”, Georgie adds. Dale says that doesn’t make a difference. If he’s lying to her, it’s not okay. Georgie wonders if Dale’s really saying he wouldn’t date an attractive, older woman if he was Georgie’s age. Dale points out that’s not the question Georgie asked him. When Georgie asks what Dale would really do, he checks that she’s not married and doesn’t have kids, before saying he doesn’t see a problem with it.

In the van, Sheldon warns Dr. Sturgis before taking a drink that the next rest stop isn’t for another 62 miles. Dr. Linkletter says they’ve got a “trucker’s buddy”: a bottle for you to pee in. Sheldon is disgusted, but John says societal norms are different on the road. When Dr. Linkletter asks if he should play some music, Sheldon claims nobody likes music and instead proposes a car game. After Sheldon explains the rules to a science-based car game, Dr. Linkletter decides “music it is” and turns on a classical radio station. John tells Grant he’s sorry he can’t help out with driving duty, but he never passed his test as he’s never been comfortable behind the wheel. Linkletter admits he does enjoy the tranquility of the open road, saying it produces a Zen-like calm. After Sheldon interjects that car-games are also relaxing, Linkletter suggests they play a game counting out-of-state license plates… silently. As Grant relaxes to the classical music and a now-silent Sheldon, Grant’s tranquility is broken by John’s loud munching on snacks.

When George arrives home, Missy is slumped on the couch watching TV. After Missy says her mom is still at the church, George tells Missy to put her shoes on, they’re going to do something fun. Missy wonders if that’s something she thinks is fun or something he thinks is fun. Hopefully both, George says. Missy asks if he’s going to teach her how to drive. No. Missy says it would make her feel so much better about all the Sheldon stuff if she could drive. George tells her she’s not driving. As Missy lays it on thick, saying she would love him so much, George tells her to stop it.

When Dale joins her in her kitchen, Meemaw asks him at what age guys stop being idiots. Dale wonders what he’s done now. Meemaw says not him, Georgie. He’s dating an older woman and lying about his age. “That rascal”, Dale remarks. Meemaw realizes he already knows, saying she can see it in his face. After Dale admits Georgie asked him for advice, Meemaw hopes Dale told him to come clean. Dale says he did, but Meemaw can tell there’s a “but” coming. Dale reveals Georgie then asked what Dale would do. Meemaw is disappointed, but Dale argues she doesn’t have all the facts. Dale says Georgie also mentioned she’s blond and hot. Meemaw asks him if that makes it okay to lie? “At my age, no.”, Dale says, before continuing, “At his age?” “No”, Dale says, after seeing the look Meemaw is giving him.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sturgis asks Dr. Linkletter if the road goes straight like this for a while. Grant points out they’re in Texas; it goes straight for the rest of their lives. Linkletter senses John is thinking of giving driving a try. John admits this would be a good place to try, since there aren’t any cars around. Grant is happy as he could do with a break, while John says he’s all atingle.

When George pulls into a parking lot, Missy is surprised to find they’ve gone to Red Lobster. George says she loves this place, but Missy says that was when she was, like, eight. George reminds Missy they had their first “daddy-daughter date” there. “Oh, my God, don’t ever call it that again.”, Missy begs. She explains she has friends who go on actual dates there who might see them. George thought it’d be nice. After Missy asks if they can go anywhere else, a defeated George says fine.

Although Dr. Sturgis is excited to be driving the van, Dr. Linkletter says he could pick up the pace. A butterfly just passed them. After Sheldon mentions the speed limit is 75, John realizes he’s going at ten miles per hour so agrees to pick up the pace. As Sheldon tells them about the slowest express train in the world, Dr. Sturgis realizes he just hit an armadillo. Grant tells him to keep driving but a distraught John can’t, so he stops the van to go check on it. Sheldon can’t figure out if John is hoping the armadillo is dead or alive. “Alive”, Grant replies. “Ugh”, Sheldon says.

As the trio walk over to the armadillo in the middle of the road, Dr. Sturgis wails as he wonders what he’s done. Sheldon points out it’s still moving. As they should be, Linkletter says, urging John to get back in the van. After John asks for a box and a towel, an unsympathetic Sheldon points out they don’t need a coffin as the birds will get it. John explains it’s to keep the armadillo safe until they find help. Sheldon argues that armadillo roadkill is practically the state animal of Texas.

As Georgie drives Mandy on their date, he asks where she wants to go. Georgie proposes seeing a movie after saying bars are so expensive. Mandy admits she was hoping they could go back to his place. Georgie is unnerved but suggests that would be “amazing”. Mandy chuckles as she says “amazing” is a lot of pressure, but she’ll give it a shot. Georgie tells Mandy that when he said he moved out of his parents’ house, it was into their garage. Mandy points out that her bedroom is right next to her parent’s bedroom, so it’s his place or nothing. “My place it is.”, Georgie declares.

