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218 - A Perfect Score and a Bunsen Burner Marshmallow

Aired Thursday, April 4, 2019
A Perfect Score and a Bunsen Burner Marshmallow

When Sheldon asks why he can't take college classes full time after acing his PSATs, his parents agree to let him live with Dr. Sturgis on a trial basis to see what life away from home is like. Meanwhile, without Sheldon to fuss over, Mary tries to bond with the rest of her family.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "A Perfect Score" refers to Sheldon's PSAT results, and a "Bunsen Burner Marshmallow" refers to Sheldon and John's makeshift campfire activity.
  • Sheldon mentions that Principal Petersen said Caltech is interested in him. Caltech is of course where Sheldon later works, as established on The Big Bang Theory.


Dr. John Sturgis: Would you like me to sing a cowboy song while we sit around our makeshift campfire?
Sheldon: I would like that.
Dr. John Sturgis: [singing] Oh, pity the cowboy, All bloody and red, For the bronco fell on him, And bashed in his head, There was blood on the saddle, And blood all around, And a great big puddle of blood, On the ground.

Sheldon: Last question. What is the only fermion that may not have an antiparticle?
Dr. John Sturgis: The neutrino, of course.
Sheldon: I'm gonna rule out concussion.
Dr. John Sturgis: To be fair, it was an easy question.
Sheldon: True.

Ms. Ingram: Mm-hmm. I'll tell him. Sheldon, you need to go to the principal's office.
Students: Ooh!
Sheldon: You do that every time. Why?

George Sr.: And not just that. Colleges are already sniffing around to recruit him.
Mary: What do you mean, colleges? He's ten.
Sheldon: Principal Petersen said Caltech is interested.
Mary: Where's Caltech?
Sheldon: California, Mom.
Mary: California?!
Meemaw: It has "Cal" right there in the name.
Mary: You're not a part of this conversation.
Sheldon: The "tech" is for "technology."

George Sr.: So what's this mean?
Principal Petersen: It means he pitched a perfect game, George. I've already gotten calls from colleges who want to meet him.
George Sr.: For, like, scholarships and stuff?
Principal Petersen: For everything! They might even pay you to get him.
George Sr.: My man!
Sheldon: When was the last time you washed your hands?
George Sr.: Come on!

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Featured Music

  • So Far Away
    Carole King

    So Far Away Playing on the radio as Mary drives home after dropping Sheldon off at Dr. Sturgis's.

Episode Trivia

  • What type of pie did Mary bake for Brenda Sparks?
    • Apple
    • Cherry
    • Rhubarb
    • Banana Cream
  • What time is Sheldon and Dr. Sturgis's bed time?
    • 7:15
    • 7:00
    • 7:30
    • 7:45

Episode Recap

In Ms. Ingram’s class, she tells Sheldon he needs to go to the principal’s office. Sheldon is confused when the other kids go “ooh”. In his office, when George is called to see the principal, Coach Wilkins also goes “ooh”. Outside Principal Petersen’s office, Sheldon and his father wonder why they were both called to the principal’s office. George asks if Sheldon did anything wrong, but he’s not aware of anything. Sheldon suggests it maybe good news, but George asks if he’s ever been called to the principal’s office because of good news.

In Principal Petersen’s office, he tells them the good news that Sheldon got a perfect score on the PSATs. George and Sheldon are pleased but don’t see the importance, so Petersen explains that these are the best results in the entire school and maybe the whole country. Petersen says he’s already got calls from colleges who want to meet Sheldon. George is delighted to hear that the colleges would offer scholarships and maybe even pay for Sheldon to attend.

Back home, George pins Sheldon’s perfect score to the refrigerator and tells Mary and Meemaw that colleges are already sniffing around to recruit him. Mary is bewildered that colleges would be reaching out to a ten-year-old. When Sheldon mentions that Petersen said Caltech is interested, Mary is horrified by the thought of Sheldon going to a college in California. After Mary tells Sheldon to go to his room so the adults can talk, Sheldon argues the events of the day show he is an adult and should be treated as one. Mary sends him to his room anyway.