As Dr. Sturgis peeks into the cardboard box, Dr. Linkletter warns him not to get bitten as he’s not wrapping a towel around John, too. After studying his map, Sheldon tells John there’s a firehouse 28 miles away. John bets they can help. After Sheldon says he was thinking they’d just leave it on the doorstep, a stern John tells Sheldon that this isn’t a joke. “I injured this creature, so I have to take care of it. Do you understand?” Sheldon is slightly taken aback by John’s stern tone and says, “Yes, sir.”

As George and Missy eat in the car outside a roadside burger joint, George says it’s not lobster, but at least her friends won’t see them. When Missy says sorry, George says it’s okay, she’s just getting older. George admits he was probably a jerk to his parents, too. When George asks how her burger is, Missy says it's so good. George agrees, suggesting this could be their place for “daddy-daughter dates”. Missy once again asks him to please stop saying that. “What, daddy-daughter dates?”, George wonders. Yes. George agrees and asks what she’d like him to call their “daddy-daughter dates” instead. Missy chuckles as she tells her dad he’s so annoying.

As Sheldon, Dr. Sturgis and Dr. Linkletter walk into a dive bar, Dr. Linkletter realizes this isn’t the “firehouse” he had in mind. Undeterred, Dr. Sturgis calls to the “barkeep” to ask if he can borrow their phone. When the bartender, Pat, says they must be lost, Sheldon insists you can’t get lost with AAA TripTIk. Pat says she doesn’t know where they mean to be, but this ain’t it. John asks again to use the phone, explaining he has an injured armadillo. Pat says they seem like nice folks, but Yankees aren’t popular around here, so she suggests they get on their way. Sheldon is offended. “Excuse me. My colleagues may be from the North, but for your information, I'm a Texan, born and bred. I know that real chili has no beans, and when my meemaw says, ‘Bless your heart,’ she means something very different. Now, my friend here is in need of help, and since our state motto is literally ‘friendship,’ may he please use your phone?”, a forthright Sheldon tells her. “Well, dang.”, Pat says as she hands over the phone.

As Georgie and Mandy lay on his bed in the garage making out, Georgie starts to imagine his Meemaw there telling him she’s disappointed in him. After Georgie pulls away from Mandy, she asks if everything’s okay. Trying to ignore his conscience, Georgie says yes and they get back to making out. Imaginary Meemaw warns him to tell Mandy before things go too far. When Dale shows up in Georgie’s fantasy, he tells Meemaw to leave the kid alone as he’s just having fun. Meemaw insists her grandson is feeling guilty and is going to do the right thing, but Dale warns her that the moment Mandy’s shirt comes off, it’s game over. As Meemaw starts to say Georgie has more integrity than that, Mandy removes her shirt and imaginary Meemaw and Dale disappear in a puff.

Back in the now empty parking lot, after George says he’s stuffed, Missy says she could help if he’s too full to drive. George insists she’s not driving his truck. Missy just wants to try it in the parking lot. “Please, Daddy?”, Missy pleads. George knows what she’s doing. “Creating memories that will last a lifetime?” Later, with Missy in the driver’s seat, George tells her to put her foot on the brake. “Which one’s that?”, Missy wonders. “Oh, boy.”, George remarks. After George tells her how to change gear into drive, he tells her the most important step: don’t ever tell your mother. Missy says she’s not an idiot. As George tells her to take her foot off the brake and gently put it on- The car hurtles across the parking lot as Missy laughs and shouts “I’m driving!”

Back at the bar, John is on the phone with the (human) hospital. He hopes there’s a doctor there who has a soft spot for pets. After Dr. Linkletter takes a look under the towel, he tells John he can hang up the phone now. “Well, that’s a shame.”, John says. “It’s just an armadillo, right?”, John says as he tries to calm his own guilt. Sheldon points out John didn’t feel that way in the van. John admits that, even though it seems silly, when he saw it lying there bald and helpless, he thought that’s going to him one day. After Pat describes that as depressing, Grant notes that the end of life tends to be depressing. Sheldon mentions that in New Orleans, they embrace the tradition of a jazz funeral where the deceased are celebrated through music. After John asks Pat if they have any Dixieland jazz on the jukebox that they can play to celebrate the life of an armadillo, she tells them to leave now.

Adult Sheldon explains that after a quick burial behind the bar, they were back on the road. As they drive off, Dr. Sturgis tries to find some appropriate music for a proper send-off. Three Christian talk shows and a whole lot of static later, he settles on what he declares the Dixieland jazz of West Texas. Mariachi. “Vaya con dios, armadillo. Vaya con dios.”

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