When Mary asks George if he honestly thinks Sheldon is ready for college, George admits he didn’t think Sheldon was ready for high school, but they’re a year and a half in and no one got hurt. Mary says that’s different as Sheldon has his brother and father at the school and his mother and sister at home. George understands all that, but he thinks this is like football recruiting where you’ve got to strike when the iron’s hot. George worries what would happen if Sheldon stops being so smart and the colleges don’t want him any more, Mary can’t see how that would happen.

In their bedroom, Sheldon tells Missy that at least his dad is on his side, but Missy doesn’t think it matters as their mom always wins. Sheldon argues he’ll have to leave for college at some point. Missy doesn’t think Sheldon would cope at college as he can’t even take care of his own boo-boos.

After Mary calls Sheldon back to the kitchen, she tells him she’s very proud of him for doing so well on the test, but he can’t go off to college at his age. In a few years sure, but for now he can keep on taking his one college class with Dr. Sturgis. When Sheldon wants to know why he can’t go full time, Mary says it’s an hour’s drive each way so they can’t keep driving him back and forth. Sheldon points out Dr. Sturgis lives at the school and could act as Sheldon’s guardian. Mary doesn’t think that sounds realistic, but Sheldon gets her to reconsider when he asks what’s the point in being intelligent if he can’t take advantage of opportunities like this. After Sheldon returns to his room, he tells Missy his parents are still discussing it.

In the kitchen, Mary asks her mother if Sheldon staying with Dr. Sturgis is really so crazy. Meemaw doesn’t know why Mary is considering this, saying John doesn’t know squat about taking care of children. Mary argues the Lord gave Sheldon these abilities and she doesn’t want to be the one holding him back. Meemaw agrees to ask John, but she’s pretty sure what answer they’re going to get.

Over at her house, John says “Sure!”. When Meemaw questions whether he could really handle living with a ten-year-old, John argues Sheldon is only ten in the biological sense. In every other way, Sheldon is as old as him. Meemaw points out there’s a lot of responsibility involved here. John proposes a trial run of Sheldon living with him for a few days, but Meemaw still isn’t sure. When John suggests Meemaw join Sheldon in living with him so she can take care of both of them, Meemaw decides a trial run sounds like the way to go.

Back home, Sheldon is watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos on TV when Mary and George come to talk to him. Sheldon is excited when his mother says Meemaw spoke to Dr. Sturgis and he is open to Sheldon staying with him. George points out it’s just a trial run for one night. Mary says even if it goes well, it doesn’t mean he’s starting college tomorrow. They explain this is only to see whether this might be an option in the future. Nonetheless, Sheldon is giddy with excitement. He rushes to his bedroom to pack a suitcase, which Adult Sheldon likens to playing Tetris with underwear. Sheldon packs a bag with clothes, books and magazines, his safe, and even his telescope.

As Mary drives Sheldon to John’s house, she tells him it’s okay if he’s a little nervous. Sheldon insists he’s not. After Mary mentions how she found it scary when she used to stay with her grandparents, Sheldon thinks it’s good that he’s braver than she is. When Dr. Sturgis welcomes Sheldon and Mary to his apartment, they both notice John has a lot of chalkboards around the place. Sheldon thinks he may be the luckiest boy in East Texas. After Dr. Sturgis mentions he has recorded a few episodes of “Cosmos” and will be making spaghetti with hot dogs for dinner, Sheldon is sure he is the luckiest boy in East Texas.

As Mary drives back home, she is upset at leaving Sheldon behind. The song on the radio - Carole King’s “So Far Away” - doesn’t help matters. Meanwhile, Sheldon wonders whether he’s dreaming as he’s allowed to watch TV while he eats with Dr. Sturgis. Dr. Sturgis mentions that in his dreams he’s usually running for his life from a giant praying mantis.

Back home, Missy is painting her nails when her mother comes to see if she needs any help. Missy is okay. When Mary asks if she wants to paint her fingernails next, Missy doesn’t see why. After Missy wonders what’s wrong with her, Mary gives up and decides to go see what Georgie is doing.

As Dr. Sturgis and Sheldon watch “Cosmos”, Sheldon asks him if he thinks there’s intelligent life in the universe. John says undoubtedly as the Drake equation suggests there are at least 20 detectable civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy alone. When Sheldon says his sister calls him alien, John says that’s happened to him too. Sheldon wonders whether they are aliens. John suggests they might be the original inhabitants of earth and everyone else is from outer space. Sheldon likes that better. John asks Sheldon if he wants to toast marshmallows on a bunsen burner after dinner.

As Georgie watches Who’s The Boss, Mary asks him if he wants to go out and get some ice cream. Georgie isn’t interested. When Mary suggests playing Monopoly, Georgie just looks at her like she’s crazy. Meanwhile, Sheldon thanks Dr. Sturgis for the safety lecture as they wear protective goggles near the bunsen burner. When Sheldon starts toasting a marshmallow, he remarks it’s like being around a campfire except he’s not miserable. John sings a bleak cowboy song as they sit around their makeshift campfire.

While Meemaw watches Wheel of Fortune, Mary asks if she wants to go bowl a few frames. Meemaw says she’s watching the Wheel. After Mary asks if she’s heard from John tonight, Meemaw says John called and said he and Sheldon were watching TV without anyone yakking at them. Getting nowhere with her mother, Mary decides to go home.

After Sheldon climbs into the sofabed, John gives Sheldon a glass of water and says he’ll be in his bedroom if he needs him. When John says he hopes Sheldon will give him a positive review if his Meemaw asks how he did tonight, Sheldon says he’d get three out of three stars.

Getting desperate for company, Mary goes over to the Sparks’ house with a pie. She tries to patch things up with Brenda, since they haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. Mary was hoping they could sit down and forgive and forget over a slice of pie, but Brenda argues she hasn’t done anything that needs forgiving. When Billy calls to his mother to say he’s bleeding again, Brenda tells Mary it’s not a good time. She takes the pie and gives Mary a rain check.

While Sheldon sleeps on the sofabed, he has a dream about being chased by a giant praying mantis. When Sheldon wakes up screaming, John jumps out of bed to go check on him, only to trip over a chalkboard and fall to the ground.

In John’s bedroom, he comes around to see Sheldon looking back at him. Sheldon tells John he thinks he fell and hit his head. Sheldon decides to test for concussion. After John answers his name, the name of the current president and an “easy” science question, Sheldon rules out concussion. He says he will go to the kitchen to get some ice for John’s head and make him a hot beverage.

As George watches TV, Mary comes in to see if he would like some company. After she sits on his chair with him, Mary says she could leave him alone if he would rather watch TV. After George says no, they start kissing. When Mary begins to sob, she insists nothing’s wrong and asks him to keep going. As the crying intensifies, Mary admits she misses her boy so much and worries he’ll never come back. George assures her he will come back, but Mary says Sheldon was so happy when he left. After George points out Mary still has Missy and Georgie, she starts wailing.

As Sheldon boils a teapot in Dr. Sturgis’s kitchen, a dishcloth catches on fire. When Sheldon notices the fire, he tries to put it out by wafting a newspaper at it. Unfortunately, that spreads the fire to a kitchen roll. Later, Sheldon and John walk out of the building as the firemen rush inside. Sheldon admits it’s a good thing they did this trial run. No kidding, Dr. Sturgis says.

Back home, as Mary tucks Missy and Sheldon into bed, Sheldon says he’s changed his mind and doesn’t want to leave there ever. Mary says he doesn’t have to. Sheldon questions why, as smart as he is, he tried to put out a fire with oxygen and paper. Mary tells him it’s okay and nobody was hurt. Over at Meemaw’s, John asks her what she was thinking letting him take care of a ten-year-old.

When Mary joins George in bed, she says she’s feeling much better now that her baby is home. After George mentions it was pretty decent of him to drive an hour both ways to pick them up, Mary pulls him close for a kiss.

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